Odometer (Legend): 543,542
Odometer (ILX): 173,425
Odometer (Integra): 236,453
From a 1992 Acura full-line brochure:
In March of 1986, the Acura Division was created to accomplish a deceptively straightforward mission: offer the best-engineered, most satisfying automobiles in the world. In the five years since, Acura automobiles have firmly established themselves as acknowledged leaders in every facet of automotive design and engineering. The name Acura has come to represent an impressive line of true drivers’ cars, each painstakingly engineered to enhance the driving experience.
To this end, every Acura is a synthesis of state-of-the-art performance, stimulating handling, carefully honed ergonomics, innovative safety engineering, refined aerodynamics, and unprecedented dependability. From the exotic NSX to the elegant and sophisticated Legend Sedan and Legend Coupe, the aggressive new Vigor and the responsive Integra sports sedans, each Acura has been acclaimed unreservedly by the automotive press. And each has been received just as enthusiastically by an even more influential group of automotive critics: the people who own Acura automobiles.
I was only 4 years old on March 27, 1986 when the Acura brand launched. I can’t believe it’s over been 3 decades. But by the late 1990’s, I was obsessing over my mom’s “Rio Red” 1990 Integra GS sedan as a teenager.
Wasn’t mom stylin’ with her “C TIA GO” plate? (Her name’s Tia)
I pulled that baby right onto our front lawn in St. George, Utah for a photo.
These lines still look good today. Frameless door windows, just like my Vigor.
There was nothing ultra special about that particular car. It had an automatic transmission and retailed at just $16,675 as Acura’s entry level offering. Perhaps its most memorable features were the motorized safety belts for the front seats. They’d zoom around as soon as you closed the door. Forget air bags, though. Safety tech was a whole different ballgame back then.
In May 2000, Britney Spears came out with “Oops, I Did It Again” and I was a graduating from high school.
Well, 16 years later. Oops. I’ve adopted another project Acura. This marks, I think, my 15th Acura overall and the 6th that I currently own. Please join me in welcoming to the fleet an Aztec Green 1992 Acura Integra GS-R. This completes the collection for now, as I’ve picked up enough vehicles to re-create this image from an early 1990s Acura brochure. Pictured left to right: Legend coupe, Vigor, Integra coupe. Front and center: NSX.
I have met some awesome Honda-heads along my 18 years (and hundreds of thousands of miles) of driving. One of them is Lance Roling from the Seattle area. I connected with Lance through a mutual friend who I’d met via some Acura Integra enthusiast forums (G2IC.com). We started chatting in May 2015 when I learned that Lance had an Integra GS-R — the last piece I needed to complete my jigsaw puzzle of Acuras. We met in real life six months later when he came on a visit to Arizona. And now, I’ve managed to pry that GS-R out of Lance’s hands.
This GS-R is remarkably well kept. Try to remember the last time you saw a second-generation (1990-1993) Integra that hadn’t been motor-swapped, lowered to the ground, and driven to hell & back. Lance’s car had some modifications done to it which have been painstakingly reversed, bringing the car back to stock condition as if it were 1992 all over again. Anyone who’s tried finding parts for a Honda that’s more than 20 years old knows how tough it can be to source such items, but he leveraged his network and got it done. Throughout the restoration process, he sent me photos.
If you want to cut to the chase, here’s a 6-minute video showing the first time I saw the car, a part of the drive home, and a walkaround at home in Arizona.
Here now are all 6 of my Acuras and original MSRPs.
- 1992 Integra GS-R: $18,540
- 1992 NSX: $65,000
- 1994 Vigor GS: $28,735
- 1994 Legend LS Coupe: $41,885
- 1994 Legend GS Sedan: $41,885
- 2013 ILX 2.4: $30,095
Total $226,140 — Nearly 1/4 million dollars in cars if considered by their original prices, but not worth a fraction of that today. I’m planning on making a full-blown “introduction” post to each of my cars at some point in the coming weeks, and (of course!) even re-creating a series of official Acura brochure photographs with my own versions of those press cars. The latest addition is a GS-R model, which was the highest-performing Integra of its time and was offered for only 2 years in this second generation bodystyle.
The car is powered by a 1.7-liter 4-cylinder motor pushing 160 horsepower. Updates from the base models become apparent starting with the exterior. The GS-R has more aggressively-styled front and rear bumpers, body-colored side moldings, and VTEC / GS-R badges.
The engine itself was a remarkable feat of engineering which set itself apart for developing such power from a small package. At that time, it produced more power per liter than any other normally-aspirated car sold in the United States. I think that achievement was later beat by another high-revving Honda, the S2000 roadster.
Production numbers in specific detail (by color) have never been disclosed by American Honda, but it is known that following were the numbers for GS-R models in total by region (thanks Wikipedia):
- USA 1992 Integra GS-R: 3,118 units
- USA 1993 Integra GS-R: 850 units
- Canada 1992 Integra GS-R: 602 units
- Canada 1993 Integra GS-R: 255 units
- Total North American production: 4,825 units
The 1992 Integra was offered in 9 different colors, but only 3 were available on the GS-R:
- Aztec Green Pearl
- Frost White
- Milano Red
Here are a few “progress” pics that Lance shared with me as he got the GS-R ready over the past year or so.
The aftermarket suspension and exhaust were replaced with OEM.
Lance is a professional detailer with Ceramic Pro and put the car through a full treatment.
OEM exhaust installed.
Right rear quarter panel polished.
Spoiler clear coat refinished.
Wheels deep cleaned, inside and out!
Engine bay fully detailed.
Now sitting on OEM suspension.
My first test-drive in my new GS-R was on Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 when my friend Jason and I arrived in Seattle, Washington on the return leg of our Alaska road trip. Lance even “reserved” milestone 234,567.8 miles for me, so that occurred during my test-drive. I loved the car right away, so I finalized the deal with Lance.
Can you tell how excited I was?
Headed out in Woodinville to put a few miles on.
Lance in the passenger seat and Jason in the rear.
Milestone 234,567.8. And yes that ABS light is on!
Jason said head room wasn’t all that cramped!
Fueling up at Chevron before heading back to Lance’s shop.
Now some photos from my actual pick-up of the car on June 24, 2016 and the long drive home to Arizona. This was a long-awaited day in history, so when my 6:00 p.m. Friday night flight from Phoenix to Seattle on Southwest Airlines got delayed by nearly 90 minutes, it really put a damper on the moment!
The Seattle airport was crawling with people because Obama was in town and that sent everything into a tizzy. But eventually my friend Stephen made it to the curb and I took a seat in his Audi A4 for the 40-ish minute drive to Woodinville where Lance had the Integra stored at his shop. Right off the bat, I was spoiled by fantastic Seattle weather. My friends were all in hooded sweatshirts and I hadn’t even packed anything with long sleeves.
My friend Cory rolled in with his 1997 Acura 3.5 RL to join the late night party. (That RL, by the way, has beyond 250,000 miles on it, too). By the time I finished my transaction with Lance and chit-chatted a bit, it was midnight so Stephen I hit the road and went to his place in Renton where we crashed out for the night. That was my first time getting the Integra onto an onramp and having a little fun with it. I enjoyed each of its 5 gears!
6:00 a.m. came very early on Saturday morning but Stephen and I both had places to go and people to see. The drive home came out to around 1,600 hours and 24 hours of travel time.
Deja vu was the feeling as I headed east on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass since I had just been there a few weeks ago on the trip back from Alaska in my ILX. Weather conditions were foggy but the road was dry and traffic was light. Here’s where I started getting to know my new Integra. The tape deck iPod adapter did its job, but I honestly did not even listen to any music for about the first couple of hours. I was too busy enjoying the sound of that 1.7 liter humming along at 4,200 RPM at 75 miles an hour.
The car is honestly a big fatiguing to drive long distances. The windows are frameless so there is a higher than normal level of wind noise. The engine note is understandably pronounced, and because it’s a hatchback with little sound deadening out back, the road noise also becomes a factor. On top of that it’s a pretty tightly-sprung car with lots of energy and light weight. Result? I proclaim it a far better canyon-carver then interstate cruiser. But I already knew that would be the case. Long hauls are why I own the Legend(s).
In a lick of time, I was already crossing across the Columbia River Bridge and into northern Oregon. I stopped briefly at the Welcome Center but the front door was locked (even though I was within business hours). I found a neat little side-road just northwest of La Grande; it was historic Highway 30 that carried traffic through the region before Interstate 84 was punched through. I checked out a now-decommissioned bridge and hiked around for a few minutes to stretch my legs, then continued on into La Grande.
Pumping one’s own gas in Oregon is against the law, as I mentioned on the return from Alaska. I asked the gal at the Shell station to “fill ‘er up” with Premium, and she asked, “V Power 91, or ethanol-free 91?” What in the world? I’ve never heard of a station having two kinds of 91 to choose from. I went with ethanol free, then had lunch at a restaurant called Smokehouse in the downtown district. Meatloaf was top-notch.
I set my sights on Idaho because I knew I had a special event to be a part of there – Josh’s 500,000 milestone – so I was motivated to keep moving as quickly as I could. The Idaho Welcome Center was a perfect setting to catch my breath one more time. Temperatures were in the mid-70’s and the grassy lawn was well maintained. I sat down in the shade and soaked in the scenery because I knew that within a couple of days I’d be back in the Arizona heat.
After Josh and I hung out for awhile in Kuna (outskirts of Boise), I left town and headed toward Twin Falls, Idaho which was only about 2 hours away. I soon ran into a motel crisis unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my travels. About 25 minutes outside town, I decided to call ahead and get my reservation at Motel 6 set up. I was surprised to learn that there was no vacancy. ANYWHERE! I called a total of about 15 places in both Twin Falls as well as in the next town, Burley, and found nothing. Apparently there was some event going on at the nearby Snake River that sold everything out. Look at my outgoing call list & times.
The result was that I ended up having to drive another two hours to the next available stopping point, which happened to be my dad’s place in northern Utah. The speed limit in desolate southern Idaho was 80 miles an hour, so I held close to a van in front of me that was doing about 85 and pressed onward into the night (after stopping for a Red Bull as I needed a caffeine kick to remain alert). I made it and happily passed out on a “real” bed later on.
Everything from Utah onward felt like a drive around my neighborhood because I’ve traveled those roads so frequently over the last 18 years since I got my license. I hauled dad, stepmom, and step-sister to breakfast at “Herm’s Inn” (pictured above) on Sunday morning and later paid a visit to my friend Ryan who let me tool around in his Honda S2000 for a few miles. In Salt Lake City, I visited my friends Branson and Jeremy who are fellow “car guys,” and it was good to catch up with them. I pressed on through the evening hours and made it to my mom’s in St. George just in time to catch the a vivid sunset hitting the red rocks of Pioneer Park on the north end of town.
My final 400-mile stretch to Scottsdale took place on Monday evening. There was a 45-minute delay on Interstate 15 south of Mesquite, Nevada due to a semi truck accident. I was relieved that the Integra performed well in the stop-and-go traffic, despite ambient temperatures at 113 degrees and with the A/C on full blast. I was home by 9 p.m. and pooped!
It was a special and memorable opportunity to pick up this Integra and I hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride!
Here are more photos from this adventure.
Stephen, Cory, myself in Woodinville, WA on pick-up night
With Cory, Stephen, and Cory’s RL
Saturday morning in Renton, WA. So much green!
Departing Stephen’s house. His Legend GS hides at right, under a cover.
I-90 seems like a familiar place to me these days.
Feast your eyes on those RPMs in 5th gear! Yeah, the ABS light is (still) on.
Ascending Snoqualmie Pass with some fog ahead.
Happy behind the wheel!
Quick meeting with Stephen (again) as he’d caught up to me.
Chug some of that 92!
Everyone remember “automatic” seat belts? This Integra has them. They run on a motorized track.
Oregon Welcome Center
Crossing the (now-decommissioned) bridge on Hwy 30 in Perry, near La Grande.
Historic downtown La Grande, Oregon
I liked this old JC Penney storefront
Meatloaf for lunch!
Little bit late on the Idaho state line shot! This is all I caught!
Checking oil at a rest area. Level was good!
Lots of signage for the Oregon Trail. One of my favorite old computer games!
Dusk falling in Burley, Idaho when I was in the process of trying to find a motel.
The rest of my drive that night.
Taking the family to breakfast on Sunday
Visiting Ryan and his Audi compound!
The white 1994 S4 was my favorite of the bunch.
We also took his S2000 out for a top-down cruise.
Sharing the road in Cache Valley with some bicyclists.
Visiting Branson in South Jordan, UT. This is his 1995 Legend LS 6-speed with 171,000 miles.
And visiting Jeremy in Herriman, Utah with his BMW 5-series.
Arrival in southern Utah – photos at Pioneer Park in St. George.
It seemed only fitting that I get a photo at the same home where mom’s red Integra had been parked, some 20 years ago.
Home sweet home.