The turbocharged Honda was the tip of the spear during the import scene's formative years and, for a great number of enthusiasts, that spearhead is still as sharp as ever. John Wilson of St. Petersburg, Fla., had a grass-is-greener moment before realizing that Hondas were his true calling. "After building a CRX that made 450 whp and was just plain scary to drive, I thought I needed more refinement," says the LHT Performance tech. "I then bought a Mitsubishi EVO, thinking once built it would be the answer to everything. After owning it for less than three months I realized it just didn't feel right," John says. "This uneasiness turned to hatred after I drove my friend's Integra Type R that put out only 300 whp. I had never really driven a Type R and thought it was a hyped GSR and not worth the extra money."
In a fix for sure, the cosmic tumblers aligned for John in a most amazing fashion. "While I had my EVO up for sale I found out one of our customers had decided to sell his yellow Type R in search of an EVO for its four-door convenience," John says. "We quickly struck a deal and the Type R went under the knife after a quick hot lap around the block to make sure it was in pristine running order."
The engine was unceremoniously pulled and the block sent to Golden Eagle Manufacturing in San Dimas, Calif., for a full array of machining procedures and precision assembly. The B18C was fitted with boost-ready 9.7:1 forged CP pistons and Crower billet rods. John also ordered Supertech valvetrain items and other hard parts needed for life under boost. "At first I was only planning on building it to around 350 whp but I got carried away with the build," he says. Instead of dropping a turbo kit on the Type R John proved if you're going to get carried away, get carried far away. "I ended up building my own sheetmetal intake manifold, spent 20-plus hours porting the head and, after talking to Precision Turbo, I went with a custom turbo system based on a GT35R," John says. LHT now offers a custom turbo system, the LHT600 turbo kit.
The seriously sculpted VTEC head was fortified with 0.5mm-oversized Supertech valves, high-revving Supertech double-spring valvesprings and Supertech retainers. The Precision Turbo GT35R is secured by a custom LHT turbo header. LHT also fabbed a 3-inch downpipe and 4-inch exhaust system that terminates with a Magnaflow muffler.
The fuel system has been improved with a Walbro 255lph pump and upgraded injectors but beyond that the rail, lines and filter are stock. A Hondata S300 is the tuning platform for this boosted B-Series. The S300 is a module that installs in the stock ECU, transforming it into a fully accessible and tunable computer. It is capable of handling forced induction, has built-in datalogging and provides instantaneous, real-time data downloading. John reports that after about 300 break-in miles on the new engine the Type R was wheeled onto the dyno. "The first pull was 320 whp and the combination made power easier than I expected. After about three hours it left with 512 whp at 23 psi, which seemed more than enough," John says. "This was my first time tuning a Hondata and since then we have become a dealer and the S300 is the main ingredient in all our builds."
A familiar series of events ensued. John decided to move on to the exterior. "The next thing was the front end. The JDM front clip really makes the Integra look 10 years younger," he says. LHT installed the sheetmetal to make sure it all fit 100 percent OEM and then Superior Auto body painted it to match.
From there the Type R's handling was addressed. The suspension features Tein Flex coilovers with Electronic Damping Force Control (EDFC). Tein's EDFC allows the driver to change shock settings from the cockpit while on the move. The car's brakes and sway bars remained stock. "But, we welded up a lot of the body seams to add rigidity, which really worked out well considering the Type R was already more rigid than a GSR," John says. The Type R's interior is pretty trick right from the factory so John elected to perform some mild stereo upgrades, install Defi gauges and call it a day.
The familiar series of events arrived at its predestined conclusion; what seemed like more than enough wasn't. "After building many 400 and 500hp Hondas I decided the R should make a little more," John says. "I wanted to prove you can have air conditioning, power steering and all the creature comforts and make gobs of power." So he went back to the dyno with some larger injectors, 5 gallons of C16 and his laptop so see what the Type R could do. "Since the original build we had made a carbon-fiber intake tube, a 4-inch aluminum exhaust and larger intercooler piping. At the same boost as the last run the car made 567 whp with these small mods," John says. "Some additional cam gear tuning and maxing the fuel system, turbo and drag radials (they were spinning on the dyno), the B18 pounded out 647 whp at 33 psi." He said the car came off the dyno a little after midnight and a quick test drive made him realize that this was way too much power in a front-wheel-drive car, even with drag radials. "It sure was a blast though and breaking the tires loose at 80 mph brings a big smile every time," John says. "I guess you can never have too much power." We could have told you that, John, we've been living by those words since 1985.
As John can attest, a true calling is difficult to deny. "I have driven many cars at all power levels," he tells us, "but still, to this day, I have never enjoyed a car as much as my Type R. My K20-powered Insight does come in a close second though." The Acura has went a "traction challenged" 11.97 seconds at 134 mph on 15-inch drag radials, but the car is built as a daily driver and John reports 30-plus mpg when he can resist the urge to splurge. As John will soon realize, resistance is futile.
2001 Acura Integra Type-R
Power: 740 WHP @ 33 PSI
Golden Eagle Machining
LHT Performance LHT600 Turbo Kit
Precision GT35R Turbo
LHT Performance Turbo Manifold
LHT Performance Downpipe
LHT Performance Exhaust System
LHT Performance Intake Manifold
TiAL Sports BOV
TiAL Sports Wastegate
Precision Front-Mount Intercooler
LHT Performance Intercooler Piping
Walbro Fuel Pump
Precision 1200 cc Injectors
Stock ITR Cams
Supertech Valve Springs
Clutchmasters Stage 4 Clutch Set
Driveshaft Shop Axles
Tein Flex Coilovers
Integra Type-R Front Fascia
UK Integra Type R Cluster
Defi BF Series Gauges
Alpine Head Unit
Yokohama ES-100 225/40-17