It is time for me to throw my hat into the ring and tell you what car I’d buy with my pretend $30,000. And I’m going in the opposite direction of my colleagues. It’s not rear wheel drive, it’s not German, and for the price it’s not just one car…
In 1994 Acura released the third generation of their sport coupe the Integra. It got updated looks, and a slightly larger 1.8 liter VTEC motor for the GSR models. It was good, but then someone at Honda Japan decided to massage the GSR. In 1996 they released the Type R, and it was brilliant: 197 horsepower, factory equipped limited slip differential, unique chassis bracing added up to what some call the best front wheel drive sports car ever made. And then in 1997 Honda badged it as an Acura, put the USDM front end on it and sent it to ‘merica.
The ’97s and ’98s were only available in Championship White, didn’t have air conditioning or sun roofs and only numbered 320. The 2000-2001 models were available with a/c and sunroofs and other colors granted you liked black or yellow. In total there were 3822 sent to the land of freedom, and the good news for this exercise: they can be had in the neighborhood of $12,000.
So for a little less than $30k, or a lot less if I can find a theft recovery, I can have two Integra Type R’s. Ideally I’d have a ’97 that would become a track car and black ’00-01 as a driver. I wouldn’t turbo or supercharge them, no K series swaps, no stroker motors. Just the sweet, sweet wail of the B18C5 engine.
The black one is getting coilovers (TEIN’s because, well I like them), wheels (Enkei RPF1’s), an exhaust (Apex’i World Sport Noir) and maybe an intake. MAYBE. The track rat is getting stripped. I would quickly have a set of ITR seats for sale, along with the carpet, OEM intake manifold, header (with heat shield!), exhaust, springs and struts. Why? Because I would need to offset the price of all of the race spec bits I’d be buying. Things like KW Variant 3’s coilovers, individual throttle bodies, Buddy Club Racing Spec header and Spec-II exhaust cost money people!
You don’t necessarily need to worry too much when looking to buy one, most Type R owners know what they have and haven’t molested them with horrible body kits or sketchy turbo setups. You should double check and make sure the engine has B18C5 stamped on it, the cylinder head has PR3 on it, and the transmission has 4JHD on the housing. Also double check and make sure the seats, arm rest, shift boot and knob and gauge cluster are the originals. But as I said before, most Type R owners know what they have so you’ll most likely have all the OEM parts or some high dollar after market pieces. Maintenance isn’t bad because it’s still a Honda at the end of the day. My ’94 Integra LS (1.8L non-VTEC motor, non-LSD transmission) had 190k miles on the clock when I bought it and everyone who laid a hand on it said it was a solid car, and since most ITR’s for sale have less than 140k on the clock you should be in the clear.
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