July 4, 2022

An extended-held love of modified micro-vans and vehicles meant that when Phil Egan noticed this odd, little Honda Acty up on the market, it was simply too good a possibility to overlook.

Function from Quick Automotive. Phrases: Dan Sherwood. Images: Ollie Wildsmith.

“Many individuals wrongly assume that this can be a recently-imported JDM truck, however Honda formally launched micro-trucks within the UK within the late Nineteen Seventies, most famously as the unique camper van used within the Sooty And Buddies Kids’s sequence on ITV, earlier than Bedford launched their barely greater and extra highly effective Rascal rival,” explains the ever educated Philip Egan. Because the proud proprietor and builder of the attractive brown modified Honda Acty van right here, he’s a little bit of an aficionado on these diminutive oddities and has been since he first fell in love with Bedford Rascals when he was simply 12 or 13 years previous within the early ‘90s.

This specific truck was manufactured on 1st April 1985 and initially bought by Boston Motor Vehicles in Hyde, Cheshire earlier than bouncing round everywhere in the UK till Philip took possession of it in March 2016.

“I’d been after a microvan or truck for years, I don’t know why, however I simply at all times get interested in unusual automobiles,” he laughs, counting a few Sensible vehicles and Nissan Cubes as highlights in his eclectic automotive again catalogue. “However this was the primary time I really dedicated to place my cash the place my coronary heart was and purchased one – primarily all the way down to its authentic mint inexperienced paint scheme.”

However as funky because the modified Honda Acty appeared carrying its minty recent makeover, Philip will not be one to go away issues commonplace and shortly had it carrying a number of his personal distinctive tweaks.

Modified Honda Acty

“The very first thing I did was decrease it on a set of customized GAZ coilovers up entrance and fitted customized 10in Picture billet 19 wheels,” he remembers. “As you possibly can think about, there aren’t quite a lot of off the shelf components for these machines, so quite a lot of what you see on such a construct is commonly customized made to swimsuit.”

With the sills suitably slammed to the tarmac and rolling on the badass billet rims, Philip’s first correct outing with the truck was on the Retro Rides Gathering on the historic Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb in Worcestershire, earlier than making one other look on the WheelWhores stand at Final Stance later that 12 months.

Modified Honda Acty

“It’s a reasonably distinctive little factor and it at all times will get quite a lot of consideration wherever I take it,” smiles Philip. “However I used to be by no means totally happy with the way in which it sat, particularly on the rear finish, so I took it off the highway in 2017 to have a little bit of a rethink on the path I needed to take it.”

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With the modified Honda Acty out of motion, Philip took the chance to indicate off one other of his quirky assortment, a Nissan Elgrand MPV, so he may nonetheless get his automobile present repair even whereas the Acty was in a state of limbo.

“I knew I needed to take the Acty’s stance a lot decrease so I booked it in with Ray at Rayvern Hydraulics in Guyhirn close to Peterborough for a hydraulic suspension setup and the required customized fabrication to the chassis that might permit for an enormous 7in most drop. It was a prolonged course of, however I used to be in no rush to get it again on the market, and Ray did a tremendous job.”

Modified Honda Acty

To get the truck to sit down a lot decrease than commonplace, Ray wanted to provide the wheels clearance when the physique was slammed to deck, so the rear mattress was modified with minimize outs to permit the wheels to poke by way of when at most drop. However whereas this solved the issue of clearance for the wheels, it shifted the difficulty to the engine.

“The truck was now so low that the exhaust and air filter the place fouling so each needed to be redesigned to work when the truck was at most lows,” laughs Philip. “The air filter I sorted myself, however I left the professionals at MIJ exhaust methods in Walsall to get busy and make a customized system that labored with the drop.”

It was the beginning of the 2018 present season when the truck was lastly again in enterprise and, now capable of cleanly lay body on the flick of a change, Philip made full use of the improved practicality and proceeded to journey everywhere in the UK, displaying the truck on the majority of the modified exhibits in a shabby stylish model with drink crates as wheel tubs and an ‘80s-period builder’s van inside. The 12 months peaked with a Decide’s alternative award at Fueled Society at Harewood Hill Climb in August that 12 months, so it was definitely doing the job of turning heads and catching the judges’ eyes too.

“At first of 2019 I made a decision the truck wanted some correct TLC and to rejuvenate the chassis and provides it a recent new look,” Philip remembers. “I began by stripping the truck proper down for soda blasting at SBL earlier than the intensive physique work might be competed and a full respray undertaken at DC Customs in Dudley.”

The unique purpose for a lot of the remodeling was as a result of Philip needed to get alloys on the entrance finish and the one approach to obtain this while retaining the complete 7in drop with break up rims was to go for some extremely slim 3.5in gadgets up entrance, however this meant rising the diameter to 13in to provide house for the break up rim bolts.

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Modified Honda Acty

“The bigger diameter rims meant that the entrance tubs wanted to be enlarged to permit the wheels clearance to suit,” says Philip. “And on the rear finish I needed to surround the rear suspension and wheels to provide it a extra commonplace look, as earlier than they have been uncovered after they tucked up contained in the mattress.”

To realize his imaginative and prescient the drop sides have been spaced out additional and the rear tailgate widened by 4 inches earlier than Chevy Blazer wheel tubs have been customised and welded to the mattress to cowl the rear wheels when it was dropped. Philip then had some customized decrease panels fabricated from sheet metallic to cowl the perimeters and rear of the mattress and proceed the road from the underside of the entrance doorways proper across the sides and rear of the truck. Though this did trigger additional customized work to be wanted as he was eager to keep up the panel’s clear look, so the gas and oil fillers, which might normally be accessed beneath the drop sides of the mattress, needed to be relocated to permit entry through the mattress as a substitute of the perimeters.

Different trick modifications that Philip made have been issues like smoothing the holes within the bodywork from the deleted wiper jets, washer filler, aerial and door mirrors and including a smoothed Bedford Rascal entrance bumper, earlier than the whole thing was drenched in deep metallic brown paint.

“The ultimate piece of the outside puzzle was to improve the lighting with 7in LED headlights and Stealth LED taillights on customized brackets and add the aluminium for Williams cover,” says Philip. “I managed to supply the cover from a donor truck that got here up on the market in 2020 which had it fitted. It has since been cleaned up and a facet window put in and appears nice.”

However the metallic cover wasn’t the one half Philip managed to salvage from a donor automobile, because the seat materials and door playing cards additionally got here from a cannibalised Honda Acty.

Modified Honda Acty

“I’ve obtained just a few different Acty vans which I’ve picked up through the years and use as donor automobiles as they could be a nice supply for exhausting to seek out components,” he explains. “So each time I see one pop up on the market on Ebay, I at all times attempt to nab it if it has any good components I’d want additional down the road.”

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In addition to the reclaimed vinyl seat trim and door playing cards, Philip determined the dashboard may do with a raise too, so despatched it off to flocking specialists Flocking Unbelievable in Derby to have the entire thing coated within the funky brown fuzz. It really works rather well with the beige vinyl on the seats and the 2 tone picket gearknob and handbrake deal with, to not point out the shagpile roof-lining, and mixed with the Astrali dished steering wheel, finishes all of it off completely.

Modified Honda Acty

“Many individuals ask if I’m going for a contemporary Japanese drift model with the truck, however that’s a glance that’s been accomplished efficiently many occasions earlier than by individuals all throughout the globe, so to me it didn’t actually maintain a lot enchantment,” states Philip. “I needed to make the truck look as if it left the manufacturing unit like this with the bodywork modifications being apparent solely to individuals who actually know what commonplace ones appear like. For me, that’s a a lot more durable factor to attain.”

However you understand what? We reckon he’s fully nailed it. And his haul of silverware from exhibits as numerous as Final Stance, the NEC’s Restoration Present and Japfest suggests we’re not the one ones digging this dinky truck’s refined styling. It simply goes to indicate that, in the case of constructing a present stopping journey, don’t observe the herd, simply acty in your instincts.

Tech Spec: Modified Honda Acty

Engine:

545cc, 2-cyl mid-mounted EH-engine, cone air filter and customized consumption pipework, customized full chrome steel exhaust system

Transmission:

commonplace guide gearbox

Suspension:

Rayvern Hydraulics suspension with 7in drop, raised entrance suspension turrets, customized four-link rear setup

Brakes:

Inventory all spherical

Wheels & tyres:

3.5x13in (entrance) and 5.5x13in (rear) Picture Billet 19 three-piece break up rims with 145/60/13 Hankook tyres and 175/50/13 Yokohama A539 tyres respectively

Exterior:

Wiper jet holes, washer filler gap, badge holes and aerial holes crammed and smoothed, smoothed Bedford Rascal entrance bumper, door mirror mount holes crammed and smoothed, entrance arches minimize and tubbed, customized fabricated decrease facet panels, customized fabricated decrease rear panel, rear tailgate widened by 4in, mattress minimize to permit wheels to poke by way of beneath Chevy wheel tubs minimize and welded on mattress, alloy gas tank situated underneath mattress, oil filler relocated to underneath mattress, 3in chrome peep mirrors, 7in LED entrance headlights, Stealth LED taillights on customized brackets, Ifor Williams cover

Inside:

Flocked dashboard, Astrali dished steering wheel, chrome rear view mirror, beige vinyl seat covers, beige vinyl door playing cards, brown seat belts, picket gear knob, picket handbrake deal with, shagpile carpet roof lining