12th Nov2015

Classics Never Go Out of Style: Integra Type R

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What we have here is, arguably, the best front wheel drive sports car ever made.  Perhaps one of the best sports cars to come out of Japan in the late nineties.  It was light, it was agile, it made 197 horsepower from 1.8 liters.  It was the thing of legends: a giant slayer made by the same people who made humble econoboxes.  From 1997-2001, skipping 1999 entirely for some reason, Honda sent a little over 3800 of these glorious cars over here.  And my friend Jeff has one, and has had one as long as I’ve known him.

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He’s kept his build simple.  So simple that he ditched the supercharger that was on the car when he bought it.  I think the car is better for it.  “Why fix what isn’t broken?  It came with many interior, exterior and performance upgrades from the factory.”  Indeed it did Jefferson, indeed it did.

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He’s kept the exterior mods to a minimum.  A Seibon carbon fiber hood replaces the factory metal piece, and a Shark2 antenna replaces the bigger OEM aerial.  The wiper for the rear window has been deleted, and some S2 Carbon Works winglets add a little something extra to the front end.  Interiorwise, the car hasn’t really been changed much.  You aren’t seeing any pictures of it, because I always think that the interior is 99% OEM and unchanged.  That’s wrong, because I always forget about the AEM UEGO wideband and oil pressure gauge in the gauge cluster bezel.  ALWAYS!

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Anywho, the Integra Type R was already a brilliant handling car from the factory.  Other Honda owners would clamor for OEM ITR springs, struts, chassis bracing, and other suspension bits to improve the handling of their cars.  The only thing not OEM on Jeff’s car are the H&R springs.

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A set of Highland Bronze powder coated Kosei K1 wheels are on, instead of the OEM wheels.  The Kosei’s measure in at 15×7, with a +35 offset.  Those are wrapped in a set of 205/50 Yokohama S.drive tires, which provide plenty of grip for some spirited driving.

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Under the Seibon hood is the ultimate version of Honda’s B series of engines: the B18C5.  1.8 liters, twin cam, variable valve timing, with hand polished intake and exhaust ports.  It has higher compression, lower friction pistons compared to the Integra GSR.  It has a single port intake manifold, and a larger throttle body.  The camshafts have higher lift, and longer duration.  Everything about this engine is better than the B18C1 in the GSR.  And Jeff has done nothing to any of that.

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He’s added a Comptech Icebox intake, and replaced the header with a JDM 4-1 piece.  Between the header and the Tannabe Hyper Medalion exhaust is a high flow catalytic converter.  The combination makes for a sound that isn’t the raspy garbage people think of when they hear “modified Honda”, it sounds good.  An Exedy clutch replaces what would be, at the youngest, a 14 year old clutch.  A B&M fuel pressure regulator and 255 lph Walbro fuel pump are still around from the supercharged days, but why replace two fully functioning parts?  Crome engine management runs inside the P30 ECU.

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A carbon fiber spark plug cover sits atop the classic Wrinkle Red valve cover.

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“What makes a great Integra Type-R isn’t what’s done to it, it’s what isn’t done to it.”  That quote has guided Jeff in his build, and it’s a good one.  The Integra Type-R will live on as a classic, an example of the epitome of how good a front wheel drive car can be.

BONUS IMAGES

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*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
04th Feb2015

Converted For Duty: RWD Subaru Forester

by Michael Chandler

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

Every kid in Utah at one point wanted an all wheel drive vehicle.  Back when I was in high school the choices were simple: Eclipse/Talon GSX, Lancer Evolution, WRX, or STi.  Those were the options if you wanted to boogie and didn’t want to blow the bank.  Now it’s different.  Now rear wheel drive is the go to form of propulsion, but with the more popular rwd chassis fetching stupid prices (thanks drift tax!) sometimes you have to get creative if you want to slide.  And that creativity is what brings us Jackson Brundage’s Forester.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag

This Forester used to be slightly different.  By that I mean it was stanced out, was automatic and had a basket affixed to the roof rack.  But hard parking can only satiate someone for so long.  Soon Jackson was reading up on RWD conversions, and having everyone on Drift Utah tell him to talk to Derrick Lopez or Nate Omana, two other rwd Subaru pilots.  Soon he had a plan.

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And that plan was fairly simple: use the fact that he works at Despain Automotive, and follow the blueprints laid out by many others before him.  The car rolled in powering all four wheels, and rolled out powering the right ones.  Voila!  RWD Subaru!  While things were being removed, the front swaybar was tossed on the pile, and the coilovers he had on the car were swapped out for a set of Stance Pro Comps.  The auto was thrown very, very far away in favor of a 5 speed manual box out of a 2002 WRX.

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There’s a welded R160 differential in the back, and Whiteline bushings are holding it securely.  The old control arm bushings have been replaced with fresh ones from Super Pro.

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A Miro 563 wheel sits on each corner, and they are all 18×9.5 +34.  The only difference is in the rubber front to rear: Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs.  Out back is whatever fits and is available.  The clutch has also been upgraded to an Exedy unit, which will take the repeated clutch kick abuse in stride.

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The interior is… an eclectic mix of things.  The center console looks like a lumber jack that has been stabbed with a #2 Snap On screwdriver, which thankfully it isn’t but a Snap On #2 screwdriver serves as Jackson’s shift knob.  Hanging about that are some Hello Kitty fuzzy dice, because kawaii.  That glossy steering wheel is an NRG piece, with an NRG quick release sitting on a Sparco hub.

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Stage 6 Motoring makes the seats he and his passenger strap themselves into.  They’re the Chaser 1 Neo seat, which means sweet ass leopard print on the front and sparkly silver on the back!  Both seats are on Planted Technology bases, and while the passenger is stuck with the factory three point, Jackson has himself a Takata four point harness.

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Seeing this car from the back would reveal absolutely nothing about the conversion it has received.  It looks like any Forester that’s been lowered and fitted with after market wheels; however, approaching from the front tells a different tale.  Seeing the bash bar, which was fabricated by his friend Walter, instantly says “business”.

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In the end, Jackson will have hopefully drift missile’d this thing out: hit everything with it at every possible angle, straightened various things with tow straps, and used it and his misadventures in drifting as a foundation to build a prettier, more competition oriented car.

Either that, or he slides this thing around and keeps adding kanji stickers and Hello Kitty stuff to it and has the most kawaii car at all the local events.  Either or, so long as he watches those videos I told him to watch.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Oct2013

Reader’s Ride: Randy Reed’s v7 WRX STi

by Michael Chandler

Randy Reed v7 WRX-4

We’ve known for years that the home markets for certain manufacturers have been getting far cooler things than we get here in the land of freedom and bald eagles and deep fried bacon.  But what if you, between pieces of said bacon, decided you wanted one of those not available rides?  For a while, you did nothing but deep fry more bacon and be content with what you had.  Randy Reed of Greensboro, NC did not do that.  He wanted a bug-eye STi, so he made one.

Randy Reed v7 WRX-1

He slapped a JDM v7 front end on, and a front lip as well.  The headlights were upgraded with a Morimoto projector HID kit, so as to see better.  ChargeSpeed air ducts replaced the fog lights and a pair of carbon fiber STi side markers were popped in.  The 4.5″ carbon fiber hood scoop brings in much more air and the occasional bird.  Out back a wingless trunk from a 2.5RS was painted matte black, fitted with a STi badge, then installed.  Keeping flying debris in check are a set of Rally Armor mudflaps.

Ahead of those mudflaps are a set of 18×10 Rota SVNs wrapped in Nexen rubber.  Well, most of the time they’re there.  With winter approaching Randy picked up a set of Enkei Evo 6s.  Yes, they have winter in North Carolina.  Yeah, I was surprised too!

The suspension and brakes on this bug-eye are pretty straightforward: ISC N1 coilovers with camber plates and STi brakes and hubs.

Randy Reed v7 WRX-3

Inside is pretty simple as well.  Full USDM STi interior, JDM floor mats, SPT boost gauge and a Blitz turbo timer.  He sticker bombed the dash insert around the stereo, and he chucked the OEM head unit for a pop out unit with a 7″ screen.  When he’s not changing radio stations, he’s changing gears via the short throw shifter toped by a Blox neochrome shift knob.

Randy Reed v7 WRX-2

And now on to the good stuff!  Here is the V7 STi motor, sitting comfortably in it’s natural habitat.  For those unfamiliar, it’s a 2 liter motor with forged internals from the factory and a bigger turbo.  In this case it’s a VF30 to go with the bigger top mount intercooler.  Getting fuel to this home market masterpiece are a set of 750cc injectors.  Getting the exhaust gasses away from the motor are a 4″ bellmouth down pipe feeding into a DC Sports exhaust.  Sitting almost out of sight is a Grimmspeed 3 port boost solenoid.  The car received an open source tune via a Tactrix setup and put down a very healthy 307whp and 300lb/ft.

Making that power useful is the drivetrain, which received its fair share of upgrades.  A USDM six speed transmission pulled from a 2005 STi was fitted with the two liter starter and works like a dream.  A Clutch Masters stage 2 competition clutch and an Exedy lightweight flywheel were thrown into the mix for added driving pleasure.  Because a transmission swap in a Subaru isn’t as straightforward as it seems, the axles have been swapped out for a set from The Driveshaft Shop and a R-180 rear end had to be installed as well.

Randy Reed’s STi sits as a testament to what a motivated man can do when he wants something you can’t just run out and buy.

Want to see your car on here?  Send us some decent photos and a list of the modifications and we’ll get something going!

Words by Michael Chandler, Photos by Randy Reed.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.