As the trend of nostalgia makes a comeback across various industries, we see a similar resurgence in the automotive industry. While some are looking forward to fresh discoveries, others are turning their gaze to rediscover the fascination of their youth. The era of City Pop from the 80s and 90s brings a unique essence that captures the stylish charm of popular music, reflecting the opulence represented by automobiles and lyrics that might strike an even deeper chord in your mind. If you were to sit inside any of the cars at Go-Dung 88, the creative minds behind these vehicles, you’d discover a fusion of these elements that’s simply captivating.
Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Nattapong “Bang Fik” Nuttayothin, a former street racer and mechanic, to delve into the story behind his cherished Go-Dung 88 garage, which draws inspiration from the nostalgic vibes of yesteryears.
The Genesis of Go-Dung 88
“I’ve been working with cars since I was 14, previously in racing teams, building race cars, drift cars, and circuit cars. The turning point in life came when I realized I didn’t want to keep destroying cars. I wanted to give my life a better direction by immersing myself in the world of automobiles,” Bang Fik shares the beginnings of his journey, recounting how he used to work on various racing cars, from souped-up hatchbacks to modified pickups.
“When I transitioned away from this car shop I co-owned with some friends, I started thinking about my own standpoint. The core idea was that I wanted to leave my own mark, not just follow in someone else’s footsteps.”
“As I was searching for my own answers, I remembered how much I loved Honda Civic EF because I used to help my uncle work on that model when I was younger. Having already organized events like ‘Honda Day Thailand’ (now in its 9th year) with some friends, I decided to open a garage focusing primarily on these cars.”
“When I first started out, I had around 40,000 baht in hand. I remember buying tools for about 20,000 baht, and since I didn’t have a car, I ended up purchasing a Civic EF for 22,000 baht, adding another 2,000 to cover the cost. In the beginning, I was doing small, experimental fixes at home, selling spare parts I worked on for around 100-200 baht each. As I continued to accumulate parts, people started noticing the quality of my work. I even received orders from different provinces. Now, it’s been 10 years since I started providing these services.”
What’s your garage’s distinctive factor your garage? “What sets us apart is the clarity that’s been there from the beginning, combined with the forward-looking perspective I’ve cultivated. This transitioned us from just being a repair garage for specific models to evolving into a hub where we repair and create Hondas that fit the era. We genuinely understand and deeply know the Honda models of the 80s and 90s.”
“If we do things the same way as others, we’ll end up being like them. If we have our own standpoint, our own unique footprint, then we won’t be like anyone else. It’s been a decade since we opened the shop, and that’s because our direction was clear right from the beginning.”
“Being immersed in the world of cars and constantly educating ourselves information has led us to understand which parts are compatible between different models. We’ve learned how certain models have evolved from and become good at blending chassis components from one model with another and even integrating engines from different models into one.”
Beyond a garage “We’ve expanded beyond a single focus and have ventured into sharing our experiences through media. This has transformed us into recognizable personalities who share a passion for driving, especially the Civic EF model. Its affordability sets it apart, priced at approximately 20,000 to 30,000 baht, making it accessible to a wide range of enthusiasts. Additionally, our shop continues to handle imported vehicles from the 80s, particularly rare Honda models. These cars are often owned by enthusiasts who meticulously restore and treasure them.”
“At first, we offered more general modifications, external enhancements, and carburetor tuning. As time went on, cars equipped with carburetors became less practical due to maintenance complexities. So, I introduced a service to convert these cars from carbureted to fuel-injected engines. We offer both budget-friendly options for those with limited funds and also install newer engines for those with a bit more to invest. Our philosophy is not to prioritize based on who’s offering to pay us the most, but rather to provide options based on what each individual needs.”
“As we kept at it, clients began to see our work and started commissioning us for complete EF car restorations. These transformed EF models gained attention and we named our venture ‘Go-Dung 88,’ a combination of ‘EF88,’ a code name for the Civic EF model, and ‘Go-Dung’ which translates to ‘warehouse.’”
“Once our reputation started to grow from the EF models, one person with a Honda CRX came to us for work, and their recommendation led to more clients. This domino effect expanded our services to cover both EF and CRX models. I’ve always stayed true to the authenticity of the work, and this has allowed me to thrive without needing a high-profile downtown workshop. I rely on word-of-mouth, and as long as we’re honest with our work, our location doesn’t define our success.”
What’s the appeal of cars from the 80s-90s? “I think the appeal of cars from the 80s-90s lies in their sharp design lines. Unlike newer models that tend to have curvier shapes, the boxy and angular designs of these older cars create a sleek and flat profile that looks appealing. This is where the nickname ‘Civic tao-reed’ (iron-shaped Civic) comes from. It’s actually this earlier model, the EF, that embodies that essence.”
“Another reason I enjoy this type of car is that when you drive it, it stands out on the road. I want to have my own unique identity, especially in an era where these types of cars are becoming rarer.”
What services do you offer? ”We source the equipment, dismantle and assemble, and provide complete maintenance for models like EF, CRX, and other older Honda models. We also offer a comprehensive range of services for Honda cars from the 80s and 90s.”
Can you share some tips for those interested in getting into these Honda models? “Ensuring the chassis is in good condition is essential, particularly with older models like the CRX. Additionally, parts availability has become more challenging these days, as enthusiasts tend to stock up on parts once they become available. To get started, consider setting aside a budget of around 50,000 baht. It’s not just about having a big budget; it’s about knowing what upgrades you want for your car. If you’re looking for a decent EF in good shape, you might spend between 40,000 to 60,000 baht. Adding around 100,000 baht more can give you the feeling of driving a nearly brand-new car.”