For my first article I wanted to start with one of the builds I have personally loved, and followed for a while. When I was brainstorming this whole blogging idea there was no question in my mind as to whom I was going to ask to be my first write up. Matt Daniel, and his Army Civic are indeed my first article and I am honored to have him supporting me. I casually tossed him, and a few good friends the idea of me starting this whole adventure, and was given great support. Matt is the type of guy that puts his family before the car scene, which is something everyone should take note of. Yet somehow he has managed to find the time to build this magnificent peice of art.
I first talked to Matt on the 9th gen civics Facebook page shortly after picking up my 2012 Si. I remember him posting up a project he had been working on unrelated to cars, and we continued talking after that. He introduced me to the car club he had started Persona Non Grata when it was still small enough to remember everyone’s names. I’ve worked alongside him trying to expand the group, and helping reach out via the instagram page. Since then we have watched the number steadily rise. My personal attraction to Persona Non Grata came when I heard that the group was for all automotive enthusiasts, no matter their rides or mods. But back to Matt and his awesome Civic!
I’ve loved watching the progression of his civic from catching him in the beginning processes of carrying out his theme. Every little detail has been very well planned, and executed to perfection. Bumper to bumper this car is definitely surpassing most other similar themed vehicles. He has gone all out and even managed to squeeze an awesome movie prop into the trunk, that just makes his ride pop so much more! No matter how many times his car passes by my screen on social media I never get tired of seeing it.
I got to ask Matt a few questions about his ride, and they went something like this:
MD: What got you into the car scene Matt?
Matt: I got into auto work when I was 19, got my first 91 integra, pearlescent blue, white and gold. She was a beauty, but being young and dumb and not having any knowledge behind the wheel, that was a total loss when I tried doing 60 around a hairpin. Rolled 3 times, totaled the car out.
MD: What’s your earliest memory of your automotive enthusiasm? (What car got you really excited and inspired you?)
Matt: The car I started actually “trying” to work on was a 2002 BMW 325i. I’ve always been a bigger fan of imports, to date I’ve owned a 93 eclipse, 91 integra, 09 Mazda3, then an 02 325i BMW, and I’ve had 2, 2012 Honda Civic Si, the first one was in an accident and I walked away and grabbed up another.
MD: What inspired you to go with the army theme?
Matt: What inspired the army theme….. there was a time in my life where every military appreciation national holiday, I’d remember friends that I’ve went to combat zones with, that have fallen whether it be stateside or killed in action, the thoughts of their smiles always tore me apart. My wife suggested maybe I could incorporate it into a hobby, something I enjoyed doing, that could commemorate them and at the same time take the edge off of the reality that they’re gone. This is what inspired me to start army theming my 2012 Honda Civic, and my 2005 army themed Suzuki GSX-R.
MD:What kind of suspension mods are you currently running?
Matt:Right now I’m using raceland coilovers, they were good for the time, and they do work, but the ride comfort isn’t there at all.
MD:Any future plans in that department?
Matt: In the future I plan to upgrade to either WASP, BC, or KSport coilovers, and one day in the distance I’ll eventually be willing to pay up for bags.
MD: What are your current power mods?
Matt: Current power mods aren’t too much;
Injen cold air
Injen axle back
Axion industries catless downpipe
P2R throttle body spacer
Running a tune by VitViper with Hondata Flashpro
MD: What kind of power are you making from your current setup?
Matt: I’m right at 200 whp with that, but plan on doing plenty more modification and adjustments on current mods.
MD: Any future plans for more power?
Matt: I want to take out the injen cold air and replace it with either the AF dynamics, or PRL cold air, get an RBC ported an polished, maybe some new mid compression pistons, a dyno tune instead of e-tune, fatter tires, new brakes and rotors, e85 tune, stage 2 clutch with an 8th OEM flywheel
MD: Now to that gorgeous exterior, what have we got going on on the outside?
Matt: Currently cosmetics on the outside, are a custom carbon fiber hood by kevtec customs, olive drab green plastidip paint, custom sideskirts by me, custom rear diffuser by savageworks, HFP front lip, camouflage wrapped roof a mugen spoiler, and seasonally I have a flip flop trunk.
MD: Any future body work planned?
Matt: I plan on customizing my setup with the kevtec widebody kit hopefully sooner than later. In doing that I’ll need some wider wheels, maybe 18 x 11 to sit flush. So all current mods will be replaced. Then the paint, I want to switch from plastidip, to autodip which is more like a vinyl wrap spray, it’s just easier to flip flop colors.
MD: How’d you fit that there wing on there? (Lol, inside joke)
Matt: Honestly, one of my boys offered me the mugen wing for $100. I figured either I can fit it, and it works, or it doesn’t, and I flip the sell. Fortunately it worked and actually turned into a trend lol.
MD: What kind of events have you participated in with your current car?
Matt: Most events that I participate in aren’t trophy awards, they’re usually in place to promote team building and the area’s enthusiast groups. I won second place at Texas Invasion for best Honda, but the owner of the show never did send me the trophy because my wife and daughter got heat exhaustion and we had to leave. So that’s one down lol, but the only other one I participated in, I took home first place at the uptown boys patriot car show for best import, which took me by a large surprise.
MD: Do you plan on expanding the types of events you participate in, and if so what are you considering?
Matt: With where I’m moving, I’ll have to see what the car scene is like, from what I’ve seen there aren’t any daily vehicles, mostly exotics which are still fun to see, but I haven’t seen any local pages yet so we’ll have to see what shows are in the area.
MD: What spurred you to found Persona Non Grata?
Matt: Starting persona non grata…
A lot of the people I’m around in my city are the types that won’t like you if you don’t have lip on your wheels, or so many degrees of camber, or if you’re not busting your oil pan on pebbles in the road. I chose to be an outsider and because of that, most of them banned me from the local pages and started all this drama everywhere. I left it alone and got myself my own banner, persona non grata, which basically translated to outcast, or someone unwelcome. It fit me, and I liked it and wore it with pride. Eventually A current nvus member seen it and told me that I should definitely start my own thing, and well, here we are, 400+ members ons the forum and the group expands everyday into being its own self sustaining organization. There are plenty of times that I don’t have it in me to carry the torch between family and work to take lead in the group, so I’ve got a family if you will, of people in the group that know how to take charge and run with things in a good direction.
MD: Is there anything about your car that you would do differently if given the opportunity?
Matt: Doing things differently?
I wouldn’t have gotten the injen cold air…. wouldn’t have went through 6 sets of wheels trying to please other people’s minds… and just in general would have done more research into what exactly I’m doing mechanically with the car.
MD: Who installed the modifications on your vehicle?
Matt:I’ve installed most the stuff on my car. Sometimes I’ll have the wife help me out, and if I don’t have the tools, I always have a few friends I can call to come down for a few beers and we’ll knock it out.
MD: Any people, or sponsors you would like to thank?
Matt: If I’d have anything or anyone to thank for where I’m at today, first and foremost it will always be God, family, and the crew, I wouldn’t be anywhere without those three. Along the way, I hand my thanks to Michael Hinton at Axion industries, Michael Stiren and HardmotionUSA, the family at Dragonlaminates, John Mitchell at bluefire machineworks, Kevin mannz at kevtec customs, and I’m sure there are others that have inspired and helped me along the way.
MD: What is your favorite thing about your car?
Matt: Memories…. places we’ve been and things my family has done with it.
MD: Anything extra you would like to add?
Matt: If I had anything I could ever add to an interview, my own two cents…..
Don’t please the people, please yourself. If you’re not looking back at it, impressed at your work…. take it back to the sketch pad and figure it out. Never allow others to blindly lead your ambition with their goals.
I want to thank Matt for his continued service to our country, and to the custom car scene. He is a great example of a grassroots enthusiast. He works hard, maintains his family, himself, and his car. Not much more anyone could ever ask for.
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