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Our Cars: The story of my Acura Integra GS-R, part 2

Kamil Kaluski November 26, 2013 All Things Hoon, Featured 28 Comments

1995 acura integra gs-r stock

This is a continuation of a story that started here.

It’s the middle of the summer in 2012. I am walking down a Boston side street pushing my newest vehicle, a Bugaboo Chameleon, with my baby son riding shotgun. All of a sudden, like a special effect in a movie, everything slows down, noises turn into distant murmur, and my eyes focus on it. There it was, casually street parked, as if teasing the world of theft that ended the existence of its siblings, was a factory stock black Acura Integra GS-R.

Wow. It’s been years since I’ve seen one that original.

Damn, I miss that car.

In the corner of my eye I see someone approaching the car. I strike up a casual conversation. It turns out that the guy is the original owner, doesn’t know too much about cars and ended up with the GS-R because he wanted a black Integra “with stick” and this GS-R was the only 5-speed that the dealer had in stock at the time. He said that he loved the car, but with two kids it was getting too small, and a bit too old.

I gave the nice man my business card and told that him that if he ever wanted to sell it, to call me first.

Fourteen months later, at 3:00pm on Friday afternoon, I received an email:

Hi Kamil,

I don’t know if you recall me but we had met on the street in Boston. You had expressed interest in my Integra GS-R. Still interested? Let me know. I still love the car but kids growing up! Black, 1995 Acura Integra GS-R, new brake-lines, etc., new timing belt and water pump, new A/C. 121,200 miles. Single owner. Let me know of your interest.


1995 acura integra gs-r stock front

I was at his house by 8:00pm, cash in hand. It was dark, and having bought a vehicle in a nighttime before, I made a rule never to repeat that again. The body looked good, as did the interior. It had the right engine in it and it ran; it ran loud because it needed a muffler but it ran well. I went for a quick test drive.

I haven’t driven an Integra in over fourteen years. Compared to everything I drove recently, everything on the Teggy was smaller; A-pillars, seats, there was less headroom. Somethings were bigger, such as the steering wheel with a big airbag. Everything was so simple, too. There were no LCD/TFT screens, no navigation, no iPhone interface. The pedals felt like they were connected to something mechanical and not a block box.

The shifter bushings were gone; when in gear it felt like it’s in neutral, easy fix. The original clutch still had a lot of life left in it. Damn those headlights are dim, probably original bulbs. Power antenna is bent and won’t retract, making the motor scream angrily; easy fix. The interior is mint, it even smells like it did when it was new. I turn up the factory radio/cassette player to reveal blown speakers; Nirvana Unplugged would have sounded great through them regardless.

It steered well, it stopped well. I stepped on it and I heard “woah woah, take it easy, I’ve never done that!” from the passenger seat as the tachometer crossed the 5000rpm line, 3000rpm short of redline. This guy was either an amazing salesman or he never drove it like it was meant to. I took my chances and went with the latter.

I made him an offer, $400 below what he was asking. We met in the middle, on a nice round figure. We did the title and bill of sale thing, and I broke another one of my car buying rules – never buy the same car again.

1995 acura integra gs-r stock interior

A side story:

The seller was doing research in a hospital that I live near when we met on the street that summer day. He is of Indian decent, and I actually have been to the city he was born in during my world travels in college. His wife and mine used to work for the same company and actually have been in some meetings together. He now conducts his research, amazingly, in Warsaw, Poland… in the same hospital that I was born in. Craziness.

I don’t know what my plans for this car are. Right now it needs a few things; many things if I may be so OCD. I am in a bit of predicament because I don’t really have a need for a car, I have nowhere to park it, nowhere to drive it, and no time to spend on it. All of that does not matter, however, this was a purely emotional purchase… I have my Integra back!


  • GTXcellent
  • acarr260

    The only new car I've ever purchased was a 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport. Oddly enough, I've been actively looking at that same model again. I think they are at the bottom of their depreciation curve, and very solid examples of the last of the YJ's can still be found easily. I think now is the time… especially with winter approaching.

  • Preludacris

    Factory radio, I am impressed. Congrats and enjoy!

  • Manic_King

    Alarm system is a must, I understand. And insurance. Congrats, Kamil!

  • rennsport964

    This guy took meticulous care of this car (interior and exterior), especially considering it was located in Boston. Most of them are beat to hell, even the ones in the mild climes of Seattle.

    When I have some time, I'll do a write up of my G2 GS-R.

    • Alex

      This is such a sad and true fact, my Integra has rust and it needs fixing it's really a east coast but farther north east you go the worse they get… I've seen some that have been cars from New York with almost no quarter panels due to rust

  • vinny

    What a fine example of performance, fuel economy, reliability, and function.

    HONDA's will always be my first love.

    This car redefined my definition of MINT.

  • Slopoke

    Brings back memories! Back then, I had a 94 Civic, no reasonators and puny muffler, suspension with super stiff rear bar, oversteering all over the place. I too got an E46 330i. It was faster, more comfy and capable, but it just wasn't the same. But the car I miss most was a 99 Miata that I bought when I got my first real job and sold two years ago.

  • Neen85

    "If you love something set it free.
    If it comes back to you its yours.
    If not, it was never meant to be."

    -unknown (probably a car lover)

  • Jason

    SAme story here, moved from a 98(I did like the rear and front facia update) to a 2001 330ci.

    The thing is, as much as I loved the integra and all things and memories it brought me in my senior year of highschool, as you know the e46 was a different league in comfort, speed, class if you dare me say.

    But the Integra never broke down, after nights of abusing the clutch at the street races in sylmar, saticoy, ontario, you know it, it magically "healed" the next day and was tight as ever. Never had to worry about anything else really.. Change the oil a few times, and give it gas, and it just drove without problems for years.. Looking back now however..it never really taught me anything about cars the way the e46 did.

    I didnt begin being a gearhead until things started breaking down on the bimmer. And DIY fixes to avoid the costly bmw service departments fees for out of warranty work.. Working on my own car got me into being more than just driving cars, but getting some real knowledge on how things worked. I wouldnt be surprised if I mirror some of your thoughts! I sure you have the same experiences with the e46.

    Im on my 2nd E46 now, a low mileage 2003 m3 with a ASA supercharger kit. I even ended up becoming a moderator for a very popular e46 enthusiast site. But I do see integs on the road and do want a forrest green, four door (even an LS) with a nice three piece and suspension techniques coil over kit.

    Always wanted a jdm type r front bumper. The cali type are was cool…

    • wunno sev

      one could argue that the true integra experience involves modifying the tits out of the car until you've wrenched on every system just the same as you simply have to do on the bimmer.

      not saying i'd necessarily make that argument, but i can see the merit in it.

      • Preludacris

        One might say the true Integral experience involves owning a Civic and replacing every interchangeable part with teg-spec items!
        (Oh, what a difference a letter makes.)

      • Fing semi-annual LCA replacement.

  • CalculatedRisk

    Wow, what a gorgeous car! Very hard to find well kept examples of Honda and Acura products.
    Am I the only one who googled Bugaboo Chameleon thinking it was some unreliable kit car?

  • Van_Sarockin

    Nice ride. Won't take much to make it practically mint.

  • david42

    You're a lucky man, Kamil. I'm still waiting for my departed, beloved SVX to return to me.

  • Lets all (ok, most of us, based on demographics) stop to consider that the likes of a 90s GSR is getting into classic or at least "wow…when was the last time you saw one that nice?" category.

    • Preludacris

      I always think of these as modern because the edges are rounded and the headlights aren't sealed beam units (or maybe because they're newer than any car I've owned.)

      But when you put it like this:
      "Compared to everything I drove recently, everything on the Teggy was smaller; A-pillars, seats, there was less headroom. Somethings were bigger, such as the steering wheel with a big airbag. Everything was so simple, too. There were no LCD/TFT screens, no navigation, no iPhone interface. The pedals felt like they were connected to something mechanical and not a block box."

      …then we have a relative classic on our hands.

  • BadEngineer

    I don't miss my Integra…

    …because I still have it! I lucked into it six months ago and I plan to keep it for the rest of my life. It's a '95 GS-R sedan in Frost White with the same interior as yours. 116K and change on the odo, but it's a touch filthier than your car – I think the previous owner was an epileptic caffeine addict. Yeah, it's loud, stiff, and showing its age in certain areas (window seals are shot and most of the of the alarm keyfob is disintegrating) but it's one helluva car and I'm always sad when I shut the engine off.

    I'm glad there's a happy ending to this story! Hope you got a kill switch as they work so much better than a Club.

  • Piston Slap Yo Mama

    I always wanted an 88-91 CRX Si but was too broke through college to get one. I graduated into a bad economy and opened a record store then spent the next five years eating ramen and being a financial drain on various girlfriends. Then I sold the shop and lucked into a mint condition '88 Prelude Si 4WS around '98 and put 100k uneventful miles on it (on top of the already 100k previously on it) with no mechanical maladies whatsoever. Sold it for a series of diesel Mercedes and a Z3-M. Now I find myself scoping out 3rd gen Preludes again … and they've all been ridden hard and put away wet. There's few things as disheartening as looking at the Honda ads on CL, full of misspellings, crappy grammar, blurry shots of primered cars with pillar gauges and painted dashboards. You got really lucky Kamil.

    • Preludacris

      Keep up the search. There are a few good ones out there. When they go up for sale they are often either listed on PreludePower.com or discovered by a member and reposted there. (just in case you were not already aware)

    • I saw a donated Prelude, '91-ish, at Salivation Army… it looked to be in very good condition, stick. Maybe I should call tem.

  • Synchromesh

    This is strange. I had a '00 GS-R and by the time I traded it in 2 years ago it had 2 rust spots. The first one is very common – rear wheel arches. It wasn't bad since I put some anti-rust stuff there but it was starting nonetheless. The second was on the roof near the windshield. Nothing could stop that, not even a professional sand down with a repaint.

    As for the bushings being worn – this guy doesn't know how to shift well. When I traded my car in it had 140K and shifter (fully stock) shifted like new. One of the best shifters I ever used despite being fwd linkage.

    • Yea, don't know what's up with that, never seen that worn.
      That said, shifter bushings aside, the trans is solid.

      • I once drove my friend's 2001 Corolla with a manual. the shifter bushings were so worn at 200k miles, you had to hold the shifter down with your right hand at highway speeds to keep it from popping into neutral.

  • Hercules Rockefeller

    I had a green 2001 GSR, purchased new. Two theft attempts, the second attempt totaled it out. Sad panda. I miss that car so much. I had it for 95k miles without having to replace a single thing. I didn't even replace the wipers. And the B18C was one of the finest engines ever produced! I have spoken! I will have another one someday. Someday…

  • Lito

    Brings back memories. I had a green 94 Integra GS-R. First new car after college. Drove the hell out of it till December of 2001 when some kid decided to turn directly in front of me. Learned the car could go from 45 mph to 0 in 2 feet! Also learned that airbags are wonderful since I wasn't wearing my seat belt and walked away without a scratch.

    I've got a 2010 Acura TL now. A little more practical for my current station in life and still fun to drive. Nothing will replace the fun I had driving that 94 Integra. I miss that car…

  • Cynical Rick

    I have a 5 speed LS for a DD and I love it. Decent seats, strong AC. I lowered it a bit, went up 1" on the wheels, and added a fatter rear sway bar, and it handles really well, and gets about 26 mpg.
    I always set my alarm when I leave it.

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