It's been two years since my prolonged tenure with Honda Tuning came to an end, and holy crap have I missed writing about the scene. For those who are unfamiliar with my work, I was that foul-mouthed jackwagon who got the inside scoop on Backyard Special only days before a typhoon raped Nagoya's tender rectum and then turned around to sniff the titanium tailpipe of the Top Fuel Time Attack S2000. But now I'm happy to announce that I'm back. And to all you Integra fanatics—get ready! Your perverse affinity for all things track-prepped and JDM is about to get one helluva tantalizing kick in the balls, all courtesy of M&M Honda of Fukuoka, Japan!
M&M is solely responsible for this '06 Integra Type R, owned by longtime customer Mikitoshi Hashimoto. Since the DC5 ITR was never made available here, we were immediately drawn to this car for obvious reasons. M&M is one of those aftermarket companies that designs, engineers, and manufactures the extreme, specializing in components built to perform well on the track that double as street legal in Japan. Every car the company touches walks a fine line between day-to-day practicality and maximum performance, as its entire catalog continues to be fabricated in-house from aero to exhaust, along with individual throttle body setups like the one seen on this DC5.
Hashimoto-san's Integra began its transformation more than a decade ago when a plan for Time Attack was mentioned in the office. It didn't take long before the entire vehicle was stripped apart, then meticulously seam-welded for rigidity. After all of the tediousness associated with this process came to a close, a Cusco 'cage was added, followed by an armada of one-off parts that doubled as R&D guinea pigs for the (at the time) infallible DC5 chassis and utterly unshakeable K20 motor. In retrospect, virtually every M&M Honda part made for this platform owes a debt of gratitude to this beast, even as the build continued to a crescendo in '15, when a full-blown widebody was installed.
But just when everything seemed golden in the Land of the Rising Sun, a shitstorm suddenly emerged on the horizon. Tragedy struck during a track day at Autopolis Circuit only hours after the widebody was finished, when on the heels of setting a new personal record, a cataclysmic spot of contact between the DC5 and another competitor resulted in an obliterated front fender and side skirt. If this had taken place on American soil, threats would have been thrown and middle fingers would have surely been extended; but being that it's Japan, the driver of the other car offered countless apologetic bows for the infraction and the crew and M&M took no offense. The car was hauled away and fully repaired just days before our photo shoot, and to our surprise, M&M wasn't worried about the freshly refinished body, but was instead more than eager to take it out on the public highway for us.
Driving a car like this out on the streets of Japan isn't as easy as throwing on a dealer plate and hoping for the best. M&M had to go through major steps in make the fattened Integra legit. Japan harbors a dizzying array of complex hoops to jump through in order to allow anything like this on the open road. To accomplish something like this, the car's title had to be changed so that it included details on the DC5's bulkier "Hyper" fenders and 265-series tires. Also, the white-gloved inspection snobs down at the local Japan-equivalent of the DMV tend to be extremely strict when it comes to reviewing whether every modification is permissible on public roads. Thanks to M&M's know-how of the legal system, the DC5 passed registration with flying colors and is now able to drive on the street whenever needed—although truth be told, this ITR was designed to be piloted on the track.
Another interesting touch is the choice to go with an ITB setup over a boosted powerplant, which is not all that uncommon in Japan when it comes to Hondas. Recalibrated to make around 300 hp, these 50mm linear quad cones give the coupe the gumption to take on both track and back road alike. "The most unique thing about this car is that it doesn't feel like an NA car when it accelerates. It pulls very hard!" Mikitoshi exclaimed.
When asked what's next, the guys at M&M say that future plans for the track-prepped Integra include a sequential gearbox to allow swifter and far more precise shifting than the current six-speed. We were also overjoyed to hear that the car will keep evolving, simply because it's a solid platform and a damn fun one to tinker with at that. Stripped and empowered, 'caged and ready to rage, M&M Honda's DC5 strikes the perfect balance among weight ratio, brakes, downforce, grip, and rigidity. Plus, being 100 percent street legal only makes this track monster that much sweeter.
M&M Honda of Japan
The more hardcore Honda Tuning heads may recall that I've had the privilege of doing both a shop profile piece on M&M Honda in '12, then again in '13 when I revealed its utterly sublime CL7 Accord (the fastest in Japan). Many forget that this team has been around longer than J's Racing, Spoon Sports, and a myriad of other Japanese tuning shops, with almost 35 years of experience now under its belt, and a mess-load of trophies to back it all up. These guys were the ones who made the Wonder Civic work so wonderfully, thus pioneering the use and tuning of the legendary ZC engine. This was years prior to building an EF3 in '89, which as fate would have it, changed the Honda tuning landscape forever. Every modification done to that machine, from the chassis to the exhaust, engine, and brakes, was developed and fabricated in-house, which helped M&M Honda further secure its foothold within a rapidly growing industry. For the next 11 years, the tuning shop built every iconic chassis imaginable, from the EF9 and the EG6, to the EK4 and the EK9. M&M has become more than just a name in the Honda game; it has earned the right to be called an icon.