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  • Frank Oles

1997 Acura Integra Type R


After selling my NSX, there was a big Acura-shaped hole in my life. That hole would soon be filled by a mint 1997 Acura Integra. I found out about the car through a friend I met through the NSX club, Ajay. His neighbor in Pittsburgh was the original owner of this car. He purchased it new, and then had the dealer add the two available options: air conditioning and keyless entry. My wife and I flew out to Pittsburgh to purchase the car, and then drove it home to Chicago. At the time of purchase, it had approximately 45K miles on it. Paintwork was original, save for the front bumper, which had a scrape with a tree branch and was repainted. It needed a good cleaning and detail. I also gave it a tune up with plugs, wires and cap. I also sent the fuel injectors to RC Engineering to have them cleaned and blueprinted. The original owner also fitted an AEM cool air intake, which gave the car a wonderful induction noise then the engine entered VTEC range. I loved it! The car also came with the factory airbox, which was missing a few pieces. I ordered those pieces and drove it around with the factory box for a little while - the AEM was much better!

The glory days of Honda in the 90s netted one of the most thrilling front wheel drive automobiles ever created. This car offered economy and race track thrills, a rare combination even today.

Interior betrayed the economy car roots. But it was a simple and clean place to conduct driving business. The early days of airbag steering wheels leave a lot to be desired.

The ITR is really all about the engine - the B18C, which featured 197 hp from just 1.8 liters, naturally aspirated. Also note the aftermarket AEM intake - these were the days of Fast and Furious!

I often took the car on group drives with local car clubs, including Chicago Z. Although the ITR had great acceleration, the highways of Chicago were not its natural environment. On group drives it just didn’t have the punch that the NSX and some of the bigger-engined cars displayed as the speedo climbed.

I sold the car with 65K miles on it to Rene and Thomas, and Father and Son who were looking for a nice ITR. They changed the suspension and wheels (to OEM JDM 17" spec) and routinely track the car. Nice to see it is still being used as intended.