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 |   |  1991 Acura Integra - A Life Inspired
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1991 Acura Integra - A Life Inspired

Ejay Adriano Escapes Certain Death To Build An Integra In Honor Of His Grandparents

Joey Lee
Oct 25, 2010
Photographer: Rodrez

Ejay Adriano's '91 Integra
It has become increasingly rare to hear a truly heart-warming build story. Nowadays, many within the community have turned to building for fame or to acquire online celebrity status. For the most part, Honda builds are becoming fly-by-night operations, and as soon as a feature is promised or any sort of notoriety is attained, owners are quick to sell. Money and internet celebrity status have become motivating factors to many trying to build a Honda. There's nothing wrong with that if you happen to be one of those types. That's your prerogative and that's okay. To some of the "old school" types, this behavior is generally shunned upon because their mentality is completely different. They build simply for the passion, not for the personal gain.

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Ejay Adriano is one of these enthusiasts. At the ripe young age of 24, he certainly isn't old enough to be "old school" but he definitely isn't in it for the glitz and glory. His internet forum post count isn't anything to brag about and the only way to really get a hold of him is by some ancient method of communication-a phone call. He builds not only for the love of Hondas, but for the love of his grandparents. "This Integra is dedicated to them," Ejay explains. "Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today."

"I was 16 when I first got my driver's license and was anxious to get something that was stick-shift. I came across this red DA that a friend knew of that was lowered and had a header. My dad was in the Philippines at the time and wanted me to wait until he got back to buy it. Of course I was impatient and wanted the car bad, so my grandparents stepped in and helped me pay for half of it. $3500 later I realized I was completely ripped-off! The previous owner never told me that it had a salvage title with cut springs and over 200K on the odometer."

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At 16 it was easy to overlook the fact that he had purchased a lemon. Sure, it was a beat-up Integra that wasn't worth nearly as much as Ejay paid for it, but kids that age are happy just to have a car. He continued to drive it for another year before he was side-swiped by a van that wrecked the right side of the car.

"The cost to fix it was almost as much as I (over) paid for it, so I just decided to fix it on my own. Luckily I was able to find another Integra on Craigslist that I could use as a parts car. I replaced everything possible and had a body shop pull the frame. The money I received from my insurance company for personal injuries was enough for a fresh paint job. In hindsight, I overpaid for the car, but working on it taught me everything I needed to know about these cars. It gave me the confidence to learn more and I began working on my friend's cars as well. I knew I wasn't going to get much for the car because of the title, so I went all out and eventually did a right hand-drive conversion." Though the Integra may not have been worth much on paper, someone thought enough of it to offer Ejay a large lump of cash that he just couldn't refuse. The once-mangled Integra was out of his hands, and afforded Ejay the opportunity to get a fresh start with a clean-title car.

Htup_1010_03_o+1991_acura_integra+throttle_bodies Photo 4/10   |   52mm TWM individual throttle bodies help add more power to the QSD H2B swap kit.

"I was tempted to get a brand new car, but my mom reminded me that my grandparents helped me get my first car, so I decided to build another DA in their memory. I knew I made the right choice because I was lucky enough to find a bare DA shell for free. I was smart this time around and made sure that it had a straight frame and clean title. It was perfect timing."

The dedication to his grandparents is a permanent fixture on his Integra, as they are represented on the most unique part of his build: the hood. The custom air-brushed images are definitely one-of-a-kind, especially on a Honda. The mural not only stands out, it's also a story in itself. The buildings and the "SoCal" on the hood symbolize his love for his hometown, the images of both his grandparents, for whom the build is dedicated to, and the three bullet holes with the angel are a reminder of when Adriano almost lost his life.

Htup_1010_04_o+1991_acura_integra+h2b_swap Photo 5/10   |   It's rare to see a well built DA these days, especially sporting an H2B swap, black nickel-chrome plating, complex RMF header, and a shaved engine bay.

"I was on my way home from prom and had to take Michelle, my girlfriend at the time, back to her house. Another car pulled up next to me and the guys inside the car asked if I was in a gang. I told them I wasn't, but I heard gunshots and I sped off. I woke up with a flashlight in my face and was in and out of consciousness until I finally woke up on the table in the emergency room. I woke up again later after surgery with more tubes than you can imagine! I was shot three times; two in the chest, and one in the leg. The doctor told me that I was lucky to be alive because one bullet punctured my heart, and the other my lung. Michelle was blessed and wasn't hit at all. I had a speedy recovery and was out of the hospital after a week. After the shooting, I spent most of my time just working on cars instead of going out. My parents never complained because I'm sure they would rather have me in the garage instead of out on the street."

While the hood is a well thought-out symbol of Ejay's life, the rest of his build is a great illustration of everything he has learned about cars since he was 16. What lies under the tilted, airbrushed hood is every bit as unique as what sits on top of it. From the H22/H23 hybrid H2B swap, to the TWM individual throttle bodies, to every removable piece of his bay being dipped in black nickel chrome, the motor is art in and of itself. The fuel and brake lines have also been tucked away to give an even cleaner appearance. The only issues he experienced while building his second DA was of the electrical variety, which Ryan "Rywire" Basseri quickly resolved with one of his signature Rywire mil-spec engine harnesses. The rest of the now-converted right-hand drive Integra chassis is a great mixture of both JDM Honda Integra pieces and USDM goods, like the JDP front lip and complete Skunk2 Pro Series suspension. The rare, old school 16-inch SSR Super Mesh wheels and Bride Vorga seats are perfect compliments to a truly one-off DA Integra build.

Htup_1010_05_o+1991_acura_integra+custom_hood Photo 6/10   |   1991 Acura Integra - A Life Inspired

"I could have easily purchased an original (right-hand drive) DA chassis with the money I made from selling my old car," Ejay says. "I just thought it would be a waste of money since I had planned to do a complete restoration all along. That, and the extra headache of trying to register it just made it unappealing to me. I decided to just convert it myself. When people ask me if it's a conversion, I have no problem telling them that it is-I'm not ashamed, but proud that all the work was done by me and my friends. I didn't cut any corners. Everything was done right." Inspirational indeed.

Bolts & Washers

Htup_1010_06_o+1991_acura_integra+right_hand_conversion Photo 7/10   |   1991 Acura Integra - A Life Inspired

H22A1 cylinder head
H23A1 engine block
Innovative engine mounts
Ported/polished cylinder head
Skunk2 Pro Series cam gears
Ferrea valves
Ferrea valve springs
Ferrea retainers
Arias pistons
Arias piston rings
Crower connecting rods
Darton sleeves
Unorthodox Racing crank pulley
TWM 52mm individual throttle bodies
RMF exhaust manifold
Custom 2.5in mandrel bent exhaust
2.5-inch Burns stainless 2-stage race muffler
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
TWM fuel injectors
TWM fuel rails
TWM fuel pressure regulator
Earl's fuel fittings and lines
Edelbrock in-line fuel filter
NGK iridium spark plugs
NGK spark plug wires
Mishimoto radiator
QSD H2B kit
Explicit Speed alternator relocation kit
Y80 LSD transmission
Skunk2 short shifter
Exedy 6-puck Stage 1 clutch
Clutchmasters H2B-specific flywheel
Complete engine wire tuck
Brake line tuck
Fuel line tuck
Shaved engine bay
All engine components dipped in black nickel chrome

Skunk2 Pro Series Type 2 coilovers
Skunk2 Pro Series front camber kit
Skunk2 Pro Series rear camber kit
Skunk2 rear lower tie bar
Skunk2 rear lower control arms
Full Race traction bars
Cusco rear upper shock tower bar
ST front anti-sway bar
ST rear anti-sway bar

Htup_1010_07_o+1991_acura_integra+cam_gears Photo 8/10   |   1991 Acura Integra - A Life Inspired

Wilwood 12.19-inch front big brake rotor
Wilwood 4-piston front brake calipers
Wilwood front brake pads
Earl's stainless steel brake lines

Wheels & Tires
16x7.5 SSR Super Mesh (+6 offset)
195/45-16 Achilles ATR Sport
16x8.5 SSR Super Mesh (+7 offset)
205/45-16 Achilles ATR Sport

Custom air-brushed hood
JDP front lip
Wings West rear bumper cover
Mugen sideskirts
JDM window visors
JDM doors
JDM rear hatch w/bronze glass
JDM bumper supports (front & rear)
JDM 1-piece headlights
JDM sidemarkers
JDM power-folding mirrors

Htup_1010_08_o+1991_acura_integra+driver_side_view Photo 9/10   |   1991 Acura Integra - A Life Inspired

Bride Vorga seats
Black tweed panels and armrest
Mugen pedal set
Mugen shift knob
Mugen FG360 steering wheel
JDM manual seat belts
JDM rear seats
JDM visors
JDM armrest
JDM floor mats
JDM road flare
JDM gathers rear speaker cover
JDM non-smoker personal box
JDM rear center brake light

Alpine head unit
MB Quarts components

Htup_1010_09_o+1991_acura_integra+driver_side_rear_quarter_panel Photo 10/10   |   1991 Acura Integra - A Life Inspired

Inang & Tatang
Mom & Dad
Ate & Maelani, Jennie Tran
Michelle Rico, Reggie Quemuel
Parnell Navarro, Brandon Wachi
Anthony Do, Mikeyyyy
Big Mike, Guillermo Escamilla
Chuck Hernandez, Rocky Hernandez
Earl Santos, Michael Alerta
John Alerta, Sam Ouernn
Ryan Basseri, Abraham Ceja
Juan M Ortiz, Frank Garcia
Nick Gasparian, Danny phengsy
Adam, Jess Man
Tom Choe, Teddy Timoteo
Alan Camero, Aaron Bonk
Joey Lee, Rodrez

Owner Specs

Favorite website &!

Screen name or nickname

Building Hondas for how long
7 years

Your dream car
Geo Prism

Build inspiration
Randy Gagan

What's playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now
Rachel Corrales

Greatest movie of all time
The Hangover

What The h2b?!
One thing you may have noticed by now about Ejay's hood is that it is not only air-brushed, but is also spaced and tilted upwards in the rear. This isn't some cool mod for looks or some sort of drifter-like cooling trick. It's actually very functional. The spacer bolted to the hinges of the hood comes courtesy of a QSD H2B kit. The kit is necessary to mount an H22/H23 motor to a B-series transmission.

By utilizing an H2B kit, Ejay and other owners who do this swap are able to mount up their motors properly, while keeping the B series transmission in the appropriate location without using customized mounts, shift linkage, flywheel, or axles. This of course is all made possible by the QSD kit. The larger H-swap sitting in the original D or B-series bay means that hood clearance issues exist, and that's where the spacer comes into play. The H2B kit also makes it easier to swap a B-series in anytime, which Ejay recently had to do. After having some technical difficulties with his H series, he borrowed a B-series and swapped it in so he could drive to Spocom 2010!

For more information on the incredible H2B kit, log onto


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
JDP Engineering
Pasadena, CA
Garden Grove, CA 92843
By Joey Lee
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