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So I've had the all clear from Total Honda magazine that im allowed to post this now! so I hope if you didnt catch it in the magazine you enjoy it now! I took the trip to northampton at Tegboy's request for Total Honda magazine, It was a great day, I have also attached a video of him giving it a thrashing around a track day!
When I hear the expression "Honda Enthusiast" there are a few people in this country that I personally have been lucky enough to meet that spring to mind. James Hatfield is one of them. I was lucky enough to cross path's with James initially about 3 year's ago just after I had just stepped foot into the Honda scene. If you are on the forum's you will recognise him under his online alias of "Tegboy". This was not an irrational choice of some young hotshot trying to impress with a snazzy name on the forums. James did initially start out his Type R ownership with the Honda Integra DC2 Type R, but previously owning Honda's since he was old enough to drive, the DC2 is almost one of the more sort after models for aspiring Honda enthusiasts to own.
James cherished his DC2, then one unfortunate evening at the start of 2007, "Enthusiastic" driving, crossed with very muddy & slippery back lanes, his DC2 met its match whist heading backwards into a ditch, A-pilar damage brought James to the reality that the DC2 may not see the light of day again, at least not in the shell of an Integra.
Making a big choice not to claim on the accident, James being an avid Honda enthusiast & having driven an EK9 at a previous track day, he knew it had to be one of those next. Still with the remains of the previously wrecked Integra still in his possession and all the skill's of the trade (BMW Mechanic by profession, so he is used to having to actually having to work during the day) James knew he could build something not just show stopping, but functional to match.
Knowing what he wanted he set out to find it, Jap Performance Parts in West Sussex had a Rolling shell of an Ek9 with full import documents meaning registering the car in the future would be no hassle, a measly £2500 was exchanged for the rust free shell, made it's way back with James, all be it missing a front bumper, grill, engine, gearbox & interior loom and the real hard work had to start.
This is where James & I Initially met. I saw the shell at this stage. James had taken the shell back to basic's, completely stripped it down to the bare bones. He knew the exact future of this car when it was in this stage, just a matter of time, patience, sourcing the parts and a lot of elbow grease.
For those that are not as up to date with the older import model Honda's. The Ek9 initially came with a B16B, which shares the same block as the B18C which is found in the Integra Type R's. The B16B was never an option for James, especially with plans in his head & a wrecked DC2 sat waiting to have all the healthy re-usable ready to be stripped down, he set to work. at Unit 9 which where the build was taking place, back then James and a few local mates from car club Street-Legal all shared the rent & work space.
Once the shell was bare, all parts being stored safe and sound in a garage which i can only imagine to be what Honda Heaven must look like, James set out installing the multi-point FIA-Roll Cage from Custom Cages all welded in by James himself, giving ultimate stiffness & safety in the Ek9 shell, you know just incase he ever does have another incident whilst driving enthusiastically, on a Track.
James is an avid follower of the American Honda scene also, at this time the smoothed bay's were going exploding over with our American cousins and taking some inspiration from the oversea honda family he set on welding up many of the hole's he no longer needed in the engine bay and smoothing it all down whilst tucking the wires. The car was sent over to Chris Morris at Intense Paint and Design, to give the EK9 some championship flair once again. Fully resprayed inside & out in Honda's famous Championship white (NH-O P/C) finished off with another OEM Honda Colour Nighthawk Black on the Roof (B92-P P/C -Nighthawk black is a Metallica Black colour with a slight blue pearl in it, really exaggerated when the sun hits it). Whilst it was in the body shop, the guys also smoothed off the badges. Cleaning up that back and front end.
The more eagle eye readers will have noticed the glass is no longer rocking the tint's due to the windows that came on the shell.
Whilst the shell of the car was being given the revamp it was long overdue for, James set his skills to the B18C6 out of his previous DC2. Choosing to change the Pistons from the original engine to the higher compression B16B Pistons and ACL Bearings and spending hours working on the head of the engine to remove some of the original VTEC abuse and bring it back to the showroom freshness this engine had. James also opted to use the S80 ITR LSD Gearbox, after a few small modifications to get it to fit flush in the EK9, he also has put his trust into Exedy for a Stage 1 Clutch.
When it came down to suspension, James opted for the D2 RS coilovers, he said "the race versions are just to unbearable for everyday driving", remember, this car is no trailer queen, it drives to every track that it goes around and back. The D2's give him the adjustability and damping settings he want's whilst allowing the car to sit pretty enough to keep even the most avid "Stanced" focus modifier happy. This of course is not James goal, a car like this is built from the heart and normally when something is done on pure passion, others will appreciate it naturally wether it is built to their taste or not.
This being a mainly track focused build he removed the power steering & A/C from the Ek9, saving some weight & making sure all the power that the B18 is producing is focused on running the car, not the comfortable extra's that some of us "normal" (and I use the word normal very loosely) people have grown to take for granted.
I was there for when he fired up the engine after having rebuilt it and dropped it into the shell, James showing his passion and not being able to stop himself he fired it up, no manifold present. The sound was un-real, as I try to explain a sound in writing, the only way I can say this is close your eyes and imagine a Lion awakening to a rival Lion trying to get his lady. That noise. It stays with me to this day, almost 2 years on and it is still as fresh in my ears as that day back then, still giving me the same tingle down my spine when I remember it.
James had a set of 16inch Enkei RPF-01's on the car once it was finally ready for the road. Which he has now sold on & the Ek9 sit's proudly on the 15 X 6.5j Ray's Volk TE37's wrapped in the Toyo R888 (205/50/15) attached to the car by the Ultralite alloy wheel nuts, giving James the grip he is after & the handling capabilities which has even seen him go past Lotus elise's and BMW M3's at a recent track day event.
Keeping the original vin plate by his side in the car makes him fully aware of the previous incidents that he has had in and out of VTEC. Making sure he keep's the vast majority of his enthusiastic driving on the track's where this car truly belongs. Keeping that Vin plate company when James isn't present is his Sparco steering wheel with the snap off boss, which I know he keeps locked away safe and sound at night, along with the bright red Bride fixed bucket seat & the ever prominent Green 4 point Takata Harness.
James is an example of a pure honda enthusiast. Taking every moment he can to see what parts were available on every website you can think of (Which is car related!) finding as many genuine items as possible at affordable prices ( Yes! This does happen! you just have to keep your eye's open and be willing to say yes to them straight away). This car has been built out of pure passion for a brand, a brand for the most part, has kept him safe since he passed his test, this brand does grab people, if people manage to escape its grasp's, they're never gone for good. James wasn't one that escaped it, he was one that grabbed it by the horns and rode it into the sun set, which now leave's him with the stunning championship white track ready B18'd EK9 sat in his drive way, which he get's to take out and drive like a hooligan around race tracks scaring the daylights out of whoever dares go out with him in the passenger seat.
James has just put a deposit down on a house, So this EK9 is going to be tucked away for up to 2 years, so this feature could almost be seen as a "See you soon" to an old friend, a friend I've been lucky enough to almost grow up around watching it get built, creating a great bond with the owner along the way. It's never a goodbye to a Honda in the right owners hands. He inform's me that the Ek9 will be coming out to play once again, once all the aero work is complete. It will defiantly be putting the fear of god into whichever car it comes up behind on the track once it is completed. I say that with confidence too, it will be completed. Just in the time it takes to get it perfect. nothing more, nothing less.
CAR SPEC LIST
Re-built B18c6 from UK spec itr, ACL bearings, b16b pistons, skunk2 pro series cam pulleys, Honda N1 bottom pulley, BMC style air intake with cold air feed, BBK 70mm throttle body, mani bored to 70mm, Custom breather system with oil catch can, AEM fuel rail and regulator, fuel pressure gage, Nology ignition leads, DC sports 4-1 mani + heat wrap, decat, dc2 shortened centre section, spoon n1 backbox, avid engine mounts, front mounted mocal oil cooler, s80 itr LSD gearbox, Exedy stage 1 clutch and 9.5lb flywheel, wire tucked bay. pas removed, shaved and crinkle black rocker cover, alloy radiator with manual operated fan, relocated battery in custom tray. Wire tucked bay.
15x6.5 +42 volk racing TE37 with 205/50/15 toyo R888 tyres,5mm front wheel spacers, ultralite alloy wheel nuts, D2 rs coilovers, skunk2 rear lower control arms, sustec rear lower brace, cusco rear upper brace, password front upper 3 point brace, Hawk HP+ front pads, EBC red stuff rear pads, Goodridge braided brake lines AP racing 5.1 fluid. Spoon reserviour covers.
repainted championship white with black roof, de-badged, de-tinted glass, TRS front tow strap. Lockable bonnet pins. Bonnet strut.
hollowed dash with carbon blanking plates, custom cages FIA weld in roll cage, sparco swade wheel, quick release boss, eg civic non AC heater box, ITR dials, DC2 shifter with spoon titanium knob, bride zeta bucket seat, takata harnesses, vti passenger seat.
The end! hope you enjoyed it!