NZ Performance Car - - 1999 Honda Integra Type R (dc2r) -

PAINT: Touch-ups and panel work done by Dar­ren Galvin EN­HANCE­MENTS: Spoon CF mir­rors, CF front lip, CF front duct power was re­quired, and larger NSX brakes were sourced to en­sure the car would pull up as well as it would take off.

As a steady stream of mod­i­fi­ca­tions slowly for­mu­lated the pieces of an on­go­ing puz­zle, Matt be­gan to con­tem­plate big­ger ideas, when his plans were un­ex­pect­edly brought for­ward. “I was pulling away from an in­ter­sec­tion, and, at about 2000rpm, a rod welded it­self to the crank,” he says, laugh­ing. “The en­gine died, and that was that.” Nat­u­rally, it was time to re­con­struct the B-se­ries with a bit of a twist, and what en­sued set this in­no­cent-look­ing ride apart from oth­ers of its kind. “The idea of a K-swap did cross my mind,” Matt ad­mits. “But, in do­ing that, I’d feel like a bit of a sheep, and I’d also lose the B-se­ries ti­tle. I wanted to keep the car clean, and gen­uine to its roots.” Hav­ing in­ves­ti­gated all re­build op­tions, he de­cided to or­der a Toda stro­ker kit through Mac at Forty­one Au­to­mo­tive. “It would be some­thing dif­fer­ent,” Matt ex­plains. “It’s very rare, even in­ter­na­tion­ally. I thought it could be some­thing spe­cial, in­stead of just an­other Skunk2 en­gine, or what­ever.” Hey, if you have to re­build the mo­tor, you may as well do it prop­erly, right?

Uti­liz­ing Toda parts to breathe new life into the en­gine with­out the in­put of some­one who knows what they’re do­ing is akin to build­ing a drag car and run­ning it on snow tyres: you’d be wast­ing your time and hard-earned cash. En­ter Vi­nay of Bhikha Brothers Per­for­mance (BBP), who met with Matt and went through the in­stal­la­tion of the kit and a blue­print of the B18C to make sure there would be no hic­cups and to guar­an­tee an op­ti­mal end re­sult. Be­fore the con­struc­tion of the new four­banger took place, count­less hours were spent clean­ing any parts that were to be reused, as well as pol­ish­ing the en­gine bay un­til the Queen her­self would be con­tent to con­sume her break­fast off the chas­sis rails.

The process of get­ting ev­ery­thing ready took some time, but the plan was to com­plete the build all at once. “And that hap­pened, thanks to Vi­nay, who worked four days and nights straight, com­plet­ing and in­stalling the mo­tor,” Matt tells us. BBP bored, honed, and read­ied the hum­ble donk to re­ceive an ar­ray of new in­ter­nals. The block saw a new crank­shaft and con­nect­ing rods and pis­tons, while the head re­ceived Toda cams and valve springs and cam gears, matched to the ported and pol­ished bot­tom end with a Toda head gas­ket. The new parts have not only in­creased cylin­der ca­pac­ity but also en­abled a sub­stan­tial in­crease in com­pres­sion, which, com­bined with the up­grades in the in­take and ex­haust de­part­ments, is some­thing VTEC mo­tors re­spond to favourably with a good tune.

Once the in­stall was all but com­plete and Vi­nay had the car run­ning right enough to be fin­ished, Matt took it to have the deal signed and sealed by Chris at STM, who tick­led the Hon­data S300 ECU to pro­duce 149kw and 187Nm at the wheels — im­pres­sive num­bers for a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated four­cylin­der with only 1820cc of dis­place­ment. We’re told this is only a run-in tune, mind you ­— once the en­gine has set­tled in, more work on the tim­ing, along with a slightly larger ex­haust, should net a very en­joy­able power-to-weight ra­tio in­deed. As it is, the car re­sponds well, sounds amaz­ing, and con­tin­ues to gen­er­ate us­able power and torque through­out the rev range. By the time this goes to print, we will have seen it be­ing thrown around track one at Taupo, but, as we write this, we can’t wait to see how it stacks up against the com­pe­ti­tion.

It’s of­ten said that, when it comes to mod­i­fy­ing cars, you get to pick two out of three op­tions — cheap, quick, or re­li­able — you can’t tick all the boxes. How­ever, some cars are closer to dis­prov­ing that the­ory than oth­ers, and this is one of them: a great ex­am­ple of a rep­utable clas­sic that’s been en­hanced in or­der to hold its own yet that stands apart from the rest. There’s a def­i­nite line be­tween sub­stan­tial change and quan­ti­fied im­prove­ment, and this car draws it at 9000rpm.

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