Redefining Form and Function: Having Fun With a SOHC Integra
Far too often, there are formulas that people tend to follow when it comes to building older Hondas, and not a single thing is wrong with any of them. For example, take the '94-01 generation Integra, more affectionately known as the DC2. These often saw front end conversions to mimic the Japanese variants, and those who didn't buy a GS-R or ITR often swapped in a VTEC B-series later on (the K-series swap would also become a popular engine swap). Years later, we're left with all these Integras that are in a far more modified state than they were once originally intended to be, albeit all for the better.
Now picture this: you're a long-time Honda enthusiast and very much into racing. You not only have one car that's built solely for track use, but you also purchase a backup to practice with. But as you're honing your skills with the missile car, you can't leave the thing stock; it needs some modification, or at the very least an engine swap. If you own said DC2 Integra chassis like Kristian Wong does, then a B-series is in the cards, right? Not...even...close. Try a D-series on for size.
When I first saw the car on Kristian's Instagram, even I couldn't believe what I was looking at. Who takes a step down in the Honda engine food chain? Kristian did, but for good reason, some of which will not only shock but prove useful—and no, this isn't some Honda hipster movement, contrary to what you might think.
"It all started when I, along with some of my fellow drivers, were chosen to revamp VTEC Club's competition series," says Kristian. "Some of our most memorable battles involved bumper-to-bumper racing in underpowered FF cars, so we made sure to include a class like this—thus the birth of the (predominantly) single cam class, a.k.a. Group N2, a.k.a. 'seriously a lot of fun for under $5K'."
Kristian initially wanted to source an EF Civic for being the lightest of the '90s-era FF Hondas, but a friend of his had a DC2 shell with a JDM front end for a reasonable price.
Here comes the fun part...
His friend Yuta Akaishi told him to at least entertain the idea of swapping his old D16 engine into the car to make it really stand out in the N2 class. What started off as a joke quickly became a reality once Kristian started to imagine exactly how it would look.
"The DC2's styling is what made the choice really easy," he explains, "so, why not throw a B-series in there? In N2, the Integra is allowed a non-VTEC B18B, which nets roughly 110-130whp in stock form. I was pretty confident I could pull the same numbers (or close to it) with a D16, but the secret here is that a D is about 95 pounds lighter than a B-series is."
Which begs the other question: Why not join the higher Group N where he could use a B-series VTEC?
"I still have my EK that's a much more serious racecar," explains Kristian. "This is only for practice. It's painted with Rustoleum and only has a quarter of the budget the EK does. It makes hardly respectable power and uses fairly thin 15" or 16" tires. It also teaches me to brake as little as possible and not have to rely on power to cover up my driving mistakes, which I hope to minimize as I use this car to practice with and progress as a driver."
His last reason to go D-series?
"It's an F you to Yuta..."
As you can easily guess, the D-series doesn't come without its criticisms. After you learn the true reasoning behind the swap, it becomes much easier to digest.
"I'm sure most of the positive feedback I receive are from friends or from people who understand/know about my background," Kristian says, "but after it's been shared a few times over, the more interesting comments come out and are always fun to read. In the end, it all comes down to reasons that are all my own, none of which have to do with being different. The throttle response would pleasantly surprise you."
Though it's already shaping up to be quite the missile car, Kristian has plans to upgrade it with more oddball parts, like including Uras side skirts made for a Nissan S13, figuring out how to swap a S2000 dash in and deciding which set of wheels and steering wheel from his collection to choose from (he owns 12 steering wheels and recently picked up a pair of 16x8" Nissan R32 GT-R wheels). Still, Kristian wants to improve his overall lap times, of which his personal best is a 2:02 running at Buttonwillow Raceway.
"I'd like to match that time with 70hp less and much less tire," concludes Kristian. "I think, then, I'll feel like I've done something with my life, which is probably a very odd life goal. I also want to own a panini press by the time fall rolls around."
1994 ACURA INTEGRA RS
OWNER: Kristian Wong
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
ENGINE: D16Z6 with P29 pistons and WPC-treated internals; 3" intake; Y8 intake manifold; PortFlow pocket ported cylinder head; PLM header; BattleCraft exhaust; Koyo cross-flow radiator; Pivot overflow tank; Top Fuel Japan oil catch can
DRIVETRAIN: Civic EX/Si transmission with MFactory 4.9 final drive; Dimes Performance solid shifter bushings
ENGINE MANAGEMENT: Hondata S300, self-tuned
SUSPENSION & CHASSIS: Exceed SSD coilovers; Energy Suspension/OEM/Whiteline/Hard Race bushing mix; Spoon Sports strut bar; ASR rear subframe brace and sway bar with Eibach end links
BRAKES: ITR front brakes with Project Mu Club Racer pads; Autozone brake fluid
WHEELS: 16x7.5" +25 RS Watanabe F8 (front, street); 15x6.5" or 16x7" Regamaster Evo (front, circuit); 15x7" +35 Kosei K1 (rear)
EXTERIOR: JDM ITR front end; Spoon-style front lip and side mirrors; CWest-style rear bumper; Mugen Gen 1 spoiler; J's Racing Verno windshield banner; Altezza-style tailights from Japan; Rustoleum Sunrise Red rattle can (sprayed by Yuta Akaishi)
INTERIOR: Bride Vios III; Simpson camlock harness; Circuit Garage RSK shift knob; MOMO Mod. 08 steering wheel
Browse the gallery below for more photos, and learn everything you need to know about the competition series Kristian helped revamp, VTEC Club.