Alex Soto could be called an up-and-comer in the Honda community, but he's by no means a newbie. You may remember his Civic hatch that earned multiple magazine and online features and we were sure it was only a matter of time before he'd be back with something brand new for that ass. On behalf of Super Street, I am proud to give you the first look at his latest project as well as an exclusive interview with the young man behind the most unassuming build in this country that costs more than an arm and a leg to put together.
Super Street: First and foremost, where are you from and how old are you?Alex Soto: Man, I was actually born in L.A. I lived in Fontana, California `til I was 13 and moved to Lafayette, Colorado which is what I consider my home. And I'm 23 now.
SS: Ahh that's cool, so when did you move back to SoCal?AS: I moved out here when I just turned 18. I needed to get involved in something, at the time I didn't know what. My dad has been living out here so I just moved in with him.
SS: How did you get started with Hondas?AS: Well it all goes back to when I lived in Fontana. My best friend Joseph was just getting into them and one night he took me to the Ontario street races, I was 12! And did I find a love for speed! Then a couple of weeks later I moved to Colorado. I kept in touch with him and every summer I would come to SoCal and he would take me to the street races in his `99 Civic EX hahaha, good times I tell ya.
SS: What was your very first build?AS: My Civic actually, I drove it down with me from Colorado and has been through hell with me - that's the reason why I will never sell it.
SS: That's cool. So for those of our reader's not familiar with it, give us a little background on the EG. Why did you choose that platform initially?AS: Well it's a `94 Civic CX. When I moved out here I beat on it bad, I swapped it with a GS-R [motor] and would squeeze the hell out of it! Then that thing blew. I was sick of droppin' mad money into it so I did a full build from the ground up and was then later featured on the cover of the Oct. '07 issue of Honda Tuning.
SS: What turned you on to the show-and-go theme you've done with both your Civic and this Integra?AS: Jason Whitfield. He is the guy I went to when I first came out here and then I just wanted the best of all worlds, like his cars.
SS: Well he builds some amazing stuff. In this day and age where everyone is so quick to swap a K Series into any Honda chassis, what made you decide to go B series with both your Civic and Integra?AS: Man, well, the Civic was already a hard-core NA build before I color changed it. But on the Iteg?! Honestly K is the "new" thing and I really try to stay away from what everyone does, but it gets harder and harder every year. And the other reason is I've never done a turbo B series -- so I could take two steps forward without the others, not my style. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I can make stupid power out of a K series, NA or boost, but I gotta max out the B before I go K.
SS: That brings me to my next question, what made you decide to boost this car?AS: My buddy Hieu from Texas! I was originally gonna slap on a Drag turbo kit or something (to keep the a/c), but every day I would talk to him and he would tell me about this crazy turbo setup he was doing. And well as we all know, you hang around something long enough and it won't be long before you take the step!
SS: Definitely. So before I forget, let's talk about the color. It's amazing! Where did you first see the color?AS: Oh man! That's the most asked question! So in the fall of `07 I was driving with my uncle Raul to San Fran. It was about sunset and this Chevy HHR pulls up next to us and I was driving. Well it looked pastel blue and I was like "cool" then it pulled up in front of me and turned gold! I was on it! So when I got back home I made my move.
SS: It's funny how things work out like that. This car started out as a beater, then the paint happened, then the rest of the build. How long did it take to finish this car?AS: Well here's the thing, it didn't become a project `till January 30th of this year. So I stacked up parts for under four months and then put it all together in three days! Man it killed me.
SS: Well I don't think anyone could tell - this build is 100% top notch. What mistakes or "learning experiences" did you make with your hatch that helped you with this build?AS: Honestly, nothing is a mistake. It makes me who I am. And it changes what I do now, shit I'm already ready for [build] number three! But plumbing the Integra was a lot easier since I learned what parts I needed when I built the Civic. On the Civic, I bought the wrong fittings for certain parts, so on this car, I already knew exactly what fittings I needed.
SS: Yes - there's almost nothing but AN fittings! Did you learn anything new on this build that will help as you move on to your third?AS: That's what I've been honestly asking myself. I'm tryin' really hard to see what else I can change, but I would have to say I'm done with B motors now.
SS: I see. The plot thickens. What's your favorite thing or part about this Integra?AS: Here's the thing, when you build a car focusing on one part that's all people will know the car for. I mean I'm sure the bay will pull more heads, but if you look at every part I tried to balance it all out. So it's all my equal in my eyes, but I would have to say the wiring! I'm a sucker for wiring and my buddy Ryan from Rywire made it exactly how I pictured it, break out at every junction and even a Mil/Spec connector on the distributor plug!
SS: So what's next on your list? Do you have any other changes in mind for the DC or are you ready to move onto another car?AS: Well I'm a horsepower junkie at heart! So I will be doing some testing with a larger turbo and different exhaust manifold setup from Ken at Peakboost. After that I'm taking a break from cars for a couple months, I now need to work on my house!
SS: Well you're carving quite a niche for yourself in the car scene. If you plan on carrying that over to the house I'll be waiting for your cover of Better Homes and Gardens! When the house is done though, what chassis do you plan on building next?AS: Thanks doggie, but a house is a never-ending project; I'll be going from my house to cars except I'm just runnin' out of room for cars. My work car is a `91 Civic Wago! I love this car and I need a challenge, and this is the perfect car! I would want to restore it to brand new status... so my Wago is next on the rack.
SS: Hmm so if my memory serves me correctly, that means a K series Wagovan!? Insane! Using your last two cars as an indicator, I'm sure it will be over the top!AS: Yes sir! I'm going to do my best to outdo my Teg, which in my eyes beat my Civic. Throughout the teg build I would just look over to my Civic and now I'll be doing that to the Teg.
SS: Do you have any outside inspiration for your builds?AS: Muscle cars! They've been around for ever and they've done everything we are now doing in our scene. And full-blown race cars, I mean I specialize in camshafts for big time race cars and man those things are insane! So I would say outside scenes.
SS: Awesome well I think that's about it. I'll be looking forward to your next build like I did this one! Thanks for your time.AS: Thank you! And thanks to everyone who supported me.
2001 Acura Integra
Owner Alexander "Sheepey" Soto
Hometown Riverside, CA
Daily Grind Performance Camshaft Specialist
Under the hood 1.8L Turbocharged VTEC B18C1 built by Matt Denton at Sheepey Built Garage; Web Camshafts "Sheepey Turbo Spec" Cams, Valves, Valve Springs, Retainers; Arias 9.8:1 pistons; Brian Crower connecting rods; PortFlow 3 angle valve job; Balanced rotating assembly; Custom polished Full Race intake manifold; RC 1000cc injectors; Dual Walbro 255lph fuel pumps; BDL fuel rail, fuel pressure regulator, cam gears, 72mm throttle body; NGK plug wires; Bullseye S366 Turbo w/ceramic coated exhaust housing and tin nickel plated compressor housing; TiAL 50mm blow-off valve, 44mm wastegate; Custom Go-Works 3" tin nickel plated aluminum charge piping, tin nickel plated intercooler, top mount turbo manifold, 3" downpipe, 2" wastegate dump, oil catch can; tin nickel plated valve cover; tin nickel plated cross member; Skunk2 3" RR exhaust system, Fluidyne 2 core radiator w/-16AN hose ends; Russell pro classic hoses replace all OEM hoses; Rywire Milspec engine harness w/Teflon wire and Raychem DR-25 heat shrink; steel socket head bolts replace all OEM engine bay hardware
Drivetrain S80 GSR transmission; Quaife LSD; Competition Clutch stage 5 clutch
Brains Hondata S300 w/boost by gear
Stiff Stuff Skunk2 Pro C suspension, rear lower control arms, front upper control arms
Rollers 15X6.5 Mugen MF10L wheels tin nickel plated w/205/50/R15 Falken Azenis RT-615 Tires
Stoppers Wilwood 6 Piston Dynalite front calipers and rotors; Stainless lines
Outside DuPont Golden Teal Metallic paint by Evans Auto Body; shaved antenna, bumper, molding and emblems; OEM ITR front lip; smoked corner lenses and taillights
Inside Mugen S1 bucketsSeats; Nardi Classic 320mm steering wheel; AIM Sport MXL Strata digital gauge cluster; Mugen shift knob, sport pedals
Props First and far most my man Jesus Christo for giving me life to do this! My GF Elsa Ramirez for all the support and making sure all my parts came in, Hieu Nguyen for all the help with the boost parts, Steve Story, Lori Dunlap, Art @ Web Cams, Greg @ go-autoworks.com, Javier @ Hondata, Victor @ Avid Racing, Leo @ Password JDM, Sean @ Status Racing, Marc @ Wilwood, Ken @ Peakboost, Tony & Chris @ Skunk2, Ryan @ Rywire, Gwan @ Auto BriteWorks, My Dad for letting me use his trucks!, Anthony @ AE Motoring, Jose @ Extreme performance for all the last min help! Bubba at DO IT DYNO for the badass tuning! Big Mike, Phaze2, my neighbor Keenen Smith aka Mr. K, Freddi Daniels for helping me tear the car down, my boy Bobby Coulter aka 8 o ate, Joseph Littleworlwin for introducing me to an awesome scene, Abe & Ivan Ramirez, Alfredo Enriquez, Dustin Long, Duane Zamora aka Pipe Man, Zach @ G&J AirCraft for keeping ALL my fittings in line, Jesse Powers from back home, Esteban & Javi Betancourt, my compa Edwin, my lil man Eian, ma man Mike Hooks, all the ATS* Garage homies from Norcal! My sisters and brothers and my DPK* Family for the motivation to finish this car! Nike SB'd for making it all happen. Much love to everyone.
www go-autoworks.com; hondatacom; passwordjdm.com; rywire.com; webcamshafts.com