Daniel Sto­ic­escu’s Acura In­te­gra


Super Street - - Contents - WORDS Aaron Bonk PHO­TOS Grant Cox

Paul the Apos­tle wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily talk­ing about K-se­ries–swapped In­te­gras when he, in so many words, spoke to the Corinthi­ans in the Bible’s New Tes­ta­ment, telling them to “race to win.” But it’s those words that’ve gone on to in­flu­ence just about ev­ery­thing Daniel Sto­ic­escu does. For Daniel, win­ning starts with a midrange, third-gen­er­a­tion Acura In­te­gra with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, which he turned into the clos­est thing you’ll find to a Ja­panese-spec Type R. “We picked up this car as a project for my wife,” he says. “She’d re­cently been [to] Eu­rope and came back in­sist­ing we do [a] right­hand-drive con­ver­sion.”

Win­ning also meant do­ing that right­hand con­ver­sion jus­tice. “My great­est chal­lenge was [keep­ing] the in­tegrity of the frame in­tact and mak­ing sure that when the con­ver­sion was per­formed, the lines of the car con­tin­ued to be OEM,” Daniel says. “That’s some­thing car builders strug­gle with, and you’ll fre­quently see in the seams and lines of right­hand-drive– con­verted cars that things aren’t lin­ing up as they should.”

Flush and lined-up pan­els are even more im­por­tant when you’re try­ing to graft the front half of a gen­uine In­te­gra Type R onto the for­ward end of a measly old In­te­gra LS. For Daniel, do­ing it right meant noth­ing was rushed. “This step was pretty te­dious,” he says re­gard­ing how the whole left-to-right con­ver­sion went down. “I spent a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time lin­ing up the bay, en­sur­ing the fire­wall was suf­fi­ciently pro­tec­tive, and that the frame was sup­ported and re­in­forced to pre­vent shift­ing.” It was all done in an ef­fort to let the Mi­lano Red paint he’d go on to ap­ply him­self look as good as you’d ex­pect it to—a process that lasted three months.

Six months of work in Daniel’s garage might not sound like any­body was rac­ing to win any­thing, but the re­sults—and the fact that he, that wife of his, and his kids drove the fin­ished prod­uct 3,000 miles cross-coun­try to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Eibach Meet— meant he did, in­deed, win. “Driv­ing a fresh build like that so far was a lit­tle nerve-wrack­ing, but we made it there and back with­out in­ci­dent,” he says about the K24a-swapped Acura that re­mains rel­a­tively stock un­der­neath its valve cover but is any­thing but on its ex­te­rior. “I don’t drive it to pick up gro­ceries or any­thing; my goal was to build it to use it and abuse it.”

Abuse comes by way of the 238whp Euro­pean-spec 2.4L en­gine that’s been aug­mented with an ASP four-into-one header, an RBC in­take man­i­fold, and a laun­dry list of K-tuned bits, all of which are con­trolled by Hon­data’s K-pro en­gine man­age­ment. “In the past, I’d run B-se­ries [en­gines], but after driv­ing a friend’s K, I’ve never wanted to go back,” Daniel says about for­go­ing the Type R’s B18C for some­thing big­ger. “For this project, there re­ally was no other op­tion—k is the way!”

The right mix of sup­port­ing parts out­side the en­gine bay were also, as it seems, the way. K-tuned’s K1 coilovers help keep the TE37S and Toyo tires on the ground, Spoon Sports calipers squeeze the brake pads onto those rotors at the right mo­ment, and Sta­tus seats and Crow har­nesses help make sure Daniel and his wife stay planted where they ought to be.

As is the case with Daniel’s pre­vi­ous projects, he didn’t put this In­te­gra to­gether just for him­self. By way of Face­book, In­sta­gram, and Youtube, he shares how ex­actly he does what he does. “I’ve been so blessed to be sur­rounded by peo­ple who’ve lent me their sup­port and knowl­edge, and through those chan­nels I’ve tried to pass that knowl­edge along,” he says about why he’d rather share how to do things like stick a K24 un­der­neath the hood than re­main tight-lipped about it. “It’s be­come a fam­ily pas­sion to teach and in­spire oth­ers,” he says. “…a re­minder to fo­cus on what’s im­por­tant, to en­cour­age oth­ers and build them up, and to bless those around me as I’ve been blessed.”

For Daniel, “rac­ing to win” is both a lit­eral sen­ti­ment and a fig­u­ra­tive one. Lit­eral in the sense that a K24-swapped In­te­gra like his will tend to win its share of races. Fig­u­ra­tive in the sense that there are big­ger goals in life than those that can be achieved by way of a TIG welder and a set of wrenches. “Yeah, I want to drive fast cars and win races, but the real goal is to live a life that’s wor­thy—to point my kids, my fam­ily, and those around me to the one who de­serves our praise,” Daniel says. “It’s my hope to be able to en­cour­age and help those on this road with me, be it with ad­vice on their own build or with en­cour­age­ment in life.”

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