This story began 6 years ago. I drove to the then Firebird International Raceway to see the Modified Tuner Shootout/NASAAZ event. I had just finished a shoot and had a tele-lens, so I decided to take some photos just for the hell of it. In-between sessions, Paul came over and asked if I would take some photos of Phil. My response was along the lines of “Who the hell is Phil?” So he told me to just take a few photos of a black Civic EG with RegaMaster Evos’ wheels. “Ok sure Paul.” I don’t think that at that point Phil even fathomed the transformations his EG would experience through the upcoming years.
Over the last decade, the aftermarket industry has changed drastically. Trends have come and gone and in some ways have made a complete circle. Aggressive body-kits, pastel colors, decal-explosions, conversions, JDM, stance and more recently body-kits have started to make a comeback. Phil has managed to capture something from these trends and created his own recipe.
Back in 2008, his car looked very tame, I mean take the helmet out of the equation and you’d have a Sunday morning drive to church. I think that was the first time I met Phil. I remember walking towards where he had set-up camp for the day. After we introduced ourselves, he said, “I am going to have lunch; I brought a bunch of food so if you are hungry, fire on a sandwich chief.” Classic Phil!
After five years of heavy tracking with basically a stock B-series engine, he wanted more power. In 2011, he decided to pull the plug, hang-up his racing-gloves and send his EG to the gym. What nobody knew was that his EG would be working-out in the San Quentin yard.
Once he decided to go with the K24, the ball started rolling and things just continued to get more complicated and complex. Phil’s approach was, “Well since everything is already out, let’s fire on it.” Phil decided to rewire the entire car and threw out anything that wasn’t required.
Fast forward to March of 2013, Phil finally returned to the track where he was having some challenges with getting used to the new set up. At the end of the day, he was happy to be back on track however – it was back to the drawing board to make adjustments.
Since his front end suffered some damage, a new aero-package in the form of a C-West front bumper was added.
It was around this time that we were testing some Canards down at ICB Motorsport. We were about to load the car back onto the trailer when I asked Phil even though you don’t have a passenger seat, would you drive me around so I could experience the rawness of your car, Phil’s response; “Chief, why don’t you just go drive it yourself?”
I had to quickly contour my body ala Gumby and get past the cage. Once I sat down, I put the clutch in, turn the key forward and the beast came to life. The car was semi loud inside and you felt every vibration that the engine threw at you. I selected 1st gear, released the clutch and away we went. At first the steering wheel felt very heavy but once I gained speed it became easier to steer. I went easy to get a feel of the car, but then I threw it on second gear and dropped the hammer. DEAR.MOTHER.OF.GOD. Things were moving way too quickly, engine noise increased exponentially, redline came fast and I grabbed third, still on full steam and the next thing I know I am going way too fast. I went to the end of the street, made a U-turn and on my way back, I took the needle to redline a few more times. Of course I am hauling ass and instead of coasting and gradually slowing down, I decided to test the brakes. The way the brakes shed speed is ridiculous, it doesn’t help that his car is so light. I thought my face was going to hit the steering wheel. It really just didn’t make any sense. I came back to the trailer with a smile the size of Texas. It boggled my mind at just how raw his car is and just how quickly things happened inside. Now, I only went in a straight line, I just couldn’t imagine how this would corner at the track.
Soon after this, Phil went on a quick hiatus to iron out some small issues. During that time, he was day dreaming about extending his footprint and running 17” wheels. When everybody thought Phil was done and that he would go back to the track, he proved them wrong.
Since Phil wanted to extend his footprint and go wider, he had to make some changes, he made more room by installing over-fenders on his already wide-fenders from Chargespeed. Since he was planning to run 17” wheels, Phil decided to switch to a 5-lug for extra strength and to ditch his Spoon Sports brake set-up for something with a little more clamping power. Dan at Rcrew fabricated a set of racing brakes for Phil’s EG which not only had the power to shed speed but they were just jaw dropping to look at. It was at that time that his new 17” wheels made an appearance on his car. Volk Racing TE37RT’s. The wheel specs are 17×9.5 +25
Phil’s car has experienced an incredible transformation. His car is raw and aggressive. If you looked closely, you could see what Honda intended this car to be; i.e. an economical vehicle. However, when you step back and look at what Phil’s created – it’s as though you were in the wrong part of town, being stared at by someone who wanted your wallet. If Honda was to remake this exact car it should wear a different badge other than Civic. Hmm, The Honda “Did you spill my pint?”
I have been with Phil at a few local meets where all cars are welcomed. People come and stare at his EG. Old bikers stop, look, go around his car; scratch their heads and wear confused expressions. It is actually very funny and entertaining.
The transformation you see here took almost 2 years. You have to understand that Phil did this massive undertaking solely with the help of Jesse (his son) and close friends. Most of this work took place at Phil’s house, outside of the garage to be exact. Even though this was a home build project, the level at which all of this was completed has gone far beyond what I have seen on other builds. The finished product looked as though a racing team was behind Phil, funding him and helping him along the way – which wasn’t the case. At times, funds were not available and this prolonged the build. During that time, I’ve seen Phil frustrated, pissed-off and stressed, which only served to fuel his drive to complete his vision and he settled for nothing less. It has been a hell of a ride to get where Phil is and if you asked him if it was easy, he would smile and say, “No Chief, it wasn’t.”
We wanted to do a shoot of the car before any track events, just in case (God forbid) anything were to happen. So a couple weeks ago Phil sent me a text to let me know the TE’s had a fresh set of NT01’s and they were on the car. The hardest thing to get this shoot done was to obtain a feasible location. All of our usual options were not available within the time frame we had. We ended up going very near to where he lives and actually ended up driving the car there. Seeing his car being driven on public roads brought a huge smile to my face. People driving next to him were staring in awe and saying WTF is going on here. On the way back to Phil’s house, mechanical sounds cascaded through the street frightening once again those around him.
So without any further ado!
J’s Racing C304 60R exhaust. Originally made for the EP3, but Phil wanted to run a 60mm and at the time this was not an option. Kent at Precision Chassis Works matched the piping all the way to the Rcrew header.
And just in case you are living under a rock and saying… No way he tracks his car like this!
In between sessions a few of us were talking and somebody asked Phil what his next plan was. Phil took a second to respond and then said “Chief I am not sure, I just want to go fast”. As you can see, Phil has created something that works for him, he has fun working on his car and has a blast driving it on the track. His EG has weathered many trends and has followed only one: his own. As long as he is hauling ass, Phil will continue to fire on that. What better way to show this than a comparison of his car six years ago and today. Forward motion. We can’t wait to see what’s next, Godspeed Phil!
Thanks for reading.