Have you ever seen a Chevy with the butterfly doors? My guess is you probably have, but I can almost guarantee you've never seen an Integra sedan complete with fenders flared, a rear diffuser and a fully tucked and shaved K swap. That is unless you have had the pleasure of seeing Dennis Lui's car already. While there have been many other DB8s built before, the chances are, unless you're in Dennis' good graces you've never seen anything like it.
That's the way Liu likes to keep the car, under the radar while constantly changing license plates, among other pieces. "It's like a transformer!" he tells me. While in its six-year metamorphosis the car took on more shapes than Michael Jackson's face. Starting with a GS-R platform from the get-go Liu made a start by bolting a GReddy turbo kit to the stock B18C1. Later, a built B16 replaced the GS-R for a short while until it was exchanged for another B18C1, only this time packed with Spoon internals. Clearly the B series engines just weren't cutting the mustard, so Dennis scrapped the older configuration for something much newer. Alas the K series engine donned the bay with power to spare and OEM reliability to boot. But why did it take so many motors before the ultimate decision was made? Because Dennis is a very eccentric guy, one who rather than dreaming up ideas, puts ideas in motion and always keeps them spinning.
Everyone knows what keeps a car in motion while spinning - wheels. Wheel selection can be a tough decision for even your average enthusiast. Liu would initially choose Volk TE37s, a timeless classic for most Japanese makes. TE37s are an excellent choice, no doubt, but they were just a little too boring. Naturally, Dennis' thoughts ran rampant and he decided to play automotive hot potato with his wheel and suspension choices... keep up if you can.
Regamaster Evos were next in line followed by Advan RGs. Sick of the 4 lug, Dennis swapped in JDM ITR 5X114.3 hubs and changed wheels like a madman. USDM ITR wheels and JDM ITR wheels were the starting point. CE28Ns went on next then another set of Regamaster Evos, which lead to Spoon SW388s followed by a storm of other Volk, Advan and Enkei wheels. Giving up on the Type R pattern Liu went back to 4X100 and threw a smorgasbord of Advan, Enkei and Volk at the car. Calculating a possible error in his ways, Dennis decided to give 5 lug one more shot, just to be sure he didn't miss anything. In the process SSR EX-C Mesh found their way onto the Integra along with some MK2Rs. When the fire dwindled in his bolt-pattern-bonanza Dennis acquired 96 Spec ITR 4X114.3 suspension from me in a trade, amidst a wheel swapping frenzy of my own (see page 82.)
Finally, content on a big 4 lug layout Dennis went through a mere two sets of wheels before he installed the HREs on the car today. Pushed out to the max Liu dodged the trend of running rear-wheel-drive staggered wheels on a front-wheel-drive car and put the meat where it can be used, in the front. Some J's Racing fender flares were mounted to make room for the massive 17X9 front wheels. The experience gained in all the years of wheel swapping definitely paid off - the current set fits absolutely perfectly. There's nothing worse than a car with large flares and no wheels to match, the pitiful sunken-in look you hate to see. While Dennis may have 99 problems, wheel fitment ain't one.
Along with his namby-pamby woes, Dennis also had an extremely hard time deciding on how he wanted the front of the car to look. Around the same time that Dennis was still on his original 4X100 suspension, he was originally rockin' a stock front end with an ITR lip. He then switched over to a Wings West bumper and started to turn up the riceometer. At the pinnacle of Fast and Furious styling he had a Lexus IS300 headlight conversion at the same time as his first ITR lug pattern. When his guiding inner voice picked up Liu found a path towards a cleaner look and ditched the confused Acura-Lexus monstrosity for a SiR-G front end, which inspired the complimenting 4 lug de-conversion. The final stage, obviously, is the JDM ITR front end, clad with all its lovely carbon-fiber accoutrements.
Now I could go on about the numerous changes to the interior as well, but I think Dennis sums it up best. "I've done every seat combo you could possibly think of," he laughs. "I realized if I kept switching setups I would never finish my car." (And you may never finish reading this article.) "So I stopped buying different setups and started picking parts I truly wanted on the car." What Dennis truly wanted inside the car was Mugen, and lots of it. Seats, rails, cluster, pedals, shift knob - the list goes on, but it flows perfectly. The two-tone red and black theme is continued from the exterior and shows a well thought out build, one that came at the price of many overhauls.
Fortunately, all the remodeling wasn't done alone, close friend Rainer De Leon was there to help along the way. All paint and bodywork was completed by Rainer, affectionately known as "toto" by friends, in a home garage. You'd be none the wiser to guess it was all professionally done in a booth when you see the car in person, a result of true dedication put in by real enthusiasts. Toto also assisted in assembling and installing the K series engine. The completed bay resembles an art piece in the upper echelon of contemporary car tuning. Everything is located in its proper place with function at the forefront but tucked and hidden making sure aesthetics aren't a blatant afterthought.
Finding a unique way to blend style and function seems to be a knack for Dennis. With an equal amount of aggressive clash and clean flow the car is a perfect balance between race, show and street. Although you would never guess by looking, a majority of the parts used weren't even designed for the DB8 chassis, but with a vision and desire Liu saw the project through in the end. Such projects aren't completed easily, let alone cheaply, as Dennis experienced first hand. "I learned how expensive it is to finish a project of this caliber." He explains. "But I also learned a lot about friendships." Many times that's really what it takes, friends, dedication and money... all in mass amounts. If you are lucky enough to see this car driving in Sea Town, just remember, for DL, stuntin' is a habit.
2001 Acura Integra GS-R
Owner Dennis LUI
Hometown Seattle, WA
Daily Grind Walgreens Pharmacy Manager
Under The Hood 2.4L naturally-aspirated K24A2; Hasport EGK1 mounts; DTR 2.4L large tube header; Custom 3" exhaust; Hybrid Racing PNP K20 engine harness; Yeeserious plumbed and shaved RBC manifold, shaved valve cover; Karcepts throttle body adapter; Aeroquip starlite hose; Team 2to custom-shaved engine bay, wire tuck, brake line tuck; Jiffytite quick disconnect fittings; ARC Skyline oil cooler; Mugen oil filter; Fuel lab fuel filter and fuel pressure regulator; AEM fuel rail; J's Racing engine torque damper; FEEL'S master cylinder brace; Beatrush cooling plate; Samco radiator hoses; Visteon radiator; Sard oil cap; Marshall fuel gauge; Alloy Racing catch can; Vision test pipe; Walbro 255 fuel pump; Spoon Sports radiator stay; Custom intake with AEM bypass; K&N air filter and catch can breather; NGK spark plugs
Drivetrain Exedy Stage 2 clutch; Karcepts shift mount kit
Brains Hasport/Hondata K-Pro
Stiff Stuff Function Form Type 2 coilovers; Function7 rear lower control arms; ITR front sway bar; Comptech rear sway/tie bar combo; Skunk 2 camber kit front and rear; Summit 4pt rear strut bar; JDM ITR 4X114.3 suspension conversion; FullRace traction bar (track)
Stoppers ITR front calipers and rotors; Hawk HP brake pads; ARP extended wheel studs
Rollers HRE 540R 17X9 front 17X8 rear wrapped in Falken Azenis 215/40/17 front 205/40/17 rear (street); Advan SA3R 17X8 front 17X7 rear wrapped in Advan A032R 235/40/17 (track); Project Kics R40 lug nuts
Outside Audi TT Brilliant Red paint; C-West front lip, side skirts, carbon-fiber hood; ARC front splitters; Z spec carbon-fiber front canards; JDM front end conversion; J's Racing fender flares; JDM HOP window visors; Mugen trunk latches; VIS carbon-fiber trunk; Custom rear diffuser w/side generators; First Molding carbon-fiber rear canards; Custom side mirrors; Shaved door moldings; Rear door handles all around (keyless); Moroso battery kill switch mounted in trunk; Remote battery terminals mounted in taillight
Inside Mugen door sill plates, shift knob, pedal set, DC5R dead pedal, ECU stay, gauge cluster, Racing 3 steering wheel, S1R bucket seats, seat rails; Willans 4pt white harnesses; Custom suede door panels, head liner, pillar covers; Beatrush rear diversion panel; Odyssey PC925 battery in trunk; Circuit Hero shifter; Autopower 4pt roll bar; HOP personal box, clock delete, airbag delete, radio delete, armrest delete; SRR ignition switch; Signal Auto 1st gen quick release; Splash short steering hub; SPA tachometer
Props Jon Duppong, Rainer DeLeon; Vu, Mel, Tom aka "Da Tamas", Yee, Shafin, Nick, Josh Soriano, Steve, Mickey, Joey, Adam @ weaksauce, my parents for their love and support, and my lovely girlfriend Ada and can't forget the crews Fusion X, Trik Speed, Team 2TO
WWW c-westusa.com; hasport.com; hrewheels.com; jsracing-net.com; mugen-power.com