19th Apr2016

Buy Something or Get Out

by Michael Chandler

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There’s a lot of wiggle room in that statement.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
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.
10th Nov2015

A Tale of Two Civics Part 1

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

It takes a lot to grab my attention at the track.  There are some ridiculous cars out there, as you’ve seen here many times, but then I laid eyes on KC Russell’s EF Civic.  He was pulling off track after an HPDE session, and I saw the full glory of the livery on his hatchback.

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Naturally, I followed him back to the day garage he was sharing with Zack Serna.  Zack drives a Civic hatchback himself, one similar to KC’s but rather different at the same time.  I chatted them up, and they agreed to let me shoot both of their cars.  Since I saw his first, let’s talk about KC’s.

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Firstly, let’s talk about the livery.  The graphics package from stickymy.com are 103% JDM.  Go look at some of the Kanjo Civics and tell me that this thing wouldn’t fit right in.  The VIS carbon fiber hood has seen better days, but it being beat up adds to the feel of the car.  So does the replica J’s Racing front lip.  Rounding out the styling mods are a set of side skirts for an EK.

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For a while, every track day Civic was on a set of 949 Racing wheels.  Thankfully those days have passed (I dig the 949s, don’t get me wrong.  Just got sick of seeing them on every Miata and Civic), and KC threw on some 15×7 Kosei K1 TS’s.  Because it’s a track day hatch, he threw on a set of 205/50 Falken Azenis.

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Front brake calipers and rotors donated from an Integra ,along with a master cylinder from a Civic EX and a set of Hawk DTC60 pads help reel in the rather light Civic.  Helping with the lateral transitions and keeping the rubber on the tarmac are a set of KYB AGX struts and Ground Control coilover sleeves, a truly OG combination, and an Innovative traction bar.

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Keeping the dreadlocked driver, or whoever is behind the wheel, and a passenger secured are a pair of Crobeau seats.  Steering inputs are entered via the sweet, old school MOMO steering wheel.  Just look at that thing!

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KC picked up the car in May for $1500, with one big mod already done: the single cam motor was ditched in favor of the venerable B16A.  1.6 liters, twin cam and electronically controlled variable valve timing (hella mad vtaks yo), the B16A powered some of Honda’s best FWD, including the JDM EF chassis Si.  Basically KC bought himself one of those.  While a bone stock B16 swap is good, one with some mods is even better.  He cracked open the ECU and installed a Mugen chip, and threw a Toda replica header on the cylinder head. That exits into a Greddy exhaust.  Hiding under the gold foil wrap is a K&N Intake.

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A lot of aftermarket radiators for Civics are half size.  Think of a big cereal box, that’s about the size of one of those radiators.  They do a fine job, but a full size radiator is… well it’s bigger.  And this one says Racing Series on it, so that’s something.  The radiator is big, but the battery is diminutive.  The Odyssey battery provides plenty of juice for a day at the track, and weighs a lot less than your average battery.  All of this adds up to a very potent track day car.  It has plenty of power, but there are far more powerful swaps one can shove under the hood of a Civic.

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We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

BONUS IMAGES

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