Wheel style and, more importantly, wheel fitment can make or break a car's looks. Get it wrong and even with the right set of wheels the car won't live up to its true potential. Aggressive wheels have been long associated with RWD cars because they are naturally set up to fit large, low, offset rims. FWD cars, on the other hand, are not, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. It just takes some more work.
The biggest hurdle that the Integra has is its 4x100 bolt pattern. There are few, if any, aggressive wheels that are made in this pattern these days. However, the 5x114.3 bolt pattern has quickly become a standard in the Japanese car world, which makes finding the right wheel a matter of taste and personal choice, not availability. Thankfully, the Integra Type-R was factory equipped with a 5x114.3 bolt pattern and swaps over rather easily. Not only do you get the proper bolt pattern, but the Type-R also had bigger brakes that work extremely well both on and off the track and rarely need upgrading other than maybe some better pads and rotors.
Sourcing a USDM conversion isn't easy because so few Type-Rs ever came over stateside. However, JDM conversions are abundant and Teknotik-a large supplier of JDM engines, components and anything JDM-set me up with a mint full Type-R five-bolt conversion that included front and rear five-bolt hubs, axles, calipers, rotors, control arms and parking brakes. These components bolt up to any DC2 chassis without any modification, making this install a DIY at home job.
With parts in hand and a simple set of tools, I didn't exactly start off well. Most cars won't have this problem, but because the lovely Integra crown nut has seen its fair share of winters, the large nut that holds the axle to the hub wouldn't budge despite every effort I made to wrestle it loose-including extending a large breaker bar with a 3-foot piece of pipe to exert even more force on the nut. Eventually, I sheared the breaker bar off at the socket point. At that point, I knew I would have to take it to a shop to have them loosen the nuts. But I could still swap the rear end over and I did. This time everything went as planned and in about three hours the rear was converted over to five-bolt hardware. Just like I mentioned earlier, everything bolts up (don't forget to bleed your brakes, though). As for the front, after taking it to Andrew Wojteczko's garage, which has all the tools one ever needs, we were able to break the axle nuts free with an air gun and perform the swap in no time. The one snag we hit was that the JDM five-bolt uses a larger outer drive axle spline (36mm) which is fine since Teknotik supplied us with the proper axles. However, axle nuts are rarely supplied so we had to source them. Luckily, Andrew had two kicking around, but you may not be so lucky; order them in advance to avoid downtime.
With the five-bolt conversion complete, there was still the matter of wheels. Typically, most Honda nuts run 15- or 16-inch rare JDM rims but aggressive offsets are nearly impossible to find. To get what I wanted, I had to go to a 17-inch rim and after seeing SSR's new Type-F rim on Chris Forseberg's 350Z drift car, I thought it would be the ideal wheel for the Integra. The Type-F is a lightweight two-piece wheel using SSR's SSF (Semi Solid Forging) technology which combines the best design capabilities of casting and the sheer strength of forging. This allows the wheel to be lightweight but retain superb strength and rigidity along with excellent design characteristics. The 17x8.5-inch Type-F that I ordered weighs in at a mere 16.8 lbs. I opted for the silver because of its inconspicuousness; however, with a +32 offset, the fitment should fetch some attention.
By now everyone has heard of or seen the "stretched" tire look. Stretching a tire on a rim helps with aggressive fitment because you can fit a bigger wheel on the car and have the tire tuck underneath the fender for the perfect look. I wasn't about to go all extreme on the tire stretch since I still wanted to be able to drive the car hard with confidence. I eventually ended up with a mild stretch using a 215/40R17 size. My tire of choice was Dunlop's ultra-high-performance Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec tire. Developed as a serious sports car tire that provides race-tire-like grip, The Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec is a true dual-purpose enthusiast tire-meaning you can drive it with confidence on the street and beat on it continuously at the track. The Z1 Star Spec comes up to temperature much faster than other similar tires which ensures consistent and maximum grip at all times. This characteristic is ideal for the Integra or other lightweight vehicles, which often have problems bringing tires up to their proper operating temperatures hindering them from ever reaching their maximum levels of grip on the track.
As you can see in the photos, with the wheels and tires mounted on the Teg, a 4x4 look has resulted. Not only has the ride height increased but the wheels stick out from the fender quite a bit. This was to be expected, though. There is plenty of massaging that has to happen, but before adjustments can be done, the proper suspension bits must be installed. You'll have to wait until the next issue to judge whether the wheel choice and fitment was a good call or a mistake.