Project EG-R: Commencing the Journey

Searching for my First Car

As most of you know, finding your first car is not as easy as you want it to be. There are lots of things to consider. Affordability is definitely one of them and that point isn’t limited to buying the car but also the cost of repairing it if and when things go wrong. Most of you who haven’t got a car yet won’t start up with a brand new car even though some will be lucky enough to afford it (or the parents will).

Honda Civic Type-R (EP 3)

Honda Civic Type-R (EP 3)

The search for my first car took quite literally years. I started looking when I went to university in England and considered buying a car there but decided against it since first, I was living on campus and more importantly, I would have to sell the car when I’d go back mainland europe.
I looked at many cars, greatly influenced by the series we all loved, Top Gear. Weirdly enough, most of the cars that I was looking at were Japanese. Maybe, I was sick at looking at just another Peugeot or VW. My first car crush was definitely the Honda Civic EP3 that the Top Gear Crew set as their early benchmark for fun Hot Hatchbacks.

Another one would be the RX-8 but it was quite new back then and still produced so getting a cheap one was out of the question.

Some years passed and I found myself continuing my studies in Germany. By then I had come across Initial D, Wangan Midnight and of course BMI Hot Version. As you might imagine, drifting had become a fascination and as most of you know, the Nissan Silvias had become famous for being easy to drift cars. That was my next search.

The Silvias, especially the S15 are good looking sport cars and in my opinion still one of the best designs we had in the 2000’s. That is for normal people who can’t afford supercars. Even though, still better looking than a Porsche or any Ferrari of that time.
I entertained myself for quite a long time thinking that I might be able to afford one.

Nissan Silvia (S15)

Nissan Silvia (S15)

Really thinking it through though, even though it is a great car, it has some drawbacks that couldn’t be ignored.

  • First, this car was never sold in Europe so there was doubts as to how much it would cost to service it.
  • Second, you have to actually import one from Japan for it to remain affordable and once it is here you have to spend quite a lot of money before it becomes legal for you to drive it on the road. Don’t get me started on having it registered. A bureaucratic nightmare as I experienced recently.
  • Third, it is Right Hand Drive and outside of England, it’s quite annoying. Overtaking becomes near impossible (not taking on the motorway here), going through tolls would entail getting out of the car to put the ticket in the machine. Same thing for underground parking.
    So basically a lot of annoying little things that I wouldn’t recommend to young drivers.

So we are approaching now the sixth year of searching… Yeah it’s quite a long time, probably way more than most of you took or will take. In that time, I fell in love with Tuning Companies like Mine’s, Spoon Sports and RE Amemiya just because they advertised tuning balance rather than just POWEEEER !
Knowing that an RX-8, an S2000 or a GT-R were really out of the question, I started looking for Civics.


How my First Car found me.

As all young people are, they search for the car with the best trim that is out there. Unfortunately for me, I chose the EG Civic which as you know is really popular out there. So the famous EG6 Hatchback was quite hard to find and when I found one, it was way over budget and most had had a “ricer” treatment done to them.

A few month later, I remembered that friends of the family had an EG Civic. Though I didn’t know the trim, I asked them what happened to the car. Fortunately they still had it as a daily driver in Stuttgart, Germany. Luck finally smiled on me.
They were willing to give me the car, yes give it to me, if I was willing to pay for the brakes overhaul which was needed after the last inspection.
Besides being long time friend of ours, the reason why they would not sell me the car was that the Civic just barely passed inspection. The inspector told them, “I’ll pass the car through inspection on the condition that you do not sell it”. That ended up to be the luckiest circumstances for me to get my first car. I just had to pay 300 € for the brakes.

 
 

How my Civic felt to drive

Most of you would expect me to have taken a Test Drive before closing the deal. This, I didn’t do out of respect for my friends and because to be honest, I was so happy to finally find my first car at so good a deal, that I didn’t care.
After picking up the car, I drove straight back home. It was a 300 km drive with a mix of Town and Motorway driving. This being in Germany, I could test out the max performance that the little 1.3 Civic still had to give.

But first, I was really surprised by the sporty feel of the 1995 Civic. I travel quite a lot, so I had my share of rentals to drive around, most of them little economy Hatchbacks similar to the Civic if only newer. None of them felt as sporty though. Not the Opel Corsa nor the VW Polo were close to it. Don’t get me started on the Chevrolet Aveo, definitely the worst car I have driven to date.

Even though my Civic was riding on aftermarket Koni suspension, there was very little roll. I had never driven a car that was that planted except when those same friends gave me a ride in their Lotus Esprit or their Porsche Carrera 4. The steering is really direct and gives great feedback, it felt more like a sports car than an economy city car. I loved that instantly.
The top speed though wasn’t really impressive but what do you expect from a car that has a 75 HP 1.3 and had 19 years of life already behind it. I still managed a respectable 180 km/h without pushing it too much (no redlining).

I highly recommend the Civic EG to novice drivers !


The First Problems

So as you’d expect of a 20 year old car, it’s the time when things tend to go wrong. At least for cars built in the 90’s. A few month after getting my car. The driveshaft was shot, the trailing arm bushings were not doing their job anymore but it was fortunate that these were the only things that went wrong and that there are a lot of parts available for the Civic EG.

The driveshafts were replaced for their Hasport D-series counterparts and the Trailing Arm Bushings were replaced with those from Blox Racing.

The improvement was instantly recognisable in the way the car responded and handled. Though installing the Blox Racing Bushings would later prove to be quite inconvenient.
These little repairs were the only things that needed to be done to my EG3 in its first year in my possession.

 

In the next post, I’ll write about the first mods I did to my Civic and a few great things that happened to it without my knowledge as well as a single bad occurrence (something that could happen to anyone).