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Red Hot Chili Pepper

My younger brother, Matthew, and I grew up with Hondas. When we were kids, our mother drove a second generation Honda Civic 4-door hatchback which was light blue, but was given a fresh Chili Red paintjob a few years after she got it. We loved that little car. I particularly loved how cozy it felt inside. Everything was so close and intimate. I still remember the little details like the emblem of the two spoke steering wheel and the digital clock on the dash.

My mom drove that red Civic for almost 10 years before she upgraded to her second car, a 1993 Honda Civic hatchback, which I now proudly hold the keys to. My brother and I also did a lot of growing up in this car. This was the car that my mom drove us to school with. This car definitely holds a lot of special memories for me, which is why I’m never going to let it go.

She finally passed the Civic to me (which I so coveted from the day she first brought it home) when she wanted an upgrade. Yes, it was yet another Honda, but this time it was it was a 2003 Honda City, in Ruby Red.

Evidently, the Honda bug has also rubbed off on my little brother thanks to all those years we spent riding in the Hondas which my mom has owned; he went and bought himself a DB8 Honda Integra, much like the one in this feature. He currently resides in New Zealand and when I went to visit him late last year, I tried prodding him into modifying it, even if just a little bit.

Matt: “No.”
Me: “Why not? Not even a set of wheels?”
Matt: “No. What for la…wasting money only.”
Me: “But it’s an Integra! With a B18C! So. Much. Potential!”
Matt: “My car, my money. Shush.”

Matt’s never been much of a petrolhead, but I’m hoping that once he spots this gorgeous red example, he’ll change his mind, even if just a little bit.

The fiery red DB8 you see before you belongs to Gerald of Kuching. A dyed in the wool Honda car nut, Gerald’s DB8 is a rarity in our beloved country. For one, you don’t get many 4-door Integra’s in Malaysia and to see one done up as nicely as this is a real treat.

The first thing Gerald did was bin the original engine in favor of the highly coveted B18C-R from the legendary DC2 Integra Type-R. Although built to race standards and able to produce 200bhp from the factory, Gerald didn’t leave the engine stock for very long and began lavishing it with expensive gifts.

Gerald started with the basics with a Top Fuel carbon fibre air intake attached to an A’PEXi air filter, and a freer flowing intake manifold from American performance parts specialist, Blox Racing. This allows the B18C-R to ingest a lot more air than normal. With more air being ingested, the standard exhaust system would have limited the engine’s power output, so it was only fitting that Gerald replaced the stock exhaust manifold with a 4-2-1 item from HKS. The rest of the exhaust system consists of 2.5 inch piping and a Tanabe Racing Medallion muffler, giving Gerald’s DB8 a thunderous growl which turns into a roar whenever the wilder cam lobe comes into play.

With the breathing mods sorted out, Gerald turned his attention to hardware of the engine. Gerald went the cost effective route by swapping out the B18C’s camshafts with camshafts from a B16B. Unbeknownst to some, a B16B’s camshafts are actually a little bit more aggressive than the B18C’s, enough to give almost any B-series engine a usable hike in power.

High revving engines such as Honda’s VTEC B-series engines are known to have misfiring problems at extremely high revs. To guard against misfiring and possible engine damage, Gerald replaced the stock plugs with high performance HKS Super Fire spark plugs which are paired with a set of NGK Power Cables.

In charge of monitoring and controlling the engine is a Crome chipped ECU. Crome is an independent ECU burning program, which allows anyone who owns a laptop and knows their way around a fueling and ignition map to write fuel maps and burn them on to chips, which can then be soldered onto existing ECU boards. Gerald’s also had a launch control system programmed into his ECU. When turned on, the engine’s rev limit is held at 4000rpm. When the clutch is released, the rev limit deactivates and you have the perfect launch off the line. To fine tune things even further, a GReddy E-Manage is installed and tuned by Loh Motorsports.

Transferring power to the front wheels is the standard 5-speed gearbox in its entire close ratio, LSD glory. Gerald hasn’t neglected the transmission department and replaced the standard flywheel with a lightweight item from JUN, a 4.7 final drive ratio for better acceleration and an Exedy Racing Clutch.

When ti comes to choosing an aftermarket suspension kit for the Honda Integra, the options are nearly limitless. But Gerald decided to keep things simple with the stock shock absorbers and lowering springs from renowned Honda tuner, Spoon Sports.

Gerald also made full use of the DC2 Type R halfcut and had the 5-lug hubs and brake assembly from the halfcut fitted to his Integra. He’s also sourced a set of 16 inch wheels from the later, facelifted Integra Type R, which are a stunningly perfect match for the Integra’s gleaming red paint. Wrapped in Advan Neova AD07 tyres measuring 205/45R16, Gerald’s DB8 is hardly ever short on grip.

Inside, a pair of Recaro SR3 bucket seats dominates the cockpit, while a Momo steering wheel from the DC2, a HKS vacuum gauge and a Blitz turbo timer add a touch of racer-ish bling to the cabin. Outside, the DB8 receives a thorough makeover with a subtle and effective lip kit and a huge rear spoiler which was cannibalized from the DC2 halfcut.

I doubt anything in the world will push my brother to the Dark Side. He’s too sensible and pragmatic and probably will never do anything to his Integra. Not even Gerald’s stunning 4-door beauty will change his mind. But I guess I should take solace in the fact that he bought a Honda.

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