The third generation Integra, now around 25 years old, has been modified, built, and rebuilt in every possible configuration. And whether the intentions revolve around competitive endeavors or lean more toward more utilitarian efforts, rest assured, the upgrades you have hiding up your sleeve have either been done before or at least attempted more than a few times. For better or worse, there are quite a few different approaches to take with Honda's sporty three-door coupe, and regardless of what side of taste and good sense you might currently reside, if you're not already wrenching on an actual ITR, there's a pretty good chance that parts of the iconic "R" will find some real estate in your build.
For some, starting with Honda's hottest version is the best approach, but for many of us, getting our hands on that coveted model can be daunting to the say the least. For a longtime Honda fanatic like Thakornchaiwut Pakeesuk, you either get the top model or you take inspiration from one and apply it to a lower model. Truth be told, picking up a DC2 Type R in Thailand doesn't come cheap. Sure, there are those that import them, but with a sky-high tax slapped on for good measure, most veer away from the idea entirely. For Pakeesuk, starting with a DC1 and emulating the ITR, all the while improving on areas like power, handling, and aesthetic, made much more sense.
The ode to all things R starts with a JDM front-end conversion joined by optional rear spats and an ITR wing. Adding a little spice to that rear addition is a carbon fiber gurney flap, while up front a Spoon Sports front lip plays off of Spoon side mirrors set against a unique green backdrop; a result of a complete color change.
Looking for some contrast, Pakeesuk opted for deep blue TE37s that don't stray far on the color wheel from the bright blue Endless calipers that occupy all four corners. The keen eye will also notice the jump from 4-lug to 5, a cut and paste from the car's ITR brethren.
Originally fitted with a B18C (similar to U.S. GS-R), Pakeesuk built and dropped in a B18C R engine complete with BC rods, Toda pistons, and ARP hardware. Up top, the valvetrain was strengthened with BC valves and Supertech retainers that back up the Toda C2 cams. Your eyes fight to see the coil-on-plug conversion but it's a losing battle as the Frontline Fab valvecover steals the show. Get beyond the nicely crafted hunk of billet and you'll notice a shaved and tucked bay that retains A/C (this is Thailand, after all) and sports a T1 cam trigger set up on the exhaust cam side right next to the Spark Racing header. The ITR power plant serves as the foundation, but much like the rest of Pakeesuk's Integra, it's been greatly improved upon.
If Pak wasn't able to incorporate any sort of ITR-ism inside the cabin, we'd call the car incomplete, but that's not the case. An OEM ITR dash and console with factory faux carbon bits, rear seats, and floor mats are all part of the package but in lieu of the original Recaros, this DC was fitted with Bride Venus bucket seats.
Eyes up and the Vertex deep-dish wheel is right in your face, but your eyes are then pulled to the left and fixated on a digital parade of Defi gauges that sit tightly in the crevice between dash and windscreen.
Without a sunroof, no side moldings, carefully placed Type R decals, and of course that sleek headlight treatment, one might automatically assume this owner is out to fool people. The truth is, Pakeesuk has taken inspiration from the highest form of Integra lineage and applied it to his personal car, but only after systematically reworking things in a manner to outperform the original. And when you get right down to it, isn't that what car building is all about?