Starting Off On The Right Foot | Matty Ferguson’s Honda S2000

Finally. I get to write a feature after the 23 months consisting of Japan stuff, a load of event coverage, a brief bit about an MX-5 specialist and his R33 GT-R, some more car shows, and most recently the introduction of Civik. So yeah, alot has occurred since my last and debut feature I decided to kategorize as a ‘Fokal Point’ article, which some of you might remember involving Josh Harbour and his R32 GT-R. If not, you can catch up on that here.

One of, if not the primary, reasons for me signing up to a WordPress subsription and purchasing a web domain was that I wanted to be able to share my experiences on this planet as a carboy. But I’ve always known – even if not consciously – that the reason magazines and online blogs appealed to me so much were the inspirational glimpses of the people behind the assembly of metal, glass, rubber and plastic.

Yeah, the cars are cool and all that, but the journey people go through alongside their personalised mode of transport is what always captured and captivated my attention. At the end of the day, our vehicles are just the medium through which we convey our feelings brought on by how the car drives or what the vehicle represents.

So when Hamza and I were taking a stroll along the paddock of Croft Circuit during Mimms Honda Day in July of this year, I nearly twisted my vertebrae beyond repair when my eyes were magnetically drawn to Matty’s Honda S2000. The way the car just sat there next to a bright red Audi R8 and managed to detract all of the German supercar’s presence, I knew instantly this roadster deserved more than a one-take glance.

The upload count of shots posted up in the threepart blog should provide clear indication of how much of my interest was piqued by this two-seat Honda from 1999. After the show was done and over with, going through the images from that day, I realised how much Matty’s S2000 stood out to me.

Why, you might be wondering?

Well, I’m gonna let the photos show you exactly why this S2000 is an up-and-coming build that’s about to get even sicker than it already is.

We’d arranged to meet in his hometown near Darlington, somewhere I’ve only been once, and that was for a company training workshop, but that’s besides the point.

I scoped out a location to shoot Matty’s car in that wasn’t too far from where he was based. Early that morning I headed straight to our agreed meeting point, where I was having a little pre-shoot scout. Matty messaged me and invited me to his house as he was still cleaning up the motor since he didn’t find the time to the night before.

I drove over to his, parked my car up and we chit-chatted as he went over his favourite points on the car.

Turns out the evening before that morning was a bit of a episode involving Matty’s friend’s seized brake caliper off of his Mini Cooper S. He almost thought his bone was broken/fractured in his ankle, due to a caliper piston rewind tool going haywire from being used in conjunction with an impact drill (not recommended).

It is what it is though, shit does and will happen. We weren’t working to a strict schedule or nothing, it was a Saturday after all, and I think 8am on a weekend is like 6am on a weekday, so early enough as is.

An S2000 is a highly-versatile chassis, and that is mostly down its outright good-looks. You don’t have to do much to the car in the cosmetics department, since Honda’s designers did a grand job on perfecting the exterior of the car to a point where there isn’t an angle from which you’ll grow tired from looking at it.

Matty informed me of the date he took ownership of his 2005 model-year, hardtop S2000, and I was kinda taken aback by how recent I’d thought it was: June 2020. For some reason, I felt as if the car had been carefully crafted over a longer period of time, going through a couple phases before this one. But, no. Matty bought the Honda in factory trim, still wearing its original coats of Silverstone Metallic, with the only visible modification being a K&N Cone Air Filter.

The S2000 has always appeared cartoonish when viewed from the front, head-on. It’s as if the design engineers intentionally gave the car a personable character.

Now, there’s not much to say about Matty’s car, and that’s in no way me being dismissive, of course. The fact I don’t need to say much about the car, theres’s no need for me to be throwing all these fancy adjectives up just for you to take more notice of the details, so that in and of itself speaks more volume than I ever could. I mean, if you can’t appreciate this awfully simplistic method of modifying, then maybe you’re expecting too much.

Understandably so, with the amount of things we’re bombarding ourselves with via social media, you can’t help but be desensitized to anything that’s truly relatable. Until, perhaps, you stumble across something like this car for the first time ever, IRL, no filter, no bullshit promo, no hashtags. Just a real enthusiast showing how he likes his cars by putting together an example that is undeniably well-finished.

Obviously, I don’t mean finished in the literal sense, as whilst I was snapping away with my DSLR on this random research building’s carpark, Matty told me of his vision and this is most definitely not that, yet.

But let’s stick with what we have in the present.

What exactly are we all looking at here?

The “elephant in the room”, for me anyways, certainly has to be the non-Honda body colour. Initially, I’d assumed the “Tahitian Green Pearl” paint code was nabbed from the CR-Xs and EF/EG Civics, and pasted all over the S2000’s panels, but that colour is much more vibrant in retrospect. This shade of blue-green remains quite deep and subdued under direct sunlight, and frankly, the Honda pulls off Emerald Green miles better than the sourced-from Citroen C4 Cactus ever could.

By the way, the colour change was the very first alteration Matty chose to make to his car once he became its rightful owner. Although, from what he told me, it was a bit of a nightmare back-and-forth scenario with the bodyshop not completing the job to a standard you’d expect for the respray of a modern classic sports-roadster. Putting the past aside, the car’s bodywork was of course refinished properly and retrieved back to the hands of its owner for further tweaks to be made.

Fortunately, the low-hanging fog that morning muted all but our immediate surroundings, and the photos came out better than I’d imagined they would. I’m going to come across as arrogrant, but I have to admit that this is the best work I’ve produced thus far in my life as a person with a camera.

Back to the subject in fokus…

Once Matty got his whip back in the home garage, the tone was set for him to begin riffing off and enhance what was already at that point a great-looking car in its new lick of paint.

S2000s weren’t all that tip-toey off the showroom floor with their factory-spec suspension and ride height. Most definitely not as bad as a standard MX-5, but still, there’s always far too much tyre-to-arch clearance with standard cars, unless you’re buying a 911 GT3 or similar.

Matty selected a set of coilovers made by MeisterR, a company that has bases in the UK & USA. The choice Zeta CRDs have brought the ride height to a very acceptable distance to the ground, and tightened up the existing well-balanced chassis giving the driver just enough tactile feedback without compromising usability on the road, helped by the 9kg(F) & 7kg(R) spring rates.

By the way, the owner isn’t some up-and-coming YouTube sensation or a Forex trader’s prodigy. Yeah he’s a young guy in his early 20’s, but he’s still studying part-time whilst working a full-time job in the civil engineering sector. And he hasn’t rolled his car into a garage, tossed them the keys and demand for them to turn it into some kind of Insta-famous riceboi machine. Matty and his pals have all chipped in and carried out the work themselves, that includes fine tuning the suspension to get it cock-on without the tyre chafing against the inner arches and busting a tyre.

So, as you can see, not much is “going on” under the bonnet where the F20C engine resides. Time and resource will eventually come around for the owner to invest some of his attention to the powertrain, but all in good time. As it sits currently, the only alterations made to the engine are its Invidia Q300 catback stainless exhaust system allowing the F-series to emit it’s waste gases freely, but keeping the neighbours happy(ish) with a high-flow catalytic converter made by Berk Technology / Magnaflow.

Oh yeah, and if you didn’t spot it, an oil cap from Spoon Sports keeps a lid on things.

As Matty propped up the vented OEM bonnet, immediately grasping my attention was this piece sitting right on top of the Koyorad “Half-Size” aluminium thick-core radiator. If you’ve followed my Civik blog series, you’ll know that I was a bit miffed how my J’s Racing pressure cap wouldn’t fit onto my Koyorad rad. I was baffled as to how Matty’s fits and why I don’t have the same luck as him, haha 😦

15+ year old rubber most likely were not in the best of condition, so Matty went and chucked on some Spoon Sports polymer hoses for piece of mind.

I can imagine those of you who happen to be S2000 owners too, are interested in Matty’s choice of wheel and their fitment.

And if you happen not to show intrigue, are you okay? The flow-formed RG-D2 wheels by Yokohama Advan are a difficult option to discount when configuring your dream build, regardless of the chassis, they look great on everything! Matty chose to fit up a set of staggered 17″ wheels, 8J at the front, with 9J in the back, offsets measuring ET44 and ET45 respectively.

And I can’t not mention one of the greatest tread patterns of all time, courtesy of the Yokohama Rubber Company. AD08RS compound has been equipped to deal with everything input by the hands and feet of the driver, matching up to the staggered wheel sizing with 225/45 and 245/40 tyre specifications.

The Advan wheels’s polished lips gleam as they offset the Racing Hyper Black spoke faces.

Efforts have been made by Matty to ensure that the car appears as low as possible, without giving off that “stancey wanker” vibe. He’s done a damn good job if you ask me.

How is this car still relevant as ever? Honda, bring back an affordable high-performance FR two-seat sportscar, please, before you go all “Greenpeace” on us petrol-junkies.

Back onto the subject of the aero trim applied to the exterior of the car. A carbon fibre ducktail partly left bare to exposed the weave when viewed from the rear, carbon fibre sideskirt extensions made for an FD3S RX-7, and the smoothed OEM “AP2” front bumper & original lip spolier. A Voltex rear diffuser made of CFRP wasn’t in the best of shape so Matty chose to remove it from the car in case the damage went any further, but you can see it photographed here, if you so please.

Without sounding cliche, sitting passenger whilst Matty directed the S2000 through fast and slow B-road bends, I could sense a link between man and machine where both were in harmony as G-forces pulled the ~1270kg mass dynamically whilst the four tyres maintained grip throughout.

I jumped out the car to take a few panning shots as Matty zipped past me on a country lane. Thought I’d get some practice shots in with the local wildlife behind me.

The car isn’t crazily loud, but it sings a tune you wouldn’t want any other way.

When something looks as good as it goes, a sense of temporary bliss comes into effect. This was one of those moments.

Before we called it quits, Matty suggested a cool photo-opp spot not too far out in the countryside.

We drove up to a pair of electric gates that opened automatically, rolled right through all the way down this long-ass driveway, realising that we may or may not have been trespassing, haha.

We weren’t doing no one any harm, so I got Matty to position the roadster in the middle of this random household’s driveway, and let the shutter release.

Next thing we know, a lady in a new Land Rover Defender enters the premises and I’m thinking we’re about to get booted out or maybe worse! But Matty must have done some sweet-talking as I heard her compliment the Honda that was on her private property. She was 100% cool with us being there, we kept off the grass, and that was that, she just carried on for another 5-miles (exagerrating lol) to her doorstep.

Buddyclub LED Sequential Tailights complete the rear-end without over-doing it. To be honest, it’s probably not far off a “modern-day” interpretation of the S2000, similar to what we saw at TAS 2020 with Honda’s 20th Anniversary Concept, only this has nicer wheels…

That’s all I have to say about Matty’s S2000 right now. It doesn’t “break the internet” (yet) nor does it need to (yet). I’m positively sure that the evolution of this vehicle is in its infancy under the careful and particular owner.

Keep an eye out, is all I need to say, both right here on soulfokus.net and Matty’s IG @mattyfer5.

| B O N U S G A L L E R Y |

As Below, So Above | Mimms Honda Day 2021 @ Three Sisters Circuit

September is usually the month that can’t decide whether it’s done with summer, or isn’t yet ready for autumn. It’s like that transition period between good times in not-bad weather, and the kold seasons of hibernation and/or winter projects. The ninth month of the years also happens to be suitable timing for an “end-of-show-season” show. Dav and co. came back up north to Three Sisters Circuit in Wigan to put on exactly that.

With the Civik being “fully” road-ready with its recently calibrated ECU courtesy of Jesse ‘JCal’ Halford, the event was an opportunity for me to give the car a proper-ish shakedown. So on 26th September, over to Lancashire I went, camera gear and Arai lid in hand, to check out what Hondas other Northerners would bring out to the show.

You might have spotted the title and are wondering what I mean by it. Well, I’m gonna have to admit that maybe until only recently – say, a few months ago – I had a pretty cynical and negative view of the “scene” here in the north end of England. I’ve always had a somewhat bleak perception of how cars are modified up these ways. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that high-quality builds do exist, but I still do think they’re either few and far between, or they just don’t really see the light of day that often.

It’s been a classic case of “greener grass on the other side” and all the sick cars I’ll see online based in the UK, will be down south, up in Scotland, or over in Ireland. I’d say my awareness has expanded, especially since the Mimms event put on at Croft. For years, all I’ve ever really consumed in terms of car-related information has been via the worldwide-web. The events and meets I’ve attended locally haven’t really ever blown me away. I mean, there’d be a few cool things that I’d never seen before and happen to be owned by someone in a neighbouring city/county, but I dunno, here in the UK not many people have the disposable income to invest into their builds (or the patience to save up funds). But this also makes me appreciate those that do have the persistence and patience to hold onto their hard-earned money for those genuine parts, instead of blowing it all on shoddy rep wheels and eBay bodykits.

That leads me on to this nigh-on perfect example of a pre-facelift EP3 Civic Type R.

I hold my head in shame for not taking more photos of this, as it was undeniably one of the cleanest seventh-gens I’ve ever laid eyes on.

EP3 is a chassis code synonymous with the UK Honda scene, unsurprisingly, as the car was assembled on our nation’s land. Unfortunately, a lot of them are either hideous thanks to the owners’ and their bad choices in modifications, or the sills have shit themselves beyond repair.

At Mimms, it was nice to come across one that the owner truly cared about, and it showed. I’m sure the owner told me the odometer read around 80,000 miles, but the paint looks like it’s got half that figure on it.

K-Tuned dress-up bits all over the K20A2.

I booked a 20-minute track session as soon as I parked up in the back corner of the car park (can’t blame Mimms staff for putting me there, the paint was/still is a shambles). Whilst I waited until it was my time to put the stock suspension to the test on the go-kart track, I went for a stroll and browsed the show-and-shine stand.

Carl Plant’s EG Civic has a trick or two up under its bonnet, so don’t let that mellow Carnival Yellow paint fool you.

The car’s front end features moderately aggressive modifications consisting of a Mugen lip, custom canards and foglight blanking plates, along with the classic swap-in of the JDM amber-indicators.

Uber-rare rims made by Work Wheels back in whatever decade, these Pietra Corse items are JDM gold dust no doubt! Looking at other sets online, they featured a centre hub cover that resembled a centre-lock nut, so I’m guessing these are from the mid-to-late 1990s.

Dunno if that was litter or the owner was saving his drink for later?

Pretty unsuspecting interior with a pair of blue Recaro SR4 recliners *hint hint*…

…and a Spoon Sports steering wheel. But peep that AFR gauge made by AEM to the right-hand side of the steering column.

Oh, and the wastegate exit-pipe showing it’s teardrop-shaped tip out the bonnet’s matching cut-out.

This FF terror in fact moves under K-series power. Not only that, but the engine conversion has been treated to a few more molecules of available oxygen by way of a Pulsar GT3071R turbocharger, effectively doubling the stock K20 output to ~400bhp @ 13psi.

I can imagine this boosted EG wakes the driver up better than any type of caffeine-containing beverage can.

On the subject of EG Civics, Nav brought out his Bayside Blue K-swapped hatchback.

If you also thought that yellow one was sleeper status, this one is a proper under-the-radar build.

Sparco L999 wheel with thumb-positioned horn buttons gives me that nostalgic 2000s feeling. Only just pictured in the same frame is the Pioneer Carozzeria double-DIN headunit with the remote control resting in a vent-mount.

OZ Futura Monoblocks are being rocked in a 17″ sizing under car, and they don’t look bad for a size-up wheel setup.

GReddy decal on the hatch representing the Supreme tailpipe exiting below the rear bumper.

Elmo wasn’t ready for the ‘TEC.

I believe Nav has since let the car go to a new owner, but this scale model will remain in his hands as a memory of the modern classic Honda he put together.

A few Mugen-looking bits on this DC5 Integra Type R.

The morning started off good, only to be made great once I saw Mr. Restomod Compulsion’s NA1 NSX parked – by default – in the show & shine line-up.

Voltex wing sits sky-high atop the custom-CNC’d stands.

Real rekognise real.

Pearly whites break up the deep black bodywork.

The angle of attack of the wing has been intentionally crafted with knife-edge precision. Not too tall, with just enough rake.

Stainless exhaust tubes visible thanks to the modified rear bumper and the minimalist diffuser set-up with its carbon fibre support rods.

VIP-style elements in the interior with the Junction Produce leather neck pad cushions. Seems he’s associated with the bloods, too.

Gold sticker = winner winner.

Moving on (it was difficult) from the NSX, here we have a CR-X VTi with nothing much going on, except…

… a snail to provide that supplemental kick up the arse.

Half-size radiator must be doing a good enough job to keep coolant temps in check, even with a load of boost chucked into the mix.

I like how the owner just strapped the turbo onto a custom manifold and left nearly everything else in sight stock. Even the location of the oil catch can is subtle enough to go by unnoticed.

This driver looks like he took a detour through Racoon City.

Wouldn’t normally pay much attention to an FN2 – unless maybe if it happened to be a Mugen 20 – but I like it when video games are used as inspiration for car modification.

Geeky, I know.

The vegans of the automotive community, haha.

Emotion XT7 in bronze WORK well on this OEM+ DC5.

Bonnet was missing, so I went over to have a nosey in the bay.

EP3 electric power steering conversion was odd, but each to their own, eh? It kinda cleans up the frontmost part of the engine bay, to be fair.

First and only big whoops that occurred on track that day.

I’ll insert this interlude amongst all the Honda content.

Mimms Honda Day magnetizes quality, regardless of manufacturer.

The original Gojira can’t get turned away, that would be plain silly.

Not like Mimms would turn anybody away, but the carpet has to get rolled out for JDM royalty.

Nardi Personal Neo Grinta sits centre stage in the driver’s position.

White armor, bronze gauntlets.

Okay, back to regular programming.

A pretty clean second-gen CR-X pictured, with its owner in the right of the frame. Glad he went out on track for a little play, after all, Hondas are for driving!

I had to scratch my head a bit after recognizing the plate on this EK. Turns out I saw it the month before at Japanese Performance Show! Looks kool, especially seeing what it sports under the bonnet. Ride height is also very korrect.

Not a bad choice of wheel, even if I do say so myself. Brakes look a bit dwarfed behind those 16″s though.

Business up front…

… business out back, too, from the looks of it, with the busy busy half-cage rigged up behind the Corbeau fixed-back driver’s seat and OEM passenger chair.

Atleast he’s doing it right running disc brakes in the rear, whereas I’ve left the original drum brakes in place on the Civik.

Old boy brought out his pride and joy, a BB8 Prelude VTi with that fancy four-wheel steering.

I’m not a Prelude nerd or anything, I learned what chassis code the car was based on from looking at the VIN plate rivetted right on top of the front cross member.

Coating on the heatshield looks factory fresh!

Stay klassy…

… or not.

Olly Ward made an appearance, this time entering his EG3 Civic into show & shine.

A 15 inch wheel that’ll look as good as TE37s do on anything, prove me wrong.

The guy leaning on Olly’s Honda is not Olly. I don’t know if Olly was friends with him or what, but the guy obviously has no manners, as he just interrupts me having a convo with Olly.

I won’t say much about this car, because I’m planning on leaving that for a full feature that’s yet to be shot whenever the stars align and the shit weather pisses off.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, as Olly’s Civic DX went on to win the award for best wheels IIRC.

Spoon N1 not looking as disgraceful as the one on the Civik.

Mine melted the rear bumper, so it has hardened plastic stuck to it. I’ve since lowered the tailpipe using rubber hanger mounts with wider hole spacing.

Hopefully see more of this machine and its owner in the near future.

Classic by design.

Plenty Personal steering wheels fitted to a lot of the cars at the show, what is this like the fourth one now???

Very OG 57CR by RAYS’ Gram Lights brand.

Other than the black NSX you saw earlier, this DC2 Integra Type R wore a set of Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels in Satin Black.

The car let off a very aggressive vibe, shame the driver took off so soon as I didn’t see it hang about for long.

OEM Recaro SR3 seats retained whilst TRS harnesses are hooked up to anchor points behind.

The only EF that caught my eye at the show.

Could it have been the OZ Racing split rims with gold centres and plain lips…

…or maybe it was just the ShirtTuckedIn decal on the rear side-window.

Whatever it was, it looked damn spiffy.

That time came around quick, where Dav picks up the mic and announces the award-winning contestants.

I’m shit at remembering names, but congrats to you, Restomod-Man, and your NSX taking the prize home yet again for 2021.

As the show started to wind down after the awards ceremony, I made a B-Line for the reception to book yet another track sesh in the Civik.

Check out the clip of some of the good laps from the day 🙂

A few FD2 Civic Type Rs came out to represent the 4-door VTEC klub.

FEEL’s stainless muffler tucked under all cosy beneath the FEEL’s rear diffuser with integrated LED fog/rainlight.

Infinite Power.

18″ CE28 by RAYS Volk Racing with polished lip guarding the Brembo caliper and disc assembly.

Under the cloudy sky, Premium Purple Pearl didn’t look as great as it could.

A lad in another red (actually red, should I say) EK hatch was lapping the carpark trying to find a spot, and he kept eyeing up my car and the empty space beside it. He eventually pulls up beside mine whilst I’m sat in the car charging my phone before I hit the track so that I was able to pair up my Hondata app to monitor coolant and oil temps whilst giving it a rip. He approaches me and for whatever reason sensed that there was something amiss with mine, so I popped the bonnet and revealed the non-surprise (I mean, it’s a K-swap, it’s kinda expected in this day and age).

Seeing someone else get excited about the Civik – whom I’d known for about 35 seconds – was cool, especially considering the sorry state the exterior was/is in. But, then again, it’s what lies beneath skin-deep that matters most, and Hondas are renowned for their inner workings. I’m going to begin the chassis/suspension enhancements in 2022, to start tapping into that FF potential.

Hope you enjoyed the read and pics, continue for more!

| B O N U S G A L L E R Y |

Not Worth the Kompromise | Japanese Performance Show 2021 @ TIC

Shows are always enjoyable, more so after the drought we’ve been through these past couple of years. Not counting Mimms North in September 2020, the last indoor car show I’d visited was Osaka Auto Messe, so yeah it’s been a while.

Never having witnessed Japanese Performance Show (JPS) live and direct, I’d made the decision to check it out. So, after the Mimms Croft blog had been posted, I’d messaged Dav Plaha who also happens to organize JPS, asking him whether it was alright for me to advertise my photo printing services on the Facebook group, seen as though some of the shots taken at Croft Circuit turned out well. What I didn’t expect Dav to say was, “Why don’t you attend as a vendor and sell your prints at the show”. As we know, with life, the spontaneity and unexpectedness of it tends to end up one of two ways. Better than we ever could imagined, or disastrous. Then again, life is full of nuance…

I accepted Dav’s offered suggestion and began planning everything out in my head. I’m not very practical when it comes to planning. What I mean by that is, I visualize all the details in my head, or atleast try to, before actually producing anything tangible. To be honest, I just did things my way, and kept it as simple as possible. I didn’t have enough money for a gazebo or a load of easels to display my sample prints. Instead, I got three fold-out tables and a vinyl banner.

I haven’t got any photos of my stall at the show, but it was very basic. I had my 32″ LCD TV set up, allowing everyone passing by to see either me editing photos, or a preset slideshow of sample images of the cars rolling into the show. My Canon printer was sat beside that, whilst I faffed about on my laptop behind them both. Oh, and the Demio was my display easel for this shot of FEED’s “Touge Maou” I have framed up in my bedroom:

It was an early start on the last Sunday of September, as I had to be at Telford International Centre (TIC) – the debuting venue for JPS – at 6am, meaning I’d set off mine at around 4am. Hamza fell sick a few days before, so I’d be going solo and had to set up at double-time.

Matty Ferguson’s Emerald Blue AP2 S2000

As soon as the shutters around the back of TIC opened up for vendors and display-cars, I made an effort to get the stall situated ASAP. My primary objective was to photograph as many cars as possible before the public were allowed in at 10am. After that time, I made sure I was positioned at the stand so that I’d be able to display and print whatever photos I managed to get.

Whilst it was quiet with no visitors in yet, I run-n-gunned as many of the cars parked up inside.

Adam’s JDM is an IG handle I’ve seen about for a while, and had their fleet posted up not far from where I’d set up.

What looks to be Midnight Purple III on this R33 GT-R the team had brought out, matched up with the classic LMGT3 wheel by Nismo coated in bronze. Whilst not everyone is keen on the awkward shape of the R33, this Skyline manages to pull it off.

I’d definitely like to get to know this R34 GT-R more. At first glance, it looked like an old 2000s-era demo car, due to the alien-styling seen in the painted-over tailights and stretched tyre fitment.

This car had an aura none of the other’s had. I can imagine this plastered onto pages of an Option magazine back in the days when factory-bodylines were of no interest to any JDM-nutcase. All I know is that it wear an M’s Factory widebody and sports OZ Racing Pegasus wheels wider than HGV duallies!

An old photo of it I found floating around on a GT-R forum

An FD RX-7 I recognised immediately from when I first saw it in the hands of Rotary Revs, an RX-8 specialist who spent a fair few man-hours getting this car to run right. The owner obviously cherishes it and rightly so.

Jack Ellis’ FD3S RX-7 was excavated out the batcave for JPS

One of the most aggressive-looking pieces of powder-coated aluminium you could put under the arches of a car: the Enkei RS05RR.

John’s TCP Magic-kitted FD3S

This RX-7 on the other hand, was anything but stealthy. The car looked great before its makeover, with a unique front-end I’ve never seen on an FD, but the owner must have gotten bored of its original Silverstone Metallic. I doubt he’s looked back ever since this came out the paint booth.

Tom Lingard’s K24 Sunny Pickup

If trucks aren’t your thing, this old Datsun will make you revalue your beliefs.

Valve cover branding that shouts stratospheric engine speeds.

As if one JDM EP3 Civic Type-R wasn’t uncommonplace enough…

Andy Boyle’s EK9 Civic Type-R with the bonnet propped to let us know the B16B is long gone

Immaculate would be an understatement.

Jamie Padfield’s BB6 Prelude

Equipped with a Rotrex blower, for all that power!

Form hasn’t taken a backseat with this 400bhp+ K-Swap build.

Got a bit carried away kapturing all the details in this RPS13.

The ultimate drift-style, show-spec S13 isn’t complete unless Equip 05 wheels are bolted to its hubs.

Aaron Britton’s S30 240Z in all it’s timeless glory

Awkward as fuck angle, but gonna leave it here regardless, because double-barrel tailpipes.

Garage Mak’s Revolution Type 5 aero-kit was donned by this S15 Silvia.

Kelvin Thomson’s S15 Silvia stays true to Nissan’s original design, apart from the aftermarket tailights and Work Wheels CR sized up from the standard 17″s

On the other end of the Silvia spectrum, this straight-laced S15 Spec-R in pastel grey colour also got my attention.

Miles’ R32 Skyline GT-R, nailing the simple “drop and wheels” method

Don’t understand why I only got one photo of this R32, because it deserved much more attention.

This guy (sorry if you read this, but I forgot your name) had his Jazz rammed full of die-cast models. Speaking to him after the show, and it sounded like business went pretty well, but he still had boxes full of stock remaining.

Gurpal’s R34 Skyline GT-R V-Spec in what most would consider the default paint option

As a photographer, FOMO (fear of missing out) is an ailment that a lot of us are plagued by, incessantly.

So, whilst a lot of the shiny bits attached to an RB26DETT can easily put you in a trance, in the back of my mind I was worried about not grabbing enough photos for me to print and sell. As someone who is trying to make business using my skill-set, I find it hard to become fully committed focusing on that side of photography. Maybe some part of me is trying not to let the hobby become work, in case my appetite for the art runs out.

But kompromise is something we all have to do, so I got one last shot of these two R33s inside, and ran outside to the carpark’s entrance gate.

I’m not going to lie, but for me to shoot any and every car was impossible. Initially, I’d planned for me and Hamza to be able to simultaneously photograph outside and also print/edit the photos inside. Unfortunately, that strategy was a flop since I was flyin’ solo, but I reckon I managed to hold it down for the most part.

Nik Lukas’ Subaru BRAT got this policeman chattin’

Must have been a day out for a few of these rare, obscure coupe utility vehicles sold by Subaru, whom actually never sold them in Japan funnily enough, because I could imagine them going crazy for something like this. Imagine one decked out with a sound system in the cargo bed on a Friday night at Daikoku PA.

OEM R35 GT-R wheels on an Elgrand – why the hell not!

Whilst mums in the UK are doing the school-run in Vauxhall Zafiras and Ford Galaxys…

No generation gap here, the DNA of the Inte-R is unlike anything we have seen since the DC5 bowed out in 2006.

I really do hope the next-generation of Integra doesn’t lose touch with its roots, then again, I think I’m dreaming. If Honda of America is taking charge of the project, I’ve a feeling it’ll be a similar outcome as what we saw with the NC1 NSX.

Up until the point of closing-time, I didn’t touch my cameras due to manning the printing stall throughout the entire day. A lot of people who had their motors parked up inside were requesting photos, but because I missed the majority of them roll-in the evening before, it meant that I had to try and get a shots of them rolling out.

If those of you who asked for prints on the day are reading this, please get in touch via Instagram/Email and I might have some shots you can purchase for delivery!

A celebratory limiter-bash from this camo-wrapped FD. Infused with fuel-oil premix, the byproduct of rotary combustion engulfed half of the exhibition hall.

The Champ White quartet about to make a move. Jamie’s Prelude is either too low to be seen here, or he already wheeled it outside, I’m unsure.

Didn’t see this EF Civic all day (as was the case with a lot of the cars in attendance that day) until it was time to leave. Parked up on its ones, I grabbed a couple shots of it.

Buddyclub P1 SF in white matched up with sensible tyre sizing, sitting good under those vented front wings.

EF J-swap?

Nathan Pickett pictured with his DC5 Integra Type R in the distance

A very low, and pretty wide, R33 Skyline exiting the show through the back shutter, followed by Andy Boyle in his EK9…

… which could be the most well-executed Civic Type-R build in the UK, by far.

Then again, he was with good company. The fitment of this supercharged EP3’s CE28s is bang-on.

John’s RX-7 looking like something out of the Gundam series. Never noticed its centre-exit exhaust when I caught sight of the car indoors. Natural lighting does wonders for cars in front of the lens, hence why I was reluctant shooting cars inside the hall whenever people asked for me to do so.

Zanda leaving the event in her Milano Red DC5.

John Watson’s Corolla GL would pass under the radar in its subtle shade of grey, but a very cool four-door nonetheless.

Chameleon reflex paint – known to the JDM lot as “Maziora” paint named after the brand created by Nippon Paint who are also the company that were behind Mazda’s beautiful Soul Red pigment – ensures this 180SX/200SX gets more than one look by anybody in its vicinity. The StreetTrackLife slap beside the tailpipe is a nice touch, too.

The marmite of wheels: TriForce Zelda by Trial Tuning Spirit of Osaka. I think I tasted marmite once and yeah, it tastes like crap, but these rims on the other hand are mighty fine, especially in purple!

With the hall empty of nearly everyone and everything, it gave me chance to snipe some frames with the long telephoto lens and not worry about people/cars coming obstructing the view.

The pumped-up stance of Jack’s RX-7 is clear to see here. Those CarShopGlow LED tailights bring the already timeless Japanese icon up-to-date.

Once again, Jamie’s Prelude Type-S looking highly photogenik.

Roy Milward made a few transformative changes to his GC8 Impreza, notably the new paint and RS Watanabe wheels, of which I’ve never seen under a Scoobie.

The pearl/metallic orange/yellow possesses a great amount of depth that can only be fully appreciated outside in the sun and not under fluorescent artifical lighting.

The TommyKaira aero kit remains underneath the combination of paint and carbon. The addition of integrated intake-ducts in the headlight cluster blends nicely into the carbon bonnet. Also note the shaved rear door handles, giving me flashbacks of the HKS Cyber Evo.

Even with the car aired up, the driver has to carefully avoid scraping that front lip!

All in all, JPS seemed to have delivered on every front. Featuring the best of the best Jap metal here in the UK, I doubt anybody visiting left and felt short-changed. With plenty of variety in terms of manufacturer, style, and era, a balance was certainly achieved to cater for everybody’s interests.

As for me, I wished that I could enjoy the show, rather than being in work-mode the whole time, so to speak. I might consider selling framed prints again at future events, I’ll see where the wind takes me.

Closing out, I’d like to thank anyone who’s supported Soul Fokus. Whether you’ve shared the site or my photos with your friends and fam, or if you purchased a print that now resides on your wall. It’s appreciated 🙂

Katch you in the next one . . .

CiviK | Vol. X

At this point, the car was awaiting the day for the recovery truck to come and take it away for LA Fab to give the car a set of new pipes.

Ready for any speedbump

Bit under-exposed, but the photo just about reveals the Civik’s new rolling stock. This is the third car I’ve mounted the Buddyclub P1 SFs to now, and they clearly look good under any car’s arches. Even if the arches have a gap large enough to live inside.

Another part that took ages to arrive, this one from Works Bell’s sole distributor in the UK. Won’t name and shame, you can figure that out. Communication was shite.

Quality Japanese part, featuring both hole patterns for Nardi and Momo wheels.

Packaging filler was also nice reading material.

Battery in the car was non-OEM when I bought it. The previous owner/mechanic made a tie-down clamp out of a bit of rusty steel plate with two holes drilled through it. With a new Honda battery bought, I thought it was also worth grabbing a new OEM clamp plate.

A couple more hand-me-down parts can be seen in the Civik’s interior. Nardi 330mm Deep-Corn from the MX-5 days, and then the Seeker Heavy Shift Knob from the Civic FN1 days.

Faceless identity

Couldn’t park in my usual spot at work thanks to nature.

What?! HKS make blue ones now?! It’s as if they merged the HKS Power Filter and Greddy Trust AIRINX blue filter into one Super Mushroom. Halfords, by the way, thank me later.

I was persistent with those DIY driveshafts, too persistent. Wasted a load of pennies in the process, as I bought a new CR-V driveshaft, then two B-series CV joints, and like three EP3 complete driveshafts.

Somehow, the IAT sensor plug wire detached itself from the connector. I reckon it was heat that weakened the cabling, but I swear I had cable-tied it away from the engine. Anyway, Nigel (Luke’s dad) came to the rescue and soldered it back on because there was no way for me to get a crimp over the pin end.

Angle-grinder had to come out along with the slitting disc so that the underside of the bonnet could clear the power steering pump. To be honest, I’d rather have not done this, and opted for a FRP/CFRP vented bonnet, but I think most, if not all, aftermarket versions incorporate strengthening ribs too.

6TWO1 kinda let me down with this piece of the puzzle.

I understand that it was out of their control, but the fact that the website stated “ETA Delivery: 7-10 days” was a bit misleading, seen as though 4 weeks passed and I didn’t receive anything from them. Anyhow, very luckily, my eyes were constantly on a Spoon N1 rear muffler for sale on eBay.

It had been used, but only for fitment check. It was the same price as a new one, but also came with a silencer bung (which I’ll probably never use). Main thing was the 2-day delivery guarantee as it was already here in the UK! This meant I could get it over to LA Fab in the nick of time, as they were waiting for me to supply them with the rear section of the exhaust.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and here I am. In the hot seat of the Civik, somewhere in Leeds. Even with the rev-limit set to 5500rpm thanks to the basemap, the feeling of the car’s urgency is remarkable.

Besides the fact that the “Street” spec polyurethane engine mounts give me white finger worse than a roadworker with a jackhammer, experiencing the rawness of it all is exactly what Type-R means. Of course, I am talking solely about the engine, as the chassis needs to play catch-up.

That does NOT mean this is going to go the way of “EK9 replica”. This car won’t ever be that, in both function and form. But if I can reach my goal of attaining the perfect road-going FF sports machine, then that’s close enough.

Just to let you know, I’m not anti-B-series. I actually considered a B18-swap, due to the cost and simplicity. But I think it was driving a DC5R that swayed me over to the K-side?

Moving on, work was still to be done! Remember that Recaro recliner?

Yeah, it’s still not where it should be (in the car if you’re wondering).

I’m not gonna talk shit, but lemme just put this out there: if you’re going to use a popular, reputable, Japanese used-car-parts shop’s name to posture as a business selling JDM goods (seats particularly) on IG, then atleast know WTF you are selling to your customers.

I was one eager beaver trying to find rails to fit my DC2R seat into the Civik. Waiting months for this one person on IG to stop leading me on and come through with a pair of EK9 Recaro rails that his “mate” took out of his possession, without permission. He finally got them – sent me a photo – I said “woah, they don’t look like EK9 ones” – he assured me that they were – I trusted him because he seems legit – bought – received – turns out they were in fact DC2R rails. Big giveaway was the ‘ST7’ stamped on the side of them which I looked over as I was cleaning them up in preparation for bolting them down to the floorpan. All but one hole does not line up. Dunno about you, but I’d rather have the seat bolted down fully, not 75%.

After all that, I returned the seat to him, didn’t get my PayPal fees back, nor the shipping cost I covered. You very well might have a positive experience doing business with this particular vendor. I didn’t.

You can never do enough research, so I’d like for whoever still reading this to prepare to the nth degree in your endeavours. Or, get mugged off.

Big brake upgrade found on eBay! Made up of EK B-series upright & hub, EP3R front calipers, and Mini Cooper S R53 298mm discs.

A gift [perhaps] in disguise was me not being able to take the car to the dyno, thanks to another week of being sick: I had the tuning day booked in advance as EFI Parts tends to be quite busy, but a couple days before, I came down with a nasty cold/cough/flu.

That put the brakes on the project, again. Losing my deposit, I tried to re-schedule with EFI Parts but communication wasn’t great, so I ended up following a recommendation made by the guy who sold me the K-Tuned shifter plate, and contacted JCal aka Jesse Halford.

Date and time slot booked, me and Hamza make the trek down to East London, home to Torque Developments International.

We’ve all heard the name associated with impressively serious builds in mags and online, so you know that they’d only let trusted individuals take charge of their in-house hub dyno.

This is the day I’d been waiting for since getting the car back from LA FAB. About time the car cleared it’s throat.

I didn’t care much about the power and torque figures, because it’s not like I had done anything to the engine internally, so I just expected/hoped for a smooth running K20A…

And that its exactly what I got, thanks to Jesse. Top guy, any question I had he’d answer, but also, anything he was unsure of (not much to be honest) he was open and honest about. If you want more power out of your Honda, this man is the one you go to. If you’re not sure, check his batshit-crazy K25 EK9!

Also, if you were wondering: 213WHP, 150WTQ.

Well needed scrub-up.

A word that will haunt me for life.

I’ll continue the saga at a later date, perhaps when I’ve done anything noteworthy and substantial to the car. High on the priorities are ergonomiks. Feel is everything in a car like this, so I’ll make sure to address these as soon as.

I hope you enjoyed reading, share the blog if you found it useful in any way. Katch you on the next one.

Special Thanks: Hamza for the support, Dav Plaha of EHM Parts for supplying most of the parts for the absolute best prices, Nick for selling me a solid K20, Rus Taylor of Hond-R, Andy of Integrastella, Luke and Nigel B., Jesse Halford of JCal, “The Captain“, Luke of LA Fab, Honda Addicts, Jason Katman of FFSquad, and the rest of the real ones who I might have missed.