Built for Flaco: Showstopping J-Swap with a Back Story
To the general public, the car is seen simply as a means of transportation whose sole purpose is to get you where you need to go. However, when does a car become more than just a car. Miguel’s show-stopping 1992 Honda Civic is much more than an average daily; it’s embellished with character and every part tells it’s own story.
Miguel, with the help of his brother, grew up with a love for the import tuning scene. The first car he bought was a ‘91 Civic hatchback, later followed by a ‘96 Civic coupe. This ‘92 hatch, however, wasn’t purchased like his previous vehicles—it was inherited. On March 14, 2007, Miguel’s best friend Valentin Otero (nicknamed Flaco), his younger brother Jesse, and Jesse’s best friend John Richardson passed away in a car accident. As a result, Valentin’s ‘92 hatch sat for more than a year in his parent’s backyard. Miguel, alongside Darkcity Racing, would stop by the backyard to clean, start up, and move the car to prevent the weather and rust from eating away at the new paint. Eventually, the Otero family handed Miguel the keys to Flaco’s Civic and invited him to create a car that Valentin, Jesse, and John would’ve been proud of.
The most considerable, and eye catching, change made to the car since then is the J32A V6 from a 2003 Acura TL Type-S, prominently bulging out of the hood—a look inspired by traditional hot rods and muscle cars. This particular J-series shows off hand-polished valve covers and intake manifolds, which goes beautifully with the shaved and tucked Corvette Devil Yellow engine bay. The brake lines have also been tucked, along with a brake booster and heater core delete.
Miguel wanted something just as striking as the engine for the exterior and chose another OEM General Motors color: Sunburnt Orange from the Hummer H2. Since wheels had to pop as much as the paint did, he settled on a set of staggered VIP Modular VXS210s.
Have you spotted the trend yet? This Civic was put together to break necks. Out on location, we didn’t just break some necks. Oh no, we broke them all—young, old, male, female, car enthusiast or not. We saw people pointing from the sidewalk, students running across the street to take pictures, we even had people stop in opposing traffic to make sense of what they were seeing.
This Civic not only garners undivided attention, but it also carries on the legacy of its former owner, Valentin Otero. Miguel’s long term goal is to update the car yearly to keep it competitive in the scene, starting with air ride and a roll cage. He includes special thanks for the build to the Otero and Richardson family, the DarkCity Racing crew for all the labor, dedication, and helpful hours at the shop, and his own family.
Miguel’s 1992 Civic DX
- J32A V6 (2003 Acura TL Type-S)
- 2003 Accord 6-speed Transmission
- Polished valve covers and intake manifold
- Stainless steel fuel lines
- Stainless steel headers
- Tsudo Muffler
- Hasport motor mounts
- Exedy stage 1 clutch
- Stainless steel clutch hose
- S2000 clutch master cylinder
- Checkered Sports adapter plate
- Tokico Illumina Coilovers
- RE Works upper strut bar
- Powder coated front lower control arms
- Darkstar subframe brace
- Beaks polished lower arm bar
Wheels / Tires
- VIP Modular VXS 210 Black Label (Front 16×8, +0 offset / Rear 16×9.5, +24 offset)
- Falken Ziex 512 (Front 195/40/16 – Rear 205/40/16)
- JDM headlamps with amber city lights
- SI tail lights
- Shaved bay with hidden radiator
- Mugen front lip with retrofitted LED running lights
- Spoon mirrors
- Spoon duckbill wing
- AC Auto rear diffuser
Editor: Johnny Buzoiu