Square cut: 1992 Honda Integra DA8
As far as cool looking sedans from the close of the 1980s go, you actually cant go wrong with a Honda. Family sedans with a dash of sporting genes and handsome, square chiseled faces, Honda Accords, Integras and even the Civic was the rage at the time. The Integra, placed between the Civic and the Accord as a best of both worlds sedan, was a pretty massive hit with the world market at its launch.
The DA8 Integra you see here belongs to Prithbi Rahman Khan, and as he tells us the story of the transformation of his pride and joy, we realize how incredibly versatile the Integra DA is, and how well it responds to customization.
The first step was a carefully conducted restoration. The DA was almost a junk when Prithbi bought it, and as he painstakingly rebuilt the car to a respectable condition, getting the bodywork sorted and painted, he found a hunger for more power. This hunger he fed with a B20B, non-VTEC, but still serving the purpose of getting the light sedan up to speed. An aftermarket air intake and a host of other bolt on mods round up a good looking, well performing sedan.
Hiding behind the bright, eye catching Lenso wheels (contrasting perfectly with the jet black paintwork) are two piston VTS aftermarket brakes at the front, larger and grippier than the stock items. The discs at the rear have been left stock, the front upgrades enough to stop the Integra, hard when necessary. On the ride along, the DA8 had the unmistakable sounds and smells of a 90's car. It's a solid car, well held, but as with most of these old cars, something or the other shakes about. Bad thing? Oh no. It reminds you the car has seen a lot, it is a wise and a veteran serviceman (car?). It is low, not really slow, and more importantly, it is drivable in Dhaka if you're careful about it. The 5 speed manual also helps in some much needed stress relief when Prithibi encounters an open road (quite rare in our lovely city).
The interior is the hardest bit to restore. Older cars have gaps in between the interior panels, seat materials start coming off, and dashboard surfaces crack. This Integra's interior has survived the test of time surprisingly well, and is complemented by a set of gauges, a solid metal gearknob, and a bunch of stickers. Those unaccustomed to the Integra will be very surprised with how low you sit; it can be quite an adjustment, getting used to the tall windows and low seating position. That's the case with most Hondas of the time.
The DA Integra is one of the more affordable Hondas. Relatively available and almost inexpensive parts, simple and clean mechanisms, and good value for money make this generation of the Integra a bargain Honda project car. Swap in a B-series engine, a couple of bolt-ons, and minimal body mods can earn you the respect Prithibi has earned from us.