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2001 Acura Integra GS-R - Born Again

Honda Tuning Alumni Returns With an Extreme Makeover.

Joey Lee
Feb 9, 2012
Photographer: Faiz Rahman
Htup 1203 01+2001 acura integra gsr+cover Photo 1/5   |   2001 Acura Integra GS-R - Born Again

Things sure have changed over the years. As a society, we’ve become increasingly impatient and what was once deemed as a “short attention span” has quickly withered away. You often need distractions to keep you company as you feel a sense of inadequacy when taking a moment to catch your breath. That’s why social media blossomed, and continues to consume our lives spawning a generation that can’t seem to put their smartphones down. Admit it, if you aren’t doing anything pressing, you’re quick to log on to your favorite social media sites to see what someone else is doing or what is currently “trending” worldwide. When you’re stuck in traffic or waiting in line, the first thing you do is pick up your phone. We all know it’s dangerous and oftentimes illegal to play with your phone while driving, but you’re willing to take that chance because you simply don’t know what to do with yourself. We are by no means condoning the use of a cell phone while behind the wheel, but you know that it’s the truth. It’s as if you feel you’ll miss out on something if you’re not on your toes. Obviously this is a general statement and doesn’t affect everyone, but let’s be honest, many of you know exactly what I’m referring to. This is the direction our generation is moving, and your brain is wired to believe it.

Htup 1203 02+2001 acura integra gsr+full view Photo 2/5   |   2001 Acura Integra GS-R - Born Again

When it comes to Hondas, and building cars in general, our impatience has become as much a trend as the silly sticker-bombed, “stanced-out” cars we’re tired of seeing. The cool thing to do now is to build a car, garner any type of Internet “fame,” then attempt to sell the car to make a profit. It’s rather disturbing when you think about it. Enthusiasts once truly appreciated the work they put into a car and enjoyed the labors of their hard work. Nowadays, many attempt to justify their love of building their dream car to make a profit. It’s no longer about “love” for many so-called enthusiasts. Money and fame have taken precedence, and people are always on the move, trying to build something to top the next guy. No one wants to be left behind or forgotten, and they realize that everyone is just as impatient as they are. If you aren’t working on something new, somebody else certainly will be and your Internet persona will mean nothing—it all sounds a little ridiculous when you put it into perspective, right? It’s rare to see someone hold onto their car for an extended amount of time. The ones who do either have no choice due to a lack of funds to start another project, or they actually value what they have and do their best to hold onto their prized possession.

Brent Bauer might be placed in the latter category. It’s a very strong possibility that somewhere deep inside his soul, he has love for his ’01 GS-R. Brent’s had his taste of notoriety with his Integra, and he didn’t jump ship and sell it to make a quick buck. His DC2 is virtually unidentifiable after the makeover, but if you’re a longtime reader of Honda Tuning, you’ve actually seen this car before.

“My Integra was featured before in HT in May of 2009,” Brent recalls. “I never really had any thought of getting rid of it after the feature, but life happened so it’s spent much of its time just sitting around. The K20A I had swapped into my DC2 was starting to get worn down, so it was time for a rebuild.”

Back in 2009, we had the pleasure of doing a story on Brent’s Integra and told you about his extensive background with RC cars as well as his near-death experience when he totaled his first Honda. The Integra carried a much tamer appearance two years ago, but by all accounts, it was already a badass build. As Brent stated, the DC2 already had a K20A2 swap and it was no slouch. The engine was built internally and had all the right bolt-on components to make respectable power. A JDM Type R front end conversion and VIS carbon-fiber front lip made for a classic look that was a perfect complement to the bronze Volk CE28s and contrasting OEM black paint—it was just a timeless look. So why, you ask, would Bauer mess with a good thing?

“It just didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor anymore. You know how people are these days; they are out for instant gratification. I really loved how the car looked, but after a length of time, just got used to seeing it. After I did a few more car shows, it was becoming very apparent that it was time to make a change. I had no intentions of selling the car, so the only option was to switch things up.”

Htup 1203 03+2001 acura integra gsr+engine Photo 3/5   |   52mm ITBs strapped to a K20 sit inside a carefully tucked engine bay.

One of the key motivating factors behind his decision to start the rebuild was his new relationship with a local shop by the name of Sage Autosports. Bauer had met the guys from Sage at an event and a friendship quickly formed. Seeing the builds that came out of their shop really pushed him to make his Integra that much better. “We just clicked as a whole right away,” Brent explains. “There was a bit of friendly competition among the group, but it only helped to push me further. We decided to work together on the rebuild and use my Integra as the Honda/Acura representative for the shop, so the original black paint just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I needed a brighter, more visually appealing tone to grab people’s attention.

“We had many conversations about paint, and the guys at Sage Autosports really pushed for me to do a bright, flashy color, but I just wasn’t about that. I eventually found a shade of gray that I really liked off of a Lotus Elise. Any shade of gray isn’t that exciting, but this particular Lotus color had just enough pearl in it to make the paint pop.”

Htup 1203 04+2001 acura integra gsr+interior Photo 4/5   |   2001 Acura Integra GS-R - Born Again

With plenty of helping hands courtesy of Sage Autosports, the teardown quickly got under way. The K-motor made its way out of the bay, and all sound-deadening material inside the chassis was stripped out before the shell was sent off to Affordable Auto Body for the paint to be laid down. Bauer then used the downtime to order a batch of new parts including a Chase Bays engine harness and a brand-new set of 16-inch white Volk TE37s from Mackin Industries. He wanted to give his freshly rebuilt K20 some more kick, so he dropped a good chunk of change on a set of 52mm TWM individual throttle bodies. Once the newly applied Lotus Graphite Grey paint dried, Brent and crew jumped headfirst into reassembly.

The final product, as you can see, is nothing short of spectacular. Brent had fears his Integra was dated, so he gave it a massive overhaul, and it paid off. The first import car show he did after the rebuild sent him home with accolades for Best Engine Bay and Best Acura. “It feels good to be back on top again. In my previous feature, my favorite quote was: ‘You have to be happy with the car you built. Win or lose, you have to drive it home.’ I still stand by that, but I mean, it definitely doesn’t hurt to win,” Bauer says with a grin. “Throughout the years, I have always stuck with this car. I remember the day I got it in 2003 like it was yesterday. I am just happy I didn’t follow the trends and sell it, build another, and then sell again—it just doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s a waste of money because you never get back what you put into it. Just build it, enjoy it, and make it a memorable one.”

Htup 1203 05+2001 acura integra gsr+rear view Photo 5/5   |   The term “stance” has been abused and overused. Brent’s GS-R should be the poster boy for a “proper, functional stance.”

Holding On
One of the more notable moments of Brent Bauer’s first go-round in Honda Tuning back in May of 2009 was when he described how he ended up with his Integra. He actually had another DC2 before this current one but totaled the vehicle when he hit a patch of black ice one fateful day. According to Brent, the accident was so bad that the paramedics told him he was lucky to be alive. It was the insurance check from the accident that helped him buy the Integra he has now. That might be the reason he’s had such a hard time letting go of his DC2 and why he continues to rebuild it. It’s been nearly a decade since he bought this Integra, and it serves as a reminder of what he lost that day and what he almost lost—his life.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
K20A2
HaSport engine mounts
Knife-edged crankshaft
Wiseco pistons
Wiseco piston rings
Blue Print Racing connecting rods
Brian Crower Stage 3 camshafts
Brian Crower valves
Brian Crower valvesprings
Brian Crower retainers
Cometic head gasket
ARP head studs
TWM 52mm individual throttle bodies
Rcrew exhaust manifold
Magnaflow 3-inch muffler
K-Teller 3-inch exhaust piping
GReddy oil filter relocation kit
Koyo radiator
Samco Sport hoses
Bosch fuel pump
Siemens 650cc fuel injectors
TWM fuel rail
TWM fuel pressure regulator
Earl’s -6AN fuel fittings
Aeromotive polished inline fuel filter
Y2M3 transmission
Competition Clutch Stage IV clutch
Competition Clutch lightened flywheel
Driveshaft Shop Street axles
Suspension
Tein Super Street coilovers
JDM ITR front/rear antiroll bars
Energy Suspension bushings
Skunk2 alignment kit
Carbing 3-point front shock tower bar
Next Miracle X-brace
ASR first-gen subframe brace
Function7 LCAs
Function7 antisway bar end links
Omni Power front lower control arms
Resistance
Powerslot slotted front/rear brake rotors
Hawk HPS brake pads
Spoon Sports front brake calipers
Goodridge stainless brake lines
CTR 40/40 brake proportioning valve
Wheels and Tires
Volk TE37 16x7 +42
205/45-16 Yokohama Parada Spec 2
Ichiba 15mm wheel spacers
Exterior
Safety21 rollcage, painted white
Lotus Elise Graphite Grey paint
Custom Battleship Grey interior and engine bay paint
Shaved side moldings
JDM Integra Type R front end conversion
Spoon Sports carbon-fiber front lip
JDM ITR rear spoiler
OEM optional lip kit
JDM ITR badges
JDM rear “H” badge
Interior
Bride Zeta III seats
JDM ITR door panels
JDM ITR carpet
JDM ITR shift knob
Takata safety harnesses
Personal “Trophy” steering wheel
Mugen pedal set
Electronics
Hondata K-Pro
AP1 S2000 instrument cluster
Defi Imperial oil temperature gauge
Defi Imperial oil pressure gauge
Defi Imperial water temperature gauge
AEM wide-band O2
Alpine 9856 head unit
Props
Shawn Ramey at Ramey Built
Duane at Affordable Auto Body
Brady at Custom Car Care
Marti Ruiz
PJ Fernandez
Jason Tuero
Chase at Chasy Bays
Ben Tran from Blue Print Racing
My guys at Sage Autosports (Brian, Phillie, Gary, and Jason—R.I.P. buddy!)

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Product Engineer
Favorite site
VADriven.com
Screen Name
Slogsr
Building Hondas
9 years
Dream Car
Acura NSX
Inspiration for This Build
Functional road race cars
Future Build
Possibly an S2000 or NSX

Sources

Brian Crower
El Cajon, CA 92020
619-749-9018
http://www.briancrower.com
Tein USA
Downey, CA 90241
562-861-9161
http://www.tein.com
Hondata
Torrance, CA 90503
310-782-8278
http://www.hondata.com
Competition Clutch
Conyers, GA 30012
800-809-6598
http://www.competitionclutch.com
Sage Autosports
Norfolk, VA 23513
757-499-3444
http://www.sageautosports.com
Ramey Built
Virginia Beach, VA 23453
757-689-0110
http://www.rameybuilt.com
By Joey Lee
243 Articles

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