The Golden Samurai


I wanted to add a feature section onto my website that accompanies technical content and product development. We will highlight builds that hold a strong bookmark in history. Light will be shed on it's owner, purpose, timelines, challenges, and any great pieces of information that can motivate others to also build awesome cars. These individuals and their cars likely have influenced me at some point and it is an honor to give them the credit they deserve. 

In the past, I wrote for another website and featured cars in a similar manner. It was exciting digging into history and seeing how far back I can reach to uncover the information I found so interesting. Half the battle was finding the owners and contacting them. Understandably, a lot of this stuff was done almost 20 years ago now and people aren't usually super interested in talking about their pasts but I've gotten lucky so far. 

The other half of the battle is getting pictures. We're talking photos usually from the early 2000's which are potato quality at best. So, my apologies ahead of time for why these photos look so bad on your 4K monitors... there is a trend of people using film cameras again for grainy and aggressive flashed photos, so I could end up with content that looks edgy and artistic. 


There was a time where we couldn't Google everything because it just wasn't available like that. It took a long time for content to become readily accessible and organized. The internet was just coming together and in the process of organizing, people started using websites with forums to share information. Places like Honda-Tech and NWP4Life are the more commonly known ones, but there were others that came before them such as Import Culture, oVerboost, and Urbanracer. 

Thanks to the awesome website "Waybackmachine", I can share with you guys what these homepages used to look like:

These places would house threads that had titles like "what color is this EK" and you'd click on the title and there would usually be a body of text like "y0 i'M lOoKiNg 2 pAiNt mY 94' eG cOuPe ThIs CoLoR" followed by this photo:

Then you'd read some responses, likely while your Winamp player was going with the really cool Pioneer headunit skin, bumping some fresh downloaded songs off of Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory album (RIP Chester). The responses would say "this is Samurai Gold, nobody knows what the color code is" which would have a bunch of quoted responses about how it's a custom blend. 


I was in middle school around this time and really had no business reading car forums, but it had so much good content in there I couldn't stop. My parents wouldn't buy me magazines like Sport Compact Car, Import Tuner, Super Street or Honda-Tuning because we just didn't have the extra income for it. They thought it would just be a fad that I would get over I'm sure. The first family computer and internet bill however, fell under the category of "education" so they allowed for it. Thanks to Google and these forums, I had all the same content basically these magazines had at my fingertips... 

Fast forward over 15 years later, I am now the owner of a brand called OEM Plus, had built some cars, and watched print die before my eyes. The magazines I wanted so badly as a child have been removed from the shelves and image hosting companies like Photobucket and "we-todd-did-racing" either cease to exist or are holding our pics hostage. The links have died and all that content went down the drain with those sites... 

But, the beauty of networking has allowed me to find the original owner of this car. A gentleman from Miami, FL named Warren Shim-Quee. I actually was put in contact with him through several avenues, which landed on me sliding in his direct messages and luckily he agreed to be part of this. He's a long time car industry guy with years spent at HCI Magazine,, and Urban Racer. Funny fact I learned, there is actually another Civic from Pennsylvania that is this cars doppelganger, but we will get into that another time. 


As paraphrased from Warren: It's a Thursday night in 2002, you're on Bird Road in Miami and the parking lots are littered with cars that have underglow supplied by Street Glow, Altezza style tail lights, and loud exhaust systems. You're cruising along in a Vogue Silver Metallic 1996 Honda Civic DX hatchback that has two huge bottles of nitrous installed. You don't really need bottles that large for a D16Y7 (1.6L non-VTEC) but it looks cool. There's a switch installed under the gas pedal that places a 50 shot of nitrous directly into an anodized red Arospeed intake. The timing is retarded as far as it'll go to be safe. 

You pull into a Checkers or La Carreta and back into a spot. Your friends chirped you via Nextel to organize a meet up spot. Eventually, that single cam on nitrous was changed out for something a bit faster. A frankenstein LS/VTEC engine was built and swapped in. At the time, an all-motor 200hp setup was more than enough to hold its own on a Tuesday and Thursday night with plenty of fun to be had. 

Inspiration was pulled from LJ Garcia's legendary widebody EK, but car remained relatively subtle. The front end was swapped for a 99-00 conversion, with less than ideal bodywork. The paint didn't match perfectly, but the upgraded aesthetics at the time was worth the tradeoff. A little noted detail this car has shaved moldings that retain the indent. This was inspired from Warren's cousins 1993 Honda Civic VX. The Bomex mirrors to this day are a rare addition, with the trade off being visibility I'm sure. The Gabsport wheels were white 16x7 +32 versions procured from a friend with a DC2 that was parted out after some bad luck with their engine.


Influential Brothers

One night while heading home from the hangouts, the Civic collided with a silver mustang that ran a redlight on Bird Road. The car was promptly sent to the body shop for updates which was a blessing in disguise. 

Before this time, Warren had met the Tjin brother's, Gene and Neil, on September 11th, 2001. A significant date for a number of things. They were the much older and sometimes wiser brothers that guided him throughout his path within the automotive industry. They were with him at the start of his HCI days and Warren eventually went on with them to build cars for SEMA representing Honda and Ford. They pushed to be different and try new things with this particular platform - especially doing a full color change.

Now stepping back for a second from the car, the Tjin brother's cannot be summarized into just one paragraph. I do not expect to be able to cover their work thoroughly enough. Maybe someday I will get the opportunity to sit with them and talk about their immense influence to the scene in general. A quick Google search of "Tjin Edition" will bring up several builds crossing all types of platforms. I cannot speak anymore highly of their abilities and history within the game... 

With the car at the bodyshop, there was not a whole lot of time to choose a color. Warren originally planned on Championship White or some other plain color, but had picked up a paint book and pointed at something that was different and still subtle. The risk taken here is literally similar to what the Tjin brother's would do. 

Samurai Gold 

The car was painted and the build seemed to be coming together overnight. A number of the parts Warren had for this car was waiting to be installed prior to the accident. Even in the early 2000's these pieces would make my head spin like they do now. The components to the car was just one part of somehow predicting the future. As the Tjin brother's and other creators I'm sure attempt to do - they try to plan for what will be wanted in the next 5 to 10 years. This build however, stood the test of time and would still be a heavy hitter today in 2020. 

The Mugen front lip alone today goes for over $2500 - talk about inflation. In addition to Recaro SRD seats, Takata Racing harnesses, and upgrading to authentic Civic Type R headlights, this cars setup is quintessential "early 2000's Civic" styling at its finest. I'd argue that this particular cars look, combination of parts, and color has single handedly changed the way we built Honda's. 

I think that there are several chapters of the "JDM" look. The first version was heavily influenced from FF Squad, which was a more authentic Japanese style. This "USDM JDM" combination of colors and parts in my opinion was the second version, where in the early 2000's we started to see 16" wheels and more aero being utilized. The 'red/green' christmas combo achieved with Recaros and Takata seats was more common around this time too. Group names such as ATS Squad and AM7 were making their rounds with styles that began to push the boundaries of what we defined as a clean Honda. 

Mod List: 

1996 Honda Civic DX Hatchback 


  • Samurai Gold Metallic Paint

  • Backyard Special front bumper

  • Mugen SS front lip 

  • Seibon Carbon Fiber Hood

  • Seibon Carbon Fiber Hatch 

  • Bomex Aero Mirrors

  • Recessed (CX Style) Moldings

  • Civic Type R Wing

  • Civic Type R Rear Lip

  • Civic Type R Headlights

  • Civic Type R Grill

  • Carbon Fiber Roof Overlay


  • Recaro SRD Seats

  • Takata Racing Harnesses 

  • Integra Type R Rear seats 

  • Integra Type R shift boot 

  • Spoon Steering Wheel 

  • NRG Quick Release

  • Civic Type R Gauge Cluster

  • Mugen Formula Shift Knob 

  • Mugen Pedals

  • JDM Airbag Delete Tray 


  • Zeal Coilovers

  • 36mm ITR 5-Lug Conversion 

  • Advan RG wheels

  • Advan Siena wheels

  • Gabsport Wheels (pre-5 Lug)

  • Mugen Front upper strut bar 

  • Falken Ziex tires (512's probably back then)


  • LS block, GSR head

  • Jun Stage III cams

  • Jun Valve Springs

  • Supertech Retainers

  • Skunk2 Intake Manifold

  • JDM Motorsports CAI

  • JDM GSR Transmission

  • Evotion Titanium Exhaust

  • JDM ITR Header


This car went through 4-5 different motors and 3 transmissions throughout it's life with Warren. Small mistakes such as forgetting to tighten drain plugs completely all the way to dropping valves were root causes for issue. But these mistakes are all part of the journey in building any car. As spoken from Warren...

A builders passion and style is infused into a build. This car was put together when he was young and enthusiastic. It's a perfect representation of who he was at that time and has zero ragrets with it overall. 

One thing that stuck with him, very similarly to my own project Civic EK end, was how he felt after selling the shell of this car. It was sold as an abandoned project in pieces. Selling it in that condition had left him feeling geniunely bad as he spent years collecting parts in the pursuit of a resurrection build that never ended up materializing. 

I think a lot of us could relate to this feeling after letting go of our old builds and also how it represented a different time in our life. I've felt the regret of letting cars and parts go, but realize now that owning those items isn't what made me happy, but rather the memories and stories that came out of ownership of those things did. I hope that someone out there is either rebuilding or enjoying this car and it's rich history. For now, let's bask in the moment of remembering a simpler time of being young and enthusiastic. Whether it be being able to finally learn and Google car information via the forums, or building a completely off the wall car that ended up influencing the Honda community for literally the next two decades and beyond. 

Thank you everyone for reading! I especially am thankful for Warren for sharing with me his stories and also sending me a ton of this content! I look forward to seeing his new build come to life!

...We're not done tho.

A piece of information Warren shared with me was that this color was taken from a 1989 Peugeot station wagon. I spent hours digging through color pallets and researching available USDM model Peugeot's that he could have gotten this color from. Now, I'm not saying I found the exact the color but based on what I am told and Warren's memory... this MIGHT be the Samurai Gold color we have all been dying to know.

According to and a French automotive forum called "Amicale 504", Samurai gold may be in fact a 1989 Peugeot color called "Brun Sarde", code "EES". 

My eyes are not calibrated and again I am not making any major claims. However, with the information shared on the French forum, this coupe was repainted in Brun Sarde for example. You be the judge. 

All images are intended for reference use only. For owners of these images, please contact me directly at for reference purposes. I will take them down at your request.