As a photographer and car lover, I often attend automotive events to capture shots of builds that catch my eye. This year, the phrase ‘it’s a small world’ truly hit home when I got to know Raf Rivera.
Raf and I crossed paths at the annual Honda Collective car cruise, and in between our car conversations, I realized that he was the proud owner of the yellow 2000 Acura Integra Type R I’d spotted a few times at various events in the tri-state. Despite having not met Raf before, I had managed to capture several shots of his Honda, but didn’t know much more about it than what I could see. This time around though, I seized the opportunity to connect directly with Raf, set up a shoot and delve into the details of his build.
Raf’s journey with the DC2 Type R began in 2018, when he purchased the car to realize a childhood dream. A previous owner had equipped the Integra with a JDM front end, but that was one of the first things to go under Raf’s ownership. The transformation returned the car to its roots with USDM front end components, including rare factory-option Raybrig fog lights.
Raf had no inclination to keep the car completely stock-looking though, choosing select parts to bring his vision to life. They include custom-fitted, one-of-one Shift Sports front fenders, a vented carbon fiber hood from First Molding, Ganador side mirrors, and a Mugen Gen 1 wing in place of the original Type R piece.
Those with a keen eye might have noticed two different wheel styles fitted. There was no swapping mid-shoot though; Raf simply runs a pair of RAYS Volk Racing TE37s in classic bronze on one side of the Integra, and same-sized Spoon Sports SW388s in matte black on other, creating a different look depending on which way you view the car. All wheels are wrapped in Toyo Proxes R888R semi-slick tires in a 225/45ZR16 fitment.
To ensure stopping power, Spoon Sports monoblock calipers were added, complemented by a D2 coilover suspension for a balanced ride.
The interior strikes a balance between form and function, with an AiM dash, Sabelt steering wheel, and ICB seats also harnessed by Sabelt being some of the standout features of the cabin. The rear section features a half cage and a rare Miracle-X bar brace, while originality is retained in the trunk with the Type R carpet still intact.
Under the hood, Raf aimed for simplicity and turnkey performance. The B18C5 Type R engine is a sweet piece of four-cylinder performance engineering, so just basic bolt-on modifications were added. They include a titanium intake tube, Spoon Sport plug wires, a Spoon header and Spoon N1 exhaust system. Spoon Sports dress-up items finish off the bay while paying homage to the brand’s legacy in the Honda community.
Beyond the car, Raf has cultivated a vibrant community in the US East Coast Honda scene through NAR. Founded by Raf, this group of automotive enthusiasts is dedicated to building and showcasing clean, and well-executed cars, just like this Integra.
Raf’s passion and commitment make him a valuable addition to the automotive community, aligning seamlessly with the spirit of those who showcase their work with pride.
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