Project Integra DC2 : Introduction

Project Integra DC2: Introduction

by Clint Boisdeau

MotoIQ has long been synonymous with Nissan oriented project and race car builds. Proof can easily be found in the “Projects” drop down menu on the site.  However, when our Project VW Golf TDI suffered a major fuel system failure, Jeff–its owner–was without a daily driver and got the itch for a reliable, inexpensive spare daily driver he could also take to the track for some road course fun.  I've been hanging around the shop a lot lately working on my 90's Hondas and telling Jeff all the positive aspects about them, giving him just enough interest to start combing the classifieds for a solid condition, wishbone suspension era, front wheel drive Honda.

Jeff wasn't interested in a huge project from the start, but wanted a VTEC B series engine in the bay. So finding a single cam powered “EG” or “EK” Civic was out of the picture.  Also he wanted a certain level of amenities since the plan was to be a suitable street driven car.  Even though 99-00 Civic Si EM1 coupes come with B16a2 VTEC motors, they were few and far between.  DC2 Integra GSR's on the other hand were a bit easier to find because of the wider range of model years sold and come equipped with B18c1 VTEC engines.  Also being an Acura, there was a better chance of a nicer fit and finish interior wise.

After a collaborative effort hunting through Craigslist and milling through all the poorly and/or heavily modified Integras in the Southern California area, we found a relatively stock GSR in frost white.  So myself, Jeff, and Karla Pestotnik (a well rounded time attack and wheel to wheel racer experienced with Hondas) went to meet the owner of the Integra to take a closer look. 


As a group, we spent a decent amount of time checking out as much as we could on the car.  For the most part the car was in good condition but seemed to suffer from some maintenance neglect which we will cover shortly.  Pointing out certain flaws helped us talk down the asking price of the owner.  We really were not trying to low ball the guy, but there were noticeable issues that we knew would take time and money to repair.  We took the car for a drive and it ran smoothly, but could not rev into VTEC all the way to redline right in front of the owner who was yet to sign the papers over to Jeff.  The suspension was decent even though the car was riding on an aftermarket damper and no name lowering springs, but the control arm bushings were clearly worn and likely original.  
Going back and forth on price, we were able to agree on an amount, which was less than listed online since we pointed out the mechanical issues.  The owner signed over the paperwork right there in the lot but was sad to see the car go.  His girlfriend and him wanted one last picture with the car and told us they called it “Ace”.  Jeff was not a fan of the nickname but was happy with his purchase regardless. 
On the drive back to the MotoIQ HQ, Jeff was reminded how much he liked 90's era Japanese cars.  They're lightweight, fairly spartan compared to today's standards and realtively easy to work on.  Karla also pointed out how small and sleek the DC2 body looked compared to anything modern.  Its crazy to think how much larger even the most compact offerings from various manufacturers have gotten. 
A nearly stock US market B18C1 engine bay in all its black plastic and excessive ABS brake line glory.  Karla and I were also not used to seeing AC or power steering components which are non existent on our Civic race cars.   The car is missing the factory exhaust manifold and cover with the little “don't burn yourself hand” icon.

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