Honda-badged vehicles in the import scene are as numerous as cockroaches under a refrigerator. Don't get us wrong; we love Hondas and there are no less than six Hondas amongst the editorial staff. But everywhere you look, either at a race or show, the Honda badge is crawling out of the woodwork. It is no surprise the Hondas are so popular; the sweet bodylines combined with an abundant aftermarket makes powering up and dressing down a Honda just plain easy.
However, like so many good things, there is also a dark side to Honda ownership. With everyone and their cousins building a Honda, it's harder to stand out from the crowd. Everything starts to look redundant-same body kit, same interior theme, same wheels and so forth.
When William Law first decided to build his 1994 Acura Integra a year ago, he knew from the start he had to be different-and he also knew how difficult becoming "different" could be. Law is no stranger to the import scene; he has constructed a number of vehicles prior to the build-up of his Integra and this gave him the upper hand on the competition. To make his Integra stand out from the masses, he wanted to push it to the next level. He decided to build his Integra in the same lines of a Japanese Type-R. Unlike the U.S. version, the Type-R oversees features a higher horsepower powerplant and a completely new front-end. With the help of Vis Racing Sports, an entire 1998 Japanese Type-R front-end was imported into the United States. The Acura went under the knife as the sheetmetal at the nose was removed as well as the radiator core support. The new Type-R core support had to be welded on in order to accommodate the new headlights and front bumper.
To elevate the bar higher, the Acura's body moldings were removed and a four-piece Buddy Club-look body kit was installed by Sunny Styling. A Bomex S14 rear wing was modified to fit on the Integra's hatch. With the front-end installed and the body kit in place, the vehicle was sent to Diamond Auto Body for painting. Miguel at Diamond sprayed several lustrous coats of PPG Type-R Championship White paint on the smoothed-out Integra.
Law knew that to bring the vehicle to the next level, the powerplant would have to be addressed. To add a more exclusive flavor to his Integra, a fully built Type-R powerplant was positioned in the engine bay. Unfortunately for Law, the bottom-end of the Type-R spun a bearing, destroying the entire short block. Avoiding negative tunnel vision, Law took it as an opportunity to implement a LS/VTEC conversion. He retained the Type-R top-end and incorporated a B20 lower half. The top half of the engine has also been massaged with a port-and-polish treatment from KG Precision Engineering. Heavy-duty stainless-steel valves and high-tension valve springs were added to the head and a pair of Top Fuel bumpsticks now handle valvetrain orchestration. The Type-R intake and throttle body were left stock but on the exhaust side there was an extensive makeover. Residing in place of the factory exhaust manifold is an HKS turbo manifold and GT2530 turbocharger. The hot side of the turbocharger is fed through 2.5-inch aluminum piping fabricated by Mario Lozano of TSR Fabrication in Torrance, Calif. A front-mount air-to-air HKS intercooler chills the charge air before it rambles into the intake. An HKS Super Sequential blow-off valve relieves unwanted boost pressure from backpedaling to the compressor blade. Boost control is handled by an HKS EVC III and HKS standard wastegate. Exhaust gases are evacuated by 2.5-inch stainless-steel downpipe and a Super Drager exhaust system from HKS.
Seeing a need for more fuel, the factory fuel system was upgraded with a Top Fuel in-tank fuel pump and Blitz 534cc injectors. Engine management chores have been assigned to an HKS F-Con V piggy-back computer. The HKS F-CON V allows the user to recalibrate fuel mapping and ignition timing by altering the signals between the ECU and the sensors. Igniting the air/fuel mixture is a Twin Power ignition amplifier from HKS, tag-teamed with Ultra 8 mm wires and NGK spark plugs. After a quick tuning session, the Integra laid down an impressive 285 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque to the wheels on Dynamic Autosport's DynoJet.
Giving the Integra its aggressive stance is a set of Progress Competition coilovers. The fully ride-height-adjustable suspension system was configured to drop the Acura a total of 3 inches all around. Tucked under the wheelwells are highly exotic 18-inch Advan Racing Model 6s wrapped with 225/35ZR Advan Avid rubber. Bringing the Integra to a halt is a set of cross-drilled Power Stop rotors and Type-R calipers all around while chassis stiffness was addressed by adding Pilot Motorsports front and rear carbon Kevlar strut tower braces.
As one eyes the interior, the Type-R Integra suede Recaros and Type-R Momo steering wheel jump into focus. The back seat has retained the theme with black suede accented with red stitching compliments of OEM Honda Type-R. A factory Type-R gauge cluster with a 10,000-rpm tachometer and speedometer in kilometers teams with a plethora of HKS gauges to monitor engine vitals. Providing the tunes while cruising the boulevard is a Clarion double-din radio powering a pair of 5.5-inch Kicker speakers up front and two rear-mounted 10-inch Kicker solobaric subwoofers in a custom Fiberglas enclosure. The stereo and gauges were flawlessly wired up by Phil at Pro Audio Motorsports in Torrance, Calif.
Law has elevated his Acura to another level combining speed, sounds, suspension and style all in one package. With blood, sweat and tears poured into the build-up of the Integra, one is amazed to learn Law is selling this awesome ride. He has always wanted to build a right-hand-drive vehicle. Judging by the craftsmanship of his Integra, be on the lookout as Law brings another vehicle to the next level.