Build What Makes You Happy: Henry Vela’s 1997 Honda Civic

Photography by Dahkel Maddox


Growing up alongside his dad’s project cars in the garage, Henry Vela wasn’t as into the world of cars back then as he is now. After helping his dad for so long, basic processes like oil changes and brake services started to stick with him as he understood more.

05 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

Fortunate enough to be a part of a family which was heavily into modified cars, everything started coming together after he saw the first Fast and Furious movie. He started to develop a keen interest in cars, and once his brothers took him to local car meets where he was surrounded with car culture in the late nights, his fate was sealed.

10 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

As a full time college student, Vela had to be careful when diving into a modified car. He has to handle a balance of personal life, school life, and his family among the time dedicated to working on a car, so he went with a 1997 Honda Civic with the aim of keeping costs manageable. Of course, once you pass a certain point, there is no going back.

07 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

Vela went into his build with a vision in his head, saying he wouldn’t be swayed by the opinions of others while working away on his car. Since that day, the look of his car has been changing over time, and it stands out among any crowd. With a modified D-series Honda engine under the hood and plenty of mods both inside and out, this Civic was put together with love and appreciation.

12 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

Vela extends a heartfelt thank you to Teddy, Son, Jose Garcia, and everyone else who helped him out along the way. He closes with a plea to up and coming enthusiasts: “Never let negativity diverge you from your own vision,” he says. “Build what makes you happy.” That is a philosophy we can get behind.

01 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

Henry Vela's 1997 Honda Civic is featured in PASMAG #145. Click HERE to order.


ESSENTIALS

OWNER: Henry Vela
LOCATION: El Paso, TX
VEHICLE: 1997 Honda Civic
ENGINE: Honda D16Y7 1.6L I4

TUNER BATTLEGROUNDS #TBGLIVE EVENT
Low Class Militia logo 2a
Low Class Militia: Spring Fest - El Paso, TX

SOCIAL
Facebook: Henry Vela
Instagram: @the_grand_leveler

ENGINE

  • ARC (magic air filter, intake box)
  • Custom air intake
  • Skunk2 (64mm throttle body, 70mm intake manifold)
  • Gates Racing timing belt
  • Downstar hardware
  • Aftermarket headers
  • Spoon reservoir covers

EXHAUST

  • 3-inch straight pipe exhaust
  • GReddy DT exhaust tip

DRIVETRAIN

  • K Tuned B/D series shifter

WHEELS/TIRES/BRAKES

  • BBS RS wheels – 16x9.5 (f), 16x11 (r)
  • Yokohama front tires – 195/40/16
  • Federal rear tires – 215/40/16
  • BBS Bugatti caps

CHASSIS/SUSPENSION

  • Air Lift Performance V2 management and struts
  • Skunk2 (control arms, camber kit)
  • MPC drop forks

EXTERIOR

  • Charge Speed (front lip, side skirts)
  • Honda Access (bumper moldings, headlight washer nozzles)
  • Rear bumper valences
  • Euro Type R grille
  • Sonar clear tail lights
  • Custom duck bill spoiler
  • Custom flared rear arches
  • Valencia Orange paint
  • Yakima roof rack
  • ARC canards 
  • APR carbon fiber mirrors
  • XK Glow underglow
  • Carbon fiber license plate frame
  • Euro plate holder w/ custom Euro plate
  • JDM static strip
  • Clear side markers
  • Quik-Latch mini front bumper quick release
  • Sickspeed hella horns
  • Carbon fiber hood

INTERIOR

  • FG2 front and rear seats
  • Euro black panels
  • Suede dash
  • Custom upholstered door panels
  • K Tuned shifter w/ shift knob
  • Purple carpet
  • Cusco 6-point roll cage
  • Custom headliner
  • Wink mirror
  • NRG hub w/ quick-release
  • Momo Ferrari Gritti steering wheel
  • Mugen pedals
  • Carbon fiber dash tray
  • Cluster gauge pods
  • Takata harnesses
  • Custom trunk setup

AUDIO/MULTIMEDIA

  • Pioneer single-DIN head unit
  • Optima battery

SPONSORS

  • Buddy’s Body Shop, Broken Wrench Automotive, Sickspeed

13 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

11 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

16 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

02 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

08 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

04 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

03 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

09 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

06 Henry Vela 1997 Honda Civic TBGIVE PASMAG

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