Of all the Honda subgroups, enthusiasts who own Integras of the Type R variety are by far the most eccentric and "cliquey." They tend to hold their Integras to a higher regard, and for good reason. The price of an ITR in the resale market has recently skyrocketed and the demand continues to grow. As our generation gets older, this once-seemingly unattainable dream car for many Honda lovers is now within grasp, you just have to be willing to make it more of an investment than a full teardown project. The only Honda that is more revered is the NSX, and the prices on Honda's supercar are increasing just as fast. The big dilemma with owning an Integra Type R is how far you really want to go in terms of customization. Some may be okay with sacrificing the overall resale value of the car in hopes of building their dream car, while others try to keep at as original as possible. Keeping it stock can be fun too, but how much can you really enjoy an untouched car?
A full wire-tuck job, wildly-clean and shaved engine bay, and custom roll cage all sound exciting, but it may be a little over the top for most ITR owners. Those who go that route either have enough expendable income to do whatever they want, or they may be fortunate enough to own more than one R. Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum are guys like Shyam Sookram. The Brooklyn, New York native's ITR isn't too far out of the reach of something attainable for others looking to venture into modding Hondas. His 2001 DC2 is "just right" on the scale of stock-to-wild. It's traditional in many ways, but he's added his own unique touch to set it apart from your typical full catalog-style build.
On the outside, his Phoenix Yellow R features some Mugen touches, like the front bumper, side skirts, and rear spoiler, giving the impression it's just your typical (but still extravagant) Mugen build. Upon closer inspection, however, you realize he's done what most dedicated Mugen-worshippers would never do—mix in a solid helping of components from Spoon Sports. These days, many might find it unusual to think this way, since it isn't exactly uncommon to see Mugen and Spoon together. For true aficionados however, the combination is like mixing oil and water, but Sookram just enjoys doing as he pleases to his build and feels it's of little importance how others feel about it.
The Mugen "look", if you will, is actually a recent transition. Prior to this iteration, Sookram was very much a dedicated Spoon Sports guy. Where you see that influence the most is under the hood. At the core it looks like a stock B18C R motor that has never been touched, but the engine has actually been out of its bay a number of times. It currently has a ported and polished cylinder head, upgraded pistons, as well as Eagle connecting rods. On the surface of the engine, mostly everything is from Spoon Sports. The only thing missing is the Spoon air-box and kevlar intake arm. Instead, he's chosen to keep the factory arm with an air filter from Japanese tuning firm Vision. The factory five-speed transmission has held up over the years but is also upgraded via a clutch and flywheel assembly from Spoon. At times you'll find this ITR with a set of bronze Mugen MF10 wheels to match the aesthetic theme, though currently it sits on Volk Racing TE37. As expected, behind the wheel spokes are signature blue Spoon Sports front brakes.
The most aggressive alteration to the Integra is the Japanese ITR face, which some R-loyalists would scoff at because it isn't a "real Honda Integra Type R" from Japan. Some ITR-owners who idealize the American R as it comes from the factory are just being snobs when they choose to complain about it. Overall, the car is a beauty, frozen in time with a collection of period-correct parts and an engine bay housing the B-series heart it came with. Nothing about the engine compartment is over-the-top. There is no tuck, nothing has been shaved smooth, and everything is reversible, if necessary. Inside you'll find a unique twist as Sookram chose to run rare Type Rx Recaro front seats, which are a bright yellow finish, accompanied by Rx rear seats.
Balance is a word that is appropriate for Shyam Sookram's ITR. It's an amalgamation of traditional parts one would expect and some choice options Sookram elected to include, making it his own. Value with his build is in the eye of the beholder. He'll keep adding to the car, but never to the extent where it would be out of character for him. You take builds like this as they are - an ode to its Japanese counterpart - which all Honda-lovers grew up idolizing. Value for Shyam is getting to hang out in the garage with his brother, Anil, working on their Hondas together, and driving them to various events all over. In that sense, resale value means absolutely nothing, but this Integra Type R is priceless.