Making the local roadways your personal playground is risky business, but it’s all in a night’s work for these Kanjo-inspired Civics

It’s 2.01am: the motorway network has been reduced to nothing more than the last few stragglers heading homewards after a late shift. Visibility is a luxury permitted only by a few lumens projected mere metres from your front end and the dim fluorescent glow of street lights that do little more than add a semblance of ‘scenery’ against the night sky. The hum of an outdated radio radiates into the oblivion, and it’s so quiet that your mind has only the sound of the air rushing in past degraded door seals to focus on. For most, it’s a tiring place to travel through, one which should be a means to an end in order to reach your final destination.

However, for a select few who choose to live on the outskirts of the law, this is the destination. It forms the perfect playground for those who are game enough to use it — an untapped well of midnight mayhem waiting to be had.

The unmistakable metallic rasp of exhaust gases being forced through stainless-steel pipework erupts in the distance, and the distinct tone of DOHC VTEC crossover bounces off the concrete walls towards you. The night’s participants are here, looking to make that terra firma beneath your tyres their own personal circuit. 

Indicators and brake lights flicker from these moving blurs like emergency warnings to those around them, who have already been earmarked as nothing but moving chicanes in their pursuit of rebellion. They swerve across lanes, revving their small-capacity engines out to the limiter in an effort to announce their presence. And, most remarkably, not a single f**k is given about the threat of johnny law stumbling on such a scene unfolding, as what would result is the pinnacle of their game — evidenced by the slogans that adorn their vehicles.

This, my friends, is the mark of the Kanjozoku, an outlaw subculture born in Osaka, Japan over three decades ago that centres around racing stripped-out Honda Civics on the Kanjo Loop — so named for the near-perfect clockwise connecting loop that it forms — to bring respect and honour to their club name.

Both cars are slathered in carbon-fibre goodness in the name of saving weight

 

 

And, much like those back in Japan, this local pair of Kanjo Civics ain’t what your nana’s using to haul groceries, either. Clad in a No Good Racing!!–inspired livery, the Championship White ’98 Civic Type R (EK9) is owned by Matt Dallimore. His journey with the car started seven years ago, and he blames fellow Circle Jerk Crew (CJC) member Anthony Wong for kicking off his love affair with the H-badge: “Anthony [got me into Hondas] back when I worked at Top Town and he brought one of his Civics in for a new set of feet. Since then, I’ve always been a fan of them. A friend, Damian, was selling this, and I knew what had to be done.”

Being a Type R, it was already fitted with the top-tier heart that the EK had to offer — the ever-virile B16B — so Matt subscribed to the ethos of building on things with the power on offer, channelling his focus towards suspension, aero, and braking components to fine-tune the car’s handling.

To the Kanjo, it’s important to maintain manoeuvrability and nimbleness, which is why you won’t see many over-powered Civics running the loop, and, as Matt’s EK was always destined to see serious driving time, he’s made sure to do things properly. This meant utilizing a set of custom KYB coilovers that use 14kg springs up front and 10kg examples down back. The chassis itself features more bracing than a prepubescent suburban white girl, fitted with an MPC Motorsports front strut brace, EM Bars rear tri-brace, and Wong Engineering underbody braces. The Buddy Club and Blox back catalogues have been raided for an array of arms, paired with Hardrace bushes throughout, and topped off with a Cusco seven-point bolt-in roll cage inside.

It’s a simple package that produces an extremely stiff chassis, something that is showcased when it’s jacked up to switch out the Rays Engineering TE37 street wheels for the 15x7-inch (+35) 5zigen Pro N1 track examples wrapped in 205/50 Nitto NT01s. And you already know that it means business with that ride height; this ain’t no ‘stanced out’ Civic built to go slow — it’s built to destroy through the corners.

John Christall’s ‘Red Bull Racing’ EG follows the same train of thought, although it came into his ownership as an unfinished H22A-conversion project. “It was meant to be a quick get-it-ready-for-certification-and-back-on-the-road type [of] deal. But, after getting the car home and having a closer look, I wasn’t too happy with how a bunch of stuff had been done so decided to strip it down and start again,” he says.

John’s EG is so unforgiving in the suspension department that even the slightest bump in the road can cause the front lip to scrape along the asphalt

 

 

Underneath, the car benefitted from this strip down by way of custom Bilstein coilovers with back-breaking valving and a 16kg/14kg spring combo for ultimate stiffness. And John must have been raiding the same neighbourhood Matt did when it came to braces, as the EG features Ultra Racing Room Bars and three-point fender braces, with an EM Racing Z-bar, Password:JDM strut brace, and Win Sports six-point bolt-in cage. Hardrace spherical bushes have been used throughout, and the factory arms have been binned in favour of Function7 and Buddy Club units.

And that’s not all the pair have in common; dive inside either car and you’ll find the markings of a Kanjo. Stripped of their interior luxuries, the cabins are all business. Jungle gyms, harnesses, and bucket seats are the recipe — not just to reduce weight, but for safety, too. While the Kanjo may seem like reckless outlaws to most, they do follow a specific code of ethics — namely, ensuring that care is taken to build the cars properly to avoid causing accidents or hurting those that are not involved. Half-arsing won’t fly, as, after all, the team name is on the line.

Both Matt and John fly under the CJC (Jerk) flag, which can be seen throughout each car. However, much like the Japanese examples, the liveries are inspired by the old-school one-make Honda racers of years gone by. It’s very rare for cars from the same club to look alike, and the Kanjo will often alter the appearance to confuse local law enforcement.

The EK pays homage to one of the longest running Kanjo clubs, No Good Racing!!, which naturally draws a lot of heat, thanks to the club’s “Bye Bye Police” slogan, and wears a gaggle of carbon-fibre panels, including Icon Racing front lip, Speed Factory bonnet and hatch, Tracklife fender cut-outs, and Spoon mirrors. In contrast, the EG calls on a loud Red Bull livery to draw attention to the factory blue paintwork. Sitting over a set of reverse-staggered Buddy Club Gen1 P1s in stark white, it’s a colourway that has a hard time escaping the eye and does well to pull in all the extra carbon-fibre panelling fitted to save weight.

However, even with all that weight saved, neither car is powered by its factory motor. Matt tells us that he eventually discovered the limits of the 1600cc and made the call to rip it out in favour of its big brother, the B18CR, from an Integra DC2 Type R. He opted to leave the internals untouched, fitting only a select few intake and exhaust bolt-ons to liven things up.
John, on the other hand, saw the H22 conversion through but likewise left it unopened, instead looking to a port-matched Euro-R intake with S90 70mm throttle body, PLM stainless drag headers, a Skunk2 three-inch stainless exhaust, and Denso 550cc fuel injectors to draw more power out of the 2.2-litre. Matt’s spins the dyno up at 128kW, while John has 167kW on tap to play with.

All this law-dodging means that the Kanjozoku are forced to disguise their identities, which is where the iconic facemasks and window nets come into play, creating that shroud of mystery

Though, how that power is put to the ground is what makes these Civics serious threats through the windies. Playing with ratios, there’s a Euro-R five-speed with Torneo fifth gear mated to the rear of John’s H22, paired with a K-Tuned billet shifter and Competition Clutch six-puck clutch. Although the real fun comes by way of the 1.5-way plate limited-slip differential (LSD) and Gear-X 5.1-final-drive kit that shortens the gears to get into the power band quick.

Matt makes use of the same principle, enlisting an MFactory 4.9-final-drive kit inside the EK9’s factory S4C five-speed, along with a Cusco plate LSD.

For street use, Matt runs 16x7-inch (+42) TE37s with Zestino rubber, and switches them out for 15x7-inch (+35) 5Zigen Pro N1s shod in Nitto NT01s come track time, Whereas John runs classic Buddy Club Gen1 P1s and changes to a set of 16x8-inch (+35) Desmond Regamasters with Toyo R888 rubber

 

 

Nowadays, most of the famous Kanjo crews have moved away from the street antics and taken their driving to the circuits, as stricter laws were implemented to crack down on the highly illegal activity. Those left, as it has always been, are devoid of any licence plates or VIN numbers that can be traced back to the owners. And while both Matt’s and John’s cars draw heavily on the style itself, each is street legal with valid plates and their high-speed antics are relegated solely to the local circuits.

So, if you do happen to find yourself traversing the motorway network through the black of night and hear those unmistakable sounds of the Kanjo approaching, know that you’re under no threat, as it’s likely to be Matt and John clocking up a couple of kilometres to keep the Kanjo culture alive.

Red Bull Racing

John Christall
AGE: 39
LOCATION: Auckland
OCCUPATION: Designer
BUILD TIME: Ongoing
LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: Six years
 
THANKS: Rocky Ali, Shane ‘Gypsy’ Cooper, Andrew Short, Rob Turney, Daniel Smith, David Miller (MMS), Adam at Speed Science, Bevan Wong, Nigel James, and the whole CJC family

No Good Racing!!

Matt Dallimore
AGE: 30
LOCATION: Hamilton
OCCUPATION: House painter
BUILD TIME: Seven years
LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: Seven years
 
THANKS: My wife, Jen; my parents, Pete and Shirley; Damian, for selling me the car; Tony Hennessy; Paul Sanson; Rob Turney; Bryce and Tony from CCR; Cody Robertson; Tank; Anthony Wong; Sam White; Adam at Speed Science; Jason Gibbs at Zoom; Shannon from RS Works; Blane and Brendan from Platinum Refinishing; all the team in CJC — it’s such a huge list — just thank you to anyone who has helped over the years

1992 Honda Civic (EG) 

Heart
ENGINE: Honda H22a, 2157cc, four-cylinder
BLOCK: Factory
HEAD: Factory
INTAKE: Prelude Euro-R port-matched intake manifold, S90 70mm throttle body, K&N pod filter
EXHAUST: Skunk2 three-inch stainless, PLM stainless drag headers
FUEL: Denso 550cc fuel injectors, Tomei fuel-pressure regulator, Bosch fuel pump, Prelude Euro-R fuel rail
IGNITION: Factory
ECU: Hondata
COOLING: Half-size alloy radiator
EXTRA: Cusco brake master-cylinder brace, catch-can, Hasport billet mounts, Innovate alternator-relocation bracket, Unorthodox Racing under-driven pulleys

Driveline
GEARBOX: T2W4 five-speed (Euro-R) with Torneo fifth gear, K-Tuned billet shifter and race-spec cables
CLUTCH: Competition Clutch Stage 4 pressure plate and six-puck ceramic centre
FLYWHEEL: Lightened
DIFF: Gear-X 5.1 final drive, 1.5-way plate limited-slip
EXTRA: Insane Shafts axles

Support
STRUTS: Custom Bilstein coilovers, SGR valving, 16kg front and 14kg rear springs
BRAKES: Prelude single-pot calipers, Brembo 282mm rotors, Hawk HP+ pads
EXTRA: ’96-spec Type R hubs, Type R subframe, Spoon rigid collars, Type R front sway bar, Full-Race traction bar, ASR rear subframe brace, ASR 24mm rear sway bar, Ultra Racing Room Bar, Ultra Racing three-point fender braces, EM Racing Z-bar, Password:JDM strut brace, Win Sports six-point bolt-in cage, Hardrace spherical bushes, PCI spherical rear trailing arm bushes, Function7 rear lower-control arms, Buddy Club front camber arms, Hardrace rear camber and toe arms

Shoes
WHEELS: (Street) 16x8.5-inch (+37) and 16x7.5-inch (+32) Buddy Club Gen1 P1, (track) 16x8-inch (+35) Desmond Regamaster
TYRES: (Street) 205/50R16 Yokohama Advan AD08R, (track) 215/50R16 and 205/50R16 Toyo R888

Exterior
PAINT: Factory blue, Red Bull livery applied by Hunter Signs
ENHANCEMENTS: Backyard Special carbon-fibre wing, carbon-fibre bonnet, carbon-fibre boot, custom front lip, fibreglass side skirts, Type R style rear lip

Interior
SEATS: Racetech, Recaro SR3
STEERING WHEEL: Personal
INSTRUMENTATION: Omori gauges
EXTRA: EJ1 black interior, DSD alloy foot plates

 Performance
POWER: 167kW
FUEL TYPE: 98 octane
TUNER: Andrew Short

 
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1998 Honda Civic Type R (EK9)

Heart
ENGINE: Honda B18CR, 1797cc, four-cylinder
BLOCK: Factory
HEAD: Factory
INTAKE: Blox Racing intake manifold, port-matched throttle body, 2.5-inch intake pipe, Blox velocity stack filter
EXHAUST: Blox Racing headers, Stx Fabrication 2.5-inch stainless-steel system, Adrenalin R stainless resonator
FUEL: Factory
IGNITION: Factory
ECU: O
BD1 Harness conversion, Neptune tune
COOLING: Custom alloy radiator, seven-row Mishimoto oil-cooler
EXTRA: Wong Engineering oil catch-can, Innovative engine mounts, RS Works spark-plug cover, Vibrant fittings and hoses

Driveline
GEARBOX: Honda S4C five-speed (EK9), MFactory 4.9-final-drive kit, Fastline shifter, BWR billet shifter bushes
CLUTCH: Exedy Organic Race, heavy-duty pressure plate
FLYWHEEL: Toda lightened
DIFF: Cusco plate limited-slip

Support
STRUTS: Custom KYB coilovers, 14kg front and 10kg rear springs
BRAKES: (F) Spoon four-pot calipers, Hawk slotted rotors, Ferodo DS3000 pads, Goodridge braided lines; (R) factory
EXTRA: Buddy Club camber arms front and rear, Blox toe arms, Buddy Club front roll-centre adjusters, MPC Motorsports front strut brace, EM Bars tri-brace rear, extended top hats, Wong Engineering underbody braces, Cusco 24mm adjustable rear sway bar, Blox rear lower-control arms, Hardrace bushes 

Shoes
WHEELS: (Street) 16x7-inch (+42) Rays Engineering TE37, (track) 15x7-inch (+35) 5zigen Pro N1
TYRES: (Street) 205/45R16 Zestino, (track) 205/50R15 Nitto NT01

Exterior
PAINT: Resprayed in Championship White by Platinum Refinishing, No Good Racing!! livery
ENHANCEMENTS: Icon Racing carbon-fibre front lip, Speed Factory carbon-fibre bonnet, Speed Factory carbon-fibre boot, Spoon carbon-fibre mirrors, Tracklife carbon-fibre fender cut-outs, Seeker V2 spoiler, LED headlights, 35-per-cent tints

Interior
SEATS: Recaro SPG
STEERING WHEEL: Nardi
INSTRUMENTATION: Cusco seven-point bolt-in roll cage, Takata five-point harnesses

Performance
POWER: 128kW
FUEL TYPE: Gull 98
TUNER: Sam White

 

Jaden Martin

Growing up inhaling paint fumes and bog dust at his old man's panel shop, Jaden is a qualified word bender that has obtained a 'brofessional' diploma in car building from years of trial and error. He's currently trying to finish his creation of Australian-based debauchery crammed with Japanese- and Euro-inspired goodness. You'll find him writing for NZ Performance Car and producing content online.

Instagram — @jaden_nzpcmagazine

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