Honda-tech Classics: WhiteSlips 1992 Civic and a Forum Reminisce
Honda-tech OG sounds off on car trends, forum proliferation, clean builds, like WhiteSlips’ EG hatch, and what it all means to enthusiasts.
The debate between authentic and replica parts is an interesting one. Just like anything else in this world, quality versus quantity will forever separate the masses. Justification of either choice boils down into two things: patience and money. A couple of clicks through our Appearance and Cosmetic forums bring up thousands of builds to reference.
I am sure you have done the same thing – scrolled through to see what the big deal is with a “five-star rated” build thread and was somewhat disappointed. Even if the build had tons of money invested, sponsorships, and what seems to be an endless budget it’s missing something. But then you came across that one quiet build that stopped you in your tracks. You might have even read through it more than once.
Patience is required with this hobby. Followed by saving money, which takes a lot of time and self-control. Let’s be honest, building a Honda is not the most expensive thing in the world. Yes, it costs several thousands of dollars (yen, euro, whatever) to convert our economy cars into the fire-breathing masterpieces that could grace the front page of Honda-Tech.
But what separates the big dollar builds from garage-bred ones? Some may see simple builds as boring and slow moving, while others want big, flashy things done yesterday. There will always be people that click to the last page of the 500 page thread and then ask something that was described in post #69. But something about the slow, long term build has a certain feeling. It’s not about the amount of money spent, but rather the amount of time dedicated.
I witnessed the industry go through multiple phases such as the Fast and the Furious then JDM Everything and now finally the stance craze. Throughout these phases there was one commonality that all enthusiasts can agree upon, it’s not about real versus replica, but rather quality. The skill of creating a vehicle that follows the rules while being unique and well executed is rare. I want to bring forward a car that radiates the vibe of building patiently without sacrificing quality. I’m talking about Chris Sanford’s 1992 Honda Civic DX, a long-time forum contributor that is better known as WhiteSlips here on Honda-Tech.
What’s in a name?
Rota’s Slipstream wheel has become one of the most popular choices amongst Honda enthusiasts. It is an affordable cast aluminum wheel manufactured in the Philippines that replicates the iconic Regamaster EVO, or the more well-known Spoon SW388 wheels. The originals are a lightweight forged aluminum/magnesium wheel from Russia that when fitted onto any “Golden Era” Honda makes for a classic combination.
Rota has done such a great job replicating these wheels that people have even gone so far as to place “EVO” barrel, lip, and spoke stickers on them. There are even companies out there that do this with “EVO-like” stickers from the factory (replicating a replica, wherein double negatives do not cancel out in this case). The username WhiteSlips radiates the sarcasm that can only really be understood by those who have been around for some time – similar to the joke “real Rotas.”
Where does that clean EG hatch come into the story?
This car is special to me because it has withstood the test of time. So many new styles and trends have come and gone but Chris stood true to the original style of Honda tuning that seems to be overlooked. Just glancing at the car gives off a certain vibe. As if this car has a California license plate attached to it and its roots stem from somewhere in sunny San Diego, but that’s not the case. Chris is an Oklahoma resident (that frying pan-looking piece of land above Texas) and is influenced by the forums and a few local Honda enthusiasts. If I recall correctly, there aren’t many events out there and the warmer seasons are only a few months long. This combination creates a very thin network and makes building a car like this that much more difficult.
How it came about, the timeline, and where it was built is even more impressive. This car started its life off as a completely stock 1992 Honda Civic DX, owned by an older couple. It was their daily commuter that Chris had seen around the neighborhood and inquired about purchasing. Aside from buying it new yourself, there is no other starting platform that can be more ideal. The owners however were not interested in parting ways with it at that time.
As luck would have it, the car would eventually be put up for sale and Chris’ wife (then girlfriend) noticed it while they were out on a date. The owners were firm on the price of the car but eventually it was sold, albeit for a higher-than-usual market price; it was now his to make into the perfect Civic.
Chris wasn’t new to the 5th Gen EG chassis at this point, having previously owned a Phantom Grey Metallic one with a B16 swap. This red car served as a great way to build what the old one couldn’t be. The previous EG was actually a trade he received from his grandmother who lives in Michigan. Originally being from a state that experiences all four seasons meant that shell eventually was given up due to rust. This one however, would be treated to a complete rebuild that pushed boundaries Chris had yet to break through with the old one.
This car was built over the last decade and a half. Read that again. Our community rarely experiences this kind of dedication to one chassis. It’s all too often where a quick and easy build overnight is enough to fulfill someone’s short term goals. Chris has mot certainly purchased things more than once. We all have, but the point is that this car didn’t happen overnight. I even get distracted during my own build, hoping and wishing it will all be “done” if I threw more money at it. But, like anything else in life, great things come to those who are patient. For reference, the above photo was taken 11 (eleven!) years ago when the 16″slipstreams…I mean Regamasters were purchased from a close friend. Similar to the wheels, a lot of parts on this car were purchased or gifted from friends over the years.
So, how does the car sit today?
This car had just about everything massaged. It wasn’t about throwing money at it until it’s “done,” but rather bringing to life the vision created at the beginning of the build. A local mom and pop bodyshop resprayed it for a few hundred dollars. This rid the car of its Milano Pink tone, and additions like the carbon fiber hood, replica CF mirrors, ViS replica “Spoon” duckbill spoiler and JDM EG6 corner lenses rounded out the exterior. The suspension was treated to a slow, arduous, but complete disassembly for extensive refurbishing. Aftermarket pieces such as full one-piece Tanabe coilovers and original gold OmniPower LCAs (with the stars!) replaced old tired OEM components. Over the years these small incremental improvements created a great street cruiser styled Honda that will never get old. While this build does not feature a shopping list of high valued items, it makes up for it in sentimental value that could never be purchased.
More recently, A JDM Civic Type R B16B engine mated to a USDM B16A2 transmission was swapped in to replace the tired B18B Integra LS swap that originally was in there. The engine bay was repainted and a lot of items were replaced with brand new OEM parts or refurbished to like-new quality. I could gloss over this and make it sound like everything went perfectly but I can assure you that this was not all done without a struggle. The original tired D15 motor was swapped for the LS a few years back. This swap was acquired through a friend in exchange for mechanic work. Chris had tried his best to refurbish everything he could to make the swap work, but as fate would have it the LS would need a rebuild too. Lots of planning (see, excruciating patience and saving) went into place until finally a B16B, sourced from the legendary Honda Motors Online (HMO), was purchased. The story doesn’t end there; minor valve train and transmission issues exist and are still being ironed out.
The purpose of pointing all of this out is to remind the reader (thank you for making it this far) that a build will always need something. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that every build was executed perfectly on the first try or needs you to max out any credit cards. There were a lot of trials and tribulations in this project and everything was done in Chris’ home garage. This would normally be where the build thread turns into a part-out sale thread and a few years from now someone will post “so… where is this car now?” – But thankfully it isn’t. Chris has a couple more things on the list to cross off for his project and if history repeats itself, we should expect it to be well thought out and timeless.
Chris very kindly agreed to do a short Q&A session.
CS: My good friend growing up had a Harvard Blue 5th gen hatch that had intake, and exhaust, and was slow as all hell, but I thought it was so cool when I was 13 or 14. He sold that car to buy a 99 EBP SI that he put a Greddy turbo kit on right after buying the car. After seeing and riding in that car I was sold. I wanted a Honda so bad after that, I started collecting parts I knew would fit 92-95 Civics/Del Sols/Integras before I even had my permit, or a car to put them on.
I really haven’t had a project car other than this one. My last civic had a swap, and some wheels and suspension, but was more of a thrown together to go fast kind of thing when I was younger.
CS: In the beginning, I just wanted a nice, classic looking, reliable daily driver-type car and it slowly evolved into a complete restoration and rebuild of every component.
CS: When my wife found this car I knew if it didn’t get stolen (which it almost was one time), I would have it for a long time, but wasn’t sure about forever. The ultimate goal was to get an ITR someday, but this car is so special to me now I’ll keep it until I am unable to drive it. I don’t have kids which scares me for the future of the car, but hopefully someone from a younger generation comes along that I’ll trust to be it’s caretaker after I’m gone.
CS: I wanted to sell the car when I bought my first house about 8 years ago and money got tight. The only thing that kept me from selling the car is my wife knew I’d be upset and regret it. I brought it up to her one night and she wouldn’t even let the idea be up for discussion and I never thought about selling it again. A couple years later things turned around for us and the car got it’s first swap.
CS: Other than the wheels, the stories and feelings associated with it are probably my favorite part. I could go on for days about funny things that have happened with the car, and the struggles of keeping it safe from theft when I lived in an apartment. A lot of the parts have a story associated with them, and a friend associated with them, which is really cool to me too.
CS: Continue to restore things and slowly upgrade things. I want Hondata S300 first, Autopower roll bar (To lessen my chances of death in an accident), era-correct Recaros, complete repaint, new coil-overs, rear sway bar setup, and hopefully someday ITBs for epic intake noises and no other reason honestly.
CS: Be patient, don’t follow the latest trends, and build a car that makes you happy. Don’t let all the non-Honda enthusiasts bring you down and make you give up on the brand.
CS: Man this is the toughest one because there are so many people that have helped me along the way with this car and I hope I’m not leaving anyone out.
Chris’ Feature Video:
Be sure to visit Chris’ build thread here on Honda-Tech for more information and the latest updates.