Paul the Apostle wasn't necessarily talking about K-series-swapped Integras when he, in so many words, spoke to the Corinthians in the Bible's New Testament, telling them to "race to win." But it's those words that've gone on to influence just about everything Daniel Stoicescu does. For Daniel, winning starts with a midrange, third-generation Acura Integra with an automatic transmission, which he turned into the closest thing you'll find to a Japanese-spec Type R. "We picked up this car as a project for my wife," he says. "She'd recently been [to] Europe and came back insisting we do [a] right hand-drive conversion."
Winning also meant doing that right hand conversion justice. "My greatest challenge was [keeping] the integrity of the frame intact and making sure that when the conversion was performed, the lines of the car continued to be OEM," Daniel says. "That's something car builders struggle with, and you'll frequently see in the seams and lines of right hand-drive-converted cars that things aren't lining up as they should."
Flush and lined-up panels are even more important when you're trying to graft the front half of a genuine Integra Type R onto the forward end of a measly old Integra LS. For Daniel, doing it right meant nothing was rushed. "This step was pretty tedious," he says regarding how the whole left-to-right conversion went down. "I spent a significant amount of time lining up the bay, ensuring the firewall was sufficiently protective, and that the frame was supported and reinforced to prevent shifting." It was all done in an effort to let the Milano Red paint he'd go on to apply himself look as good as you'd expect it to—a process that lasted three months.
Six months of work in Daniel's garage might not sound like anybody was racing to win anything, but the results—and the fact that he, that wife of his, and his kids drove the finished product 3,000 miles cross-country to Southern California's Eibach Meet—meant he did, indeed, win. "Driving a fresh build like that so far was a little nerve-wracking, but we made it there and back without incident," he says about the K24A-swapped Acura that remains relatively stock underneath its valve cover but is anything but on its exterior. "I don't drive it to pick up groceries or anything; my goal was to build it to use it and abuse it."
Abuse comes by way of the 238-whp European-spec 2.4L engine that's been augmented with an ASP four-into-one header, an RBC intake manifold, and a laundry list of K-Tuned bits, all of which are controlled by Hondata's K-Pro engine management. "In the past, I'd run B-series [engines], but after driving a friend's K, I've never wanted to go back," Daniel says about forgoing the Type R's B18C for something bigger. "For this project, there really was no other option—K is the way!"
The right mix of supporting parts outside the engine bay were also, as it seems, the way. K-Tuned's K1 coilovers help keep the Volk Racing wheels and Nitto tires on the ground, Spoon Sports calipers squeeze the brake pads onto those rotors at the right moment, and Status seats and Crow harnesses help make sure Daniel and his wife stay planted where they ought to be.
As is the case with Daniel's previous projects, he didn't put this Integra together just for himself. By way of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, he shares how exactly he does what he does. "I've been so blessed to be surrounded by people who've lent me their support and knowledge, and through those channels I've tried to pass that knowledge along," he says about why he'd rather share how to do things like stick a K24 underneath the hood than remain tight-lipped about it. "It's become a family passion to teach and inspire others," he says. "...a reminder to focus on what's important, to encourage others and build them up, and to bless those around me as I've been blessed."
For Daniel, "racing to win" is both a literal sentiment and a figurative one. Literal in the sense that a K24-swapped Integra like his will tend to win its share of races. Figurative in the sense that there are bigger goals in life than those that can be achieved by way of a TIG welder and a set of wrenches. "Yeah, I want to drive fast cars and win races, but the real goal is to live a life that's worthy—to point my kids, my family, and those around me to the one who deserves our praise," Daniel says. "It's my hope to be able to encourage and help those on this road with me, be it with advice on their own build or with encouragement in life."
Before there was the Integra, there was Daniel's Nagaro blue '93 Civic Si, a build that was every bit as homegrown and self-built as that Acura of his. Like the Integra, the K-series reigns supreme, this time boosted by way of a Comp 6262 turbo, which resulted in 487 whp on pump gas. And, like the Integra, Daniel shared the whole buildup by way of his social media presence, once again paying it all forward as he saw fit.
K-swaps, painting cars, and doing things right the first time dates back to Daniel's sixth-generation Civic, painted Honda's famed Championship White, in which he dropped a 227hp K24. It's also a build that set the precedent for involving his wife and kids every step of the way, mostly because that hatchback of his was bought the very day his first son was born.