This page is dedicated to the car that helped me start my detailing obsession.
Please check out the photo gallery at the bottom.
This car was sold in May of 2006. Up for sale is a pristine 1996 Acura Integra GSR (VIN: JH4DC2393TS001763) loaded with every available factory option. I am the third owner since new and have owned the car since early 2002, 50,000 miles. Before that, it was meticulously maintained (every maintenance item needed, was done and documented) by an Insurance Adjuster since around 10k miles. The car was garaged for the past two years and any item this vehicle has needed, it has received.
As you will find out more below, I am a professional detailer and this vehicle is my rolling business card. Having a flawless appearance and perfectly running engine/drivetrain was absolutely imperative to my business’s success. It has really become a labor of love for me. I treat this car like a child and my girlfriend can truly attest to that.
The vehicle has only a few very minor visual defects and not one mechanical problem. The brakes and tires have over 50% life remaining and all seals and gaskets (minus head) have been done very recently. The car had a full tune-up over the course of the past 10-15k miles. Most items you would replace are, in fact, new on this vehicle. The rear seats have probably only been sat in a couple dozen times and I always keep floor mats down to ensure the carpets look brand new (not 1 stain or defect). As you can already see, this car has been my passion for the past couple of years. It has never been raced, just truly enjoyed and obsessed over.
- Red monochromatic exterior / Black leather interior
- 25 city/ 32 highway fuel economy (observed)
- 190hp (est.) 1.8L 4-cyl VTEC Engine
- 5-speed manual transmission
- 106,xxx babied and maintained miles
- All maintenance up to date
- Over 70% tread left on tires; over 50% left on brakes
- New paint job
- Power door locks, windows, mirrors, moon roof, steering, brakes
- Leather seats
- Premium Sound
- Dual Airbags
- PPG Cinnabar Red paintjob (full repaint) including shaving of “Integra” engravings in bumpers, trunk lock, antenna, emblems, and front license plate holes ($2800)
- New Driver/Passenger/Center Axles (6000 miles/$750)
- Water Pump and all included parts (8000 miles/$450)
- Valve Lash Adjustment (8000 miles/$100)
- Spark Plugs (10000 miles/$40)
- Distributor Cap and Rotor (10000 miles/$50)
Total: $2210 (includes labor)
Getting a Feel For the Car
Being that this vehicle is for sale over the internet, you lack the good old-fashioned tire-kicking fun of looking at used cars. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily call this Integra used as it would be more along the lines of “Previously Obsessed Over”. Before I go any further, I want to let you know that this vehicle is able to be seen in person and driven if the buyer is serious. For example, if you are out of the area and have a friend/family member/mechanic nearby, I would allow them to come view/drive it for you. I will determine that when the situation arises.
Now, with getting a feel for this car, I will try to do some comparisons to other vehicles, so that you can make accurate judgments and conclusions.
- Getting in: As stated below, this car sits 2” lower than stock on a much stiffer suspension. Being a detailer, I have cleaned vehicles from all across the spectrum. This car feels very similar to getting in to a Corvette. The black leather seats have pretty aggressive bolsters that hold a full size individual in very nicely. For thinner people, you might feel the seats are a little wide.
- Sitting in: The gear shifter and controls are at an easy reach for anyone (I’m 6’2” and my girlfriend is 5’5”). The short shifter is notably shorter than stock which provides for quicker shifting. The pedals are nicely spaced apart and your feet never hit each other if on the brake and clutch at the same time (BMW 330ci did this for me). With my height, I don’t even have the seat slid all the way back, so this car could accommodate up to about a 6’5” person. The headroom is adequate in this car. I drive with my seat at almost a 90* angle (maximum visibility) and have never even rubbed hairs with the ceiling.
The passenger seat is no different than the driver’s, very comfortable and has adequate space. The rear seat is rather small in this vehicle. For two smaller people (5’5” and under) it is just fine, but don’t expect to put four full-size men in the car without them complaining in the back. Both foot room and head room are cut off by the short length of the vehicle and the sloping rear glass. Once you’re sitting in the back and of adequate size, the leather seats are rather comfortable and hold you well.
- Driving: The car has always started up on the first try signifying my ultimate care to it as well as reliable Honda engineering. The car has a low grumble at idle (rare for 4-cyl) due to the aggressive exhaust package (All JDM). Shifting into first and driving is a little bit different than most manual transmission vehicles. The clutch engages very low and the car lacks low-end torque (main pet peeve of owners). You have to rev it to 1500-2000 rpm to get this puppy rolling. Once going, power is ‘normal’ until you get to 4000 rpm. At 4400 rpm, VTEC engages and really ignites the flame into this car. The car begins to pull smoothly up until 5700 where the secondaries open and the beloved “VTEC sound” matches the quick build in speed all the way up to 8100 rpm. The car has no problem getting onto highways or pulling out in traffic on quicker roads. At higher rpm, the car is noticeably louder, but not so bad that you can’t speak. The sound is very deep and semi-throaty. This is the farthest 4-cyl from the hated “bee buzzing, weed-whacker sounding, raspy” exhaust. Research was extensive on this exhaust system, and I ended up paying top dollar because I hated that “ricey” sound. Again, the dB level of this car would most closely resemble a Corvette.
- Handling: The handling in this car could be considered “on rails”. The race springs, adjustable shocks, and strut/tie bars all work as one to provide a very stiff, minimal roll, cornering stance. The car bites hard into turns and holds very strong (on/off ramps are a dream) throughout. After driving one, I’d say the handling most closely resembles that of an EVO 8/9. The ride and bite/hold of the car feels almost dead the same. I will have to say though that the steering ratios are very different. In the EVO; you have to barely move the wheel to get a turn, in the Integra; it is more geared for an “every-day” routine signifying more turns of the wheel to get the car directioned.
- Braking: Braking is very good in this car due to the upgraded Brembo rotors and race pads. There is no warping whatsoever (I broke the brakes in for about 500 city miles), just smooth stops. Initially the brakes don’t bite that hard, but if you have to stand on them (been cut off a couple times), you better hope everything is secured in the car. Even with Z-rated tires, the car will go into ABS mode on dry pavement. The pads have plenty of life (about 50% fr/80% r) on them and cause almost no brake dust (a big plus in my book).
Regular Maintenance Performed
Stating that this is the “cleanest” 1996 Integra GS-R out there, I had to justify my catchy tag line with some data. For the past 5 years (longer than I’ve owned the car), I have been detailing automobiles and yachts professionally. My Integra has been my rolling business card and was a direct reflection (no pun intended) of my work. The upkeep of my car has become a labor of love and seldom was my car ever more than dusty. I have used a plethora of products from manufacturers located all around the globe to find the highest quality result possible. I ended up having the car painted in 2003 because the owner before me didn’t do a wonderful job caring for the paint. Once I clayed, compounded, polished, and sealed it after purchasing, the vehicle still had some deeply etched water spots, pits, rock chips, and R.I.D.S. (Random Isolated Deep Scratches). The only choice was for a repaint to make me happy. Anyways, back to maintenance. Below is an accurate list of how I aesthetically care for the car on a regular basis, since 2002:
Every 4-6 days
- Wash car with gentle car wash using 2 sheep skin mitts and 2 buckets (1 wash, 1 rinse) and dry with waffle weave microfiber drying towel
- Degrease wheel wells and tires, then dress with water-based dressing
- Pressure wash undercarriage
- Gently clean wheels, then apply spray paint sealant (helps repel dust and road grime)
- Vacuum entire interior, dust out crevices and vents, and wipe down entire interior with Quick Detail Spray
- Mist Quick Detail Spray and wipe down all jambs
- Lightly polish exhaust pipe
- Use Quick Detail Spray on entire exterior to enhance gloss, paint slickness, and durability against the elements
Every 3-4 weeks
- Clean interior leather, vinyl, rubber, and plastic with light cleaner
- Dress interior vinyl, rubber, and plastic with water-based dressing containing UVA/UVB inhibitors
- Condition leather using a dedicated automobile leather conditioner
- Clean and dress door seals and weather stripping
- Apply paint sealant/wax to door jambs to ensure high-gloss and guard against the elements
- Apply paint sealant/wax to entire exterior of vehicle
- Clean wiper blades with light cleaner, then dress with water based dressing (to ensure optimal performance)
- Apply rain-repellent to all exterior glass
Every 3-4 months
- Clay bar procedure performed if needed
- Polish paint with machine polisher and a light polishing compound (to remove light swirl marks, marring, water spots, dull areas, etc)
- Apply 3 layers of paint sealant (Zaino) to ensure maximum gloss and depth of shine, a slick paint surface, protection against the elements, and help repel contaminants
- Polish all interior and exterior glass; interior, apply spray sealant to minimize fogging; exterior, apply rain repellent
- Polish 3ft. rear section of exhaust
- Polish license plates and frames
- Polish wheels and apply wheel sealant to repel brake dust and other contaminants
- Polish jambs and apply paint sealant
- Degrease undercarriage of vehicle and apply dressing
- Degrease engine bay, apply dressing to all plastic and rubber pieces, polish and seal/wax all painted and polished surfaces
Mechanically, the vehicle is babied by maintenance as well. The term “it got whatever it needed” follows true for this Integra. However, no cheaping out was done here. Every fix was done with OEM Honda/Acura parts (unless otherwise noted above) and Mobil 1 fluids. Every 2500-3000 miles, I changed the oil with Mobil 1 Super Syn 5w-30 oil and an Acura oil filter. I also added a bottle of Chevron Techron Fuel System Cleaner to the tank after each oil change to ensure optimal gas mileage and performance. Every week, I:
- Check tire pressure at cold state and adjust to 40psi (manufacturer recommends for low profile tires)
- Check oil at full operating temperature on a completely flat surface and add as necessary
- Do a look-over of entire engine for any leaks or odd noises and address as necessary
This car is being sold AS-IS, no warranty. However, warranties are available and I suggest using Warranty Direct (www.warrantydirect.com) for the best quote.
Shipping can and will be arranged if necessary. I have had excellent success in the past with using DASDependable Auto Shippers (www.dasautoshippers.com). Any shipping costs will be incurred by the buyer.
As you can see by the aforementioned material, this vehicle is loved by me. I put over $9000 in modifications into it to distinguish it from the normal flock of Integras, but not go over the top. I have spent over $2000 in the past 10,000 miles on maintenance alone to ensure this vehicle was always running in tip top shape. I must move on now and look for a vehicle with four-doors that holds people a bit better. This car was an absolute pleasure to own, drive, and maintain, and seldom did it have any real problems. Most of the areas touched were because of my obsessive nature to have them “perfect”. I am serious about selling this car and want the same reciprocated by any potential buyers. Thank you.