All Out: Big Turbo J-Series Integra
As you’ve probably gathered, I’d much rather wax poetic about the motivations and desires of automotive adventures than just list what all is under the hood and show some flashy photos; there’s enough of that out there already. The reasons behind a build and the personality that the owner, builder, driver, and car combine to create is really something that can’t be found in a parts list and is rarely even caught in the most provocative of photos. Yes, every now and then a photo will embody the emotion and character of everything leading up to that moment, and as a photographer I know we all yearn to capture that when it does happen, but what is really needed is a story.
Motor swaps have become so common with Hondas, mostly due to the ease in which it can be done and the immense interchangeability of parts, that it has become the norm with anyone trying to make real power. There are a few fabled swaps that you see mention of but they normally are only carried out by the especially nutty ones due to minimal return over more common variants that take much less effort. But every now and then, you see one that you never thought you would get the chance to witness in person.
This is one of those. A J-series V6 literally hanging out of the engine bay on an Integra. Yes the power could have been made differently. Yes this was not the easiest way to get there. But who cares. While this is quite an unconventional build, it does make a lot of sense. These motors are very common and cheaply acquired. The one currently in the car is straight from a junkyard and this means that a pile of backups can be kept on hand. The J32 may not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about performance, but the 60 degree V6 has proven to be incredibly stout, even in stock form. This allows for that MASSIVE turbo that you see.
Of course a lot of parts for this swap can be found from aftermarket suppliers, but the real handiwork behind this build has been the completely one-of-a-kind custom manifolds, charge piping, and fixturing provided by Blake Barr at 850Fabrication. Not many builds would stand up to much scrutiny when placing junkyard parts next to artful fabrication as well as this one does. Blake always manages to put more time and thought into his work than I thought was possible, it takes true automotive knowledge to make an aesthetically pleasing part that also functions on the levels of anything R&D’d at a performance manufacturer. These parts will definitely be put to the test when this car is finished with the power goal being north of 700hp. Not only is this another beautiful job done at 850Fabrication, it also marks Blake’s first full project after taking the plunge and making his own fabrication his full time employment.
Going back to the original point I was making, a car is rarely just a car. This build represents the fruition of a dream and a realization of an idea for an owner and also the first steps of a friend and artist. This is going to be so much more than a fast Integra. It is a building block in the lives of the people working to make it a reality. I love learning about stories like this that have much more than what is visible on the surface. Without the human element a car is just a car, and that is what we strive to change by being an enthusiast.
Special thanks to Blake and 850Fabrication for inviting us in to see this monster and learn more about what it takes to work on a project like this!