End of term

Picture0341_4a099fca9052b-lightboxMy Dad is a Forensic Scientist and Engineer. This means that many of his customers need him to inspect the job in situ’, equating to tens of thousands of miles a year, and his X300 XJR has proved a very capable companion; clocking many miles each year, with regular runs down to the south coast, Europe, and up into the highlands of Scotland from Derby. It’s been faultess.

At around the 120k mark the big cat was booked into the local dealership to have the noisy diff replaced. A couple of days later my Dad needed to take my youngest brother, David, to Nottingham to pick something up. Seeing as the Jag was at the garage, I tossed him my keys and said, take mine, see what you think. It was an hour or two later when my Dad arrived back looking a bit dismayed. “I’ve modified the bodywork a bit…” came the words. On approaching an island with traffic lights hidden over a crest, somehow he had missed the brake, pressed the clutch, and was already committed to an evaisive manoeuvre, so had to squeeze the car between two stationary vehicles at the lights, at 20mph! I don’t know how he did it, and the incident could have been must worse, but the door and rear quarter panel on the driver’s side came into contact with the front tyre of the other car that was slightly on lock, and were crumpled and scruffed in the process.

I was a bit put out, but far more relieved than anything that my Dad’s ability had resulted in a close shave rather than a nose to tail shunt.

I posted my pics up on the Integra forum for a little sympathy, and to set about finding a replacement door, much cheaper than buying one from Honda, and a good way to support the chaps on the forum too.

I found a door in the same Championship White on a Japanese Integra that had had a smash – a write-off unfortunately. Nick’s car was formerly immaculate, and it had the sought after 16″ wheels that the post 2000 JDM Integra’s featured as well as a last of the line exhaust manifold which made better torque and high-end power. It was the stripped back version too, no ABS, radio, aircon, and amazingly, no clock; the ultimate incarnation of the car if ever there was one.

I turned up in Nuneaton around 10 minutes before dusk, to pick the door up, but Nick had other ideas. He wanted to swap the doors, to keep the elements out of his car that he was selling bit by bit – surely a heart breaking exercise. So he helped me swap over the door, door cards and electrics there and then in the cold, on his drive, as the winter sun was going down.

Soon afterwards, an independent body shop around the corner from work knocked out the rear panel, gave the door a light spray to blend it and polished the whole car. I also got some rust sorted out on the rear arches, and had part of the rear bumper painted black for a little individuality, aping the clio 197’s rear diffuser. When I went to pick the car up I was amazed at how fresh and good it looked. I was glad to get it back.

My dad still hadn’t got his Jag back, it was at the dealership for 5 months. Apparently Jaguar had ceased making the diffs, and so the dealership couldn’t supply one. To further compound the problem, their policies mean they couldn’t source from elsewhere. They didn’t tell him this however, so he was driving our race prepared TR4 (journal coming soon) around the country during the winter. Race clutch, harsh suspension, no heater, Yoko track tyres and tiny wipers – not my idea of fun, but when needs must… Had Jaguar said “borrow our new XKR demonstrator for the day” he would probably have bought one. Just because a chap owns a 13 year old XJR doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be interested in a newer car.

So with the Integra back to full strength, after two years I decided I wanted a change. Deciding that the enthusiast looks for a well kept standard car, I went about changing the Fujitsubo exhaust and sport cat back to stock.

As my automotive journey was coming to the end of another chapter, I suppose at this point I should sum the DC2 Integra Type R up in a couple of sentences.

Perfectly poised and highly entertaining, practical touring car for the road that is far more than the sum of its parts. Huge, huge fun on back roads and on the track, with a jewel of an engine, but can be a little monotonous on the motorway.

So what to choose to replace an epic A & B road car, acclaimed as the greatest FWD driver’s car to date?

Well my new criteria were rear wheel drive, more power, better cruising ability and a high output legendary engine.

Can you guess what it is yet?

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Alastair Campbell