This makeover that we decided to give Project Civic was long overdue and well deserved for a car that had been my old faithful for so many years. We decided to take our Civic to the Maaco Auto Body shop in Riverside, California to straighten out her lines and to give her a fresh paint job.
You're probably thinking “Maaco? Why Maaco?!” Although a national chain, the Maaco brand is a franchise with each location independently owned and operated. This particular Maaco had a reputation of doing good work for a reasonable price. Several of our friends had used this Maaco previously, and all of them were satisfied.
Keep in mind also that we understood the compromise in the end result of what we were looking for. This was never going to be a show car, and it was probably going to see more track days after this project was completed. We were looking for a place that could properly execute a respectable paint job, while still being cheap enough for us to not cry over it if we did something like oh say… fly off track at sunset at Buttonwillow. Not that I've ever done that or anything.
We weren't exactly looking for the polished show car finish paint job that you would expect to see at your local Hot Import Nights, just a presentable, track ready machine.
|Here was our attempt at imitating a Hot Import Nights show car. We had the “clouds”, the blacklight, and some shiny glittery stuff on the floor. The only thing missing was a half naked woman sprawled out in front of the car. The best we could come up with with was a half naked dog named Auto sprawled out next to the car. That was good enough for me.|
As I mentioned earlier, the trim was cracked and faded, so before we took the car in to paint, we decided to help with the preparations to ensure a cleaner finish. We figured, the more prep we took care of ourselves, the less they had to screw up on. After all, this was still a Maaco.
When we arrived at Maaco, the parking lot of the body shop had a couple of classic cars that looked like they had just been painted and were waiting for their owners to come pick them up. I saw this as a good sign. They looked pretty cherry which helped dispel some of my prejudices of Maaco's workmanship.
Walking into the main office, we perused the many thick books of color choices that our little civic could be. We had hundreds upon hundreds of colors to choose from. After about a minute and a half of deliberating, I chose: Cypress Green Pearl. Yup. The same color its always been. I figured it'd be less likely to scream “STEAL ME” and anyway, it was my favorite color.
While we were at it, we brought in my new Seibon carbon fiber hood to have them cleared/UV coated. Although Seibon's carbon products all come with an epoxy coating which is already pretty high quality to begin with, it didn't cost us that much more to throw it in with the pile of fenders and bumpers that we were getting painted at Maaco. An extra UV coating never hurts, especially if you don't have to go out of your way to get it done.
It only took Maaco one week to get the dings removed, and the car painted. We dropped it off Saturday morning, and picked it up the very next Saturday. The best part about it was that all the paint and body work cost us less than $2,000. Not a bad deal at all.
When we got the car back, we tried to put on the old side skirt and paneling only to realize how OLD they were when paired with a brand new paint job. This was not going to work. I immediately ordered new side skirts and front cowling, both which were plastic, and both which were now more of a grayish color than black.
| I was so excited when the Fedex guy dropped off my new side skirts that I ran out in my PJ's to install them. Yes, they're monkey jammies. Got a problem with that?|
|This may not seem like much, but for a 16 year old car that has been through hell, these finishing touches are what make me go “wow” when I see my Civic.|
|This molding on the door is not carbon fiber, but just high quality vinyl which was left over from Project 240SX Land Speed Racer's dash covering. Looks pretty real, doesnt it?|
With the exterior done and the engine build in its final stages of being completed,our next step is to take it out to Buttonwillow to see what she can do.
Stay tuned into Project Honda Civic EJ as Chuck Johnson finishes up the B18C1 build!
Read all about Project Civic Here!
ASR (A Spec Racing) Suspension Engineering