2000 Acura Integra GSR
Originally, I purchased the 240 to be a fun daily driver. After digging into that car, it soon became obvious to me that 1) I loved it too much to subject it to daily driver duty and 2) it's a little too old and unreliable to subject to daily driver treatment. Clearly, I would need another relatively inexpensive car to daily, preferably with Honda reliability and under 10K. Finding cars that meet this spec and aren't modded and beat into the ground or rusted heavily here in the Midwest is a tall order. As I started my search, I started to make a list of possible candidates. Because of my newfound love of the S Chassis family, I considered finding another 240 - this time a slightly newer S14 chassis might fit the bill, since they were available with ABS and airbags which are two features that are good to have in a daily that will be racking up miles out in the wild. Having owned two Acura Integras in the past, I also considered finding another one of those, or perhaps another Acura TSX like my wife Cindy's car. The Honda Prelude was also a candidate, as well as the Honda Accord Coupe. About half way through my search, I happened upon a seller in Lombard with a 2000 model Acura Integra. Miles were kind of high at 160K, but the car looked really clean in pictures. The seller "imported" the car from the warmer south, Atlanta, which was a good sign that it had never seen salt. Those people don't know what to do if it snows out! With higher mileage, the seller and I could not agree on a price, so I kept looking. But I kept an eye on the Craigslist ad, hoping for a price reduction.
After a couple of months had passed, the car disappeared from Craigslist. I still had the seller's number, so I shot him a text. Turns out, he pulled the sale because he needed the car as a daily driver himself since his other car was involved in an accident. He did mention that he would be willing to sell the car once he had the insurance settlement money and a replacement automobile, and he also mentioned he would be willing to bargain on the price. Bingo. It ended up being over two months of waiting, and I was getting pretty nervous as winter set in, but eventually he was ready to sell and the Integra was mine. After a lifetime of only purchasing either white or black cars, I suddenly had two red cars in one year. But since the 240 is already put away for winter, I will have to wait until spring to unite both these 90s beauties for a supreme photo op.
Aaah! There really is nothing like a clean, black leather interior. My very first 1992 Integra had a rare, black leather interior. My second Integra, the 97 Type R, only came with a black cloth interior. So it was nice to return to black leather for the third installment. For 160K mile interior, and 18 years prowling the streets, this GSR is looking very fresh inside and outside. Even the factory floor mats are in great shape. I am feeling very good about this purchase.
A surprisingly clean engine bay. The previous owner had just replaced the timing belt, water pump (with receipts!) and performed a valve adjustment, so for once this car was ready to drive and enjoy. The only annoying problem was a broken power antennae, which would soon be remedied.
The front suspension was the first area to get some love. One of my personal pet peeves is rust on the brake rotor hats. I hate looking through the spokes of the wheels to see rust. Let’s see what we can do to spruce up the underpinnings of this car...
MUCH better. I sanded, masked and painted the brake rotor hats with high temp black paint. And I sprayed down the entire undercarriage with a product called Fluid Film. It was recommended by my friend Joe. His off road buddies swear by the stuff for preventing corrosion, especially during Chicago winters. It’s a tenacious, waxy product that stays put unless you aim a hose directly at it. Good enough to keep the undercarriage safe for 4-6 months. I like it, and it makes everything on the undercarriage look super fresh, including plastics and rubber.
The jury is split on what the future of the Integra should be. Some of my friends think I should keep it stock. It’s very rare to see a clean, stock Integra GSR these days. And with the skyrocketing price of the original Type R, a good clear car should hold its value regardless of mileage. OR I could move ahead with some clean, non-permanent mods like wheels, suspension, and the Type R wing, side skirts and lip. This car is a good example of something that I think is OEM + and really perfect. Kudos to the person that put this car together.