- The DC2 Integra Type R is still regarded as one of the best-handling FWD cars of all time.
- Alex Alfaro’s Integra Type R won both the judge and popular vote to earn a show car spot in our Pit+Paddock SEMA booth.
- During his restoration, Alex’s commitment to top-tier components set his build apart from the crowd.
The year is 1997. The Chicago Bulls clinched their second three-peat, Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” was number 8 on the Billboard charts, and Acura decided it was time to give us the most illustrious subcompact ever: the Integra Type R. Who would’ve known we had it so good? As a matter of fact, the ITR’s scant four-year lifespan was reminiscent of the Bulls championship run — the proverbial Michael Jordan in both instances came and went — and the unlucky ones who never got to experience the Type R (like me) waiting for the next golden era to finally come again.
The Integra Type R’s reckoning might be right around the corner, but we will benchmark its entire existence on its predecessor — the ultimate example of which we were lucky to have had in our midst at SEMA this year. For those who didn’t know, Pit+Paddock and ENEOS announced a collaborative SEMA Show Car Contest before the mega trade show. The grand prize winner, crowned via a mix of popular and industry-judge voting, would see their car displayed shoulder to shoulder with some of the car scene’s titans. Alex Alfaro and his 1997 Championship White Acura Integra Type R (#00435) were the deserved recipients of that honor.
Alex’s Type R looks rather demure in sharp contrast to the SEMA landscape, where wider, lower, higher, louder, and altogether crazier reigns supreme. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll reward your curiosity. An ultra rare set of 16-inch +Sure MD5 wheels (don’t worry, I had to google them, too) kicks things off and complements the equally rare tetrad of aero goodies: Mugen lip kit, Mugen Gen 2 wing, Crowhouse rear bumper, and Ganador mirrors. Under the hood lives a JUN (pronounced “June”) Auto Mechanic B18C Type R crate engine — potentially the last to come out of the emblematic Japanese tuning giant and with a very special color scheme to boot — complete with TODA Racing ITBs and Maxim headers. If all of that hasn’t made your head explode yet, the generous slather of Mugen goodies inside (including a suede horn buttonless N1 steering wheel) will definitely do the trick. It’s quite literally the embodiment of true Honda-head fandom, turned up to eleven (or seventeen).
OLD VS. NEW
During the early days at SEMA, the number of people who stopped to smile at, admire, or ogle Alex’s machine was plentiful. It’s somewhat serendipitous that we were afforded the opportunity to park this car next to its modern relative — Dai Yoshihara’s Integra is, coincidentally, JTCC-inspired — which not only shows just how far Honda’s ’90s motorsport bloodlines run but also how much of an impression the Integra name made for the brand itself.
TIMELESS TYPE R
But truthfully, Alex’s car does something more for me than representing the iconic moniker. It proves that well-executed, detail-oriented, and period-honored builds can earn a place in the spotlight. The car might not break the internet like more extreme examples, but Alex’s unwavering slow-burn approach has ensured that only the very best of the best (of the best) mods make the cut. Indeed, Alex’s journey to make this his ultimate incarnation of the Type R has been an eight-year process thus far, and every piece along the way carries a small sliver of the story. With the build firmly focused on quality versus quickness of its completion, it has evolved into a living and breathing entity that can be appreciated by any and all — whether it’s 1997 or 2097.
We might be long gone by then to confirm it for sure, but hopefully, future generations can pass along one very important thing: it ain’t a tight car if it ain’t a Type R.
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Alex Alfaro | 1997 Acura Integra Type R (#00435)
|EXTERIOR:||Mugen Power front lip, Mugen Power side skirts, Mugen Power Gen. 2 wing, Crowhouse rear bumper, Ganador mirrors, Honda Access headlight garnishes|
|INTERIOR:||Mugen Power cluster, Mugen Power steering boss hub, Mugen Power Suede N1 Race steering wheel, Mugen Power N1 bucket seat (Driver), Mugen Power S1 bucket seat (Passenger), Mugen Power seat rails, Mugen Power Formula shift knob, Mugen Power shift pattern decal, Mugen Power rear view mirror cover, Mugen Power Sports pedals|
|ENGINE:||JUN Auto Mechanic Stage 2 Race engine, TODA Racing individual throttle bodies
RC Engineering 550cc injectors, AEM Performance Electronics adjustable fuel pressure regulator, Walboro 255 fuel pump, MAXIM Header (MAXIM designed and manufactured the JUN Auto 4-2-1 Header for the B18C), Mugen Power engine and transmission mounts, Mugen Power thermostat, Mugen Power fan switch, Mugen Power ECU stay, Zerofighter test pipe, Mugen Power Gen. 1 catback exhaust, Koyorad radiator, JUN Auto radiator cap, Hondata S300 V3 engine management, TODA Racing flywheel, TODA Racing clutch kit
|BRAKES / SUSPENSION:||Mugen Power Active Gate brake system, Mugen Power gear box bushing kit, Mugen Power front shock absorber fork bushing set, Mugen Power front compliance bushing set, Mugen Power front upper arm reinforced bushing set, Mugen Power front lower arm reinforced bushing set, Mugen Power compensator arm reinforced bushing set, Mugen Power rear trailing arms reinforced bushing set, Mugen Power shift linkage bushing set, TEIN Control Master coilovers, ASR 32mm rear sway bar, Mugen Power rear strut bar, NEXT Miracle X Bar, NEXT Miracle optional top bar|
|WHEELS:||+Sure MD5 wheels|