When Kevin Iglesias of Port Chester, NY, was growing up, his father owned an automotive shop, and Kevin would go there after school to answer the phone calls. He was exposed to all kinds of cars from a very young age. “I fell in love with just being at the shop and took every opportunity that I had to be there. Dad would stay late to work on his cars, and I would just admire the transformation from stock to the end result. He is the main reason why I have a passion for cars.” With that upbringing, it really isn’t hard to understand why Kevin is now also a mechanic, owner of an automotive repair shop, and all-around car enthusiast. That enthusiasm led him to decide to put together a car of his own, and so the process began.
Kevin immediately started searching for a chassis to begin the project. Using the Internet to peruse various sites and forums, Kevin ended up on B20vtec.com, where he saw an ad for a ’96 hatchback shell. Many young people start off building a car that was handed down to them or given as a gift, or perhaps was purchased initially as a daily driver. In instances such as these, the stock motor ends up sitting off to the side of the garage when a swap is done, the perfectly good interior gets pulled out and collects dust or gets sold off, and surprisingly clean paint gets scuffed up and covered over with newer, fresher coats. But when the person decides from the very beginning that they are going to change out and/or modify many varying facets of the car, it can prove to be more logical relative to time and money to begin with a shell rather than a whole car. That is exactly what Kevin did, and when he saw the ad for a shell local to him that fit the description of what he had in mind, he immediately messaged the seller and made arrangements to head out the very next day to check out the car. It really isn’t an issue for those of us out here on the West Coast, but on the other side of the country the weather conditions make the existence of rust a common issue. Kevin immediately looked the car over for signs of rust and the damage it causes, but he was pleased to find none. Apparently the seller had purchased the car from a friend who bought it in California. Satisfied with what he saw, Kevin made the purchase.
I wanted to stand out and build something different than what I had seen at local meets.
Kevin came up with the look he wanted for his car after seeing what others in his area had done with their cars. “I wanted to stand out and build something different than what I had seen at local meets,” he says. The car clearly attracts attention with the bright two-tone paint scheme, a combination of a fully painted BMW Laguna Seca Blue chassis and Honda Taffeta White engine bay. Kevin continued the color scheme by taking a set of BBS RS wheels and having the faces and lips powdercoated in white to starkly contrast against the bright blue body and blue Status buckets in the interior, but tie in the engine bay and white Auto Power rollbar. He also had an AEBS intake manifold and Honda valve cover powdercoated white before bolting them to the B16 engine sitting in the bay. Kevin didn’t just utilize forums to find the car, but also to purchase many of the parts he used during its progression. Sites such as NWP4life.com proved helpful for used parts, and when new parts were needed Kevin contacted local VraceWorks. All of what you see before you took him less than five months, a fairly short period of time for a project such as this. Once again, Kevin can thank his dad for the positive influence. “If it wasn’t for him pushing me those late nights I don’t think the car would have gotten done in the time that it did,” he says. “He always said it’s better to do it all in one shot before you start having doubts or lose interest in it and leave it halfway done.” Additionally, his upbringing put him a position to learn how to work on cars at an early age, and he did all of the labor himself.
The build wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. One typical workday early morning, Kevin arrived at his shop and proceeded to get the day going. This started with him moving his hatch out of the way so that he could put customers’ cars in. So he got into his hatch, fired it up, and parked it by a USPS truck that just happened to be there. Sounds normal, but Kevin forgot just one small thing when he was getting out of the car . . . to turn the car off before he let off the clutch pedal! Yea, that’s right, the car lurched forward and hit the truck, damaging the hatch’s front. “I was in a coma for like 10 minutes wishing it was only a dream,” he says. You see, the car had just come out of the paint shop and the newly painted hood was damaged, not to mention that his SiR headlights were in pieces. That initial period of shock was about the only downtime that Kevin allowed for, as he immediately set out to correct his mistake. He quickly purchased a new hood, but the search for ’96-98 SiR headlights proved to be a little less easy. Eventually, he was able to find a clean set. “I had to pay a little extra for them just to have the guy hold them for me,” he says.
Each and every one of us has a source of inspiration for the things that we say and do in this world. Having a role model is very important and that person’s influence is a powerful one. Kevin was lucky because his role model and positive influence over the years has been his father, who worked on cars for a living and instilled in Kevin from a young age that determination and hard work are important. His father was a mechanic with a shop, and now so is Kevin. He truly is a chip off the old block.
Behind the Build
Port Chester, New York
Mechanic, owner of an automotive repair shop
Cars, racquetball, basketball
“To show I’m capable of doing what I set my mind to.”
1996 Honda Civic
Engine B16A; Hasport motor mounts; AEBS intake manifold; Password:JDM Power Chamber intake, radiator stays; Hytech header; Skunk2 Mega R exhaust; Samco radiator hoses; Blox radiator fan; Weapon-R coolant overflow tank; Benen fuel rail; CTR crank pulley; Odyssey battery; NGK spark plugs; Wireworx engine harness; Downstar spiked bolts; Bolt Boys V1 hardware
Drivetrain Competition Clutch Stage 2 clutch, 11lb flywheel
Suspension D2 Racing coilovers; Auto Power four-point rollbar; Rook M-Brace; Blackworks rear camber kit, rear control arms
Wheels/Tires BBS RS wheels powdercoated white faces and lips with polished bolts (16x7.5 +14mm front; 16x8.5 +14mm rear); 195/45-16 Sunny tires; Downstar spike valves
Brakes Custom brake lines
Exterior Laguna Seca Blue paint; Spoon front lip; Zeal rear wing; CTR rear diffuser, taillights; SiR front bumper, rear bumper, headlights; APR carbon side mirrors; antenna block-off plate
Interior Status front seats; Crow harnesses; Personal steering wheel; NRG short hub, Gen 2 quick release; CTR gauge cluster; radio block-off; custom-stitched pillars; panoramic rearview mirror; interior segments redone in suede; Pioneer DEH-3400UB head unit, front speakers
Gratitude “I would like to thank my dad who helped me throughout the whole build—he was with me those long nights at the shop—as well as my brother for putting up with me working on the car while we had customers’ cars that had to get done.”