“Build, Break, Fix, Repeat” is the perception that Valen Ankiah lives by when it comes to his well-maintained popular 1997 Honda Civic. Knighted as a true hot hatch for the Jap fans, Valen's car has graced many forms of media which inspires him to always evolve with the latest motoring trends. Never getting tired of this ongoing change, Valen's ego is fueled by this passion, resulting in a fresh new look every time his car is spotted.
Purchased in 2013, totally stock in its original white coat of paint Valen decided to go for the powder blue look complimented with purple detailing that was carried through to the engine bay, interior and sound set up. When asked why he went for blue, he replied: “Because it is outstanding”. And indeed it is! I have seen him in many car shows over the years and his Civic is definitely one of those cars that stands out from the rest.
His first mod, like most people nowadays was to go Low. However he was not ready to purchase coil overs just yet as he had other plans. The most simple solution was his “angle grinder”. After a few chops, his fear of heights was quickly resolved. He then fitted on a set of 15-inch 9j wide Volks Racing wheel and had them sprayed a neon orange. He was killing the style for a while until he decided that change was needed once more.
In the car scene of today, one is always faced with the question: "Do I build a stance car or do I build a race car?". His aspirations of competing at the drags had set him on a journey of wanting both. “Why make a choice?” asks Valen. Under the hood he threw in a B20 engine, Dicktator management, throttles, a 63-mm exhaust and branches. Dyno’d at Autotrix, he pushed 132kW of power and 198Nm of torque. Pleased with these results, he spent a lot of time thereafter detailing his engine bay and building his sound set up.
He installed 2 Targa 8-inch subwoofers, complete Pioneer mids and tweeters with a Pioneer head unit. He had hoped to do more, but he smugly admits that he does not use the sound system as often as it deserved to be used. He prefers hearing the throttles scream from his 2-litre B20 VTEC Engine. After hearing him pulling off, I understood why...
At the mercy of feeling content, Valen needed more, but couldn't quite figure out just what exactly he wanted. However, a few months later he said the 3 magic words “I NEED AIR”. He then researched the necessary parts from Air Springs Supply Company and started the build. Looking back, he compromised on his suspension for other parts and this time around but this time he was not planning to compromise on anything. He decided to go for a full Air Lift Performance kit. It set him back an arm and a leg but he knew it was the right decision and he hasn't looked back since.
In September 2015, Valen decided to add even more flavour to his ride. He was finished within a few days but he was not happy. He wanted “More low” and so he went back to the drawing board. He realised what he needed to do and after making adjustments to his rear axle, control arm and engine mountings, he finally got the look he wanted.
Interior wise, Valen decided to keep it original for the most part with a few extra gauges and a custom gearknob to add the finishing touches. Mazda MPS motorised seats provide comfort while a Honda Type-R steering wheel steers #datass!
Meeting up with Valen for his photoshoot definitely wasn't easy. He has two passions in life; Gym and Cars, so he was either breaking his car or breaking his bones. When we finally did get down to meeting up, we had issues with the police for being aired out on a public road. We quickly had pack up and get moving before his disc was taken away. Sadly the passion for motoring does not run strong in everyone’s veins, but we still had an awesome time nontheless!
Honda B20 Engine, throttles, Dicktator management, 63mm exhaust and branch
Air Lift Air Suspension
Lenzo 15inch D1 9j, 165/50/15 and 195/45/15 rear.
Full respray – HID Lighting
Original Mazda Mps motorised seats, Honda Type-R steering
Pioneer mp3 head unit, Camtec & Rockford 4 channel amplifier, Pioneer mids, tweeters and 6x9’s – Targa 8-inch subwoofer
A few extra snaps...
If you are a car guy and you are into your JDM cars, you will no doubt remember the famous Initial D anime series which focused on the world of illegal Japanese street racing. The first time I laid my eyes on Warren Rodger's 1993 FD3S RX-7, I had to pinch myself as I could swear I was looking at Keisuke’s RX7 from Initial D. Everything from the colour to the Mazdaspeed bodykit looks exactly like it and I couldn’t help but stare as it was as if I was seeing a Yellow Ghost!
Warren Rodger first saw this mint piece of JDM history sitting in a garage at a friends house two years ago. Before his eyes stood a rarely seen JDM lovers dream and he knew right there and then that he had to have it. He made an offer and after what seemed like forever to Warren, he finally purchased the car. He was now a proud owner of the iconic Mazda FD3S RX-7, but it didn’t take long for the urge for more power to kick in which quite literally sparked the fire for things to come.
Warren stayed stock for a while but minor problems with the 13B motor a year later encouraged him and his father to rip out the motor and build it into the fire breathing monster you see before you, but this was no easy task. He stumbled upon the rx7club.com forum which helped him gain a lot of the necessary info he would need to put his plan into action and so Warren and his father set about removing the engine for its rebuild.
The motor was taken to Dorne at Rotary Turbo Tech in Boksburg who was the man of choice for the rebuild. The motor was then bridgeported, dowelled and had the oil system modified as the original oil metering pump could not supply enough oil to the newly bridgeported motor. Due to the oil metering pump being removed, the car now uses 250ml of Two-stroke oil in each tank of fuel to make sure it keeps the motor lubricated at all times. Brand new gaskets and seals were fitted to make sure this series 6 motor would be healthy for years to come.
While the motor was being rebuilt, Warren and his father resprayed the engine bay and did a few other minor cosmetic touches to the car including, spraying the wing blade, the front lip on the bumper and the grills in the fenders a high gloss black which really accentuates the aggressive lines of the Mazdaspeed bodykit. Next up was the overall stance of the car.
The RX-7 doesn’t have coilovers so Warren ingenuously modified the struts to lower the car closer to the tarmac. At the same time the SSR wheels were split and the barrels were anodized bronze at Astro Anodising in Sebenza. Warren then got paint matched from the barrels to spray the faces of the wheels from Neeresh from Nancefield Paints.
Before the motor could go back in, Dorne sourced a Twin Plate Clutch so that there would be no problems putting down the power Warren had in mind. Warren and his father then set about refitting the freshly built 13B back into the car which was quite the struggle I was told but like true petrolheads, they enjoyed every moment of it.
To cope with the fuelling side of things, Warren fitted a set of 850cc injectors. He then sourced and wired in a Microtech fuel management system as it is a more tuneable management for the rotary motor. The car got tuned by Kobus at BME Tuning and made just shy of 400hp at 1 bar boost on pump fuel with some NF mixed in for good measure. Even though it's running a GT35 turbo, rotaries are notoriously known to need huge turbos to perform as they should but the car is very strong and has a nice power band considering the size of the turbo and the amount of boost. The car ran a respectable 13.2 seconds on the 1/4 mile at ODI Raceway first time out and a speed of 226km/h on the 1km. Warren told me that with a bit more seat time, the car can easily dip into the 12’s.
In the looks department Warren also modified the front bumper to accommodate a Speedhunters Takata tow strap. The side skirts were moulded in to give the car a cleaner look but Warren wanted to keep things subtle being that it is the only FD3S RX-7 in South Africa kitted with the Mazdaspeed bodykit. The bonnet is a custom fiberglass item and really suites the overall look of the car. The exhaust is a full 90mm system with the 130mm jap box to finish things off. The car is running on SSR GT3 3 piece split wheels wrapped in Goodyear 225/40/18 tyres in the front and some super wide 265/40/18 Bridgestone Potenza semi slicks on the back to keep things in check. Behind the stunning SSR’s all you can see are the huge 4 Pot Rotora calipers mated to cross drilled discs.
Interior wise the FD3S comes standard with pretty much everything you’d need but Warren changed the cluster to an imported Mazdaspeed cluster to carry on with the Mazdaspeed theme throughout the car. The steering wheel was then changed to a Nardi steering wheel along with an Isotta gear knob. A few necessary gauges have been fitted to make sure things like boost, fuel pressure and the air fuel ratio can be monitored at all times. A decent sound system has been fitted but with the glorious sound of that 13B motor, it hardly gets used.
Driving next to this car is an absolute car guys dream. As it screams past you the wastegates open and that 90mm exhaust starts beating at your ears like a monkey on a drum. You can’t help but smile and to put the cherry on the cake, as Warren lets off the loud pedal the car shoots huge flames which are really a sight to behold. On idle the car has its distinctive rotary brap-brap-brap-brap sound and has set off many car alarms, but that still doesn’t stop Warren from starting the car in the early morning to rattle his neighbour’s windows.
Warren would like to thank his Father Jimmy for all his hard work on the car and for helping him get it to where it is today. Thank you to the guys from the RE Club SA for all the advice and information. Thanks to Dorne for building such a strong motor and supplying the clutch, Neeresh for all the paint, Gianno for all your help and knowledge and lastly to Greg for selling him such an amazing car!
First introduced in 1966, the Toyota Corolla has seen many different shapes and forms and has since become one of the most popular cars in the world. We see them all the time, but it's not very often that we get to see one as hot as Poovern Ganesan's. After seeing the previous owner racing it at Tarlton Raceway back in 2007, Poovern Ganesan fell in love with this 1983 Toyota Corolla and knew right away that he had to have it! It was love at first sight and nothing could change his mind so he pursued it until a deal was made and the car was eventually purchased.
Fast forward to 2016 and Poovern is still the proud owner of this beast. Now an international orange colour with gold and silver flakes, this Toyo is modded all round from top to bottom! We hung out recently for some car-talk which quickly turned into a full on photoshoot of Poovern’s ride. This is the end result.
Suspension: Megan Racing Coilovers | Ultra Racing Suspension Kit
Engine bay: 3SGTE Toyota Motor | Head ported and flowed | HKS Cams | 750cc Injectors | Aeromotive FPR | Bosch Fuel Pumps | Shot Peened conrods | Standard Toyota piston | Dis 4 MSD Ignition and coils | Dictator Engine Management | T61 Turbonetics Turbo | Turbosmart Dump Valve and Wastegate | Custom Intake and Exhaust manifolds | EBoost 2 Boost Controller
Interior: NRX Seats | Auto Gage Rev Counter | Auto Gage Temp and oil pressure gauges | HKS Boost gauge
Sound: JVC Double Din Head Unit | 15” Rockford T1 Subs | Rockford BD 500 Amplifier For Subs | MB Quatz Mids & Tweeters | Kenwood 6x9’s
Wheels: 17 inch Rezax Wheels wrapped in 205/40/R17 tyres
Poovern describes the car as a never ending project and still has much more in store! Stay tuned, because this ‘Rolla is only gonna get faster!
Photography, words & video by Dyl Welton from Grounded Nation