Future Proof: Good Taste Is Always In Style

Time has a funny way of taking its toll on things. Much like the changing of the tides, trends seem to come and go with time. What is now popular will likely become old hat in coming months, only to be resurrected some years from now. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and some styles are timeless, staples if you will, like Converse’s legendary Chuck Taylor.

It’s a look that isn’t difficult to achieve, yet has unquestionable head-turning capabilities. The formula around which this car was constructed is one I grew up admiring in print magazines like Sport Compact Car, Turbo and Super Street. You start with a reasonably sporty car like the Integra and apply a handful of top-notch and properly executed modifications.

When Parnell Navarro bought this, his first car, second-hand back in 1997, cars like this could be found all over LA. The key ingredients back then were a lowered ride and expensive wheels, with SSR and Mugen being the cream of the crop. Those that were particularly keen to stand out from the crowd would add additional bits like JDM components and lip kits.

If you really wanted to take it to the next level a full color change was the grand finale. By today’s standards this stuff is all quite mild, but back in the ’90s before wire tucks and shaved engine bays and all the other trends, this was how people built their cars and to be honest, I wish more people would go back to it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for what people are currently doing in the Honda scene, but you’d be hard pressed to find a car from the current crop that will look as good in ten years as this Integra does today. If there’s something to be learned it’s that simplicity will always stand the test of time.

There’s an old adage we’ve all heard that says “you get what you pay for” and there are two schools of thought: quality and quantity. Of course there’s no right or wrong way to build a car or spend money, but I’ve always felt more compelled to own a smaller number of well-made things – be it camera lenses or car wheels – than a massive amount of mediocre stuff.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been attracted to this style, rather than throwing hundreds of shiny anodized do-hickeys and sticker-bombed add-ons there are just a few nicely placed items. While the Mugen MF8 wheels might not be “hellaflush” with deep barrels and chrome lips, they do look rather nice and considering that these were forged by Rays in specs designed for a Honda, you know they work.

There’s no mickey-mouse-shiny-look-at-me-bolt-in-cage in the interior, nor is there some ill-mounted second hand bucket seats with a death-trap expired harness setup either. Just a well kept original interior which suits a clean street car perfectly. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Of course there are some modifications, like the highly sought after Mugen FG360 steering wheel. It’s become one of the hottest Honda accessories of all time and this very steering wheel commands anywhere from $600-1200 on today’s market depending on condition and accessories.

The only acceptable shift knob to use in unison would be a same-era piece also by Mugen. Anything else would be uncivilized.

Elsewhere are more little details that only a trained enthusiast’s eye would pick up on, like the optional Japanese “Personal Box” which is of course “For No Smokers”. The interior of the box is felt lined and most owners seldom place anything inside, but just knowing it’s there is worth the cost of entry.

The engine compartment follows suit and places emphasis on the effectiveness of the mods rather than the sheer volume of bolt-ons. With the exception of a few polished and chromed pieces, the engine bay looks shockingly standard compared to many of today’s Honda engine bays.

Using a tried-and-true LS/VTEC Frankenstein engine as a base, the block has been sleeved, punched out and stuffed with aftermarket internals. The head has been sourced from a B16A and received some massaging before being bolted to the block. For good measure a period-correct Rev Hard turbo kit has been attached for even more oomph.

It’s a look that says the owner cares enough about presentation to show it off, but still desires the reliability of a car that’s actually driven. What it lacks in tucked wires, shaved holes and fancy nuts, bolts and washers it makes up for in driveablilty.

While it may not be the fastest, most expensive or immaculate car I’ve ever shot, there’s something about it that excites me as much today as it did the first time I saw it nearly a decade ago. If anything, the current hyper builds make this kind of car even more special and reaffirms the less-is-more approach to car building.

As time moves forward I’m sure there will be lots of fads we look back on in shame, like the haircut on our driver’s license. But there’s one thing that we can be sure of; quality never goes out of style. Along that token that I’d think Parnell has built a car that could be considered an automotive staple – the timeless SoCal street import.

1993 Acura Integra

ENGINE

2.0L Turbocharged LS/VTEC; Darton sleeves; 84.5mm CP pistons; 11.5:1 compression; Eagle rods; knife edged crank; JDM B16A cylinder head ported and polished by Sparton Performance; Type-R valve springs, retainers and intake manifold; Buddyclub Spec 3 cams; Skunk2 cam gears; chrome valve cover; polished intake; Fluidyne radiator; Rev Hard turbo kit (manifold, intercooler, charge piping); Spoon oil and radiator caps

ENGINE MANAGEMENT / ELECTRONICS

Hondata S300 ECU

DRIVELINE

JDM XSi Integra Y1 transmission w/ factory LSD; Kaiten Karui flywheel; ACT clutch kit; DC Sports short shifter

SUSPENSION / CHASSIS

Skunk2 coilover sleeves; Tokico HP shocks; ST sway bars f/r; Spoon front strut bar; custom cross member by Dirty Cambodian; EM Racing c-pillar bar

WHEELS / TIRES

16×7 Mugen MF8 wheels; 205/45R16 Yokohama AVS ES100 tires

CABIN

Mugen pedal covers, FG360 steering wheel, shiftknob; Autometer gauges; JDM XSi gauge cluster, seat belts, personal box

BODY

NSX Imola Orange Mica paint; Mugen lip kit (front half-bumper, side skirts, rear half-bumper); JDM DA headlights, side markers, taillights, side moldings, window visors

THANKS

Reggie Q, Allen at Rev Hard, Chuckie and Rocky from Showstoppers, Robbie, Brandon, E-jay, Sam, Sean K and my family

More stories by Sean Klingelhoefer on Speedhunters

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-Sean


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75 comments
japanophile25
japanophile25

Not my favorite car, but I dig the style. Function and form, plus streetability!

ej8hybrid
ej8hybrid

timeless classic build!!! Grrrreat feature bro well done...i remember reading a feature on this back when parnell's integra was still NA with his 200hp LS-V setup!!! mos def one of my all time favorite DA builds, besides the great RANDY GAGAN with his equisite xsi R.I.P buddy!!!

 

 

Minhster
Minhster

Maybe I'm just super old school, but this reminds of RJ de Vera's car. I know it's not the same, but reminds me of it...

Fg2_FrAn
Fg2_FrAn

a decade ago you say? wow..very nice build

Nate047
Nate047

tole   [tohl]  noun enameled or lacquered metalware, usually with gilt decoration,often used, especially in the 18th century, for trays, lampshades,etc.

 

toll   [tohl]  noun 

the extent of loss, damage, suffering, etc., resulting fromsome action or calamity.:-P

bakayaru
bakayaru

Great writeup Sean. Perfect choice of car too. Makes modern Hondas seem gaudy.

apex_DNA
apex_DNA

Lose the turbo, hood prop, and trendy stickers and this car would be golden.

Brad_S
Brad_S

This is why I wish my mother kept her da9!

Corey K
Corey K

Perfect example of the K.I.S.S. method of car building.

hanablemoore
hanablemoore

Hey Sean good write up. I ve notice the HONDA scene is very much like the HOT ROD scene. Im only thirty years old and i was around when the import crazyness started. I knew one day that the DA EG EK and DC would be looked at like the baby boomers look at the 64-71 mustangs,67-70 camaro's, and 69-71 dodges( dodge had a few good cars during the late sixties early 70's). Reading your story you sound like a purist that not to fond of the current trend lol. Just like the baby boomers purist need the pro touring class we need those guys with the wire tucks, chrome whatever and shit to add diversities. If everyone followed the same recipe this integra wouldn't be special.I like this purist approach and i think we will see more biulds like this because of the rarity of the cars we grew up on and the fact age is creeping up on most of us. 

christov
christov

Sick photo location. Good job Sean!!!

Roberlini
Roberlini

That color looks fantastic on the car especially at dusk. All it needs are some RH Tracers!

1991ed6
1991ed6

Timeless integra!!!!!!!! Nice pics sean!!!

 

Hotcakes
Hotcakes

Great article Sean, and I'm liking the car a lot. As you say, more than the sum of it's parts. Just clean and well-executed. More clean and/or functional Honda features like this please!

TylerS13
TylerS13

dude thank you for posting this i've been wanting to see a clean DA for a while now and this is flawless.

pstar
pstar

Nah that stupid trend-following "illest" sticker will forever date this car, as it is in these photos to the 2008-2013(?) era. Just like similarly retarded fast and furious style door graphics would date it to the early 2000s. Nice car otherwise, too bad about the douchey sticker.

DAve
DAve

Fuckin beautiful. Pics look amazing Sean. Parnell's DA is classy...

Paddy McGrath
Paddy McGrath

I've never been a huge Honda guy (although I would like to own a DC2 Type R at some stage in my life) but I can really appreciate this. There are just so many mega-earth-shattering builds out there at the moment that it's starting to get a little bit out of control. This shows that the simplest of builds can still inspire and influence people. Great shoot Sean.

MattAtDoyle
MattAtDoyle

Great work and fantastic car! Since this is a CA car, my question is this: how hard is it to get all that after-market intake and exhaust piping to pass the visual inspection in a SMOG test? I only ask because I had to remove my RS•R header from my 'Teg and slap my stock header back on after it failed the inspection (no CARB #).

LouisYio
LouisYio

DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY DO-HICKEY

 

Anyways, this has to be on of my favorite posts on Speedhunters for a couple of reasons. My uncle jumped on the DA bandwagon in his early 20's and purchased a white version when I was a mere 3 years-old in the year 1995(I think) before he got married. We lived in the San Gabriel Valley, which was heavily influenced by the JDM car scene. It was a mere 5 minutes from Downtown, Los Angeles(if you drove fast enough) so the Downtown skyline was seen almost everyday(with the right vantage point). He always took me to go hiking all throughout my childhood which meant driving on GMR, Chantry Flats, Mulholland, etc. He wasn't the type to modify his car with aftermarket stuff. He was the type who kept it in an immaculate condition with oem parts. When it came time for me to learn how to drive a stick shift when I was 15, I learned in my uncle's DA Integra. Good memories.

 

All good things come to an end though..... When My uncle got married and had a kid a few years ago, he had to sacrifice his Integra for a 4-door Civic. FFFUUU****!!!! Now he lives in Riverside, a million miles away from Topanga Canyon, Glendora Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, and all the good shtuff*. No more hiking. No more mountain roads. No more Integra.

 

The fact that this car was shot in Socal with the Downtown skyline right behind it makes it my favorite. It brings back old memories of the late 90's and early 2000's when things were good.

Curlytop
Curlytop

Really like this. Love how drivable and simple it is. Does any one know how much bhp it produces? 220? 250?

HLB
HLB

This is one of my favourite integras of all time, nice write up. I always get a little tingly when I see Honda coverage on Speedhunters that isn't one of those "contemporary" builds with a "bit too much going on".

The Big Mike
The Big Mike

Although I suppose they really shouldn't anymore, the comments that pop up when Hondas are covered continue to blow my mind. The entertainment factor is a positive, though, as one cannot help but smile at the biased, shallow, narrow-minded ignorance that seems to flow so freely and naturally from some of these people. It's amazing - in good and bad way.

immature_teens
immature_teens

ignore social standards and what you have here is a clean build plain and simple. yes it's old and out of date but that's not the point, it's about attention to detail.

dan1407
dan1407

Excellent build! A super clean car can never be wrong. Good work!!

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @Minhster Makes sense, as that's one of the inspirations of this car. It's also the last car to be in Kosoku, RJ's crew.

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @bakayaru Some of them are, some of them aren't. There are still plenty of people building really nice cars, I just find that most of the newer cars are a little too much for me. Again that's just my taste though, the next Honda I shoot for SH will likely be of the k-swapped new school variety, but one I find done in a tasteful manner.

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @hanablemoore Definitely an interesting take on it, and I can't say I disagree with what you've said. In regards to the current builds I don't have anything against them, and I even like some of them very much. I just think that when people are haphazardly bolting things to their cars without thinking it through, which seems to be a lot of the cars being built now, that's stupid... but that's just my opinion which is worth virtually nothing lol.

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @Roberlini Tracers would look quite nice, it used to have M7s on it which I also think were a little more proper looking, but I'm not mad about the MF8s.

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @PaddyMcGrathSH Greater than the sum of all parts, that's the goal. No matter how many parts you have, you should think about whether or not you're actually improving anything... Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best!

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @MattAtDoyle Pretty sure nothing about the engine setup would pass Smog. Although there are some headers and intakes with CARB EOs like AEM / DC Sports etc, but pretty much any JDM stuff won't be on the list and an aftermarket turbo setup definitely won't pass visual.

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @LouisYio Cool story bro, no seriously lol. Given the car and where it was built and what it represents I felt it was only right to shoot it with the LA skyline. Glad it could bring up some memories!

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @HLB Glad to hear you can appreciate a more simple build, there will be more in this vein in the coming months.

Roberlini
Roberlini

@sean klingelhoefer haha I was thinking M7's too. Man you really timed your shoot well that first shot with the sun, skyline and shadows is amazing.

Curlytop
Curlytop

@sean klingelhoefer Also what are the two red buttons on that awesome mugen steering wheel? Horn? Nos?

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer

 @Roberlini  @sean This is a pretty popular spot in LA, and certainly not the first or last time I'll shoot there I'm sure. Taking into account previous experience, I knew exactly where the sun would be and thought it was the perfect setting for this car. Glad you liked it!


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