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"Honda Tuning", May 1, 2012

Blind Networking

THE ART OF BEING YOURSELF

BY RODREZ

PHOTO BY HENRY Z. DEKUYPER

As old as business itself, the term networking has never been more prominent in American culture than it is today. The current crop of blistering-fast social networking sites combined with countless success stories that have miraculously spawned from nothing more than a chance meeting with the right individual all but force you to hone your people skills. Selling yourself is thought to be the standard by which business skills are measured, however, it can also backfire on you. Aggressive go-getters with false personas and transparent agendas can often go overboard and end up doing more harm than good. Of course, there’s still plenty of room for individuals who do very little selling and, instead, concentrate on listening and learning. People like David Nguyen of Luling, Louisiana.

The gorgeous Champ White Civic you see pictured wasn’t his first choice, nor his second. He adds, “I started out with a ’95 Si, but didn’t really like the body style that much, so I sold it. I was looking around online for a clean sixth gen and came across one in Oklahoma.” Living in Louisiana, the Civic was purchased sight unseen and dropped off locally at his sister-in-law’s home, leaving David to rely solely on the seller’s word and selection of photos in regard to the vehicle’s condition. Something he would later woefully regret.

“We made the trip up to Oklahoma and picked up the car, brought it home and started tearing it down for paint. The seller assured me it had never been in an accident, but we found that the front end didn’t line up very well and underneath the panels there was Bondo everywhere!” Down but not out, David enlisted the help of a local body specialist to correct some of the damage, but after months of waiting, the car came back in a similar state. “I was so aggravated, the bodywork still wasn’t right. At that point, I just gave up and starting parting out the project completely.” The sour taste in his mouth wouldn’t last long, though, as the hunt for an acceptable chassis was once again under way, and this time a close inspection would be performed before any cash and title exchanges were even considered.

With a clean-bodied ’00 hatchback finally in his grasp, David spent the next two years hoarding parts, including a number of OEM Civic Type R pieces to put together the car that he’d always wanted. As he wished for more than just a looker, an H22 swap made its way into an immaculate engine bay with the help of a few friends in David’s garage. Once complete and satisfied with the car’s state, the group eventually made their way to a few Import Face-Off events. “We showed the car and did a few auto-x races, but one day we just said, ‘Screw the show, let’s see how fast the car is on the strip.’ We went out there with no tires, no tune, no nothing — we just spun the tires and basically didn’t even move, lol!” A tough lesson learned, and one that David would not soon forget.

After taking notice of a random parts ad, David met Brandon McCray of Skunk2, and the two got to talking about the goals set for the car and the parts that would be used to beef up the 2.2L. In the end, David ordered every part that Skunk2 offers for the H-series motor. Somewhere along the way, an online run-in and suggestion from Big Mike culminated in an order being placed with Bisimoto for its V2 header. With new cams, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, and just about everything else now upgraded, a proper tuning session was in order to put it all together. A visit to Steve and CNR Performance for some dyno time took the baseline of 160 whp all the way up to 220 whp, with almost 180 lb-ft torque — a massive improvement that has completely transformed the Civic. To help get the power to the ground this time, a set of Exospeed Star 8 wheels and sticky rubber replaced the street wheels and tires. But it doesn’t stop there. Another chance meeting, this time with Greg of Go-Autoworks while at the track, resulted in the exchanging of contact information and eventually an agreement between the two for a complete turbo build for the 2012 race season.

Rather than selling himself as something he’s not, David Nguyen instead focused on his build and its progression, while the blind networking was nothing more than a by-product of his friendly nature and down-to-earth outlook. “I guess the moral of my story and this build is to never give up. Hard work, dedication, and the drive to finish what you start will eventually pay off. Also, this build would really never have happened without all of the relationships that have been forged by not being afraid to ask questions, or ask for advice from the guys who know. I just have to say thank you to everyone who has helped to make this build possible!”

BOLTS & WASHERS

PROPULSION

H22A

Innovative mounts

Hondata S300

Skunk2 Pro II cams, Skunk2 valvesprings, Skunk2 retainers, Skunk2 Pro Series cam gears, Skunk2 intake manifold, Skunk2 70mm throttle body

Go-Autoworks velocity stack

Bisimoto V2 header

A’PEXi World Sport exhaust

Walbro fuel pump

AEM fuel regulator

RC 650 injectors

Golden Eagle fuel rail

Go-Autoworks fuel filter

Go-Autoworks fuel line kit

FCS Fab fuel cell

Koyo radiator

Moroso baffled oil pan

Go-Autoworks oil catch can

Go-Autoworks vented valve cover

Spec Clutch mini twin disc

Spec Clutch flywheel

Quaife LSD

Driveshaft Shop 5.9 axles

Skunk2 oil cap

Skunk2 radiator cap

POWER

220 whp and 178 lb-ft torque

SUSPENSION

Skunk2 Pro C coilovers

Skunk2 drag-spec springs

ASR rear antiroll bar

CTR front antiroll bar

Skunk2 Pro Series camber kit front/rear

Next Miracle X Bar

Skunk2 rear LCAs

RESISTANCE

Wilwood six-piston front

GS-R rear calipers

Wilwood/Goodridge lines

WHEELS AND TIRES

Street: 16x7 Volk CE28 Honda Edition Time Attack, Hankook Ventus 205/40-16

Track: Exospeed Star 8 front, Exospeed rear skinnies

EXTERIOR

CTR doors, CTR fenders, CTR front/rear bumpers, CTR front/rear lip CTR side moldings, CTR headlights, CTR foglights, CTR rear wing

PCI wing risers

ARC winglets

VIS carbon-fiber hatch

Seibon carbon-fiber hood

FAL rear “glass”

Mugen hatch latches

INTERIOR

Spoon Sports gauge cluster

Spoon Sports steering wheel

HR Tuning Tuner View RD1

Bride bucket seats

Takata harnesses

RSX rear seats

CTR door panels, CTR red carpet, CTR floor mats, CTR plastics, CTR door sills, CTR shift boot

Skunk2 shift knob

PROPS

My family, The Wives Against Honda Club (love you BB), Thien Tran, Lil D (we did it man), Joshua (for all the times you brought me water in the garage), Brandon McCray and the staff at Skunk2 Racing, Greg Carter and friends at Go-Autoworks, Steve, Zack and crew at CNR Performance, Jason Park at FCS Fab, Nam and Wesley at Anything Car Audio, Mike G and Ahobbs at Skunk2 Racing Street Team Elite, Wil at Exospeed Racing, Mike at LSD Motorsports, Shorsh at Moshi Moshi Motors, Steve at hmotorsonline, James at HR Tuning, Khai at Autotech, Cliff at IFO for giving us a place to race, Micha and Tom and Lighting Motorsports, N1 Concepts, Rodrez for the wheels that started it all, Tu Superman, my brothers and friends that helped along the way

OWNER SPECS

DAILY GRIND

Regan Nails & Spa LLC

FAVORITE SITES

Skunk2racing.com, Go-Autoworks.com, Nostreetracing.org

SCREEN NAME

Frosty985

BUILDING HONDAS

5 years

DREAM CAR

My Civic

INSPIRATION FOR THIS BUILD

Skunk2 Street Team Elite

FUTURE BUILDS

H22 turbo for this car, and an N/A H22-powered EH project

CONNECT

GO-AUTOWORKS

www.go-autoworks.com

SKUNK2 RACING

www.skunk2.com

FLUID CONTROL SOLUTIONS

www.fcsfab.com

EXOSPEED RACING PRODUCTS

www.exospeed.com

KAIZENSPEED

www.kstuned.com

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