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Eugene Roadster Show: Ken David’s 1997 Honda Civic may change a life or two

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Saturday marked the opening day of the Eugene Roadster Show. Held this year on the Lane County Fair Grounds, the annual event features custom cars, performance roadsters and a sprinkling of vintage and imported tin. Admission at the door is a reasonable $8 discounted to $7 with a presented Bi-Mart membership card or a canned food donation to " Food For Lane County." The show will run March 29-30.

While this year's show is notably smaller than in years past, there's no shortage of mind-blowing extreme custom car entrants with an exception or two.

Walking through the show I noted two Honda Civics. While metric tuners have entered the world of car shows, they tend to be rare in the Hot Rod world, although the Honda Civic is quickly being recognized as the affordable car of choice in entry level racing and street car modification.

I took a moment to interview Ken David of Vancouver Washington.

Ken David’s 1997 Civic EX demonstrates a thoughtful blend of daily driver meets metric tuner ‘hotrod’ show stopper. Interestingly enough it’s mostly stock under the hood. He’s built the car to inspire the at risk youth of Vancouver Washington.

Ken’s Story: Ken David came back from the dead with a mission to help troubled Vancouver Washington Kids. Growing up as a Hot Rod enthusiast, Ken has created an accessible, affordable project car that captures the teenage imagination. His passion is automotive, his mission, to offer mentoring to the at risk teens of his home town.

2011 was not a good year for Ken David. One holiday weekend,while quad riding out on the Oregon National Dunes, Ken was crushed by a flying 4 wheeler that landed on top of him and his rig. By all accounts he should have been killed. Ken doesn't remember the accident or much of the 6 months that followed it.

Ken’s neck was broken in three places, along with multiple bones and body parts. The doctors told him he probably wouldn't walk again or ride a quad or motorcycle, something he’d done for 30 + years.

In classic hotrodder fashion, Ken told the doctors to shove off, and does both today. Although admittedly “ a bit painful at times,” says Ken as we walked over to take a closer look at his mechanically stock 1997 Honda Civic EX.

Sitting on the edge of arguably the finest Dodge Magnum and gull-wing door Chevrolet Camaro we've yet to view at a custom car show, was Dave’s ground effects, custom painted EX. The little Honda looked right at home.

Interestingly enough, Ken was showing his EX with the Pharaohs Car Club of Eugene, Or.. The hardcore, old school motorheads including Dave chuckle a bit when they reflect on the attention that the Honda receives at club events. When we asked Dave about the EX’s running gear, he confided in us that it remains mostly stock. Ken’s owned the EX for 7 years, It’s his daily driver.

Although when we dug a bit deeper, we discovered that Ken had made a minor modification or two. As to mechanical modifications, Ken has opened up the air intake a bit by chucking the stock filter box and opting for a high volume filter system, header and an aftermarket free-flow exhaust system.

For suspension upgrades Ken has opted for new struts and adjustable Koni coil overs. David is working on an air ride suspension for the EX that will allow him to drop the car to the pavement when parked. Another cool thing that we noted were the over the top upgraded head, tail light and ground effects lighting. The cars 3 tone graphic paint scheme is over the top.

As to future engine modifications for the EX ? Ken David owns a vintage International Harvester Pickup Pro-Street, a 1972 Chevrolet Nova, and something parked in his shop sporting a 460 Big Block.

The Honda is his daily driver. Ken likes it just the way it is. He tells us that the Civic is fun to drive, economical and reliable. He built the car to demonstrate to his at risk teens that anyone with desire, a few dollars and some imagination can enter the world of custom car building and showing.

The way that Ken see’s it: If the mildly customized Honda Civic EX inspires one kid to get involved in car building while distracting that kid from trouble, the time and money spent on the project is well worth the effort.

* All or part of this article first appeared in Torquenews.com/Honda, Saturday 29, 2014. Parks McCants all rights reserved.

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