The service came under the same pricing scheme as the latest Honda Civics which was less pricey than I had imagined. The ‘Honda Happiness’ scheme also saves cash. This is offset by servicing intervals of 6,000 miles and the optional 3,000 oil and filter change (which I do at home if the car is in for a lot of hard use). The rear brakes needed new pads and discs as they were the original items, so this was done at the same time.
The service engineer enthused about the Integra to my amusement, saying that they don’t have many in and it is always a pleasure to work on one. This was a nice thing to hear. They are enthusiastic characters at Lookers, and happy to engage in Honda Type R related banter. I am happy to leave the car in their hands.
With the service done I could go about using the car properly without the voice from my shoulder whispering “Steady, you may break something”, especially when revving the engine long and hard time and time again. We have some cracking roads around Derby that I know like the bottom of a pint glass, and these were the perfect proving ground for my new steed.
A fair few of my friends are petrolheads, and so the obligatory visits to show off the new car ensued. Parked next to a couple of MR2s, a Nissan S13 200sx, a heavily modified Astra GSI, and Scottish Jon’s Civic the Integra looked, to my relief, neither overstated or showy, just purposeful with it’s white wheels, rear wing, and low stance. We joked that the Integra was the automotive equivalent of a few Derby girls we had all encountered, white dress, white skirt and white shoes!
They took it in turns to have passenger rides and couldn’t believe how fast it could take well sighted corners. The mix of stiff setup, forgiving 195/55 rubber, low kerb weight and good traction allows you to really commit the Integra to a sweeping road and really flatters the driver’s skills.
There were a couple of things to do to the car to bring it up to how I wanted it. Firstly the bolster on the right of the driver’s seat had collapsed, a common ITR problem. I was frequently receiving a painful prod in the leg from the metal seat frame. A replacement Recaro bolster was ordered from Capital seating (http://www.capitalseating.co.uk/) for about £25 which improved the comfort and support. The early 90’s standard cassette radio was pretty poor at driving the standard speakers and was as good as useless at receiving FM radio. I took the speakers to my local car audio place and they deemed them ok, so it was out with the old head unit and in with a new Alpine cd radio with integrated amp to drive the speakers harder.
The Integra was developed on Bridgestone Potenza RE010 tyres, and my car was fitted with a mixture of RE720s and S02s, so I began the onerous task of wearing these recently fitted tyres down so the proper boots could be fitted.
After about 6 months I purchased a BMC carbon fibre cold air induction kit which sucks air directly from the skid tray and adds a wicked dose of aural delight to the already purposeful sounding engine. The original intake is a brilliant design, so I may swap back to the OEM airbox at some point, as it is difficult to improve on and aftermarket induction can cause flat spots. The BMC does sound good in tunnels though!
After about a year of ownership, I added a sports cat and a second hand, Japanese Fujitsubo RM01A cat back exhaust from a chap (www.performancesolution.co.uk) on the ITR forum (www.itr-dc2.com). The exhaust is around 10kg lighter – complementing the ethos of Type R, and with the cat adds a few horses to the 190 Japanese stallions (or should that be Starions?). After buffing with some Brasso, the new exhaust was fitted to the car with a bolt in tail bung. It gives a great burble now, with a more aggressive note when accelerating. Without the bung the exhaust screams, which is a lot of fun, but not for everyday commuting.
Another unique trait to the Integra is a whistle when the throttle is opened partially. This is down to air flowing over the throttle body butterfly at certain throttle openings. With this, the VTEC changeover and my sound enhancing mods, my orchestra was pretty much complete – just the screech of new rubber to add…