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1992 Acura Integra LS - Like New

It's been 14 years and too many daily commutes to count since Ray Manalo first sank into the seats of his '92 integra sedan and fell in love. Since then, he's been trying to keep the magic alive for his prized LS.

Dec 1, 2006

The impulse to baby a new purchase is wired into every automotive enthusiast. Whether that acquisition is parts, tools or an entire new vehicle makes little difference; in the hands of a car guy who's just spent his hard-earned dough, it'll probably get copious amounts of TLC. It only makes sense. We'd like these objects of our passion to be viable for a long time, and usually the only way for that to happen is with meticulous care. How long something lasts is really just a question of how much commitment its owner has.

This is the tack that Raymund Manalo has adapted in keeping up his 1992 Integra LS sedan. Hailing from Daly City, Calif., Manalo is the original owner of the four-door, picking it up on July 31, 1992, from Mike Harvey Acura in Burlingame for around $16,000. For fear of voiding the factory warranty, he kept the car pretty much stock for the first 3 years, with the exception of a set of '92 GSR wheels and a rear OE spoiler he added shortly after assuming ownership.

"I wanted the spoiler to make the car look a bit more sportier, since it is a sedan," he explains.

Immediately after the DB1 daily driver had 36,000 miles, thus voiding the warranty, Manalo decided to lower it using Eibach Sport springs wound around Tokico HP dampers. With the suspension he also purchased his second set of wheels, a foursome of 16x7 Sure Design Plus rollers, some rare, old-school Japanese rims.

At this point, Manalo's cousin John, who was already deep into the import scene by 1995 with his CRX, began to heavily influence the project direction. He had a JDM "vision" for the Integra even before Manalo did and suggested he buy the one-piece headlights and HKS sport exhaust.

Engine mods for the 1.8-liter non-VTEC mill were also being weighed. Back then, Manalo was trying to build his car to keep up with the new VTEC Hondas but was very reluctant to do a full VTEC engine swap. His solution was to implement stage 1 Web cams, a JG throttle body, DC Sport headers, a Crane ignition box and external coil, and an XS Engineering ECU.

After the engine modifications, Manalo was relatively content with the Integra and decided to hold off on any other further tweaks until 1998. It was then that he made some slight changes to the exterior and suspension.

"I decided to go with a larger size wheel and purchased a set of 17-inch 5Zigen ARD GT Spokes," he clarifies. "Since the car sat a little higher with the larger rims, I decided to get a set of Ground Control coilovers so I could adjust the ride height properly."

Years passed and Manalo drove the sedan diligently to and from school and work every day, just keeping it as clean as he could. The daily grind along the streets of downtown San Francisco was an arduous one, though likely not as punishing as the accident the car got into in 2004. The front end damage wasn't too severe, but the altercation ushered in a new era for the project.

"I was on the verge of selling the car when I got into the accident," recalls Manalo. "Then one of the guys in our car group convinced me to rebuild it. I had also bought a truck at the time and started driving it more, and after that this car eventually just became a [full time] project."

No longer a daily driver, Manalo decided to do a complete exterior makeover on the car. He had it painted but kept the stock color, making simple adornments with a few JDM goodies. He added a set of power folding mirrors, thin side moldings, taillights, and window visors. He also worked in the VIS hood and JDP lip. With the aesthetic renovation the 17-inch wheels had to go, Manalo instead securing a clean set of 16-inch Watanabe wheels.

Since the exterior was brought up to snuff, Manalo felt as though the heart of the vehicle needed to be restored as well. For this part of the endeavor, he sourced a JDM Type R motor in Sacramento. He also opted to boot the old suspension and sub in a set of Function Form full coilovers. Then came the Power Slot rotors, Earl's brake lines, Full Race traction bar and Benen rear lower tie bar, and that is how the car sits today.

While its transformation has progressed slowly over the last decade and a half, Manalo believes the biggest challenge of the build may still lie ahead, a tranny swap. Manalo got rid of the cable transaxle that came with the B18 and currently runs a hydraulic gearbox rigged with an Innovative Mounts cable-to-hydro actuator. His aim is to make it a full hydro conversion in the future to avoid any issues.

There's more to come than the transmission, too. Manalo wants to reupholster the rear seats and door inserts with Recaro material. He's also got designs to add a few more JDM performance goodies, namely headers and cam gears, and include some electronics, like an A'PEXi VAFC or NEO. But the ultimate goal now is to get the DB1 onto the track, which Manalo seems entirely up for.

"I've done a lot of quarter-mile stuff, but now I'm trying to set it up to track it," he modestly reflects. "I just started working on it lately, so I haven't really had an opportunity to tune the suspension or anything, but that is the plan." It may take him a few years, but we have no doubt he'll get the LS there. And it will probably look damn good, too.

Bolts & WashersRaymund Manalo's 1992 Integra 4-Door LS

PropulsionManalo keeps it simple and clean under the hood of his LS. With the help of his cousin, he swapped in a Japanese market B18C Type R motor and has essentially left the venerated power plant unmolested. It's adorned with only the most basic of bolt-ons, an HKS Sport exhaust and Memory Fab carbon-fiber Venturi intake with M's air filter. The mill transfers power, via an Exedy 3-puck clutch disc, to an LSD-armed S80 5-speed gearbox.

StanceOn the track, a rigid car is a precise one, and to that end Manalo has already made some strides in prepping this DB1 chassis for its eventual circuit work. A Full Race traction bar, Benen rear lower tie bar, and OEM stabilizer bars equipped with Energy Suspension bushings all bring the stiffness. For suspension variability, the springs and dampers have been traded for Function & Form Autolife 24-way adjustable coilovers.

ResistanceStock rotors front and rear have been kicked to the curb for a complete set of Power Slots. Fluid is delivered to each brake by way of an Earl's stainless line.

Rims & RubberRS Watanabe F8F 16x7 8-spoke cast wheels come shod in Yokohama Parada meats, 205/45/16. The rims earned Manalo an award for "Rarest Wheel" at a JDM Theory meet.

FashionOutside:Body mods are kept to a minimum on the 4-door, consisting only of a VIS carbon hood and JDP Engineering carbon Buddy Club-style lip. The Milano red color was freshened by First Choice Auto Body.

Inside: No surprise, Manalo's minimalist, OE touch extends into the cabin, the owner opting for little more than a Momo Champion steering wheel, optional OEM 5-speed aluminum shift knob, and a '90-91 JDM Integra gauge cluster for that little bit of flair from the mother land. A pair of black Recaro Speed seats cup driver and front passenger, and the OE armrests have been reupholstered to match the buckets.

I.C.E.Beats fire from a set of Polk component speakers up front and coax cones in back. A Rockford Fosgate 4-channel amp, which receives signal from an Alpine CDA 9851 head unit linked to a KCA 420i iPod module, powers the complement of speakers.

Love Props go to Manalo's cousin John, his immediate family, Elea Luis (his girl), Monster Cable, JDM Theory, the entire ATS Garage Family, especially Alan Tunque and Raymond Bautista, and a special thanks to Vince Pascua for inspiring Ray to build this car back up to its current state. May he rest in peace.

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