I had mentioned that a couple of spotlights were going to be part of my Sunday School coverage this year, and this would be the first of those. As I wandered the lot during the show, there were two cars which I kept coming back to. Spoiler alert; both are Hondas, but each is an amazing example of its respective end of the spectrum. One is extensively modified and the other is anything but, though each displays an impressive eye for details on the owner’s part and adherence to quality in both parts and execution. They are also great examples of devotion from two passionate enthusiasts.
For today’s spotlight, I have Alex Markovic’s Phoenix Yellow 2000 Integra Type R.
Now, to get very specific for just a moment, technically speaking this is not an example of a restoration as the car was not returned entirely, 100%, to its original OEM spec but the few (and there are only a few) deviations from that were done intentionally – this is Alex we’re talking about, after all. To say that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to Hondas is an understatement; his collection is what a Honda lover’s dreams are made of and he uses the best of the best for his builds…but to return to my point, calling this a ‘restoration save for a few key changes’ isn’t the most efficient practice so I’ll keep using ‘restoration’. Anyway, on to the car itself…
An original Calgary car, Alex had been keeping an eye on it for some time, waiting for the opportunity to purchase it to arise. When it finally did he snatched it up and immediately started on a multi-year rebuild. It was an original Phoenix Yellow ITR and was numbers matching, which in the ITR world is an incredible term to hear.
It was in decent shape for its age but that didn’t stop Alex from redoing nearly the entire vehicle. He kept everything required for the car to remain numbers matching – body panels, engine, transmission, etc – but nearly everything else ended up being replaced with brand new OEM components. From the wheels to the intake arm to the stock paper door speakers, he scoured for brand new parts to ensure this would be showroom condition, if not better.
Naturally it received a respray too, and once the fresh Phoenix Yellow paint was cured the entire car was wrapped in PPF for protection, giving him one less thing to worry about; because let’s face it, being an ITR there’s enough to worry about when driving it anyway. Haha
As for those few changes I had alluded to above, the car sits on coilovers instead of OEM suspension, received better headlights to make driving at night easier, and has some select OEM JDM accessories as well as ARP studs holding the engine together. Alex even has a set of Mugen MF10s for it, but I was happy to see that for Sunday School he was running the stock wheels. If anything, those are the biggest initial head-turner since so many modified Integras can be seen with OE ITR-spec exteriors – to see one sitting on stock wheels is certainly an attention-getter, and when that draws you in and you look further, you realize that there’s more ‘stock’ to this car than just the exterior.
For a platform which is so often modified and swapped and altered in some way (and stolen and rebuilt as well unfortunately), to see one that is numbers matching AND restored is nothing short of incredible. 00-0177 ended up taking home an award at Sunday School 2017 and it was very well deserved. An incredible amount of time and effort went into the car to ensure it looked like nothing had ever been done to it and not only is that worth praise, but it’s great to see restoration and preservation becoming a bit more prevalent in our world. I will always enjoy seeing how owners interpret these platforms and tailor them to their own visions, but it’s also important to ensure that there are some examples of significant models (such as the ITR) that are kept like this, to preserve their history and showcase how these vehicles were, as originally designed and built.
And before I wrap up I should probably address that not only was 00-0177 parked next to a stock Championship White ITR, but Alex is already underway with his own CW ITR rebuild. Why stop at just one? That’s Alex for you…