Michael Cristi's '95 Integra GSR
There's no doubt that the Internet's changed things for Honda enthusiasts. It makes searching for rare parts easy and offers enthusiasts a chance to scope out trends from across the globe. It's also become a breeding ground for virtual car meets-post pictures of your ride, introduce yourself, and befriend just about anybody on earth. The Internet-automotive forums in particular-has opened the lines of communication for just about every enthusiast and made building a car that much easier.
Today's technology affords Honda owners access to whatever it is they need. Chatting with online predators has been superceded by Honda web forums galore and, chances are, you've had an opportunity to take a gander at one. If so, then you've most likely come across Michael "HeyMikeyyyy" Cristi's unique DC2 Integra. Mikey and his DC2 have become a bit of a mainstay on popular web boards and are recognized mostly for their approachable demeanor and one-of-a-kind style, respectively. Mikey and the Phaze2 crew have spent the last seven years trendsetting among the Honda community. Some credit his crew with reintroducing insanely aggressive wheel stances and low offset fitments back into the world of Hondas. A whole new style began to take form once forum lurkers caught a glimpse of Mikey's DC2. While low offsets and Hondas aren't anything new, they certainly weren't common before Mikey and crew came along, that is, unless you happened to frequent the streets of East Los Angeles in the late '80s and early '90s where '87 Accords strapped to low-offset Daytons weren't entirely rare.
Online images of Mikey's Integra have a way of evoking questions from swarms of web companions: "What wheels are those?" Or, "How did you get those to fit?" And of course the obligatory, "Damn, how does your car even turn?" Ultimately the questions turned into notoriety for the Glendale, Calif., native. The fact that Mikey was willing to answer the questions didn't hurt either.
Interestingly enough, one of the sets of wheels in question was derived from a Ford Escort, Mikey tells us. "Yeah, the Enkei 92s came off of my aunt's Ford Escort," he says. Could it be possible that the wheel that helped spark the low-offset Honda revolution was sourced from an old beat-up Ford? Apparently so. "I was hanging out with my boys one night when my aunt drove by and we came up with the idea to test-fit the wheels," Mikey says. "She said that if I could find her another set of wheels, the Enkeis were mine. She rocks Honda hub caps on her Escort to this day." Keep in mind that this occurred over four years ago. Today there are countless Mikey-inspired Honda owners sporting Enkei 92s across the country, not to mention the flocks of Ford Escorts sitting on bricks at the wrecking yards.
The come-up on the wheels bears a striking resemblance to how Mikey originally acquired the Integra. His DC2 was originally a hand-me-down given to him by his cousin back in 2001. It was involved in a rear-end collision, but after a quick repair Mikey was on the road. The Milano Red exterior remains relatively unchanged throughout the years, apart from the addition of a JDM Si VTEC Integra front lip. Mikey decided to stay true to his Integra's USDM roots and opted not to convert to the popular JDM facelift. Even the original Acura badges remain. Sitting on the rear hatch is another piece that Mikey's become famous for: his custom rear-window visor. But few exterior modifications exist simply because this Integra's stance is eye candy in and of itself. To put it into layman's terms: Mikey's DC2 is hammered. The frame has a tighter relationship with the pavement than a newly turned 21 year-old has with his toilet. The Integra's amazing stance is provided by a set of Endless Zeal B6 coilovers and additional reinforcement and suspension bling comes courtesy of Blox lower control arms, an ASR subframe brace, and a Beaks lower tie-bar. The now infamous Enkei 92 wheels are sized at 15x7 with a +20 offset and are caressed by 195/45-15 Kuhmo Ecsta rubber. Inside the cockpit resides a pair of Buddy Club seats. The non-adjustable buckets are complemented by a Buddy Club shift knob as well as a set of Buddy Club pedals. A little old-school flare is added with a wood grain, classic MOMO steering wheel.
For the better part of six years, Mikey spent the majority of his time focusing on the DC2's exterior, tinkering with different wheel and suspension setups. He already had his peers' respect but also knew that he had to do the car justice by giving it some balls. A quick glimpse at the front bumper reveals a JVT Racing front-mount intercooler and, just behind it, a peek at the gold that lies beneath. Opening the hood of this DC2 is like discovering Eldorado, the City of Gold. WS Industries is responsible for stripping, shaving, and then draping the entire engine bay in gold. Some ask: Why gold? But the answer is simple: "When life gives you a lemon, you paint that ish gold," Mikey says. With two-tone bays gaining popularity, Mikey decided to take it to a whole new level, as he's often known to do. The gold does little more than accent the bay though. A JVT Racing T3/T4 turbocharger serves as the centerpiece and is mounted to a Straight Line Specialties turbo manifold and JVT Racing 38mm wastegate. The valve cover and custom intercooler piping fabricated by WS Industries were taken to Astro Powdercoating in Sun Valley, Calif., for a full polish to match the Edelbrock Victor X intake manifold. HKS cam gears allow for cam timing adjustability and cooling is upgraded courtesy of a JVT Racing radiator. Fuel is supplied by a Walbro 255lph fuel pump and delivered to the combustion chamber by way of 750cc/min RC injectors. Competition Clutch's Stage 3 clutch kit ensures that every last bit of torque is delivered to the low-offset Enkeis. Of course, the engine bay is also tucked and the wiring's hidden. Now, would you expect anything less from the Internet celebrity?
Take a step back, embrace Mikey's build, and prepare to be surprised because the exterior is relatively stock. It wasn't built to win races or blast down the 1320 or turn the heads of non-Honda fans. It's a streetcar with attitude and loads of it. Mikey simply did what many hope to do when building a Honda: dare to be different and create a style all their own. Oh, and it has a heart of gold to go with it.
Bolts & Washers
Innovative engine mounts
HKS cam gears
Edelbrock Victor X intake manifold
BDL 70mm throttle body
HKS blow-off valve
JVT Racing intercooler
WS Industries intercooler piping
JVT Racing T3/T4 turbocharger
JVT Racing 38mm wastegate
Straight Line Specialties top-mount turbo manifold
Straight Line Specialties downpipe
WS Industries custom 2.5-inch exhaust
JVT Racing radiator
SamcoSport radiator hoses
Spoon Sports high-tension spark plug wires
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
750cc RC Engineering fuel injectors
Benen fuel rail
JDM Y80 transmission with limited-slip differential
Competition Clutch Stage 3 clutch
Fidanza aluminum flywheel
Rims and rubber:
15x7 Enkei 92 (+20 offset)
195/45-15 Kuhmo Ecsta
Buddy Club seats
Buddy Club shift knob
Buddy Club pedals
MOMO wood grain steering wheel
Eclipse D50 head unit
Diamond Audio components
That popular Honda one
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Don't really watch TV