We made it! The completion of the Civic was a milestone for us, it was an emotional day when we finished it but it was a day much needed. We (and by we, I mean me) had decided that when the time came to put the wrap on the main body of the car and fit up the front end of the car with the facelift, the car was to be taken off the road and not go back out until finished. I was trying to avoid having a half completed car driving around, turning heads for the wrong reasons.
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This meant that for a few weeks our business was operating with one less vehicle which did have an affect on the business. The direct response to this was to put in the extra hours to make sure we got it finished to a standard we were happy with, but to do this in as short a time frame as possible.
The Story so far: A quick recap for those who may not be up to speed with the build and why it happened. This project build was undertaken after the previous owner of the car passed away. At 28 the late Tim Nicholas was a car enthusiast and had a soft spot for his EK4 Civic. One of the many duties his family had to carry out after the passing of young Tim was to sell the car, however the Civic had blown a head gasket. Our team purchased the car off Tim’s father and decided to build it as a tribute to the young man. There are previous blog posts that cover the various steps of the build, if you want an in-depth catch up, please do take a look at the other posts which document stages of the build.
Every night for a fortnight and two weekends we slogged it out, our team basically worked nineteen days straight back to back to see this car finished. Two weekends saw us working Saturday and Sunday to complete it and the nights were allocated to eating pizza and finishing the car.
It was in this final home stretch the personal satisfaction that comes from building cars really hits home for me. There is something amazing about seeing a customised vehicle take shape and start to come together. To stand back and look at the car as it starts to take on the stance, shape, demeanour and personality we had planned almost a year ago brings on a rush for me. Taking something from the imagination and write the ideas down on paper is one thing but to then follow through to the point of completion is something really cool.
The body work on the car was extensive; a few months earlier the civic copped a kick in the rear from a Jeep, the smash damage in the rear end was the first thing to get attention. The rear bar, tail lights and boot lid were removed, with the back end of the car apart the damage was now able to be accessible. The back was pushed in a fair distance but was not actually as bad as we initially had perceived, some welding and metal work was the first order and a full weekend was spent on pulling and straightening the back end to get the replacement parts to fit and line up although we have to admit we’re not panel beaters and not every thing lined up perfectly, but it was close.
While repairing the back end of the car, the boot, rear bar and tip lights were trial fitted and removed many times as the work went on. During trial fitting the rear bar it was discovered the exhaust needed to be modified to allow the lip on the bar to fit. Our apprentice insisted on the dopey idea of running an engine pipe as the exhaust tip. There was much heated debate but in the end he got his way and to be honest it kinda looks cool.
From here the tailgate was left off for the work on the roof to commence. The roof rack mounts were the first thing to go and paint work needed to be cleaned up and a little bit of body filler used to make sure it was smooth, after that the vinyl went down on the roof.
Many days of body and paint repair came as we straightened the dings and bumps on the car then laid down the vinyl on the quarter panels. The doors were stripped down and the door handles and mirrors removed and the doors got wrapped and had new satin black handles and mirrors fitted.
The series two facelift was all done with Taiwanese panels so the expectation was most of the front end would not line up and would need much encouragement to get it all to line up, but the opposite was the case almost all of the front end lined up.
Before fitting up the front bar, the headlights and spot lights were sorted, another late night with peri-peri pizza and a case of Pure Blonde was had while we got stuck into the wiring work required to get the fog lights operating and while we were there, we wired in the HID headlight bulb kits. The front end went on for the last time and the last few beers were drunk while looking at the almost complete car with a real sense of satisfaction coming over us.
The final weekend was spent on the finer details of the car. The shifter was fabricated and the steering wheel changed over, the door mouldings and side skirts were painted and fitted and wipers were removed and given a quick clean up and paint while the stereo upgrades were carried out along with the interior trims which were all put back together. The finishing touches were the stickers that we added to the car and the number plates came a few days later.
Then final afternoon when the car left our shop for the last time, it was a very cool moment. There is a feeling that you get that can’t be discribed when you look at your art and you’re proud of it.
The completion of this build has meant a lot to us for various reasons; The emotional side surrounding the Nicolas family and the situation with Tim and his passing is obviously a driving force behind the build, however the bond created by the team at GDL and those who are closely affiliated with us has been tightened while participating in the project. We are also very much aware that this really has been the first fully built car that we have built for one of our own team. Large scale builds previously have been for other people to enjoy once the job was completed this one is now for our own enjoyment with a uniquely customised EK Civic and we have Tim to thank for that – “Thanks mate”.
The Project B16 leaving our shop for the last time: