About two years ago I was buying house. As my wife and I were preparing our offer we learned that there was another party interested in the property. It was a commercial buyer who was looking to renovate it and flip it. Our agent suggested that we write a letter to buyer to go along with our offer. We composed an essay about the house, its location, the community, and the school which our children have already been attending. Long story short, they sold us the house.
When selling my Integra I have made a decision to write a letter to the potential buyer. Yes, I detailed the car, I provided professional pictures, detailed pictures, videos (I forgot to mention that here), and a Carfax report. But all of that is sort of typical. While those things provide a ton of information to the potential buyer, it’s just that – information. But this car, and many others has a story to tell, as do I.
I wrote this letter to the Bring-a-Trailer potential buyer in a straight-up and honest kind of way, the way in which I have been writing here for years. I was honest, probably to a fault. I told the potential buyer how and why I bought the car. I told them what has been done to it and what it needs. I hope they read it.
If you want to read it, here it is:
To The Potential Buyer of My Integra,
Thank you for your interest. I bought this car by coincidence, or perhaps of destiny, and out of nostalgia. In the mid to late 1990s, my college years, I had a Milano Red ’94 Integra GS-R. I loved that car so much. It was the first car I modified, raced, and really obsessed over. I have made great friends and great memories from its ownership. Unfortunately, like so many other Integras at the time, that red car was stolen from me in 1999, right from my home. It left open void in my automotive life, even if I did replace it with faster, fancier cars.
Years later, in the summer of 2012, while strolling with my newborn son, I spotted this black, stock and unmolested, ’95 Integra GS-R parked on a Boston street. It hit me right in the feels. Suddenly I remembered all those memories from decades past. Coincidentally, its owner approached. We chatted about it. I ended up giving him my business card for if/when he ever decided to sell it.
More than a year later, on a late Friday afternoon, I got a call. He was selling the car. It was too small for him and his two kids and a bit old. The hardworking researcher decided to get a new 3-series. He was about to list the Integra on Craiglist but decided to give me a call first. I left work early that day, stopped by the bank, and headed to his house.
Upon closer inspection I found a vehicle that was used but properly maintained. It was not obsessed over but it was well cared for. In a quick drive I realized that it needed what every aged 90’s Honda needed – shifter bushings, an engine mount, and a muffler. Then, something interesting happened…
I pushed the car a bit, in second gear I think, with its original owner in the passenger seat. As the tachometer needle cleared the 6000 RPM mark, the owner, in a slight panic, asked “what was that noise!? It never did that before!”
At this point I was freaked out. Does he not know about the magic of VTEC (y0!) and the high-spinning B18C engine? He either never shifted above 4000 RPM or he was the World’s Greatest Salesman Ever!
Based on the fact that he was the original owner, where he lived, and what he did for work, I concluded that he has never driven this vehicle in any aggressive manner at all. In his ownership, he just drove it, mostly on weekends as he traveled a lot for work, accumulating just about 120,000 miles over the twenty years he had it.
When I asked him why he bought this car, he said “because I liked how they looked. I wanted a black one with stick, and this was the only one that was on the lot, and I got a great deal on it.” He kept all records, including a little book where he wrote down every single fuel refill. He did all maintenance as per the owner’s manual. A that point I basically threw my money at him.
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That’s how I ended up with this car. Having had so many great memories with my red Integra, my plan was to pretty much keep it forever. Everything I changed and improved on it was with the intension of keeping it for a long time. Unfortunately, life does not always go as planned. I live in the city and never had a good place to park it. With a job, a house, two kids, a side-gig, and many hobbies, I never had the time to really drive it. It was always at some friend’s garage, mostly at Ace Performance, a very reputable race shop that is owned by a friend of mine, who did most of the work on it.
In a close inspection, I realized that the car needed a lot more than I thought. I got to work right away. Here is a description of its current condition and everything I have done to it.
In a typical Honda fashion, there was some rust in rear wheel-wells. I had a body shop repair that and some other minor damage. It was then that I learned that the car was at some point repainted. I called the original owner and he said that yes, it was repainted “because a mechanic said it needed it”. I think someone took him for a ride. Whatever the case is, it looks good now, but not perfect.
There is a small dent in right rear bumper. There are scrapes under the front bumper. The splash guards were painted the color of the car. Someone enlarged the front license plates holes and the OEM plate-delete plugs I bought don’t fit. I removed the broken power antenna and replaced with an OEM rubber plug, a popular hack.
The whole body was wet-sanded in 2016 and the headlights were buffed out. It was recently detailed before the pictures were taken. It looks great from ten feet away.
Everything is original, even the shift knob. It smells like a 90s Honda. Driver’s seat has a small tear along the bottom side. The speakers are blown. The original cassette radio works but needs a code. I have the factory card with the code but the code itself has faded away. Internet research shows that a code can be obtained from a dealer or is on the back of the radio. The fabric on the seats shows some sun wear. All windows and the sunroof work well.
The most noticeable thing about the engine when I bought this car was its rusted muffler. I did the most obvious thing and purchased an OEM Integra Type R muffler from the dealer. To go with it, I got an aftermarket high-flow cat. I had a B-pipe made to fit. I finished it off with OEM JDM exhaust manifold. It’s a much desired manifold with a 2.5-inch connector, rather than the USDM-spec 2.25-inch. The rest of the system, including the cat, are 2.5-inch. The header has an OEM headshield on it, for a factory look.
The fuel lines (along with brake lines, more on that later), did not look good. I replaced everything from the filler neck, including the fuel tank (see pics), all the way down to the fuel filter, including the filter. I then added injector cleaner to the first fill-up.
The air filter was dirty. I obtained a Comp-Tech Ice Box cold air intake system from a friend. Another friend sourced a new filter element for me. In the 90s this was considered the air intake to have. It’s very high quality and mimics the OEM look.
An oil change, PCV valve, new set of spark plugs, proper valve adjustment, and a re-finished valve cover, took care of the engine. The timing belt was changed by the previous owner, receipt provided, and it looks good. I also changed the transmission fluid. The clutch is original and seems fine, probably because the car was babied for over 120,000 miles.
I replaced all the engine mounts and shifter bushings with Energy Suspension black polyurethane bushings. A new, recently installed hood latch cable completed the engine changes. The engine itself could use a good detailing. The detailer who did body was afraid to do it – kids these days.
It needed shocks. Upon closer inspection it needed tie-rods. Everything was just old and worn. I decided to replace everything. I replaced all the bushings with black Energy Suspension units. All the hardware was replaced with new OEM nuts and bolts.
I ditched the springs and shocks in favor of a second-hand Tein street adjustable coil-over setup. As seen in pictures, it is in its highest/tallest setting but can be slammed to your preference. The ride is stiff but not rough, like with a race set-up.
The front sway-bar is an OEM unit from a US-spec Integra Type R. The rear is a CompTech unit bar which has a chassis stiffening mount. Rear lower control arms are new, OEM replacements with polyurethane bushings. Trailing arms factory. Front strut tower bar is factory.
Ideally, I would lower the rear a little bit and get some rear camber plates to add a bit of negative camber.
I did not touch the calipers or the pads. All steel brake lines were replaced at the same time as the fuel lines. The brakes are fine for street usage, it’s probably some generic pads and rotors.
Wheels and tires:
Very lightweight 16-inch SSR Competition wheels are on the car. All four are straight and true and in overall condition is good. Those wheels are wrapped in brand new BFGoodrich g-Force Comp-2 A/S tires in 205/50-16. There is probably less than 100 miles on them.
Factory 15-inch Hammer wheels are included. They are not great. They are wrapped in some BFG tires in factory 195/55-15 size. Spare tire, jack, and tools are in the trunk, probably never used.
Things not touched or needed:
- The speakers need replacement.
- ABS pressure pump needs replacement. ABS light is on. Pump makes noise upon start up. This is something that I just did not get around to. It is also a fairly common Integra problem.
- The domelight sometimes does not light up.
- It needs to be driven!
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There you have it – the full story of my Integra. Feel free to ask any questions. The proceeds from this car will probably toward to purchase of a 2021 Ford Bronco, or maybe not. I am not 100% sure.
Good luck bidding!