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Acura Integra Type R - Refuse To Lose

One Man, Two Stolen Cars, Two ITRs, And A Dozen Squash Air Fresheners

Rodrez
Mar 1, 2009 SHARE

Shaun Joseph's '97 And '98 ITRsIt seems that nine times out of 10, when it comes to great Honda builds, there's a background story that revolves around theft. It's no secret that Hondas are marked for death by the shady types, and the sheer number of stolen project cars each year is staggering. For many, losing all that hard work and invested time is just too much to take. They tally up their losses, hope for a decent insurance check, and leave the madness behind. But the select few return better than ever, refusing to quit.

Take San Diego's Shaun Joseph, for example; he's no quitter. Falling victim to thieves twice in the span of 12 months would push most anyone away from Hondas. But instead of moving on, Shaun regrouped, armed himself with a secured garage, and started hunting. "After I lost my last two cars I took a year off and really missed building a project. A few of the ideas I came up with seemed to revolve around the ITR in one way or another, so I just started researching the actual car," Shaun says. After months of pricing and research, an immaculate '98 model was located and the eager buyer wasted no time. "I was a little short on funds at the time, but my mom helped me secure a loan for the car. It's one of the last things she did for me before she passed away. The car's nicknamed Rebecca in memory of her," he says. With the new car on its way to a new home and a head full of ideas, Shaun brought the R to his workplace, Automotive Remedies, to begin his dream build.

With the car on the lift and the UPS man dropping off parts almost daily, Shaun got down to business. The factory shocks and springs came out in order to make room for a set of Tein Flex coilovers. A Spoon Sports front shock tower bar was bolted on to stiffen up the front end, while in the hatch a Next Miracle X-bar was secured. Regamaster EVO wheels in the 16x7 variety wrapped in Yokohama ES100s made the cut after a number of different wheel-and-tire combos were fitted to Rebecca. "It's just a classic design, very lightweight, and white on white is just a really clean combo," Shaun says. Nestled behind the front wheels is a set of Spoon Sports twin-block calipers that clamp Hawk pads onto Power Slot rotors. Project pads and Power Slot rotors make up the rear upgrade, and all four corners are outfitted with steel-braided brake lines.

As the suspension upgrades fell into place, interior changes were made with an emphasis on good taste and functionality. JDM ITR seats are legendary for comfort and style, so Shaun sourced a red pair that appeared almost brand-new. Vision low-position seat rails place the owner's 6'3" frame more comfortably, as he grabs hold of a Spoon Sports steering wheel and titanium shift knob. Stand within five feet of Rebecca and you might think you've been slapped in the face by a Squash air freshener. While most would be satisfied with the potency of just one, Shaun is well known for stashing a dozen or more throughout his interior. Dizzy from Squash fumes, the next order of business was the outward appearance. While most go straight for a front-end conversion, this diehard ITR fan was content with the sleek OEM appearance and strayed away from the idea of performing surgery on the car. Instead, a set of Spoon Sports carbon-fiber mirrors and HOP window visors were the only aftermarket exterior changes he okayed.

Though simplicity is the key word for this build, the thought of increasing horsepower and, more importantly, torque, had to be addressed. A-Sport's now discontinued individual throttle body kit is as complete as they come. Intended for use with the factory ITR engine, it has provisions for the factory MAP sensor, includes a vacuum canister, and even has an adapter for an OEM or aftermarket fuel regulator. Once installed, Shaun added a set of H22A fuel injectors and a B&M fuel pressure regulator to add some fuel to the fire. Spoon Sports spark plugs take care of the spark, and a Rage Tri-Y header and Spoon Sports street silencer evacuate the gasses. A'PEXi's reliable Power FC management oversees engine events and provides a detailed description on the unit's "Commander" screen.

After finally quenching his thirst for all things R with two different projects, Shaun Joseph has decided to part with his beloved Rebecca. "I loved owning both of them, but I think I've finished the '98, and I'm going to move onto a new project. This time I'm going to try a roadster," he says. If you happen to be driving through San Diego and you smell squash in the air, don't be surprised if you spot an immaculate S2000 close by.

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
A-Sport ITBs
Rage Tri-Y exhaust manifold
APEX'i B-pipe
Omni test-pipe
Spoon Sports street silencer
Spoon Sports spark plug wires
Spoon Sports radiator hoses
Spoon Sports valve cover
Spoon Sports oil cap
Spoon Sports radiator cap
Spoon Sports reservoir covers
H22A fuel injectors
B&M fuel pressure regulator
APEX'i Power FC engine management
Odyssey battery

Stance:
TEIN Flex coilovers
Spoon Sports shock tower bars
Next Miracle X-bar version II

Resistance:
Spoon Sports twin-block calipers
Power Slot rotors
Hawk brake pads (front)
Project brake pads (rear)
Goodridge steel-braided lines

Rims And Rubber:
16x7 Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels (+45 offset)
205/45-16Yokohama ES100

Outside:
Spoon Sports carbon-fiber mirrors
Hop window visors

Inside:
JDM ITR Recaro bucket seats
Vision low-position seat rails
Spoon Sports titanium shift knob
Spoon Sports steering wheel
FET steering wheel quick release
MOMO steering wheel boss
OEM S2000 push-start button
CS-X3 squash air freshener x 12

Props:
Mom
All of my friends
Sportcarmotion
Automotive Remedies
www.nwp4life.com
The Eibach staff
Rodrez
Honda Tuning magazine
Everyone else not mentioned

Owner Specs
Daily Grind:
Service writer/parts sales

Favorite website:
www.nwp4life.com

Building cars how long:
12 years

Favorite kicks:
DVS

Dream car:
Ferrari Stradale

Build inspiration:
Nothing in particular; I just love building them

Can't miss TV:
Sportscenter

The '97 Type R
When Shaun decided to pick up another Type R, he knew exactly which model he'd be willing to hold out for. As with the hearts of many ITR enthusiasts, it's the '97 in particular that holds a special place. Shaun says: "It's the ideal model for an ITR guy. It's like owning a piece of history since it was the first year Honda offered them in the states, and they were so limited." Once purchased, only minor changes were made to the beloved '97, dubbed "Beth." Wanting to focus on the car's natural attributes, the only power upgrades are a Mugen intake and an SMSP test-pipe on a JDM B18C powerplant. A set of Mugen MF10s and Falken Azenis tires add to the car's footprint and overall aesthetics. Sticking with the less-is-more theme meant a simple set of Spoon Sports side mirrors and HOP window visors were all it took to add just a bit of contrast to the spotless exterior and avoid stealing the spotlight from its pristine white body. A Mugen S1 bucket and sport pedal kit continues the brand loyalty inside the cabin as well. The Personal Neo Grinta steering wheel and Circuit Hero shift knob were also added to provide driver comfort. Future plans may include a complete Mugen aero kit and a few other secretive, yet tasteful changes.

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
JDM B18C
Mugen high-flow intake
SMSP test-pipe
JDM ITR 4.78 final drive gear
Exedy clutch
Exedy lightweight flywheel

Stance:
Tein RA coilovers

Resistance:
Hawk SP pads
Goodridge steel-braided lines
Motul brake fluid

Rims And Rubber
16x7 Mugen MF10 (+43 offset)
215/45-16 Falken Azenis RT-615

Outside:
Spoon Sports mirrors
HOP window visors

Inside:
Mugen S1 bucket seat
Mugen speedometer and under-visor kit
Personal Neo Grinta suede steering wheel
NRG short hub
NRG quick-release hub
Mugen Sport pedal kit
Circuit Hero shift knob

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By Rodrez
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