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1996 Acura Integra GS-R - The New Kid

A serious power player added to the Honda roster.

Rodrez
Feb 8, 2012
Htup 1203 01+1996 acura integra gs r+cover Photo 2/10   |   1996 Acura Integra GS-R - The New Kid

It seems there has always been an unspoken set of laws that silently govern the actions of every automotive enthusiast, young and old alike. Similar to battle lines drawn in war-torn sands, many live and die by the notion that you don’t stray far from the flock, as loyalty is strictly scrutinized and always evaluated. Flags are proudly flown high among all die-hard enthusiasts, with very few open to admitting to the fact that power is power, no matter what country their vehicle’s roots are planted in. For those who do step outside of their comfort zone and try their hand at a different brand of build, they’re often greeted with an entirely new world of parts, processes and theories. For better or worse, their experiences can open up a new dimension in building, or perhaps leave a sour taste in their mouth that sends them running right back to familiar surroundings. Either way, their story is never dull, and the experience gained is almost always a bonus.

Htup 1203 01+1996 acura integra gs r+cover Photo 2/10   |   1996 Acura Integra GS-R - The New Kid

Take Jeff Campbell of Arizona for example. For years he served duty as a dedicated VW fanatic and became so involved in the art of German car building that his 500hp R32 graced the cover of our sister publication, Eurotuner. Reaching the pinnacle of payoffs, Campbell decided it was time to take on a new challenge, something completely foreign to him: Hondas.

The year was 2006, and Campbell was riding high on a wave of success that included the completion of his build, a full-blown cover shoot, and plenty of online attention toward his incredibly clean white VW hatchback. Thoughts of starting a new V-dub project slowly melted away as a few local friends, deeply entrenched within the Honda community, unknowingly provided some serious peer pressure. He adds, “My friend Aaron worked for Full Race at the time, and he’d built this mean street/drag Integra that was running 10s, and since I’d been around his car a bit, I felt like it would be a solid platform to build on. Also, since Aaron was so knowledgeable, I knew he’d be the guy to go to if I had any questions about the build.” The search for a guinea pig produced a faded red ’96 GS-R that had been updated with an LS/VTEC swap, and was plastered with a $5,000 price tag. “I picked up the car to use as my daily driver in order to keep the miles down on the VW. But after driving the car everyday, I just decided to sell the VW and go all out on the Integra.” With a number of friends working for various turbo companies locally, there was very little thought given to exploring the naturally aspirated side of Honda performance. Instead, Campbell opted for boost, and with a simple, pieced-together turbo kit that included an AFI bottom mount 3076 and Hondata S300 management system, he headed to Locash Racing for some dyno time. Spinning the rollers to the tune of 400hp, the motor finally had enough, and threw a fit in the form of a piston meltdown. “We’re still not sure what happened that day, but it prompted a complete, year-long rebuild with new goals and all-new parts.”

Htup 1203 02+1996 acura integra gs r+bracket Photo 3/10   |   Supporting local businesses is important to Campbell. Note the RC’s Garage tensioner.

Impressed by the LS/VTEC combo, Campbell stuck with the Frankenstein setup and got to work on building a block that would handle more boost than his previous powerplant. His B18B1 was fitted with the classic SRP piston/Eagle rod combo, while the B16A head was treated to a set of Skunk2 Tuner I cams and Supertech valvetrain components. A Precision 6262 BB turbo hangs from a JDL custom-built exhaust manifold. Campbell adds, “My friend and shop partner Jesse B helped start AFI a long time ago, but the shop has since changed hands a few times. When Jesse began doing his own thing (JDL), I wanted to support him and his incredible work. He basically custom built everything for my car…twice over!” The results speak for themselves, as Campbell, with the tuning expertise of Tony at UMS, was able to pound out 525whp/370 lb-ft torque. The impressive numbers sent this fully capable street car into the 10-second club with a 10.8 at 134 mph. Creating commendable turbo power numbers is one thing, being able to drive your car in the unforgiving Arizona heat is something else entirely. “With the added cooling effect of the custom swirl pot, the car never gets too hot. Even driving it in traffic during the summer. But honestly, I don’t spend that many hours on the road in the summer months, not in a car with no A/C, ha-ha!”

Htup 1203 06+1996 acura integra gs r+side view Photo 7/10   |   Regamaster Evos and a 94+ Integra chassis: instant classic.

His previous VW project wasn’t exactly a one-trick pony. Well rounded from top to bottom, the GS-R build was to be no different. With a career as an autobody specialist, the exterior portion of the equation was quite simple. The body was fully prepped for paint and received a healthy slathering of Daytona Blue to help forget about the faded red original hue. An authentic Mugen Gen I wing and ITR front lip were added for a subtle, yet aggressive touch, while the factory moldings were pulled and trashed. The interior saw a number of factory ITR parts installed, along with F1Spec Kevlar-backed adjustable seats, Takata four-point harnesses, and a black headliner.

Two very different cars built in a very similar fashion, with both paths ultimately leading to a coveted cover feature. It could be argued that the knowledge Jeff Campbell gained in “defecting” actually gave him the edge with his first Honda project car. When asked if he’s a full-fledged Honda fiend now, he answers, “I’ll always have an eye for VW/Audis, but I love these cars. I even have another Integra that I’ll be hitting some track days with, but when I build another full-blown Honda project, it’s going to be a rear-wheel-drive chassis. I built this car to drive rather than tow to the track, and it even gets 300 miles to a tank of E85 (locally available). Yeah, I guess you could say I’m a Honda guy now.”

VTEC Alley
Many of Jeff Campbell’s performance parts were produced locally. Arizona, and more specifically, Phoenix, is home to a bevy of hard-core Honda performance shops that have been producing neck-breaking builds for a number of years. One particular business park strip in the heart of Phoenix, dubbed “VTEC Alley,” houses heavy hitters like HaSport, Full Race, Tri-Tech Motorsports, Locash Racing, and RC’s Garage. With so many quality shops and tuners in one region, it’s no surprise that Campbell’s GS-R sports some of the very best performance products available.

Want to know more about VTEC Alley? Check out the November ’11 issue of our sister publication, Import Tuner, for a full story on this iconic region.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
B18B1 block
B16A head
HaSport motor mounts
Skunk2 Tuner Series I cams
Tri-Tech headwork
Supertech flat-face valves
Supertech brass guides
Supertech valvesprings/retainers
Toda cam gears
RC’s Garage timing belt tensioner
JDL valve cover vent
Micropolished OEM crank
Eagle rods
SRP pistons 10.8:1
Golden Eagle LS/VTEC kit
PTE 6262 BB turbo
AFI intake manifold
RPM 70mm throttle body
JDL Design piping
Garrett core intercooler
46mm PTE wastegate
TiAL blow-off valve
Locash Racing vacuum block
UMS intake air-temp sensor
HKS air filter
Thermal 3-inch exhaust system
Recirculated wastegate to downpipe
AEM pencil coils
AEM EPM
AEM EMS management
PWR radiator
-16 AN radiator hoses
Custom catch can
Moroso baffled oil pan
Walbro intake fuel pump
Bosch 044 in-line fuel pump
Russell fuel filter
AEM fuel pressure regulator
B16A transmission
GS-R 5th gear
Competition Clutch Stage IV
Toda flywheel
MFactory LSD
OEM JDM 36mm axles
Fastline Performance extended shifter
Power
525whp and 370 lb-ft
Suspension
Ground Control coilovers
KYB AGX shocks
Eibach springs
21mm SRR rear antiroll bar
Spherical bearing trailing arms/front LCAs
Omni Power front camber kit
SPC rear toe and camber
SRR lower brace
Full Race traction bars
Blox rear LCAs
Resistance
JDM 5-lug conversion
Hawk HPS pads
SS Goodridge lines
ABS delete
ITR master cylinder
’99 Civic Si prop valve
Custom hard lines
Wheels and Tires
Regamaster Evo 16x8 +35
Kumho 205/45-16
Exterior
Daytona Blue paint (by owner)
Shaved moldings/antenna/emblems
OEM ITR front lip
Mugen Gen I wing
Interior
F1Spec Kevlar seats
Sparco sliders
Headliner and plastics converted to black
Takata 4-pt harness
MOMO Type D35
NRG short hup and quick-release
JDM ITR cluster
JDM ITR interior panels
Autometer gauges
HKS shift knob
S2000 start button
AEM boost controller
PLX wideband
Chase Bays mil-spec harness
Props
My wife and kids, Aaron of TSR, Ongsport, Jake, Jesse of JDL, Raul, RC’s Garage, Rhett, Morgan, Richard, Ahmed, Jamie, Garcia, Tri-Tech, Locash, UMS Tuning

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Body shop
Favorite site
nwp4life.com
Screen Name
vw2vtec
Building Hondas
5 years
Dream Car
R35 with 800hp
Inspiration For This Build
My friends
Future Build
S2K or NSX

Sources

Eibach Springs
Corona, CA 92879
800-507-2338
www.eibach.com
Full-Race Motorsports
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-437-2101
http://www.full-race.com
Golden Eagle Manufacturing
San Dimas, CA 91773
909-592-4311
http://www.goldeneaglemfg.com
AEM Power
Hawthorne, CA 90250
310-484-2322
http://www.aempower.com
By Rodrez
623 Articles

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