Flip up headlights, dual cams and a nostalgic attitude, Damien’s DA3 packs the punch to surprise the quietest of streets in his local neighborhood. We were surpised to run across such a pure example of a 1st generation Honda Integra done the right way and had to ask questions.
HR: First off, tell us a little about yourself.
Damien: My name is Damien, from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne Australia, which is the home of all things modern JDM. Japanese Nostalgic Cars appear to be a rarity here, so I started up a Japanese Nostalgic Car Club called JNC OTAKU to bring the J-Tin community closer together
HR: Do you have a history working with Honda’s prior to the Integra?
Damien: I started my automotive career 6 years ago with Toyota selling spare parts and accessories, this inspired me to purchase a 1979 Toyota Celica RA40 Coupe, which soon started to rust away beyond repair, I then got my hands on a 1986 Toyota Corolla AE82 Twin-cam, which I then engine swapped to a small-port 4AGE. I soon got tired of that project and always had a passion for Celica’s, so I sourced another RA40 Celica (this time a lift back) which spun a big end bearing as a test drove it. I soon gave up on Toyota’s all together.
HR: How did you get started with the ’88 and how long has the build been for you?
Damien: After limping the RA40 Celica back to the car lot I spotted a 1988 DA3 Integra which I couldn’t get my eyes off…. It was stock as a rock came on hideous 90’s Momo Wheels and had a very immaculate 5Zigen N1R Steering wheel… little did I know that this would turn into what it has today! So far the build has been slow progress over the last three years, keeping it on the road as it is currently my daily. It came off the road for three months after a blown head gasket, which inspired me to completely rebuild the engine and perform some mods along the way. I am a huge fan of the Kanjo and Shakotan scene in Japan and wanted to re-create everything I loved about the scene through this Integra.
HR: A lot of personal built parts on the car including the strut brace. Did you have a difficult time sourcing parts?
Damien: I have a bit of experience with welding and a mandrel bender, so I decided to knock up a set of Bosozoku inspired upswept pipes as well as a front strut brace. I am in the process of modifying a miracle X-Bar for the rear strut towers. It’s especially difficult to find parts for DA3’s as I have only ever come across a handful on the roads which have been completely factory, and the rest are in wrecking yards. Allot of the local parts retailers (excluding Honda) have incorrect listings for DA3’s which makes servicing sometimes frustrating and aftermarket support for these vehicles is non-existent. If I can’t find it, I’ll make it.
HR: Are the DA Integra’s difficult to find or our highly sought after in Australia?
Damien: DA Integra’s are a rare sight here and all over Australia, there’s about 5-6 I have seen on my travels throughout Victoria whom I have maintained contact with and assisted with any problems they may have encountered with their vehicles. I don’t believe they are very sought after, and the few I have seen have been rather factory looking. They are a particularly odd vehicle, with many oddly engineered components which I find scare allot of people away from owning one.
HR: Tell us about your engine setup and the D16ZC head?
Damien: When my Head gasket blew a few months ago (340,000km’s unopened) I decided to completely strip down the engine and start all over again. I sourced a very young and healthy bottom end and a D16ZC Head, which I then shaved by .03 to raise compression a fraction. I reground a spare set of D16A3 cams as close to ZC Cam specs as possible, fitted a short ram intake, D Series OBX Racing single cam headers, and stiffened valve springs. Which has now produced a very rev-happy engine, with razor sharp throttle response.
HR: The car is definitely a head turner, how is it taken on the local streets?
Damien: Amongst the Honda scene, it does confuse allot of enthusiasts as they have never seen or heard of these cars before, naturally they are intrigued. The plates obviously gain allot of attention, and quite often as I roll through carparks, I hear teenagers and kids yell out BWAAH!! Which always brings a smile to my face. Much of the car is impulse buy, the most recent addition was the SSW Tuning SPII wheels which I had sparkle coated to match my hood and fuel cap (which wears “Sparkle Motion) which is a reference to the Donnie Darko film which I am a huge fan of. I wasn’t intending to keep the wheels on it for long, but after fitting them I received nothing but positive feedback.
HR: Future projects/outlooks on the build?
Damien: Ultimately, I would like to supercharge this… but a new project has popped up unexpectedly (1988 Honda City Turbo II). I will likely keep the DA3 Naturally Aspirated and get the City Turbo to a stage I am happy with. At the moment it’s still daily driven, and will likely continue to be as I work on the new toy.
- High-gloss Charcoal Sparkle Wrapped Bonnet
- Rubber Garden Edging Riveted to Factory Front Lip
- Custom Side skirts and Rear Pods
- Benen Tow Hooks Front and Rear
- Custom Exhaust Tips and Extensions
- Personalized Plates [BWAAH]
- Smoked Front Parker lenses
- Smoked Reverse Lights
- Signature Crossed out Headlights
- Custom Short Ram Intake
- OBX Racing Headers
- Custom Mid-pipe
- Modified Factory Muffler With Custom Tips
- Shaved D16ZC head (.03)
- D16ZC Camshafts
- Stiffened Valve Springs
- SSW Tuning SPII (15X7.5 +25) Sparkle Coated
- Tokico Blue Shocks Front and Rear
- Pedders Low Springs Rear
- Re-splined Torsion Bars Front
- Self-fabricated Strut Brace
- Midnight Purple Steering Wheel by Race spec Motorworks
- Anodized Purple Quick Release Boss Kit
- Custom Clear Dildo Shift Knob
- Takata (replica) Racing Harnesses