Staying The Course



I usually don’t stress about writing these articles, ok that’s a damn lie. Most times I just bullshit my way through it the day before I decide to release an article, and more times than not its just the ramblings of a bitter guy that’s not happy with where the car scene locally has gone. But I’m tired of that, sure things could be way better like for those of us that have been around long enough to recall the “golden years” – but it’s pointless to live in the past. Being able to see this car go from a completely stock and unmolested daily to what you see here along with a mod list most of us have only dreamed of getting to is something that’s in a way shifted my focus on things. This time instead of stressing over the article due to being the worlds largest procrastinator- this time it was due to something entirely different.




Before my current BMW and a ridiculous amount of Hondas I owned, I got around in a 5.3L NBS Silverado – I was in the whole “mod whatever you own” type of mindset so I had a few things done to it here and there. This is around the time when people did more than hang out in parking lots and stay within the same clique all night. I think someone famous once said “It’s not how you stand by your car, it’s how you race your car” – okay, one of these days I’ll stop quoting this movie…one day. We were somewhere in Mexico when I lined up next to this tiny red EG coupe. This is around the time where I felt that Hondas were incredibly lame, weed whacker sounding things that were just all around the worst sort of thing to own, let alone race. I lost to that damn thing – three times. The owner of the car was pretty chill about the whole thing even though he could have definitely rubbed it in, that’s the night I met Fred and Tab for the first time back in 2004. After the “contest of speed”, we all went back to this movie rental place in Mexico and hung out a bit. That was the thing, everyone would hang out with everyone for a while and then after setting some things up we headed out to have some fun, settle some scores, and on occasion scatter like rats.



I wish I knew exactly how I ended up sticking around, but I know that on any given weekend you’d find me and whatever car I was in that year over at their place. Once I got into the whole import thing and even started driving around in Hondas, I leaned more towards the JDM side of things instead of the underglow, wire loom, show car sort of path. Oddly enough I really still want ungerglow, it’s gonna happen. But over the years, seeing them go between coupes and hatches – the talk of them doing “The Build” was always something they wanted to do. If you were around when the forums were a big thing you know exactly the sort of build I’m talking about. The kind where you strip everything down to the bare minimum and replace every suspension component, do the biggest motor swap you can for the chassis, upgrade the interior, basically leaving nothing from the factory. This Integra is that build.



It’s hard to keep this goal lingering there in the back of your mind after all these years and never lose sight of it. We’re all adults, we know things happen, cars become less and less important sometimes and things like mortgages, starting families, all that happens- it’s life, and it’s never a bad thing. I knew these two wanted to build something like this way back when, and driving around in that dream they had on the way to the shoot was a perfect example of how sticking to a vision and being patient through it all will always pay off. The teg started out as basic a car as you can imagine, white with tan interior, completely unmolested- the best starting point for something like this. I swear I remember this was only going to be something simple, a GSR swap, suspension and wheels and it’d be done. But this one turned out to be the one they went all in with, and so it began. While parts started piling up the car got stripped down inside and out and had an entire respray from the exterior along with a JDM front end conversion, then the interior, and even the underside got redone. Once the car was back in their possession and more parts kept piling up, the decision for power plant finally happened and a JDM K20 Type R swap was sourced thanks to the people over at HMO. One thing about this car that has to be seen in person to appreciate is the attention to detail. Most would throw everything together to get that swap in and start ripping around the streets, sure that’s one way to do it. But before any of that could happen there’s nothing wrong with getting everything looking new. Even though its common that JDM motors come with low miles – things can still get dirty. So tearing down a few things on the motor and separating the trans helped to get everything cleaned up, painted, and along with new hardware got everything looking the way it did when it came off the assembly line. If I were to list every single thing that’s been replaced, re-coated, and installed, it’d be easier to list the things that are still on the car from when they bought it…the sun visors.



It’s been years since I’ve searched around Honda-Tech to see builds like this. I know they happen, I’ve seen them scattered around on Instagram and places like that now. But I know for a fact that this is one of the first sort of extensive builds I’ve seen in person. This is the end result of years of having the sort of dream to build a car that has absolutely nothing left from the factory. Everything on it was something you purchased, you replaced, you wrenched on, you cussed at, you scraped your knuckles on- all to have it one day fire up and drive down the street. While we were taking the scenic route around town grabbing some coffee before the shoot, Fred mentioned there were still a few things left on the tune to get things all dialed in a bit more. But even at that, the car drove insanely smooth, crisp “clicks” when it went into gear each time, hell even had some of the coldest A/C because at this point custom lines to make sure the Texas heat was kept at bay was always going to be a necessity. To end this, I dont want to come off like the old bitter guy again and talk about how these days your cars worth seems to be dictated by how many likes and shares it gets. We all know it’s a thing, whether you hate it or you’re about it – its just the way things ended up going, chasing the clout (am I cool for saying that?). Fred and Tab have had this plan brewing for as long as I’ve known them, it’s taken years, multiple times of going with a few mods here and there. We all knew this sort of car was going to be something they built at a certain point, and I’m glad they stuck to chasing the dream.



Tabatha and Fred’s 1994 Acura Integra

Performance :
DC5 K20A Type R motor and transmission from HMotorsOnline
Exedy Stage 1 clutch
Ktuned swivel neck thermostat
Ktuned billet timing chain cover
Ktuned upper coolant housing
Ktuned 70mm throttle body
Ktuned steel oil pan
Ktuned race SS 4-1 header
Ktuned shifter bracket
Ktuned heater core hoses
RDX 410cc injectors
RBC manifold ported by SBS Performance
Hybrid Racing fuel rail
Hybrid Racing fuel pressure regulator
Hybrid Racing fuel pressure gauge
Hybrid racing tucked fuel line kit
Hybrid Racing throttle cable
Hybrid Racing cold air intake
Hyrbid Racing coil pack cover
Hybrid Racing dipstick/oil cap
Hybrid Racing shifter cables
Hybrid Racing full size radiator
Hybrid Racing (2) 10″ fans
Hybrid Racing radiator hoses
Hybrid Racing AC line kit
Hybrid Racing power steering kit
Hybrid Racing ground kit
Hybrid Racing coolant switch
Hybrid Racing coolant temp sensor
Hasport mounts
Hasport block bracket
Insane Shafts 500HP
Thermal R&D 3″ catback exhaust
Wireworx stage 1 kseries engine harness w/ raychem
Wireworx JDM front wiretuck in a box
RUNHARD Industries Ver.3 Kswap charge harness
PRC ECU w/ Hondata
Currently tuning with Rob Reinen
Complete engine bay/engine/transmission Downstar hardware

Cosmetic :
OEM Acura RSX Desert Silver Metallic (Tamco paint)
JDM Type R Front end
Rear JDM ITR bumper
98 spec ITR Taillights

Interior :
Recaro Confetti front seats
Blue Wave rear seats
Dark Gray GSR carpet
JDM GSR door panels
Hybrid Racing Short shifter w/ matte black Maxim shift knob
JDM dc2 climate control

Rollers :
Advan RGD2 15×8+35
Nitto NT01 225/45/15

Stiff Stuff :
Fortune Auto 500 coilovers
Ktuned LCA’s
Ktuned Camber kit
Hardrace inner/outer tie rods
Hardrace lower ball joints
Hardrace compliance bushings
SPOON subframe rigid collar kit
Sway bar and end link bushings
ASR billet LCA’s
ASR 24mm subframe bar and reinforcement kit
Ktuned camber kit
Ktuned rear toe kit
Hardrace trailing arm bushings
All Downstar hardware
JDM 1″ brake booster
Chasebays brake line relocate kit
Goodrich SS brake line kit
Wilwood Front DPHA calipers/rotors/pads
Brand new hubs all around
Rebuilt Nisin calipers in the rear with stoptech rotors/pads

Sounds :
Pioneer AVHW4400NEX double din
Infinity mids and highs


Photos and Words by : Bobby Villarreal