It wasn't the virtually bottomless aftermarket parts bin that attracted him, nor was it the chassis propensity for accepting almost any Honda swap known to man, without much of a fuss. And it certainly wasn't the feverish level of popularity that the 5th gen Civic hatchback has reached, and maintained, for the better part of two decades. The truth is, Orange County, CA native, and Honda lifer, Jason Haradon, was simply looking for a distraction, and he found it with this '94 Si.
If his name isn't familiar, his immaculate white DA certainly is. As the original owner, Jason's spent the last 20 years tweaking and tuning his Integra in various ways as well as lending build advice, outlook and project assistance to countless friends near and far. It's a safe bet that if there's a high-level DA build in print, Jason's name is mentioned somewhere in the shout outs.
When he came across this EH3 during his search, it was the perfect build candidate. He states, "I purchased it as a complete rolling shell, previously owned by Sean Griffin of Griffinwurx, who had painted the car. It had nearly 300K miles and Sean's idea was to build a clean daily with an HF swap, Euro styling and creature comforts mostly preserved." Like any other builder, things happen, projects sometimes halt before they even begin, and are sometimes put up for sale. The difference here is that the Civic had already been properly sprayed by one of the best painters in SoCal and Sean spared no expense, opting for Glasurit Mineral Blue and the finish was pristine. Jason purchased the car with a very distinct plan in mind and once he had it home, he began a systematic diagnosing on what the car needed and, more importantly, made peace with the idea that he'd have to work backwards before he could move forward.
Car building is a funny thing in that what one person may feel is over the top and totally unnecessary, another person deems as absolute necessity. More often than not, Jason falls into that second category. "The car was completely stripped of underbody finishes and fresh 3M Asphalt-based coating was applied. Anything that hung or bolted to the uni-body was removed and powder coated to the exact texture that Honda painted these pieces in the 90s, or it was replaced. The coating was done by Americoat and they worked patiently until we got every control arm, sub-frame and bracket coated just right, without being too dull or glossy." If that seems like overkill and you're feeling a little light-headed thinking about the number of trips he made to and from the shop, on top of the hours involved to get it perfect, it doesn't stop there. "The suspension consists of the replacement of every nut and bolt that was original, including having all of the hardware on the car Zinc plated by Precision Plating in Anaheim CA. Under the dash and the under carriage all got the familiar gold, clear or black hue seen from that period. While the suspension was down, every arm had fresh bushings pressed in from either Hardrace or Mugen" Much of the suspension is as simple and purposeful as the rest of the build, though modernized. Tried and true Ground Control coilovers laced with custom rated Eibach springs are mated to Koni Yellow shocks, valved slightly more aggressively than off-the-shelf pieces. The rest of the suspension relies on ASR bracing, Hardrace adjustable arms and MFactory roll center-ball joints, all of which have been painstakingly dialed in properly by the handling gurus at West End Alignment.
Physics says that the car's 2,300lbs doesn't require massive amounts of power to put a smile on your face and in keeping true to the 90s feel, Jason combined a brand new OEM R-DOT ITR block with a CTR head, similar to the set up he uses in his legendary DA build. A brand new OEM Type R engine harness, with help from Rywire, was de-pinned in order to connect properly to a new factory cabin harness. The minor performance upgrades include Mugen valvesprings, RC injectors and a JDM 4-1 header that hides under a factory heat shield and won't set any dyno records, but that was never his intention. Instead, a proper balance comprised of respectable power, reliability and driveability complete what could arguably be described as the epitome of a 90s-era build.
You're used to seeing shaved and tucked bays with cleared firewalls in the name of aesthetics, as well as deleted creature comforts for the sake of weight savings, but here, Jason's gone to great lengths to retain much of what Honda intended. The ideas continued to pour in, allowing Jason to give his bay an OEM-Plus look, but beneath the surface, you'll find minute details that the average onlooker probably wouldn't take notice of. Things like the modified A/C system, for example. Fully functional, the hard lines have been painted black using a material that's matte in appearance, but allows the aluminum to still "sweat." Jason adds, "I found that the infamous JDM ITR lower front aluminum engine mount was actually cast with holes for a compressor, but tapped, so it could, in theory, be used as part of a lightweight AC system had Honda ever come up with a need for such a thing. It utilizes a smaller, Civic-sized compressor, though the part originated from the Integra."
What you don't see pictured is the complete Mugen kit, First Molding carbon fiber flugel plate, Spoon carbon wing, or any of the multiple sets of classic wheels that Jason has on hand to switch things up when he feels the need. What you do see are unique touches like ICB Motorsport Pursuit MK1 seats, an ultra-rare Mugen N1 steering wheel, Spoon gauge cluster (that came out of a Type ONE racecar) and mirrors, and one-of-a-kind, bare-forge treated MF10Ls.
A virtually bone-stock Civic EH rolling shell with picture perfect paint would have most Honda fiends foaming at the mouth, daydreaming about a built swap, massive turbo and stripped interior. In Jason's case, the 42-year-old husband and father had a much different vision when he originally took the keys to this 5th gen. "The solution for this project, and I hope many future vehicles from this period, was to attempt to restore and preserve while keeping the car comfortable enough for an adult, where it could fit into 'real life' without sacrificing too much or keeping the entire family from being able to enjoy it." Call it a restoration, restomod, OEM-Plus or all of the above, but in reference to Jason and his period-defining hatchback; they simply don't make 'em like they used to.