When Zahel Cuevas of Chula Vista, Calif., first laid eyes on his future project car, he envisioned building a one-of-a-kind Type-R. It appeared as clear as day in his mind; neck snapping power using only the highest quality performance parts, combined with a super clean body and rolling stock. In short, the total package. But to the average guy on the street, it looked more like a total loss, destined for the bone yard. Originally owned by a close friend, the entire front end, every bit of the interior, wheels, suspension and of course the celebrated B18C5 were all history, taken by notorious SoCal thieves. No doubt about it, this Integra had seen better days, but still featured a straight body with no rust, and Cuevas felt that this "R" deserved a second chance at life.
Upon purchasing the shell, the first order of business was to remove all of the remaining glass, rubber and plastic trim to prep the chassis for paint. The bare shell and new JDM front end made its way over to Gold Crest Auto body of San Diego, where the decision was made to smother the "R" in a rich three stage candy apple red hue. To further separate himself from the crowd, Cuevas threw an Aztec front lip, VIS Stalker sideskirts and matching rear valence into the mix, and waited for Gold Crest to work its magic. To drop a few pounds and add some flavor, a carbon-fiber hood, mirrors and wing were dropped off at the shop to include in the makeover. Not wanting to waste precious time, the hunt for more parts and upgrades continued day and night, with a stockpile beginning to form in his garage.
Once the paint had dried and the car was towed home, a mission to improve on the Type-R's already legendary handling was initiated. A Password:JDM three-point strut tower in the front, and four-point brace in the rear added some additional rigidity, while a set of suspension techniques sway bars and Skunk2 camber kits up the ante a bit further. To take advantage of all that extra metal, a set of Tein Type-Flex coilovers with EDFC found its way to the wheelwells, providing adjustable dampening at the touch of a button. We've said it a million times; wheels and tires can determine whether a project car will sink or swim. Not one to lack in the function and form categories, Cuevas picked up a set of lightweight 17x7.5 Advan RG2s, and wrapped them in sticky 205/40-17 Falken Azenis tires. To complete the package, just a few inches behind the solid gold rollers are Brembo Gran Turismo brakes, fed by BFGoodrich stainless brake lines.
With the exterior and suspension exactly as he wanted them, attention was then turned toward the completion of the interior. This meant sourcing a pair of Recaro Speed bucket seats and Takata harnesses to keep the driver planted firmly in style. Custom red carpet and red door panel inserts surround Cuevas as he puts his left hand on the Mugen FG-360 steering wheel, and his right hand on the Skunk2 shift knob perched upon a Skunk2 short throw shifter. Electronic upgrades for monitoring vitals include an AEM UEGO display and Auto Meter oil pressure gauge, while the entertainment side is handled by an Alpine MP3 player and Infinity Kappa speakers.
Finally, after countless hours and careful planning, the once haggard and defeated Type-R was driven proudly. With massive improvements made both inside and out, there was nothing left to change. Or was there? After becoming accustomed to the decent power provided by the B18CR replacement motor he'd built for NA duty, Cuevas was beckoned to the dark side.
He put together a plan to build a supreme boosted beast. The goal: 500 hp or more. Realizing that a stock block wouldn't tolerate that much power safely, AEBS of San Diego was contacted for a set of its highly regarded sleeves. The shop also allowed for a bump in displacement, as 84mm 9:1 JG pistons were dropped in and mated to a set of Crower billet aluminum rods before the bottom end was capped off with a Moroso oil pan. On the top end, Crowers shelves were raided once again, this time for one of its valve spring and retainer combos that share work with a set of Manley valves. The port and polished head cradles a set of stock "R" cams with fine-tuning available through Skunk2 adjustable cam gears.
With the engine fully assembled and prepped, a Full Race exhaust manifold and Garrett T70 were bolted up, and custom piping was fitted to make use of the front mount PWR intercooler. BDL's huge 70mm throttle body clings to the burly JG Edelbrock Victor X intake manifold, and awaits the gush of pressurized air. TiAL's super-efficient wastegate was chosen to call the shots, and a TiAL blow-off valve sends a nasty hiss toward innocent bystanders. Adding sufficient fuel to the fire is a Walbro 255lph fuel pump, RC 1,000cc injectors and Earl's stainless fuel lines, regulated by a B&M FPR. Big turbo power can wreak havoc on a factory ignition system. To avoid failure, an MSD 7AL ignition box and blaster coil was added for support. After the motor was secured to the chassis with Hasport motor mounts, the AEM management system was plugged in, and once again the Integra was brought back to life. For some peace of mind, a set of Island 500hp chromoly axles were slipped into the ACT and Quaife LSD equipped YS1 tranny.
As with any high performance motor, proper tuning can make or break the build and will determine whether or not it was assembled correctly. Cuevas must have done something right with his new motor because he left his dyno session with 506 whp, and a healthy respect for his newfound power.
Zahel Cuevas' Integra Type-R project is an excellent example of why Hondas can be so much fun. He took a bare shell that looked like it would never see the street again, and turned it into a powerhouse that's not only street driven, but also track ready with over 500 hp, and an appearance that would likely steal a few trophies at any car show. It is a fine example of what can be done with a strong enough vision.
Bolts & Washers
Zahel Cuevas' 2001 Integra Type-RPropulsion
Originally a 1.8L B18C, the block has been sleeved (AEBS) and bored (84mm) and fortified with a set of JG pistons and Crower billet aluminum rods. A Moroso oil pan adds the final touch. Up top, a Stage 3 port and polish was done before Crower valvesprings/retainers and Manley valves were added in, with a set of Skunk2 cam gears bolted to the stock ITR cams. Force-feeding the 2.0L is achieved using a Full Race exhaust manifold and Garrett T70 turbo. A BDL throttle body and JG Edelbrock Victor X intake manifold handle the incoming, Thermal R&D 3-inch exhaust handles the outgoing. The effects of increased gas prices can be felt as the 255lph Walbro fuel pump sends dollars and cents to a set of RC 1,000cc injectors. Wastegate and blow-off valve duties are handled by TiAL. Ignition upgrades include an MSD 7AL box and blaster coil, MSD wires and MSD distributor cap. An ACT Max Extreme clutch and Quaife LSD carry the weight, transferring power to the Island 500hp chromoly axles. The clutch releases a little more efficiently with the Omni-Power Quicklutch Master Cylinder.
Tein Type-Flex coilovers with EDFC carry the ITR through the corners, backed by Password:JDM front and rear multipoint shock tower bars and suspension techniques sway bars. Getting the right amount of camber is no problem thanks to the Skunk2 camber kits.
Rims & rubber
Gold 17x7.5 Advan RG2 wheels wrapped in Falken Azenis (205/40-17) tires demand attention at all four corners.
With all that power under the hood, a Brembo Gran Turismo brake kit with BFGoodrich stainless lines was necessary to bring the Integra back from warp speed.
Cuevas opted for something that would stand out in crowd. Gold Crest Auto Body of San Diego applied a three stage candy apple red paint job after shaving the factory antenna and molding in the rear valence. An Azec front lip complements the new JDM front end and VIS Stalker sideskirts. Carbon-fiber mirrors, hood and custom rear wing drop a few pounds and contrast the stunning paint job at the same time.
Sink down into the Recaro Speed bucket seat and grab the Mugen FG-360 steering wheel with all your might. Throw that Skunk2 shift knob/short throw shifter into gear, and stomp the Razo carbon-fiber gas pedals andthen you wake up. Cuevas isn't letting you drive, so jump over to the passenger seat, strap on the Takata harness that's anchored to the Sparco harness bar and hold on for dear life!
An AEM UEGO display and Auto Meter oil pressure gauge relay important information to Cuevas while he's driving. When it's time to cruise, he's got an Alpine MP3 player screaming through Infinity Kappa speakers.