The EF vs. DA car meet is just one of many put together by Instagram's Old Skool Honda, a page dedicated to the Honda and Acura chassis of the 80s and 90s. The page regularly posts various builds and have grown a loyal following that's always willing to get together with fellow old school chassis admirers. OSH recently threw an event for Hondas of any year in Pasadena, Ca, which I attended, but this time around it was hosted by GReddy Performance Products at their Irvine headquarters. The focus was of course the 4th generation (1988-91) Civic and 2nd generation Integra (1990-93), both of which were heavily modified upon their debuts and subsequent 2nd and 3rd owner changeovers, and both have seen a resurgence of sorts in recent years as older enthusiasts look to recapture some of their youth, while those just getting into the world of modifying Hondas find that these models often carry the lowest entry fee. The burgeoning popularity might add a few dollars to these older chassis as the demand is steadily growing not only for the cars themselves, but for the various OEM parts they're fitted with that have long been discontinued and are increasingly difficult to track down.
Though GReddy's parking lot isn't massive, the staff did an excellent job of packing it full of cars, while leaving enough space for people to freely move around and for attendees to drive out of the lot whenever they chose too. An overflow lot directly across the street as well as a long block of street parking was enough to satisfy the crowds that arrived throughout the morning. Most of the cars on hand sided with a more period correct look and feel, though there were some that looked toward adding modern touches. If old school wheels, especially those offered by SSR a few decades ago are your thing, then this was certainly the place to be.
Mugen, Mugen everywhere!
Nothing helped energize the knock-off market more than late 80s Mugen goods so spotting authentic parts 30 years removed is always a treat. This Mugen Pro.2 kit, attached to a razor-straight 88/89 CRX chassis looks to be in pristine condition. The SiR wrap-around turn signals with covers, original sideskirt badging and door cap decals are indicative of a period correct build-up. Add in the Mugen MR5s and bucket seats and this car is an excellent representation of what every CRX owner aspired to in the early 90s, maybe even more today as the prospect of finding and purchasing some of these parts is all but impossible.
If you're a DA fan, you're already very familiar with @momocosmo's LS Integra. As the original owner, he's made countless, tasteful changes over an almost 30-year span with the car, including a step up to its ITR swap and more wheels than he can probably remember.
The cabin of his LS defies logic with the original factory tan surfaces typically stained over the years but in his case, even the carpet has been maintained and looks as good as it did in the early 90s. Dave can often be heard yelling out iconic 80s movie lines at random and though he wears bright camouflage in direct sunlight, is seldom seen
In 1992 and again the following year, Acura released a limited number of GS-R models for the second-generation Integra which was armed with a 1.7L VTEC engine - the first DOHC VTEC on U.S. shores besides the much pricier NSX. This example, in GS-R-specific Aztec Green Pearl, features all but mandatory JDM 1-piece headlights to replace the 3-piece U.S. version, a JDP Engineering bumper lip and featherlight Mugen RNR wheels. The hole in the turn signal isn't a victim to road debris but strategically cut in order to feed the passenger side intake. The signal bulb itself, housed separately, is still fully operational.
The boxed rear-end and quaint body style of the 4th generation Civic immediately became a huge hit with the younger generation of the late 80s and the design has remained a favorite ever since. The spunky 4-cylinder, for its era, mustered enough grunt to keep most happy, while power-hungry enthusiasts would go on to turbocharge and later swap the SOHC powerplant for something out of Honda's DOHC Acura line up (less common was the Prelude's H-series). This Si model maintains a factory body with a new paint code, add-on rear wing and unique SSR Challenge De'fi wheels. The fin-style was designed to resemble a jib sail's aero effect and claimed to aid in brake cooling. This owner has one of the cleanest sets we've ever come across and even has SSR's electron locking center cap in place.
Know your Roots
The truth is, this isn't an "EF" chassis, it's actually a mid-80s model but was on site at the event under special invite from GReddy. Its owner, @jr.redline.racing played a major part in the emergence of Honda performance in the U.S. during its infancy. Having set some quarter mile records in the early 90s and having pushed the performance envelope further than anyone could've expected, he'd later take an absence from the industry entirely, applying his unique talents to his Harley Davidson builds which landed in the pages of various publications. Just a few years ago he made a return to the very enthusiast community that he helped spark. I chatted with Junior to go over his storied history which you can read right here.
Often confused for Aztec Green is the non-VTEC Integra's Jasper Green Metallic, the differences of which are very apparent when the two colors are parked next to each other, as they are here. This version, owned by westwing_anthony typically sports silver or machine-finished, period correct rollers but for this event he opted to go dark with Spoon Sports wheels wrapped in aggressive Advan A052. The OEM optional front lip and aftermarket sideskirts help bring the car's body down a few additional inches.
Another take on Jasper Green Metallic is shawn_grnstar's long-term build that breaks up the softer color with a carbon fiber hood and JDP Engineering front lip. He and westwing_anthony can often be spotted together just about every weekend and if either of these dedicated DA enthusiasts didn't make this meet, we would have filed a missing persons report.
GReddy Loves Honda
Hosted by GReddy Performance Products, the brand's President, Kenji Sumino displayed his recently completed Civic hatchback. The B-series engine swap is fully built from top to bottom and includes portions of GReddy's original turbo kit from years prior. Rather than a more traditional front-mount intercooler set up, Kenji opted for a custom A/C-cooled water-to-air system that's been fabricated to look very similar to a factory Honda air box and was even covered in matte black Cerakote to tone it down.
While some prefer to maintain a period correct look and feel, this owner was in search of a modernized take on his Integra. The non-VTEC factory engine now sees Honda's celebrated, electronically controlled variable valve timing and lift and the once noted troublesome distributor has been retired with ignition duties replaced by a more current coil-on-plug system using OEM Denso coils and conversion plate. The intake that looks like a factory piece is actually a 3rd generation Integra intake arm fed by a CT Engineering "Icebox" which sends tubing down to the lower portion of the bumper, connected to a velocity stack.
Meshing Together Past and Present
A few decades ago, if you were putting together an Integra, Civic, or any other popular import, you probably wanted a set of Racing Hart Type C. The multi-piece, mesh-style wheel was an instant hit and carried a steep price tag for that time. The polished lip and sharp spoke design, along with the hidden lugs made for a clean look that lasted for years and was heavily copied. The set used on @jay_vermeeyoh's DB2 GS-R, complete with caps and cotter pins, are in excellent condition.
Racing Hart's variant to their mesh-style wheel was the classic 5-spoke Type C Tracer. Both wheels carried a massive fan base, and both became aspirational, quickly purchased on the second-hand market anytime they became available via weekly publications like the Recycler. This set suits @ketchupking57's GS-R perfectly.
Old is Gold
Another invitee who doesn't drive a 4th generation Civic but rather a 3rd, was featured right up front as visitors entered the GReddy parking lot. Owned by Jasen of Genesis Auto, his AH5 doesn't feature modern updates but rather back dates to Jason's younger years, having spent countless hours modifying and racing mid-80s hatchbacks.
At that time, many would opt for a dual carburetor set up, like these Webers (typically Mikuni in the 80s), and a jump to a DOHC engine, like this 1.6L ZC, which was a factory option in Japan. A derivative was also available in the U.S. in the 1st generation Integra. It saw popularity as the swap phenomenon took over but was soon overshadowed by more powerful options. Still, it had its place and served as a direct drop-in, could be fitted with many single cam aftermarket bits as well as the D-series transmission, and would only set you back about $300 from the import wrecking yards of yesteryear.
Less is More
Noteworthy is the lack of extreme aero used on the cars that attended the EF vs. DA meet. Sure, aftermarket wings, lips, and sometimes bumpers were at play, but not the time attack-esque monsters that have become commonplace.
It could be said that those wild extensions, applied to street cars like these, might stifle their longevity. The classic lines and simple, effective changes that accompany a group of cars that, based on their age and the number of completely trashed versions that most think of whenever they're brought up, really have no business looking this damn good.