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Starting in high school with a brand new '93 Civic coupe, Chad Castelo has built a small fleet of extensively modified Honda project cars over the past 13 years. Back in '93, the import craze was still in its infancy. Those who built import cars usually slapped on a Wings West kit, some chrome 18s, maybe some nitrous, painted it a ludicrous shade of neon and called it a show car. Castelo had visions of something greater. His coupe had a set of red-face SSR MKIIRs, JDM headlights and an HKS exhaust. A car like this is a dime a dozen nowadays, but at the time, it was a sign of things to come.
After the coupe, Castelo moved onto a turbocharged DC2 Integra and eventually to a JDM'ed out '90 Civic four-door. All three projects were built to completion, but none could hold a candle to the EG hatch that would become his masterpiece. At the Nisei Showoff in 2003, the spotlight was on Castelo's beloved EF while his newly purchased EG hatch anticipated its succession. A year later, the hatch debuted at Nisei.
With the JDM trend in full effect, it was getting harder to build a car that stood out above the rest. Most people were under the impression that doing something unprecedented had become impossible. Turns out that they just weren't looking hard enough. Castelo found his groundbreaking inspiration from an unlikely source: the Volkswagen crowd.
The VW guys were using methods normally reserved for body work to clean up their engine bays. Chad took the idea much further and used it in conjunction with a wire tuck to achieve a bay without its inherent clutter that would showcase the engine itself, instead of just housing it.
For the wire tuck, there was no other choice but JDM_Jon Tanji to undertake the task. It was only fitting that the guy who pioneered the wire tuck worked his magic on the car that brought the shaved engine bay to the Honda scene. And though it was easy to pick JDM_Jon to do the wire tuck, it was exceptionally difficult to find someone to do the shaved bay. Chad found his break with Gabriel Roman from Custom Collision Autobody in La Habra, California. "We didn't know if it was going to work, but we just went for it," Castelo says.
An engine bay that extraordinary obviously necessitates an engine equally worth flaunting. A B18C from an Integra Type R seemed to fit the bill, as Castelo is one of those guys who sees a Honda motor for what it is. He understands that you don't have to reinvent the wheel when building one, and that a carefully chosen set of bolt-ons will awaken the beast boxed up at the factory.
Castelo: "These motors are good out of the box. You don't have to change them much to get what you want out of them."
Some of the parts that made the cut include Skunk2 camshafts, gears, and valvetrain, A'Sport individual throttle bodies, and a Mugen 4-1 header with a twin-loop exhaust. This combination nets 213 wheel hp and 156 lb-ft of torque.
Roman's work didn't end at the engine bay, however. He used the Civic to demonstrate his superb paint and bodywork skills. Much of the "Appearance & Cosmetics" crowd reveres this EG as having the hottest paint around. One would have to see it in person to really appreciate the dark blue finish on the car. The depth of the work makes it appear as if the paint hasn't dried yet.
Honda Tuning Magazine