Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit www.motortrend.com for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |  Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

All-Motor B-Series, 10K redline and JDM parts reign supreme in the Honda scene.

Sam Du
Aug 10, 2020
Photographer: Daniel Piker

Honda will tell you the Civic is the best car of all-time. Versatile, affordable and certainly fun, with models like the Si and Type R. Dealerships around the world have sold tens of millions of Civics in its almost fifty years in existence; however, for performance car fans, there's a different contender for the best Honda ever and that is the 3rd generation Integra.

2001 Acura Integra Spoon Sports Front Lip 02 Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

Touted for its exceptional handling, affordable performance and sportier style (over the Civic), the Integra was and still is regarded as the best front-wheel-drive car of all-time by many journalists. As for project car builders and grassroots track guys, the Integra has always been one of the best bang for your buck vehicles with an abundance of aftermarket support. In fact, it was even a bigger favorite among enthusiasts ahead of the faster and more modern RSX, which was the exact case for Terry Suvonnarith. Nearly two decades ago, Terry not only put all his chips on this 2001 Integra over the RSX, but he's continued to evolve the car year after year to remind us why the Integra is still spectacular to this day, and why you also shouldn't sleep on the GS-R model, which lived in the shadows of the Type R.

THE UNDERRATED GS-R

The GS-R didn't get the ITR's 195hp B18C5 out of the box, nor bigger brakes, deleted sunroof (to save weight) or a torque-sending limited-slip differential. It also wasn't offered in the iconic Championship White and Phoenix Yellow paint colors. It did, however, come with a 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve VTEC inline-four engine (B18C1) rated at 170hp, as well as a close-ratio five-speed manual. Its 0-60mph time wasn't too impressive at eight seconds, but weight made up for it tipping the scales at 2,600 lbs. It was just as fun to throw into the corners and with some suspension tweaks and tire upgrades, you'd forget all about the Type R in no time.

2001 Acura Integra Volk Racing SEK37 Wheels Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

In 2001, the GS-R was listed at $22,500 brand new—about $2K less than the DC2 Type R, but just like all great condition ITRs, GS-R models are still holding a premium 20 years later; in fact, one with 18K miles and TE37s from Washington just sold for $28,500 on BringATrailer, another example the Integra is still as awesome in 2020 as it was when it hit the scene more than 20 years ago.

SUPER STREET & MEGUIAR'S BEST OF SHOW AWARD

I didn't officially meet Terry until he pulled up to last year's Super Street at LeMay car show with Meguiar's. Located in Tacoma, Washington, the show featured 120 of the best modified Japanese and European cars of the Pacific Northwest. Out of all competitors, Terry's Integra was unanimously awarded best of show. On the outside, it was super clean with a JDM front-end, a subtlety shaved exterior and J's and Spoon carbon.

2001 Acura Integra B18C1 Engine Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

The exceptional taste in style and attention to detail followed under the hood and into the interior. A rebuilt B-series sits in an immaculate engine bay with ITBs, custom oil catch can and remote battery terminal setup, plus all the finest hoses, fittings, wiring and other hardware you'll ever spot on a Honda. The cockpit is motorsport-inspired with an eight-point rollcage, Bride buckets and GReddy steering wheel, while still keeping its composure for the street retaining the stock interior panels and carpet.

Terry's Integra is the type of car that you could stand at a car show and just admire for a solid thirty minutes, enjoying its flawless execution and the great balance of all its parts. It's not an all-out track car but can hold its own against any FF Battle contender. It's not a full show car, but it'll give the trailer queens a run for their money. As Terry would put it, it's simply a "street car," his first project car and first love and, if you ask us, there's nothing that represents the Honda community and helps solidify the Integra as the best Honda ever made than this car.

Terry Suvonnarith Integra Super Street Cover Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

THE COULD'VE BEEN HONDA ISSUE COVER

Terry's Integra GS-R was featured ten years ago in Honda Tuning, where we first learned how a string of bad luck and accidents prompted his B18C1's engine rebuild. What I admire about Terry is that he's continued to evolve the car and after talking with him, he'll never be done with it despite owning it for 19 years and having it go through hundreds of different changes. It's truly a build that would've landed on the cover of our annual Honda Issue if the print magazine was still around today, which is why felt compelled to design this cover to give you an idea of what it would be like to see Terry's Integra on the newsstand.

Download the high resolution Honda Issue cover featuring Terry Suvonnarith's Acura Integra.

1-ON-1 INTERVIEW WITH TERRY SUVONNARITH

How'd you get into the cars in the first place, Terry?

My cousins, Jack and Pow, and our older friends James with his 1966 Caprice and Seth with his 1970 Impala. Imports weren't a thing in our area in the early nineties and it was all about lowriders. Jack and I would hang out at a local hydraulic shop in White Center when we were in 5th or 6th grade. We were just young kids that wanted to be down with the older kids. We didn't have internet back then, so it was all about the magazine rack at the stores and being around it. Eventually, as I got older, it slowly transitioned into imports/Honda and it went from there. The Integra I currently own is my first project car.

2001 Acura Integra Spoon Sports Front Lip 01 Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

How's the Seattle Honda scene stack up against rest of the world in your opinion?

It's relatively small compared to the rest of the world, but it most definitely has been holding its own and making their own niche within the scene. I feel in this city and region, we are limited on resources compared to everyone else, yet we are still able to create and execute some amazing builds that exceed other cars with more readily available and easily accessible resources.

And your Integra is definitely proof of that! When did you pick it up?

I'm the original owner of the car. I got it in 2001 brand new from a local Acura dealership and have been working on it ever since. I still have the window sticker that was on the car and all the original paperwork, pamphlets and brochures. This was the time when the Integra was being phased out for the new RSX. They were really pushing the RSX hard because it was that "new, new". I could've picked up a RSX but it just didn't do it for me and I just wasn't feeling it. The Integra just felt right overall.

What about the Integra won you over?

What drew me to the Integra was two photos I saw way back in the day before I could even drive. The first, I can't remember what magazine it was, but it showed a red integra with a Wing West RS kit sitting on red/chrome Momo Ferraris at a car show. I want to say the car was from Hawaii. The second photo was the old Suspension Techniques ad of a black Integra with a Wing West RS kit sitting on chrome Momo Arrows. After seeing those two cars, I knew the Integra was the car for me.

2001 Acura Integra Rear Bumper 01 Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

Well it looks like you grew out of the Wings West and chrome phase. What was your overall goal with the car?

To be a clean, aggressive street car. I never intended to track or show the car and anyone who knows me can vouch for that. I admit the car does have motorsport and show features, but it was more of a personal challenge for me to see if I can make things work and still have everything be functional.

We've Got More GS-R Builds On Tap!
'98 GS-R track build
'00 OEM+ GS-R street car

Let's talk about the engine bay first. You decided to keep the stock GS-R B18C1 and also not go turbo or supercharger...

Initially, I didn't have a set direction for either going all-motor or forced induction. When Tom was at Golden Eagle MFG, he asked which piston I was going to run because he needed to hone the block to the correct piston. I got back to him one month later after letting fate be decided by a coin flip. Whatever the coin decided wasn't going to be easy or comfortable and I would have to work towards the vision I had at that time. I told myself if it lands on all-motor, I'm doing ITBs. I didn't want to do a platinum manifold setup because I felt ITBs had more appealing characteristics and features that suited me. In the end, the coin landed on all-motor which lead me down the path to what you see now.

Despite the coin landing on all-motor, was there ever a thought about a K-swap?

The thought about swapping out the engine for a K-series did come up. While I entertained the idea, I opted not to go K because the look of the K-series in an Integra at that time didn't grow on me yet. At the time, K-series was just coming up and wasn't popular yet, so the support wasn't readily available in this region. The only sources we had around here were friends with their trial and errors and limited information from car forums online. Ultimately, I just felt the B-series was best suited for the direction I was going for.

2001 Acura Integra Jenvey ITBs Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

The car makes 233hp, 153 lb-ft at 9,500rpm and redlines at 10,000rpm. I was more focused on drivability and longevity of the motor, so I didn't aim or plan for higher horsepower. In my opinion, there's not many ITB cars on the street with reliable drivability especially when it comes to partial throttle. For peace of mind as well, I wanted it to be tuned on pump gas so that I don't have to plan on where to fill up. These factors contributed to the overall goal of the build which was to be an everyday performance street car.

I noticed the engine bay has a lot more dope details from the catch can setup to the plumbing and hardware. What was your thought process behind all that?

For me, I always wanted the engine bay to be the focal point of the overall build. I wanted the outside to be clean and simple, kind of like an OEM-plus look, I guess you can say. If you look at old pictures of the car from '07 and compare them to now, the exterior has not really changed after all these years. However, if you look at my engine bay from then and now, there's definitely more noticeable changes.

2001 Acura Integra GReddy Steering Wheel 01 Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

Speaking of changes, I understand you debuted this look at Wekfest Seattle 2019. Can you highlight the car's biggest changes?

It would have to be the Safety21 cage, fabrication and work within the engine bay, and the custom J's Racing fenders.

Can you elaborate more on the fenders?

I must give credit where credit is due... The custom J's fenders were not an original idea of mine. I got the idea from Ronald Khamp with a white Integra Type R who's also from Seattle. The only noticeable difference is that he kept the side marker while I eliminated it. I wanted to give the car a slightly more aggressive look while remaining subtle.

What color is the car?

For the exterior, it has been resprayed due to all the body work that was performed, but remains the original color, Vogue Silver Metallic. The engine bay has been painted Battleship Gray just to give it more of a pop and that motorsport feel.

2001 Acura Integra Custom Vented Fender Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

The wheels complement everything quite well. It's actually a surprise to not see TE37s used.

The Volks were not my original wheel choice... While I like Volks (because who doesn't), I would still rock my old set of 18" Racing Hart C2 three-piece if I had the choice. The Racing Hart C2s have been one of my all-time favorite sets of wheels. Unfortunately, they do not clear my big brake setup so I had to go a different route. I prefer to run a conservative fitment so running an aggressive offset or setup wasn't going to work out for me, so I opted for the Volks to pair with the brakes.

The interior is one of my favorite parts of your build, maybe because most of the Integras I see are stripped out...

The thought process behind building the overall interior as it currently sits was one of my many, "F*ck it, I'm going to take a gamble and see if we can make it work" moments. I always told myself the only way I was going rock a 'cage is with full interior. I feel that stripping the interior and adding a 'cage wasn't me. I prefer a full interior and I also like my moonroof. Anyone can remove stuff to install something, but I feel there's more appreciation and value added to making stuff work with what you already have. The idea was to make the 'cage look very low key to where you wouldn't even really notice it.

2001 Acura Integra Custom Rollcage Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

Definitely a job well done! What would you say would be the most challenging modification to your car?

Man, that's a hard one... I feel one of the biggest challenges was putting in the 'cage. Making a JDM non-moonroof Safety 21 eight-point 'cage fit through the dash with full complete interior, working moonroof, all vents functional for climate control system, without modifying the 'cage or the moonroof frame, was a challenge and not fun. All this while trying to make the 'cage look likes its integrated with the interior while keeping everything functional and clean.

What do you feel stands out most about your Integra compared to other Honda builds today?

I would have to say the longevity and overall body of work.

2001 Acura Integra Taillights 01 Photo 33/33   |   Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof

Lastly, what's next?

I'm very pleased with the current state of the car overall. There are no real plans for future upgrades at this moment. Usually ideas just happen on the fly. Until then, I just plan on cruising around in the car and appreciating it in the moment.

By Sam Du
1000 Articles
Acura Integra: Arguably the Best Honda Ever Made and this GS-R is Living Proof
Tuning Menu
Car: 2001 Acura Integra
Owner: Terry Suvonnarith
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Occupation: Mechanic at Boeing Company
Instagram: @spriggan380
Power: 233hp; 155 lb-ft of torque
Engine: B18C1 block with bottom end rotating assembly balance and blueprinted by Golden Eagle Manufacturing; Golden Eagle Manufacturing HD sleeves, head studs, oil feed sandwich plate, cam seal; Eagle GSR lightened crankshaft, H-beam rods; Arias 84mm 12:5:1 pistons; ARP rod bolts; ACL bearings; ATI crank race damper; P72 cylinder head; Frontline billet valve cover; Toda Racing C2 camshafts, oil pump gear; Port Flow port & polish, dual valve springs, titanium retainers; Rev flat face valves; Skunk2 billet VTEC solenoid, solenoid cover; Jenvey 48mm individual throttle bodies; SpeedFactory Racing intake gasket; Hytech header; 2.5" exhaust piping; Mugen twin-loop muffler, oil pan; Injector Dynamics 725cc injectors, fuel filter; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; Weldon fuel pressure regulator; custom oil catch can, battery terminal junction box; C&R aluminum radiator; Spoon Sports radiator brackets, Ti bolts; JDM Type R A/C mount; Hasport engine mounts; Jim Fab torque mounts; Benen subframe brace; NRG Tech billet steering rack bracket; TSR battery relocation
Drivetrain: JDM Type R five-speed manual transmission with 4.78 final drive; Competition six-puck clutch; Toda Racing flywheel; All In Fab clutch master spacer; Rywire clutch line; OEM S2000 clutch master cylinder; SpeedFactory Racing shifter springs
Engine Management: AEM 1050 management, engine position module, sensors; Rywire custom mil-spec harness, coil-on-plug system; tuned by James at SpeedFactory Racing on pump gas
Footwork & Chassis: Function & Form Type 2 coilovers; Swift 14K front, 12K rear springs; JDM Type R front sway bar; Comptech lower rear tie bar, rear sway bar; Hard Race rear camber kit, adjustable rear toe, hard rubber bushings set; PCI spherical trailing arm bushing; MPC front lower drop forks; Function 7 Type R lower control arms; Cusco carbon fiber front and rear strut bars; custom trunk wall bar
Brakes: StopTech Trophy four-piston front brakes, stainless lines; Power Slot rear rotors; Rywire custom brake tuck
Wheels & Tires: 17x7.5" +42 Volk Racing SEK37 wheels; 215/40R17 Yokohama Advan Neova tires; Type R 32mm five-lug conversion; ARP extended studs; EVS Tuning lug nuts
Exterior: JDM Type R front-end conversion; shaved moldings, badges, rear wing, antenna; OEM sedan rear door handles; J's Racing double vented carbon fiber hood, custom vented fenders; K-Tuned billet hood hinges; Affinis Motorsports titanium hood prop; Spoon Sports carbon fiber front lip, front windshield wipers; Craft Square carbon fiber side mirrors; Mugen gas cap
Interior: Bride Zeta III seats; Takata harnesses; PCI Innovation seat rails; AiM Sports dash display; AEM wideband gauge; custom dash harness, harness bar, rollcage-mount steering wheel/helmet hook, heater core, heater control valve; ASR harness bar reel; Zoom rear view mirror; Safety21 eight-point rollcage fit through dash with b-pillar bracket mounts; GReddy steering wheel, shift knob; Chasing JS Ti steering wheel bolts; Honda Access column light; Mugen Sport pedal kit; Sergeant dead pedal; Signal Auto steering wheel quick release; Splash billet aluminum steering wheel boss; JDM Type R door panels, arm rest delete, clock delete, shift boot; CDM airbag delete; K Designs rear seat delete kit; Pioneer double-din head unit; Infinity speakers
Thanks: Super Street (Sam Du), Photography (Daniel Piker), CARS of Bellevue (John & Paul), Fabrication (Peter Leng), Good Vibes Ride Garage (Syi & Charlie), ICB (Matt), Common Fibers (Gabe), Evasive Motorsports (Tony), Acura of Bellevue (Joe), Speed Factory Racing (Kevin & James), Tight-N-Tidy Racing (karl), Seattle Powder Coating, The Chronicles (Joey Lee), Exceed JPN (Yasu), TRIKSPEED, Gary Midstokke, Seth Johnson, Pow Pinprasert, Dennis Marino, Tom Pham, Peter & Anna, Alex & Sarah Chac, Vince & Jennifer, Quoc & Kari Tran, Jimmy Yin, Steve Kwan, Joshua Soriano, Niccuhles Nguyen, Vu Nguyen, Aaron Maneenoi, Rainier Deleon, Tai Akgami, Darnell Andrada, Tony Dau, Ronald Khamp, Jeff Diaz, BHM (Bill, Huy, Mell), Vilo Southichack, Rickie Sok, Eazy Duz It C.C. Seattle; to my cousin Jack Dawson who recently passed away. It's hard to forgot someone when you gave us so much to remember. You may be gone from our sight; you'll NEVER be gone from our hearts.

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

Aston Martin teams up with Curv Racing Simulators to build what it calls the "ultimate in luxury Esports experiences."
Greg FinkSep 21, 2020
Alex Markovic originally purchased his EM1 to be a dedicated winter beater, but about 15 miles into driving his new car home, that plan began to change.
RodrezSep 21, 2020
Tyler Graff picked up his Mk4 Supra when he was only 22, but don't think for a minute that he was some spoiled kid. He worked his butt off to be able to buy it as well as build it to the car it is today.
Sam DuSep 18, 2020
Riding shotgun with Randy "the Rocket" Pobst as he takes on Willow Springs in a 2020 Civic Type R
RodrezSep 18, 2020
Other than its color-scheme the connection between this Civic DX hatchback and the late, great Kobe Bryant isn't completely clear, but talk to its builder, GhostboyAki, and things clear up in rather short order.
RodrezSep 17, 2020
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP