04th Feb2015

Converted For Duty: RWD Subaru Forester

by Michael Chandler

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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.

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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.
12th Nov2014

The Custom Touch: Time Attack Integra GSR

by Michael Chandler

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What you see here is something we can all get behind.  Literally and figuratively.  This is an Integra GSR that has, to say the least, a lot of work done.  To say the most it’s had the custom touch applied to almost everything.

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We met Rhett at Miller Motorsports Park at a NASA event about a year ago.  He was there campaigning his GSR in  Time Trial.  We really dug the car, and Rhett.  He’s a humble, down to Earth guy.  We chatted with him for a little bit, then he loaded up the car and disappeared back to Idaho.  For a while.  We honestly thought he had disappeared  and was gone forever.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and he and the car reappeared .

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In his absence from the track he did some work.  Some very custom work to the front end especially.   He didn’t really like any of the aftermarket bumpers on the market, but he liked some aspects of them.  So, he bought one and cut it apart.  He liked the Voltex bumper for the Lancer Evolution, so he grabbed some cans of spray foam and got to spraying.  He cut and trimmed, and shaped and formed, and he had a mold for a bumper.  But then he decided he didn’t like it, and started looking at cars closer to his Integra.  Specifically the Honda S2000, because both are long hood vehicles, as opposed to the stubby hooded Evo.  Out came the knife and the spray foam and, after filling the garage with foam shavings, he had the foam cored Carbon Fiber bumper you see before you.  It’s so strong you can stand on the inlet and only have to worry about scratching the finish. The canards are are also one off pieces, made by vacuum infusing utilizing carbon fiber with foam cores.

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Continuing the one off theme, the hood is also something Rhett and company fabricated.  No, he didn’t just cut a hole in the hood and slap on a set of DMax vents.  It’s vacuum infused carbon fiber with a foam core.  The fenders have been heavily modified with a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass around foam cores.  The roof is also vacuum infused carbon fiber around a foam core.  Even the APR GTC 200 wing sits atop custom chassis mounted stands.  The only exterior parts that aren’t custom are the Pro Car Innovations side skirts, rear bumper and doors.

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The interior hasn’t received nearly as many custom touches as the exterior, but it does have some nice touches like the carbon fiber panel with Carlyle rocker switches.  Cobra Sebring Pro seats replace the factory chairs, with Crow five point harnesses holding the occupants in place.  A Tuner View II display has been custom mounted, and JDM arm rest and airbag deletes installed.  Gear changes are initiated with a Hybrid Racing adjustable shifter, and directional changes are made with a 330mm MOMO steering wheel on an NRG quick release.  And since he runs in NASA sanctioned events, and not some fly by night series, he has a 6 point certified roll cage.

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Rhett campaigns the Unlimited class, where his competition includes an R35 GTR and an Audi R8 LMS.  He couldn’t just roll out there with crazy aero and nothing more than an exhaust, so he got to work on making the B18C1 mill ready to handle the stout competition.  The block itself is stock and retains the OEM 81mm bore, but the pistons and rods have been tossed in favor of Wiseco Race shaped and prepped pistons atop Eagle rods.  ACL race bearings keep things spinning in an orderly manner.  The cylinder head has received plenty of love as well.  It’s been ported, polished and bowl matched and lovingly stuffed with GSC T1 camshafts and Supertech HD valve springs and retainers.

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Up top there’s a Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold with a 70mm Pro Series throttle body bringing in the air.  A Skunk2 composite fuel rail sends fuel to a quartet (…four) Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors.  A 6 port B&R breather box keeps the air out of the oil, before sending it through the custom thermostatic oil cooler setup.  The cooler itself is almost the size of a stock Civic radiator! The 1.8 liter VTEC mill is held in place with Hasport billet mounts with 94a durometer inserts, and Avid billet torque mounts

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All of that oil cooling is necessary because there is a Turbo By Garrett GT3071 turbocharger hanging off of a LoveFab Mini EQ manifold. The manifold has been wrapped and the turbo itself sits under a blanket, both are from DEI. That hairdryer gets it’s fresh air from a custom, carbon fiber ram air air box and massive four inch piping.   Since this isn’t some old turbo Colt, there’s an intercooler.  A big one.  A big, custom dual back door piece.  The excess pressurized air is releived via a Synapse blow off valve.  Because of the increased thermal load, there has to be a big, custom radiator.  The spent air, after exiting the turbo, leaves the car through a custom three inch V-Band exhaust with a five inch, round, Magnaflow muffler.  Other custom parts include a custom electric power steering, and water pump system.  There’s also a custom transmission cooler and pump set up.

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Which is good, because there’s an Elite/Gear X Transmission straight-cut 1-5 dog box that needs to be kept cool.  Shoved in that transmission is an OS Giken 1 way plate differential, which sends power to Drive Shaft Shop 3.9 axles and hubs.  Massive StopTech four piston calipers clamp down on 12.9 inch rotors.  There are bronze and spherical bearings all over the car from Password:JDM, Pro Car Innovations and Special Motorsports Projects.

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Password:JDM also provided the rear camber and lower control arms, and Hard Race provides front camber A arms.  There are Eibach Multi Pro R2 coilovers at all four corners, because adjust-ability is crucial when you’re chasing fractions of a second.  An ASR subframe brace  and Integra Type-R rear sway bar are, well, in the rear. Rhett has two sets of wheels for the car, and three sets of tires.  Variety is the spice of life, and being well prepared for most situations is pretty awesome.  Depending on the day the car is either on a set of 17×9 Rota Grids, or 17×9.75 XXR 527s.  His choices for rubber are 235/40 Toyo R888s, 225/40 Hoosier R6s, and finally 255/40 Hankook RS3s.

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As we were shooting the photos, Rhett told me his car was invited to compete in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational and also have a spot in the SEMA show.  This was an awesome thing to hear, and really cool to see his car at the show and roll out.  How did Rhett do? Well, much like the day we shot the car he was having issues.  The fuel pump went out, so a stock one had to be used.  This meant 30% throttle, no more than 6500rpm, and no VTEC.  Suddenly becoming the lowest horsepower vehicle sounds like it would have been a disaster, but Rhett managed to finish twenty-eighth out of  ninety-two competitors.  Not too bad for something built in a garage in Idaho.

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

 

 

25th Apr2012

Yes SiR: Honda Integra SiR-G

by Michael Chandler

 

We all face dilemmas: what am I going to have for lunch?  Should I put on pants today?  Whatever, but some of us have more unique problems.  Problems like: should I drive my VIP RL or my right hand drive Integra?  Omar had this problem, and he chose the Integra.

This Accord Integra comes straight from Japan, where we can only assume it lived a decent life.  It then came here, where dreams come true and everything is set up for the LHD life.  Not deterred, Omar began making this slightly used ’97 Integra his.

The first thing you notice about this DC2, other than the steering wheel being on the wrong side, are the bright white 16×8 Gab Sports wheels.  Those white wheels have black Falken Azenis tires mounted on them, and the whole wheel/tire combo is mounted on 4×114 Integra Type R hubs!  Those hubs came with the brakes and all the other what-have-you you get (except for the lower control arms!  Those are BLOX pieces) when you pull them off of an ITR.  Holding the car up, or keeping it down, are a set of Raceland coilovers.  Rounding out the suspension set up is an ASR subframe brace, which stiffens the rear and looks mighty fine while doing so.

 

The next things you’ll see when perusing the car are the little body accents that have been fitted.  Small, hardly noticeable things such as the Backyard Special front bumper and Carbon/Kevlar lip or the replica Mugen generation two spoiler or the OEM Honda window visors, side skirts and rear valences.  These, minute details pale in comparison to the pronounced carbon fiber hood and Integra Type R headlights.  To be frank, if you didn’t know what you were looking for you would think that this is how they come stock.

 

 

So we have established that it looks pretty, but how does it get along?  Is it still rocking the B18C mill it brought with it on the boat ride over?  Does it have some obnoxious, straight pipe exhaust?  Is there anything else under the hood besides the vin tag and radiator cap?!?  Allow me to answer all these questions, starting with the last one: yes.

The 1.8L VTEC mill has been replaced with a new hybrid motor!  A K24 block has been fitted with a K20 head and has been jammed under the hood.  Air conditioning and power steering did not make it under the hood, but a Karcepts A/C and power steering delete kit did.  The OEM intake manifold and throttle body are being used elsewhere (doorstop?) because Skunk2 pieces have replaced them.  The old fuel rail has also been turned into a giant comb upgraded to a Golden Eagle piece.  An SSR header exits to a 3 inch APEX’i exhaust now for a few reasons, but mostly because this whole setup is more powerful and sounds better.  A pair of Drive Shaft Shop axles get the power to the wheels, allowing this whole thing to get to moving.

 

Inside the cabin is where the magic happens!  Or it would have if this shoot of ours didn’t get rained out.  While I cant show you, I can tell you.  You sit in red Recaro seats, while Takata harnesses hold you firmly in place.  You grip a Personal steering wheel attached to a NRG quick release hub, and you change gears with a Circuit Hero shift knob atop the stock shifter wrapped in an ITR shift boot.  Your feet, when not on the pedals, rest upon ITR floor mats.

 

And there you have it.  A man was faced with a dilemma, and after some coaxing, he made the decision to drive his other awesome car that day.  Now should I have a can of frosting for lunch?..

 

 

-Words and Photos by Michael Chandler, Video by Trent Bray

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMautoMag.Com