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1998 Honda Civic Type R - Wonder Bread & Whiplash

Where lighthearted fun meets world-class execution

Micah Wright
Jan 24, 2018
Photographer: JC Pepino

Established in '82 in order to offer tuning for the extremely successful Honda City R (Japan-exclusive subcompact hatchback), M&M Honda began its life in Fukuoka with a simple plan and a booming economic backdrop. Even after the Japanese bubble burst and the nation was in financial free fall, interest in the tuning of ZC engines and aero kits helped keep the M&M brand afloat, and a new era of tuning was born.

  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R B16B Engine

By this point a metric mess of attention surrounding M&M's street tuning cred had landed it in a few magazines, and its clean approach to body kits had left the company with a sizable enthusiast following in the Honda community. The EF3 had just landed, and since all of its body, suspension, exhaust, internals, and accouterments were being made in-house to the strictest of standards, M&M Honda was once again at the forefront of the Civic hatch revolution.

The EF's unprecedented popularity had given the tuning shop both a chassis and the financial means from which it could enter the racing circuit on a far more competitive level. Starting in '89, M&M Honda began its legacy as a multi-class racing powerhouse, going on to add more race victories, records, and awards to its roster than we care to count.

  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R MOMO NSX R Steering Wheel

Almost two decades later and the widely respected wrecking ball from Fukuoka was about to embark on a widebody extravaganza like no other when a salesman by the name of Kazuyuki Hashinaga asked for some special treatment.

Hashinaga-san had just sourced an EK from a local used car shop in Oita and was having conflicting emotions over the chassis. Up until that point, he had never dared venture into Honda ownership, and the little hatchback he had just bought was sending him mixed signals. Lightly tuned with intake, exhaust, and suspension upgrades, the bubble-eyed hatchback was in stellar condition for being almost a decade old, but its lack of creature comforts and narrow stance were leaving him wanting.

  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R M And M Honda Hyper Side Skirts

Hashinaga-san wanted to make what he commonly refers to as "an almighty EK9." In a nutshell, he was looking to have a tightly wound take on VTEC ownership that could put driveability first and foremost, followed by on-track avarice the likes of which wins races and show trophies alike. Something that felt just as controllable on the street as it did on twisting mountain passes, while consistently providing reliable track day adventures and head turns at every stoplight.

As for how this particular Honda came to strike his fancy, Hashinaga-san admits that after careful consideration, he decided to voyage into owning an H-badge based purely on EK9 aesthetics and tuning potential. But it was not until the engine turned over for the first time that the Type R's new owner realized exactly how infatuated he truly was as an enthusiast.

  |   M And M Honda EK9 Hyper Wide Aero Kit

By '08, the M&M Honda boys had gotten ahold of the street-friendly machine and began dismantling the entire chassis in order to conduct a thorough ground-up build. This marked the first time in history that an EK9 would receive its Hyper Wide aero kit, followed shortly thereafter by the wildly popular yellow one we featured in early '17.

Although this build sits on the lighter side of the performance spectrum in the engine department, it more than makes up for things with its seam-welded chassis, widebody aero, and flat-bottom diffuser. The hardest part of this entire process, however, happened to be finding the ideal balance between comfortable daily driving duties and retaining swift times around the circuit. But equilibrium was eventually obtained, and after some trial runs and a little fine-tuning Hashinaga-san admitted that he finally had the ideal hatchback on his hands.

  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R Work Seeker GX Wheel

Now, damn near an entire decade later, the track demon still serves double duty as Hashinaga-san's daily driver, and still hits the local circuit when timing is right. Weekend forays into mist-encased mountains are only bested by track days and winner circles, and its owner confesses to us that there is still room for improvement.

Surprisingly, this machine has never been entered into an official automotive meet or trade show. But all that is set to change, as the vehicle reportedly is about to begin a new chapter as a rolling EK parts catalogue for M&M Honda. Local shows, followed by larger national events, are all on the agenda, and with Time Attack options on the table as well next season, you bet your ass that you'll be seeing a lot more of this car.

  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R M And M Honda Sticker

This also means a few modifications must be in order, and Hashinaga-san feels the proper approach will be a TODA Racing ITB setup, followed by all of the calibrations deemed necessary in order to tune said throttle bodies. So the build may not be over, but the results are already in, and damn it if we aren't impressed. Although this Civic's power department may appear lighthearted when placed alongside some of the beefier EK builds we've seen, you have to give credit to M&M Honda for building an extremely balanced hatch. Hell, isn't that what the car's owner asked for anyway?

  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R M And M Honda Hyper Front Bumper
  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R M And M Honda Hyper Wide Body Kit
  |   1998 Honda Civic Type R B16B Valve Cover
By Micah Wright
45 Articles
1998 Honda Civic Type R - Wonder Bread & Whiplash
Tuning Menu
Owner: Kazuyuki Hashinaga
Hometown: Fukuoka, Japan
Occupation: Salesman
Power: 230 ps
Engine: B16B with a 12.4:1 compression ratio; TODA Racing 0.6mm head gasket, camshafts, valvesprings, forged connecting rods, forged 81.5mm pistons, oil pump; M&M Honda cross mission, intake chamber, 50mm exhaust manifold, 60mm titanium exhaust; modified Koyorad aluminum radiator
Drivetrain: TODA Racing metal single clutch, flywheel; 4.7:1 final drive; ATS 1.5-way limited-slip differential
Engine Management: A'PEXi Power FC
Footwork & Chassis: M&M Honda-spec Ohlins coilovers with 20kg front, 16kg rear springs; M&M Honda strut bar, roll center adjuster, tie rods; spot-welded frame
Wheels & Tires: 16x8.5" -5 Work Seeker GX Candy Red wheels; 225/40R16 Yokohama Advan Neova tires
Exterior: M&M Honda Hyper Wide body kit (front bumper, side skirts, rear diffuser, hood), flat bottom diffuser
Interior: Bride seats; Takata harnesses; MOMO NSX-R steering wheel; Defi meters

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