- Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos: MJ Digital.
Daniel Oxer is an enigma. Prior to our encounter at the recent JDMYard Annual, all I could identify him by was his trolling online persona and red Civic sedan. Those outside the StanceWorks family may feel like they’re being kept at arms length, but that’s not the case. Once we got chatting, Dan’s passion for doing what he loves was obvious. A Honda boy through-and-through, the build of this Civic is unlike any you’ve heard before. Daniel says, “Don’t worry about the hype. I’m doing this for me.”
“I originally bought the car for $250,” starts Oxer. “I had a hatch at the time which was going to be a serious build. That got scrapped when I picked up this car.” His love for stanced rides was blossoming, so motivation switched to a ‘just for fun’ approach. That’s when he discovered StanceWorks. “Basically in 2009 I was browsing SpeedHunters and I saw a feature on Mike Burroughs and his BMW, Rusty Slammington. It was so different even then in its early stages. I jumped on the StanceWorks forums and that was that.” At this point the StanceWorks boards were mostly populated by BMW-heads. “I was member number 500-ish, still early days.” The sedan’s first proper set of wheels, CCW Classics, were in the process of being built at the time. They turned up, coilovers were wound down and plenty of heads turned. “I got three defects in six months,” says Daniel. But that didn’t stop him.
“I got on the forums and started posting a bit. Over time I got in touch with the guys behind the scenes and started getting to know them. Ben, Andrew and Mike are the three full time dudes. We were talking a lot outside the forums and it got to the point that I went over to the States to meet them. These are the dudes who were in it from the start. They might not post as much now but they’re connected outside the forum. They understand and promote the family aspect of StanceWorks more than anyone else. It’s purely about community.” Their way of life in the US had a big impact on Oxer and his recent visit won’t be his last. But even in his absence, the Civic build carried on.
“I’d had a K24 engine in the garage waiting to go in. Before I left, my mate Tom and I were talking about it and I said to him, ‘you know what – just sell it and we’ll turbo it instead.’ By the time I got home the motor was gone and Tom was already plumbing up the turbo kit!” Oxer’s boosted D-series isn’t fancy, but it does the job. “It has water leaks, oil leaks, all sorts of leaks. The whole car has been through so many stages it makes me laugh.”
The weekend before Oxer appeared in Sydney with the Civic, he had driven it to Bateman’s Bay – a 1600km round trip from his home in Melbourne. “On the way back the car was overheating. I nursed it home and figured the head gasket was on the way out. For the Sydney trip I was supposed to ride shotgun with a mate. I had no intentions of driving the Civic, but on the morning we had to leave I was left without a ride, so I thought stuff it, I’ll just drive my car. As long as I can make it to Sydney it’ll be alright.” Sure enough the car made it to Sydney and back. “I daily drive the Civic and I still haven’t sorted out the head gasket. I’ll keep driving it until it pops.”
As well as the turbocharged motor Oxer has put effort into the car’s setup. “When I started work at Airide we had struts on the shelf for a Civic so we threw them in the sedan to take it to shows and stuff. It’s a good way to introduce people to air suspension because there’s not a lot of it in Australia.” The car also has DC2 Integra Type R front brakes and a full five stud conversion.
“Laws changed while I was in the US and it’s a lot harder to get a roadworthy these days. You can’t get defects cleared without going back to stock every time. By that I mean everything has to be gone over because they take photos when they do your inspection. It isn’t exactly ideal.” Oxer isn’t sure what will happen the next time he is up for registration, but there’s a chance the car will be taken off the road. “I mean, I’m still having fun with it, but the cops down here are out to get people. I don’t go looking for trouble. I don’t even go to cruise nights because it’s too hard.”
At the time of our photoshoot Oxer was rolling on these unique Work Carving Head 40s in hard to find 16-inch size. “To find them in 16s in rare. You can always get 17s, 18s and 19s and there are a lot of VIP dudes running them, but to see them on a Civic is unusual.” Oxer drummed them up on Yahoo Japan for a bargain. They came through with flaky centre caps, but Dan had them re-chromed. “They’re 16×7+15 front and 16×7+10 rear.” Since then Oxer has changed it up yet again and now has OEM NSX wheels under the arches, but who knows how long they will last. ”Things always change, it hasn’t stayed in one state for more longer than two months. People say that their car is finished, but that’s not in my vocabulary.”
Inside and out, Dan’s ride is covered with trinkets. He’s an advocate for making your ride your own. Some major plans are afoot for the short-term future of this build, but we can’t go ahead and reveal too much at this stage. “I’ve always loved hatches and in the future I’ll own another one, but with the sedan there aren’t many people who actually take the time to modify them in full. I’ve got a few ideas on the horizon for mine.”
Also in Oxer’s stable is a full JDM import Honda Legend. “It just left my house yesterday to be worked on. I’ve had it for a long time now but the diff’ let go a year ago and it’s been sitting idle since.” Naturally it will be a VIP style build featuring a set of wheels from the US that Oxer has already put a deposit on. “Hopefully I can get them over here in the new year. They’re pretty intense for what they are.” Until then we expect Dan will stir some more trouble with his impending mods, and make a bit more noise on StanceWorks behalf here in Australia.
Every Monday night Dan hosts a BBQ for his inner circle which has been running for the last 15 months. The trend/fad element of this exploding stance ideal is the last thing worrying Daniel Oxer. “At the end of the day we like our cars to look good and that’s the fuel behind the whole fitment thing. I’ll continue to get as low as possible with the right fitment, but the family aspect will always come first.”