New Acquisition: “Aztec Green” 1992 Acura Integra GS-R

Odometer (Legend):  543,542

543542

Odometer (ILX):  173,425

173425

Odometer (Integra):  236,453

236453

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.

1

Wasn’t mom stylin’ with her “C TIA GO” plate?  (Her name’s Tia)

2

I pulled that baby right onto our front lawn in St. George, Utah for a photo.

3

These lines still look good today.  Frameless door windows, just like my Vigor.

teg

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.

brit

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.

3

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.

key_handoff

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.

roadtrack_redgsr

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.

92gsr

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.

vtec_paragraph

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

gsr_brochure_pic

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

1992_integra_colors

Here are a few “progress” pics that Lance shared with me as he got the GS-R ready over the past year or so.

1

The aftermarket suspension and exhaust were replaced with OEM.

2

Lance is a professional detailer with Ceramic Pro and put the car through a full treatment.

3

OEM exhaust installed.

4

Right rear quarter panel polished.

5

Spoiler clear coat refinished.

6

Wheels deep cleaned, inside and out!

wheels_after_before

Engine bay fully detailed.

engine

Now sitting on OEM suspension.

after_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?

tyson_excited

Headed out in Woodinville to put a few miles on.

tyson_integra_test_drive

Lance in the passenger seat and Jason in the rear.

integra_selfie

Milestone 234,567.8.  And yes that ABS light is on!

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Jason said head room wasn’t all that cramped!

jason_in_backseat

Fueling up at Chevron before heading back to Lance’s shop.

integra_gassing_up

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!

flight

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.

seatac_weather

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!

lineup

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.

drive_home

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.

tyson_with_integra

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).

oregon_welcome

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.

bridge2

91_91

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.

smokehouse_lagrande

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.

welcome_center_view_idaho

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.

motels

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.

herms

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.

sunset3

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!

az_arrival

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

stephen_cory_tyson

With Cory, Stephen, and Cory’s RL

tyson_cory_stephen

Saturday morning in Renton, WA.  So much green!

morning

Departing Stephen’s house.  His Legend GS hides at right, under a cover.

stephens

I-90 seems like a familiar place to me these days.

90

Feast your eyes on those RPMs in 5th gear!  Yeah, the ABS light is (still) on.

tach

Ascending Snoqualmie Pass with some fog ahead.

fog

Happy behind the wheel!

tyson_in_integra

Quick meeting with Stephen (again) as he’d caught up to me.

audi_acura

Chug some of that 92!

92

Everyone remember “automatic” seat belts?  This Integra has them.  They run on a motorized track.

belt_warning

Oregon Welcome Center

oregon_welcome_2

 

Crossing the (now-decommissioned) bridge on Hwy 30 in Perry, near La Grande.

bridge

Historic downtown La Grande, Oregon

lagrande_oregon

I liked this old JC Penney storefront

penneys

Meatloaf for lunch!

meatloaf

Little bit late on the Idaho state line shot!  This is all I caught!

idaho_welcome

Checking oil at a rest area.  Level was good!

engine-bay

Lots of signage for the Oregon Trail.  One of my favorite old computer games!

oregon_trail

Dusk falling in Burley, Idaho when I was in the process of trying to find a motel.

burley_house

The rest of my drive that night.

burley_logan

Taking the family to breakfast on Sunday

group_in_integra

Visiting Ryan and his Audi compound!

ryan_house_2

The white 1994 S4 was my favorite of the bunch.

ryan_house_1

We also took his S2000 out for a top-down cruise.

s2k_gsr_2

Sharing the road in Cache Valley with some bicyclists.

s2k_gsr

Visiting Branson in South Jordan, UT.   This is his 1995 Legend LS 6-speed with 171,000 miles.

integra_legend

legend_integra

And visiting Jeremy in Herriman, Utah with his BMW 5-series.

tyson_jeremy

Arrival in southern Utah – photos at Pioneer Park in St. George.

sunset2

sunset1

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.

foothills_house

Home sweet home.

integra_legend

35 Responses to “New Acquisition: “Aztec Green” 1992 Acura Integra GS-R”

  1. That Integra is looking good!

    • Thank you Nate! I thought about reaching out to you when I was approaching the Pocatello area on I-84 but my time was so short and I was in a hurry to get on to Utah. Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

  2. What a Teggie adventure! You will have to show me at NALM how you rapid dial hotels like that. Meat loaf for lunch, well I’m not sure about that. Could be a bit heavy on the road. You are a true Road Trip King.

    • Thanks Kevin. The hotel thing was a real lesson learned for me. Helps to plan ahead! I basically went on my map view, searched “motel,” and then clicked every little pin drop so it would display the name, address, & phone number for each place. By the time I got to about the 5th place it almost became funny. I already knew the front desk agents were going to roll their eyes at me and say, “I’m sorry, we’re sold out.” That meatloaf was ok – my dad makes a better one.

  3. And another great adventure post on your blog!

    Interesting you mention the S2000! I did not realize the engine in the Integra was 1.7l – so let me ask… VTEC will “kick in, yo!” in my S2000 at 6k revs. That leaves me with 3k revs left, since mine is an AP1. When will VTEC engage on your Integra? I see in the photo of the instrument cluster that it redlines at 8K – remarkable.

    Very nice car indeed but those hideous seatbelts… I remember back in the day when that was the federal mandate – they suck IMHO. Just be happy the speedo goes past 85mph. Remember when speedo’s would only go to 85? Ha!

    Watched the video. I hope you get the “leaking from everywhere” resolved. Happy driving…

    • The VTEC engagement point in in the Integra seems exactly the same as your S2000! I haven’t done it repeatedly to confirm, but a few onramp runs and spirited accelerations seem to always put it in the 6,000 RPM range or at least the high 5’s. The sound it makes is very pronounced. Yours revs to 9,000?! Holy smokes. I think I knew that but forgot about it.

  4. autoscribe1974 Says:

    Fantastic! Can’t wait for those brochure photo recreations I know you’re itching to make… Be sure to submit them to HS&EC for “In Your Garage!”

    • Thanks Mark! And yes, I can’t wait to assemble all the cars for a “family photo” sometime soon. It’ll have to be later this fall since my brother still has the NSX in Utah. New leather finally arrived so the interior will be coming together shortly! Happy holiday weekend and hope you have a great time 🙂

  5. Congratulations, Tyson! That ‘Teg is in terrific shape for a 24-year old car! You must recreate that picture of the four Acuras.

    Totally remember the automatic seat belts- had them on my parents’ ’91 Accord. My grand mom could never quite figure it out and would always try to duck under the belt. She eventually gave up and would just ride in the back.

    Glad to see you survived the Oregon Trail without breaking an axel or dying of dysentery.

    • Hahaha, oh the Oregon Trail days. I always kicked butt at deer hunting. As I recall, you had to fire bullets several seconds before the deer actually crossed the screen because they took so long to travel through the air. 1980s technology. As for the seatbelts, I frequently find myself forgetting to fasten the lap portion. Or I’ll fasten it, then open the door to get out, and the upper portion motors out of the way but I forget the lap portion has me glued to the seat. I’m sure I’ve looked like a fool. Haha

  6. Those photos in Pioneer Park are killer!! Love how the green pops against the scenery. Looks like a fun little car – would be perfect for the occasional autocross 😉

    The revs at highway speed in 5th remind me of my old Miata – I think 80 was an ear-bleeding 4500 rpm. Definitely makes you appreciate the more relaxed nature of the Legend.

    • Oh, for sure! The Teg does well at what it’s intended for: A spirited and tossable canyon carver. The Legend is a far better pick for the long interstate. Which is why I’m looking forward to a Legend drive to Atlanta and back in just a couple of months. I was thinking about you the other day! Hope you have some killer 3-day weekend plans going out in VA. Fill me in via text.

  7. She’s a beaut! I remember test driving one in the mid 90s, shortly after getting my license. It was fun… handled great and had quite a firm ride. It’s pretty amazing that they were able to get 160 hp out of 1.7 liters back then.

    With no CEL on, I’m surprised it failed emissions. Maybe the bulb burned out? Hopefully the oil leaks are nothing new oil pan and valve cover gaskets wouldn’t fix. After 24 years, the rubber is probably really hard and dry.

    Anyway, enjoy that high revver! 🙂

    • Thanks Brad! From the feedback I’ve been getting, the most likely culprit is a bad catalytic converter. The list of items to address on this car continues to grow. It also has unknown timing belt history which is a big gamble, and my service advisor called it a “stuffed pig” (her exact words) when describing how many oil leaks it has underneath. Haha. Guess at 24 years old I can’t expect perfection, and luckily this won’t be anywhere near a daily driver. Back burner project it goes! Happy weekend!

  8. It’s hard to believe the GS-R was $18k when the Preludes were $16k with less hp and all. And that jump to $28k for a Vigor with less HP and no VTEC! That’s a big premium for leather interior! Regardless of the goofy pricing Acura had cars people wanted and took for granted and now finding original gems ain’t easy. Can’t wait to see the photos from the upcoming photo shoots. Maybe I can make it out there for one this fall/winter.

    • The Vig is 176 hp so 16 more than a GS-R, but yeah most buyers probably couldn’t justify spending $10k more for those 16 horses. You do need to get out here and take it for a spin. You will still be the record holder for having driven all my cars. You even got to drive the 93 L before it went bye bye!

  9. Tyson, Tyson, Tyson,

    Six cars + 1 owner how will you ever manage to accumulate enough miles on each of them?

    Your insurance agent must really LOVE you! Certainly hope you get a nice Christmas card every year 😉

    So where will this new addition reside?

    • Hy, don’t judge! We all have addictions. Mine just happens to involve anything with an “A” badge and 4 wheels from the 1990s! Where’s a rehab center when I need it. I added the Integra to my GEICO policy earlier this week. It upped my 6-month premium by $113. Total for all 6 cars is $880 every 6 months. That doesn’t seem too shabby! 2 full coverage (NSX, ILX) and the rest just liability.

      The new addition has a spot in the garage for now – since the NSX is still at my brother’s in Utah. I’m hoping that by the time the NSX comes back home, I’ll be in that new (huge garage) house closer to central PHX. Which reminds me, this house work stuff is for the birds! I spent all evening yesterday doing touch-up paint on the exterior. Feeling your pain right about now.

      • Sorry wasn’t trying to be judgemental only teasing. You know I’m the last one to throw stones even with my modest collection.

        As for addictions you’re right I could think of far worse things…

        Looks like congrats are in order not only for the GSR but the new house too!

        All the best hope to see both in person sometime…

        Enjoy the weekend.

  10. Ira Leventhal Says:

    Goooo Oregon! 91 ethanol free!

    • Haha, yes! I went for the good stuff! And I think the Integra thanked me for it 🙂 Do you run the same in the NSX?

      • Ira Leventhal Says:

        Lol most stations here are not ethanol free. You just found a good one

    • I agree Ira! These older motors have no idea what to do with corn alcohol. I’m always excited to get home from a road trip so I can feed the NSX Shell dinosaur fuel!

  11. Farid Yoeu Says:

    Sounds like a nice trip! That Green suits the Integra really well! Btw, have you thought about purchasing an Acura SLX?

    • Teal green was definitely a 90’s thing, and I love it. My goal this weekend is to get a side by side photo of the Arcadia Green Vigor + Aztec Green Integra, just for comparison purposes. And yes absolutely, someday I’d love to own an SLX. They are extremely rare – only 6,590 units sold between the 1996-1999 model years.

  12. Pam Buckshon Says:

    Legendary Canada Day blog post Tyson!
    Congratulations on the new acquisition. I really enjoyed hearing about the restoration. Super happy to hear that the air conditioning works well, could you imagine it otherwise? 🙂
    I remember those robo-belts, the introductory Saturn model was my very first experience with them. They didn’t last very long as a feature.
    Pam

    • Thank you Pam, and Happy Canada Day! You’re absolutely right — of all the things to be grateful for with that little Integra, it’s cold a/c. Thank goodness it’s ice cold! Where are you and your gorgeous Acuras off to this weekend?

      • Tonight the NSX will be ripping around once the fireworks settle down. I can watch from the hillside a block away first.
        Tomorrow, the TSX will be accompanying me to live theatre in Vancouver. Last week I went to my ex-brother-in-law’s(?) first production ever .. HAIR! It’s playing in an ultra small venue with an extremely talented cast and directors. So good I have to see again it before it closes tomorrow night.
        Typically I avoid travel on long weekend holidays, my cars hate it as much as they hate ethanol 😉

  13. I have spent a solid hour pouring over this blog post for many reasons. I have zoomed in on each photo and completely absorbed every detail. I have gotten sidetracked with a trip down Memory Lane (bought that red Integra in May 1997, just a month after I began running) and instilled the love for Acura in you when you were about 16 years old. I hope your new family member is not a money pit and that you realize satisfaction from your purchase.

    • I know how you zoom in on every photo. I’ve even seen you screen shot an Instagram photo so that you can go right in on every detail! You actually might have bought the Integra in May 1996, since the 5-97 expiration would indicate that year’s registration was up at that time. Either way, thanks for reading and it sounds like you had a fantastic holiday weekend.

  14. Yay! Finally added a Teggy to the garage! I vote on skipping the SLX though . . . there’s a good reason they only sold 6500.

    • Haha, c’mon now Eric! Have a little fun – I actually passed a Trooper on the way into work this morning and thought, “Could I ever own such a thing?” For one matter, the SLX never came with a stick shift so that would totally throw off my mojo since everything I own has a clutch pedal. Tranny swap?!

  15. Way behind on your blog content! Can’t believe you still had it in you for another adventure just weeks after Alaska. lol. That Integra is about as gorgeous as they come! It certainly landed a good home…congrats!

  16. […] my first close up encounter with Alfa Romero since their return to the US this year. Tyson’s Integra just had a fresh detail and a lot of maintenance performed to bring it to a highly desirable, […]

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