Joe Schneider’s Yellow Honda Civic EK hatch is one of the dopest features we’ve ever done. This is what S3’s all about. And for anyone confused, this is the type of shit we’re looking for in the world. It’s what we try to represent. We/S3 went out to The Eibach Meet in 2011. And not even sure exactly how it happened, but we met Joe Schneider & just immediately clicked. He invited us all back to his place for some beers & burgers. We played ping-pong, talked shit, and built bonds. The whole Compound was just stacked with Hondas. In a way, Joe was kind of a misfit in the California Honda scene in 2011. He didn’t stay on the same script as a lot of those checklist boys. And that’s what I love about him. Hondas… without grit… that ain’t no Honda.

Anyway – Joe Schneider just had his first child, a daughter, this week at 43-years-old. He’s still got this car too. So cheers again to Joe. Congratulations! Here’s Joe’s feature article as written in S3 Magazine 2011: 

lowered EK Honda hatch

Here’s the thing with the Eibach meet:  

The people are awesome, and the Hondas that show up are some of the best in the world. No one dare argue with that. If I personally saw ANY of these cars in a random grocery store parking lot on a random day… I would freak out and beg them to let us shoot it for the mag. Because they all have that presence… and they all have a story.  

graffiti engine bay

But it’s all about context  

And when you get all these great Hondas together at the Eibach headquarters… it’s overwhelming. You can’t tell ‘em apart; they all look/feel the same. And they start to blend in… to the point where you just walk past without noticing. Years ago, that might not have been the case… there might have only been a handful of truly ‘highlight’ cars. But these days, and over the last few years, eeeverybody has stepped it up. I swear – between cars, rent, and gas prices, I can’t figure out how you Cali people make it happen. One after the other, after the other, after the other. All perfect… but all exactly the same. And a lot of what we have to blame – is this spec JDM elitist building. And don’t get me wrong, I love JDM builds too… we all do.

Yellow EK civic

But that’s exactly the problem… 

We ALLLL love it. But – it’s easy to get yourself stuck in a box with JDM. Meaning – the nicer your car gets, the harder it is to put your own style into it… because you’ll ruin it. Heh. And as a result, the mainstream Honda trendsetters have evolved into 1-style across the board.  

Yellow EK hatch

And then you have this guy, Joe Schneider, rolling up to the party with this yellow EK hatch…

It’s like rolling up with a hooker. The car is a total skank-build. She’s loud & barely clothed. Hell she might steal your money, your mom doesn’t want her anywhere near her house, and there are rumors that if you touch her… you may get something that doesn’t wash off. 

Honda swap

But with all that said, it doesn’t matter…

Because she’s sexy as anything, she stops you mid-sentence, she’s wild, and she’s in your head. Yeah – you try to write her off and pick out her flaws. But the fact is… you’re just covering up the fact that you can’t stop staring. She owns your attention. You know where she is, even when you can’t see her. She’s got you. And this – is a different way to build a car: Skank-JDM. Use good parts, and keep your eyes on quality. But don’t build it to be perfect just like everyone else’s… build it to have an attitude. And ‘perfection’ will follow. 

EK Civic Hatch

It’s the common-way… to want to build something that’s perfect. 

To want to ‘finish’ it. And it’s hard to break away from that mentality. But we, as a culture, have perfected perfect.  This EK Civic, however, is something different. Here, you’re building a car to be nice… don’t get me wrong. But you’re building a car for its presence, rather than its praise. If ol’ Rob Dyrdek throws you his board after a skate competition – do you want it to be shiny and new? Or – do you want to hang it on your wall with scrapes, gashes, and dried blood? If you were an automotive photographer taking pictures at LeMans – would you photoshop-out the brake dust, paint chips, and grass on the front end? Or is that the whole point? I have a scar on my leg from a mountain bike crash. Do you think I want to hide that scar? Hell no. Because in all the above examples – it’s the ruff ends that tell the story. It’s the proof of life… work with it.  

90s Civic hatch

Here’s what Brandon McCray wrote… (Brandon worked with Joe at Skunk2 back in 2011)

Joe is an Orange County native, and from a young age, the mindset of ‘never give up’ was instilled into him. See – Joe’s father is a big influence on his deep passion for mechanics and never letting anything stop him. Although paralyzed, Joe’s pops can work his magic on a project just as good, if not better, than an ‘able-bodied’ person.

Honda Eibach

So Joe grew up in the garage atmosphere, probably driving cars way before the legal age… 

In 1995, he got his first Honda. Being young & dumb, it ended-up getting wrapped around a pole. But that didn’t stop him. It was really just an excuse to get a more popular Honda chassis to work with. Joe absorbed as much as he could about Hondas as fast as possible, learning to work on them, even working various jobs in the industry. Not to mention, Joe was deeply involved in street racing the entire time. With his full sleeve of tattoos and odd piercing (?) most never take time to understand Joe. In simple words, he’s often the wild card.

Honda car scene 2011

Here’s how Joe got the EK: 

After blowing up the motor in his JDM DC2, he decided that a new project was in order. He found a fresh-from-paint yellow EK shell. The rest of the car was beat to the ground, but Joe decided it was the perfect canvas. The yellow screamed his name.  Joe brought it home, and immediately started tearing into it. People would show up & say he was crazy for getting rid of his JDM DC2 for this hatch. But Joe has an ability to look at a project and see the end result. He was content… and nothing would stop his overall vision. He started out with some small upgrades, and pushed it around daily for awhile. Then he decided it was time to tear it down, and build the car he’d always wanted… the car he originally saw the day he picked it up.

Yellow EK hatch

After some huge changes in Joe’s life, he made the choice to finally finish the EK. 

Already sporting the yellow paint, Joe used his inner-hustler to obtain a set of wheels that would stand out. Liking the flush look – he went with a set of 16×9 ESM wheels. He knew he wanted to keep the SOHC power plant in the bay, mostly because people don’t stick with them anymore. And also because he wanted the bay as empty as possible. 

For years, Joe always parked his cars outside of the West Coast’s biggest Honda meet (The Annual Eibach Meet). His dream was to one day park his own representation-ride inside the gates of the event. Realizing it was coming up quick, he assembled his friends to start putting in work at The Compound. The Compound is actually the property from which Joe runs BackYard Design Co., and does repairs on all his friend’s cars. And as such, his personal cars often get put on the back-burner. Well… it was time to call in some favors. 

slammed EK hatch

Everything was put on hold, and it was time for Joe’s car to get some attention. 

Joe wanted to tuck as much as possible. Initially he didn’t want to pull the dash. But after a friend questioned the size of his man-goods, the choice quickly was made to pull the dash and eliminate the heater core (who needs it). Joe swooped-up some ITB’s and a sweet-looking header, along with a ton of our Skunk2 engine/suspension parts. At this point everything was coming together; however the engine bay was still up for question. 


The 2-tone body/bay look was frowned upon at The Compound… 

And inspired by music, art, and tattoos, Joe kept coming back to the idea of a full graffiti engine bay. When he announced his idea to some of his fellow co-workers, there was a fair amount of support. There was also a bit of head-scratching & frowning by the purists. But for Joe – this was exactly the combo he was looking for. Joe stuck to his guns and continued on his path. The graffiti bay was GOING to happen. Joe and his pals (even the head-scratchers) spent night after night filling & sanding the bay as the days counted down to Eibach. 

Often times we’d find Joe sitting on the couch in the garage, beer & cig in hand, wondering what he had started, and worrying that the car wouldn’t get done. Luckily his friends came through and got the graffiti laid down in time.

In the end the EK is totally Joe… an oddball/wildcard of sorts. 

The wild bay matching his gnarly tattoos… showing off the elements that make-up who Joe is and what he’s into. Knowing the person Joe is & seeing the car… they match each other perfectly.

Who is Joe? 

To the naked judging eye, Joe is a threat. Pierced, tattoos, explicit shirts… most would probably avoid him. Oddly enough though, he is one of the most comical, reliable, selfless, helpful, and loyal people you may ever meet. Joe is the type of person that will give everything until he simply has nothing else to give. He’s the guy that will stop on the side of the road to help a distressed puppy… while his radio is blaring some crazy death metal. Hell Joe really can’t be described; he kinda has to be experienced.

90s Honda Civic


Big thank you to my family for always standing behind me & my ideas, hopes and dreams. Thanks to my friends for their heart & help… this car wouldn’t be here without them. Also thanks to Skunk2 for the support. And Downstar Inc / Bolt Boys. The Beautiful People clothing company for always making me look as good as my car. And Diamond Honda of Puente Hills.

If I had any closing words, it would be to stay true to yourself. Don’t ever question who you are. Know that what you’ve done in life, and the stuff you’ve gone through… it’s made you the person you are today. And if you forget where you come from, your never gonna make it where you are going.

Honda certified

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