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.
12th Nov2014

The Custom Touch: Time Attack Integra GSR

by Michael Chandler

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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.