Finding a clean and affordable Acura Integra Type R today isn't easy. Most folks who own one don't want to part ways, while the ones who do are charging an arm and a leg. We've seen mint-condition ITRs skyrocket into the $30-40k range, while slightly battered ones can still pull a $20k premium. To many people these prices seem outrageous, especially when there's a long list of cars out there that can offer more power for a fraction of the cost. Still, there's something special about owning a piece of sport compact history. Just ask any Honda lifer, like Chuy Navarro.
With less than 4,000 DC2 Integra Type Rs sold in North America from '97 to '01, Chuy is the man behind the wheel of this Phoenix Yellow example. "I've owned this car for almost three years, basically bought it to start road racing," Chuy told us. "It was also my high school dream car that I couldn't afford back then." Back then meaning '97, when Chuy first dipped his head into the scene, frequenting the now legendary Compton street races. Chuy used to borrow his uncle's '87 Mazda RX-7 Turbo II to bring to the races, until he became a true Honda loyalist and known throughout Southern California's Honda community. Since high school, he's worked on and driven eight different Honda project cars that include a 753hp turbocharged Integra and a '98 JDM-spec Integra Type R that is still a work in progress today. However, this yellow Type R isn't just another car in his portfolio; it just so happens to be one of his favorite cars to date, fulfilling his teenage dreams and also being a car he can enjoy seven days a week.
It's not geared to be all go or all show, but has just enough done to make it well tuned for weekend track days, while also being able to commute to work with it whenever he pleases. Things like a built valvetrain, full V-band exhaust fabricated by his buddy Nhan Vo, and a 5-Axis CNC-ported Type R head done by his late friend Saul Salceda, help the 1.8L inline-four reach 230 hp. The chassis has also been developed with the essentials for sharper handling and better braking, such as suspension from Exceed Japan and larger Wilwood calipers and rotors up front. Styling cues weren't ignored, either, with Mag blue Volk Racing CE28 wheels and LED tails—subtle mods, yet just enough to set Chuy's Type R apart from every other Phoenix Yellow Integra.
Overall, Chuy isn't looking to take home car show trophies or break FF Battle lap records. He not only proudly owns, but enjoys a piece of Honda history. "My Type R has discontinued parts, custom-fabricated parts, I take it to the track, meets, shows, and also to certain dinner spots with my girlfriend. So my car does a lot besides sitting in my garage."