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1998 Acura Integra LS - Rookie Of The Year

Because None Of You Would Have Gotten the “Hanging With Mr. Cooper” Pop Culture Reference.

Joey Lee
Mar 29, 2012
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We have a tendency to take things for granted as we grow older. When we’re younger, we’re often so busy growing up that we forget how important the little things are in life. Your outlook on life in your late teens/early 20s is drastically different from when you reach your 30s, and if you aren’t there yet, believe us—shit changes quick. It’s always best to do as many different things as possible when you’re younger; there’s less to worry about, more risks to take, less to lose out on…the world is your oyster, as they say. Life teaches you valuable lessons, good and bad, and then sometimes you realize the good is never as good as you thought it’d be, and the bad, well, the bad is much worse. Crazy, right?

For car enthusiasts, life, seemingly, also imitates art. As you get older, (hopefully) you start to make more money and have more available options to you. As a teen, you wanted that Civic so badly; it didn’t matter what the condition, you just wanted one to lower and show off to girls. What happens when you get older? That’s right, you want more. S2000? NSX? Hell, screw all that, you probably want an Evo or STI. Civics don’t mean shit to you anymore. Then you tend to look at the youngsters with an almost jaded point-of-view. It’s “kid-stuff” and their modifications that inevitably turn into mistakes makes you think that you are better than them. That’s not really the case though. You’re better in the sense that you’ve gradually become more knowledgeable than them. You aren’t really better than them per se, you’re just more experienced. There was a point in time when you made the same mistakes but you just grew and learned from them. You’re the vet while these young kids are the new fish. Suddenly, cleaning your car for local meets and car shows have also jaded you in a sense. “Been there, done that,” you say. Think back to back in the day; you went “just because”—and it was all good. Why are we in such a rush to grow up, even with our car lives? You should be enjoying all the time you spent to make your car so right.

Cooper Boudia hasn’t hit that point in his life yet where everything has become a pain in the ass. If anything, he’s living it up. He spends his days ordering baristas around at Starbucks where he is a supervisor, and occasionally uses lame coffee-related puns to talk to attractive young ladies. When he’s not at work, he spends all of his time working on his 1998 Acura Integra. It would be very cliché to say that his Integra was never meant to get to this point of modification, but it’s true. Working at Starbucks doesn’t yield the type of income to find a mint condition Integra Type R, so he took whatever he made and built himself a “poor man’s ITR”.

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“This Integra was the first car that I purchased on my own, with my own money,” Cooper says. “I got really lucky and found a completely stock, well-maintained DC2 with a clean title and a single owner. I bought a few things for it, and, of course, one thing led to another and I got hit with the bug hard.”

Cooper is one of those guys that would go just about anywhere for a car-related event. “Too far” is definitely not a part of his vocabulary. We had already had an eye on his build for quite some time now, but it wasn’t until a recent annual anniversary meet of one of the most popular online blogs (*ahem* shameless plug for stickydiljoe.com) where we managed to get in touch with him. We forgot to mention that this event took place in Southern California. Cooper only had to make the 2,252 mile round-trip adventure to meet us. He didn’t necessarily make the trip just to land on the pages of Super Street either.

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Sstp 1204 10+1998 acura integra ls+rear view Photo 10/13   |   1998 Acura Integra LS - Rookie Of The Year

“I actually live in Olympia, Washington. Up in the Northwest, there aren’t that many events but I had just finished my Integra that was down for over two years. I wanted to take it to an event and just enjoy driving my car, so I made the trip down to California. I didn’t have any distractions; it was just me, my Integra, a freshly-built motor and an OEM Civic SI head unit.”

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We had known about Cooper and his Integra through his 120+ page build thread on a popular Honda-based Internet forum. It was very minimal on the aesthetic side. If you don’t know anything about Hondas, then you would probably just overlook it as a stock Integra with suspension and wheels. However, if you were an aficionado of all things Honda-related then this Integra is the stuff of dreams. The exterior remains as OEM as possible, mostly because Cooper built his DC2 with low-key intentions. The beauty of this build lies in his attention to detail and also caters to his fascination with popular Japanese Honda tuning company, Spoon Sports.

Within the confines of the understated chassis of this Integra is a myriad of Spoon Sports goodies. Inside the interior, the red ITR Recaro seats are accented with a Spoon instrument cluster, Duracon shift knob, and aluminum cluster bezel. The bezel itself was powdercoated black by Cooper and even sports a custom etched Spoon insignia. The concave Nardi steering wheel also houses the Spoon brand name in the form of a horn button. The rest of the cockpit is essentially converted to Integra Type R specifications with little trinkets of original equipment JDM and EDM components. Through the rear glass, you’ll spot a checkered ITR trunk mat lying underneath a custom dimple-dyed rear strut brace made by ASC Speed Metal.

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The engine bay also sees plenty of Spoon awesomeness. The stock cam gears have been replaced by adjustable Spoon Sports pieces while smaller pieces like the oil cap, radiator cap, thermostat switch, magnetic drain plug set and radiator stays bear the same Spoon motif. Wedged between the B16A cylinder head and Integra Type R intake manifold is Spoon Sports’ “Ventuli Plate”, which replaces the OEM intake manifold gasket. The air intake box, while OEM-looking in nature, is also a Spoon-certified unit. Mated to an ITR throttle body, the air box itself retains the OEM rubber arm while inside is a Spoon drop-in air filter (and to any doubters, a Spoon badge is stuck to the outer casing). The side-winding Six Sigma Racing exhaust manifold isn’t a Spoon-made part, but it does route directly to a Spoon Gen. 3 N1 muffler. The engine itself is a classic combination of a B18 GS-R block and B16 head, otherwise known as the “poor man’s ITR motor”. You are able to see this engine and all the Spoon Sports components in all their glory without distractions because Cooper himself painstakingly wire-tucked the entire engine bay and also re-routed the brake lines with self-made lines. Sitting on top of the shock towers is a matching, custom-made, dimple-dyed ASC strut brace. One of the most standpoint modifications of this entire build has to be the Ohlins motorcycle steering damper that has been turned into an engine torque damper; it’s mounted to the cylinder head and strut brace with custom fabricated brackets.

Cooper Boudia’s Integra is one of those builds that you just have to see in person to truly appreciate. It’s a good thing that he’s down to drive from Washington to Southern California for us to check out his handy work. He may still be a young buck but we hope that his enthusiasm continues as he progresses through life and into his next build. So far, we are more than impressed by what he brings to the table; that’s why we’re calling him the “Rookie of the Year”.

Tuning Menu
1998 Acura Integra LS
Owner Cooper Boudia
Hometown Olympia, WA
Occupation Starbucks Supervisor
Power 168whp/122.7lb-ft
Engine 1995 1.8L Honda B18C w/B16A cylinder head aka “The Poor Man’s ITR Motor”; OEM Honda B16B CTR camshafts, N1 crank pulley, P30 B16 pistons and PR3 B16 piston rings; ARP B-series head studs and 9mm rod bolts; polished Integra GS-R crankshaft; ACL Race rod and main bearings; NPW water pump; Stone head gasket; ground valves; Supertech valve stem seals; Spoon Sports Gen. 1 adjustable cam gears, Ventuli intake manifold plate, Gen. 3 N1 muffler w/badge, drop-in filter, intake box decal, thermostat switch, radiator cap, magnetic oil drain plug set, billet oil cap, radiator stays and reservoir socks; OEM ITR intake box w/ rubber arm, throttle body, intake manifold, fuel injectors and exhaust mid-pipe; Earl’s black-braided fuel lines, black –AN fuel fittings and 8-micron fuel filter; Six Sigma Racing stainless 4-1 Street Sweeper header; custom exhaust test pipe; Odyssey PC680 battery; custom built battery tray w/quick disconnect battery terminals; Moroso 4-quart baffled oil pan; Koyorad 53mm full-size aluminum radiator; 12-inch electric cooling fan; stainless steel t-bolt radiator hose clamps; custom wire-tuck with self-made engine harness; Opak Racing/Spoon Sports certification badge #05373; OEM spark plug wire cover with TypeOne decal signed by Ichishima Tatsuru; Bolt Boys B-series engine bolt kit; all stainless steel Allen-head engine bay hardware
Drivetrain Cardone B-series axles; Exedy organic stage 1 clutch; Competition 11-lb lightweight flywheel; Rywire soft clutch line conversion; OEM Honda S2000 clutch master cylinder; MFactory solid shifter bushings
Engine Management Socketed P28 ECU; Chrome re-flashed chip
Footwork & Chassis Corner Eight Sports SSD coilovers; ASC Speed Metal custom front and rear strut bars; Ohlins engine torque damper with custom cylinder head mount; ASR rear subframe brace; Function7 ITR-spec lower control arms; Blox front/rear adjustable camber arms; ITR 22mm rear sway bar and endlinks; Energy Suspension RTA bushings; PIC replacement bushing kit; OEM Honda manual steering rack; completely overhauled OEM suspension components
Brakes 1996-spec Integra Type R front/rear 4x114.3 brake, hub conversion; Russell stainless Teflon-coated front/rear brake lines; LHT master cylinder brace
Wheels & Tires 16x7" +32 Enkei NT-03 wheels; 205/45R16 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport tires; RAYS Engineering Duralumin lug nuts; 20mm hubcentric front wheel spacers/15mm rear wheel spacers
Exterior Spoon Sports Gen. 1 front tow hook and color-matched side mirrors; OEM ITR clear turn signal lights; Phillips Xtreme Power headlight bulbs
Interior Recaro SRD seats; Wedge Engineering Super-lowdown seat rails; USDM ITR rear seats, arm rest, checkered floor mat set, checkered trunk mat, shift boot and cruise control block plate; Nardi Deep Corn Sport Rally 350mm steering wheel; MOMO Integra hub adapter kit; Spoon Sports Duracon shift knob, DC2 Meter Assembly, horn button and aluminum gauge cluster bezel (powdercoated black) w/etched Spoon Sports logo; Cusco emergency brake button; OEM JDM ITR clock; Integra SIR-G climate control; OEM EDM Honda Access pedal covers; '99-00 Civic SI head unit
THANKS YOU Mom and Dad (Jody and David Boudia) for all the help and support given; Mack and Jack Conley for letting me take over their garage for almost two years and helping out; My good friend, Eli Kurtz for re-spraying my engine bay and helping out with anything I needed on the build; Kramer Davis for hooking me up with my wiring goods; Erik Fries for painting the valve cover; Mike at Hawthorne Machine for helping out a ton with the engine build; anyone else who gave a hand and helped out
WWW c8sport.com; enkei.com; spoon.jp

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By Joey Lee
243 Articles

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