It seems everyone wants to be different. In the import circle, this fact is made apparent by all of those fly-by-night trends that are tossed to the side just as quickly as they arrived. Add to that the instantaneous car show you and I refer to as Instagram, and you can surely understand that "being different" in our world means more than just a rusted hood or bacon fenders and a set of wheels in dimensions better suited for a dually rather than a CRX.
Jutaphon Manpatarapong or, as we'll refer to him here, Pop, is all about being different. Hailing from Thailand and performing daily duties as the owner of Monster Fixed Garage, he's had a hand in building a number of cars in his region. This particular car, a '98 Integra sedan, isn't all that common in the aftermarket when compared to its two-door brethren, and in Thailand even stock versions are scarce. That stat alone is what appealed to Pop right away. That and the fact this car's body was in immaculate shape and had made its way to Thailand after being imported by the Embassy of Japan.
For three years the car was left as-is and served as a comfortable mode of transportation, easy to take friends on the road regularly. But for the owner of a shop, a stock car is like a sitting duck, just biding its time until he finds the time to start pulling things apart. When the operation got underway, the single rule applied to the build was that no matter what, it had to remain fun to drive, and in the end that's exactly what Pop was left with.
The khaki color applied to Pop's Integra covers a USDM front bumper fitted with a P1 lip and Tracklife fender inserts that add some attitude to the front end. The 25/ONE carbon fiber splitter and Varis rear wing fight for aero balance while 16x8-inch Barramundi Raycod rollers give you a different look than the standard 2 or 3 sets of wheels that every other Integra seems to have currently.
The look is certainly there but that's only half the battle. The other half is the motivation, and in this case it all starts with a K24/K20 combo. On the bottom end you'll find Wiseco pistons married to Manley rods, and up top, BC stage III cams and a Supertech valvetrain are in place to help process the additional air and fuel supplied by the AT Power ITB kit and 550cc injectors. More of that custom paint and not much else surrounds the built power plant, as anything deemed unnecessary was pulled out of the bay entirely or tactfully tucked out of plain view.
You won't find a stripped, barebones interior when you open one of the four doors, but instead, rather comfortable surroundings. The rear seats have been replaced by those from a Civic Ferio, rewrapped, custom stitched, and properly fitted to the DB chassis. The red stitching continues into the front of the cabin where a pair of Mugen MS-Z buckets is anchored. An ATC steering wheel and K-Tuned shifter keep Pop's hands busy as engine vitals dance across the Racepak dash display.
The pristine body the car was purchased with is still there, though considerably reworked for a one-off look and feel that Pop is proud to call his own. His goal of building something different was certainly reached, and perhaps more importantly is the fact it remains fun to drive, just like he planned.