An Unexpected Find at Balance

For Throwback Thursday I have a throwback in a way; these photos were taken only earlier this week but the car I want to focus on first is a throwback itself – you’ll see what I mean. This is something a bit out of left field but it was just too cool to not share with you all.

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Anyway, I was at Balance Auto a few days ago and spotted an Integra up on one of the hoists. Integras always catch my eye of course, but what specifically jumped out at me about this one were the wheels on it – old Racing Hart Type CRs – and then I looked closer…

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The Teggy featured a handful of modifications to the exterior – JDM front, Mugen (not sure if authentic or replica; I’m hoping I can learn more about this car) side skirts, ITR wing – that were all fairly ordinary by today’s standards, but a closer look revealed a selection of more “old school” changes as well; a Prelude tail light conversion, molded Sparco fuel door, shaved door handles, and even a carbon fiber-wrapped headliner! And yes, I’m talking about real carbon fiber, not vinyl or fabric imitating the material. Now you will hopefully understand what I meant when I said that this car was a throwback; but while it featured styling and modifications that ‘dated’ the build, making it look more like something from the year 2000 or so, I thought it all worked together quite well and resulted in a more extreme, but still tasteful, approach to the chassis. It was everything that was cool about that era without being over the top.

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Now, in writing this so far I have been struggling to find terms to describe the Integra without sounding negative. I’ve so far used ‘dated’ and ‘old school’ but I want to clarify that I’m not trying to imply it’s out of date or inferior. The fact that it had cues from so many years ago, and specifically ones that could perhaps be considered milder as compared to some of what was seen back then, is why I thought it was so great. In a way it almost bridged the gap between the wild custom body work of the time with the more reserved approach taken today.

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It also made me wonder; just as other ‘genres’ of the automotive world often see period builds carried out, will we see the same carry over at some point? Just as restorations are starting to become more common in our world as we ‘catch up’ to classic vehicle enthusiasts, will we eventually see brand new builds that mimic the styles of years and decades gone by? We see hints of this sometimes where people use period-correct parts on older cars (especially wheels) but I’m talking about more serious undertakings – light conversions, molded panels, crazy ICE – because if you ask me, if carried out right it doesn’t have to result in something garish. Kouki S14 headlights on a DC2/4, or Prelude tails as seen here, aren’t massive departures from OE styling yet are still things we don’t really see any more. More elaborate ICE installs have come back a bit, but are still mild compared to some of the setups from yesteryear when people were stuffing fish tanks in trunks and TVs in steering wheels.

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I’d also get a kick out of seeing a build that blends old and new; imagine an exterior like this being contrasted by a modern shaved and tucked engine bay, with a K series thrown in. How cool would that be?

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Now, that Integra wasn’t the only thing I shot while at Balance that day so it won’t be the sole focus of this post, and as it happens mentioning ‘K series’ and ‘contrast’ is probably the best way I can think of to transition to this now – Balance’s ITR. In terms of contrast specifically, I was happy that these two were parked together as it offered a good comparison of the old school build and a similar car built more to today’s standards, albeit for race use. Racing Harts vs Rays, B series vs K, and Prelude tail lights being the highlight of the back end vs a Voltex wing and custom diffuser; they were both white Integras of course but very different cars.

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I should note that Jackie, being the legend that he is, stopped what he was doing and opened up the garage door for me so that I had better light for the photos. I had only just grabbed my camera and he immediately walked over to open it without hesitation and without me even saying anything. Thanks Jackie!

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The reason I’m including it here is because I wanted to show it in its proper race configuration. Those of you paying attention will have noticed that the wheels were not the same TE37s previously seen; there was no way of course that the times this car has been recording on track were done with street tires. For racing Jackie relies on 255 and 225 Hoosier slicks (front and rear, respectively) mounted on a set of double staggered Rays 57CRs – 18×9.5 and 17×9.

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Obviously the fenders were pulled quite a bit but it’s still surprising that it was all that was needed to house such massive rollers on this thing.

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Flying Penguin x Blackbird.

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I had to laugh – since the tuning session at Blackbird the exhaust pipe had been trimmed down a bit, and some of the Mugen bolts were looking a bit more…cooked.

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Now we quickly switch again because before wrapping up today I also wanted to share at least a couple of this rather nice EK that was sitting outside the shop. EK4 SiR bumpers, Volk CEs, and according to Jackie a K-swap too; overall it looked like a really nice build – this is another I wouldn’t mind learning more about. But let’s now get back to the original point of this post…

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…and that would be the Integra on the hoist. What do you think about builds like this? Do you want to see some of these cues make a comeback? Do you think retro-styled builds will start to pop up more? Surely the owner of this Integra likes it and frankly that’s all that matters at the end of the day, but I really do too; heck, I’d drive it.

-Bill

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