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 |   |  1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes
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1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes

A unique expression with a touch of smooth rhythm.

Jonathan Thompson
May 2, 2012
Photographer: Pat Lauder
Htup 1205 01+1998 acura integra GS R+mugen front aero bumper Photo 1/9   |   1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes

It’s always refreshing to see a build that doesn’t adhere to trends or social pressures from the masses—aka haters. For Harvey Flores of San Jose, California, he’s seen his fair share of impeccable builds over the years, and the majority of them aren’t Honda or even import-related. A quick glance at his ’98 Integra GS-R reveals that this car gets down to its own beat. Graciously dipped in PPG Adriatic Blue Pearl, this sedan carries a very a carefully chosen list of aftermarket goods. There are so many influences on this build that on paper, it might read somewhat sloppy. It’s true that Harvey’s background in hot rods, muscle cars, and Harley-Davidson bikes are intimately and overtly interwoven throughout. However, one common element kept this build unified throughout the process—the owner’s vision.

Htup 1205 02+1998 acura integra GS R+SSR schumacher Photo 2/9   |   Classic 16-inch SSR Schumacher's.

Harvey’s father owns and runs Harvey’s Body Shop in Gilroy, California. The garage sees expensive cars, old rides, lowriders, custom motorcycles and much more. Harvey grew up working alongside his dad and was heavily influenced by these mild-to-wild builds before jumping into import cars. Most notably, the nice wet paint jobs and use of high-luster chrome from meticulously built lowriders that came through the shop are evident on Harvey’s Integra. Like music or any other cultural component, it’s interesting and somewhat stimulating to see influences from other eras.

Most will quickly notice that this DB8 is armed with a pretty stock GS-R powerplant—the only stock aspect of this build. You might be confused given the fact that Harvey grew up working on cars, that he all but ignored the engine’s output. In Harvey’s eyes, that is somewhat an era long since past. Gone are the days of open header sprints to the grocery store with a friendly wave to the local CHP officer. Now, the Cali government equips officers with devices to quickly detect illegal modifications, issue state referee notices, impound vehicles…basically ruin an enthusiast’s experience. Harvey matured over time and learned that he wanted to actually drive his Integra daily and didn’t want the hassle from authorities. He essentially found a balance and will admit that he still gets pulled over for things like ride height, but is typically sent on his way.

A very subtle Mugen intake system coupled with an ITR 3-inch intake arm provide a fresh dose of air to a rebuilt B18C1 that sports an Omni Power 68mm throttle body, Blox intake manifold, and on special occasions, a Blox test pipe. Spent exhaust goodness exits the healthy power chamber quietly via a Mugen Twin Loop exhaust system. “The exhaust is not too loud at all. You can’t really tell my car is modded when I’m idling at a street light,” he says. Other go-fast goodies include a Competition Clutch Stage 2 clutch and an Exedy 12-pound flywheel.

Htup 1205 03+1998 acura integra GS R+chrome valve cover Photo 3/9   |   1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes

The extremely low ride height is courtesy of Tokico Illumina gas shocks teamed with Ground Control springs, providing a mean lean that Harvey loves and certainly echoes from his experience with lowriders at his father’s shop. Classic SSR Schumacher 16x7 wheels are paired with 205/40-16 Yokohama Parada Spec 2 rubbers to provide that timeless look and complement the entire build. A JDM front end was a birthday gift from his wife, Stephanie, and has been enhanced further with a genuine Mugen front bumper.

Staying true to the “keep it original” build’s mantra meant keeping the factory gray interior. “I didn’t want to do the traditional black ITR interior that everyone seems to do.” Gray Recaro Speed seats and OEM rear seats ensure the gray interior accents the stunning blue paint. Other interior pieces used to freshen up the environment include a Personal Grinta 350mm steering wheel and the classic Spoon Sports Duracon shift knob. Harvey also hand selected a custom sound system to ensure his “theme music” was just a click away on weekend cruises.

Htup 1205 04+1998 acura integra GS R+ITR side skirts Photo 4/9   |   1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes

A few items must be discussed regarding Harvey’s build. The build lasted for nearly four years and continues to evolve. Harvey’s wife was also a significant contributor to the build, and all of the expenses were paid for in cash, money that the couple saved together. She would also buy him parts on special occasions, like the JDM front end. There were long periods of saving in order to get parts for the Integra, and in 2010, Stephanie was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Integra was put on hold. “Around that time I just put everything aside with my main focus on her health,” he slowly and calmly explains. In early 2011, Stephanie made a full recovery and is now a breast cancer survivor. The modding duo is back at it with an understandably deeper appreciation and respect for life. Harvey hints that in 2012, the DB8 just might see some love in the engine department with a new all-motor build. A mash-up that includes inspiration from the lowrider, old school, import, and performance car circles? This we have to see…

Bolts & Washers

Mugen intake system
ITR 3-inch intake arm
Omni Power 68mm throttle body
Blox intake manifold
Blox test pipe
Mugen Twin Loop exhaust system
Grex oil filter relocation kit
Koyorad radiator
GReddy radiator cap
DME cooling panel
Samco Sport radiator hoses
Spoon Sports radiator stays
Competition Clutch Stage 2 clutch
Exedy 12-pound flywheel
ITR LSD differential
HaSport axles
Rywire nylon clutch fluid line
Spoon Sports conductor wires
Downstar engine hardware

Htup 1205 05+1998 acura integra GS R+B18C1 engine Photo 5/9   |   Plenty of shine under the hood provides a nice contrast to the deep Adriatic Blue Pearl paintjob.

Tokico Illumina gas shocks
Ground Control springs
Mugen front shock tower antiroll bar
ASR rear subframe brace
ASR 23mm rear lower antiroll bar
Function7 rear lower control arms

88 Rotors drilled and slotted brake discs
Hawk brake pads
Goodridge brake lines
Motul brake fluid

Htup 1205 09+1998 acura integra GS R+mugen front shock tower antiroll bar Photo 6/9   |   1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes

Wheels And Tires
SSR Schumacher 16x7 +38
205/40-16 Yokohama Parada Spec 2
Custom 7mm spacers
Project Kics lug nuts

PPG Adriatic Blue Pearl paint
JDM front-end conversion
Mugen front aero bumper
ITR side skirts
EDM clear side markers
UKDM smoked rear foglights
Optional sunroof visor
Optional window visors
Shaved emblems
Shaved moldings

Recaro Speeds seats
Personal Grinta 350mm steering wheel
NRG steering wheel hub
NRG steering wheel quick-release
Razo pedals
Spoon Sports Duracon shift knob
Circuit Hero shifter extender
JDM personal box
EDM front foglight switch
EDM rear foglight switch
Pioneer DVD head unit
Kicker components
Sony 500-watt amplifier
Hifonics Brutus 2000-watt monoblock amplifier
Kicker L7 15-inch subwoofer
Custom subwoofer box

Htup 1205 06+1998 acura integra GS R+personal grinta steering wheel Photo 7/9   |   1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes

Wife Stephanie, family, Raymond Morales, Steve Perez, Brandon Huntington, Team Tonics, Weksos Industries, RNR Built, DB Squad

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Professional detailer

Htup 1205 08+1998 acura integra GS R+ITR side skirts Photo 8/9   |   1998 Acura Integra GS-R - Bluegrass Vibes

Favorite Site

Screen Name
qwk db8

Building Hondas
10 years

Dream Car
1961 Chevy Impala convertible

Inspiration For This Build
Too many to list

Future Build
’94 Civic del Sol Si

Replacing High-Mileage Engines

People often purchase new Hondas because they are known for their reliability and efficient gas mileage. Over time, this leads to Honda consumers creating a world of high-mileage used cars that have seen their fair share of hard miles. Rarely does someone purchase a used Honda and replace the engine. However, this should be the first significant upgrade for owners who want to keep the car for an extended amount of time—a project car, for example.

Brand-new OEM short-block replacement engines can be purchased for under $4,000, depending on the model. For example, one random Honda dealer retails brand-new short-block 2000 Honda Civic Si engines for $3,300. One random Acura dealer sells brand-new short-block 2001 Acura Integra GS-R engines for $3,800. Both offered a 12,000-mile warranty for 12 months if the engine was installed utilizing their services. Imagine having the reliability of a spanking-new Honda even after it has been used and abused for 10 to 15 years. It can be done!

Htup 1205 07+1998 acura integra GS R+smoked tailights Photo 9/9   |   HTUP-120500-SEDAN-076-080-


Circuit Hero
San Diego, CA 92111
88 Rotors
Irvine, CA 92618
By Jonathan Thompson
48 Articles



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