Home » Why Spend $32,995 On A New Acura Integra When You Can Have A Freaking Integra GS-R For $8,200?

Why Spend $32,995 On A New Acura Integra When You Can Have A Freaking Integra GS-R For $8,200?

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Old cars are better than they’ve ever been before. These days, a 28-year-old car isn’t some mass of fiddly electrics and multiple carburetors, it’s a fuel-injected machine that should start on the button. It has seat belts, it might even have airbags, and it’s totally useable as a daily driver so long as the weather outside won’t make it rot away into dust. A 1996 Acura Integra GS-R just sold for $8,200 on Cars & Bids, and it’s the sort of ridiculously fun package that might tempt someone to buy it over a brand-new Integra.

The DC2 Acura Integra GS-R was a little bit special. Although it looked a lot like a normal Integra, it got a 1.8-liter twin-came VTEC-yo’ing B18C1 four-cylinder engine making 170 horsepower – an engine that would scream all the way to an 8,300 rpm fuel cut. It also got a six-speaker stereo, 15-inch alloy wheels, a spoiler, and a sunroof, all great signifiers of ’90s provenance. It’s not a Type R, but it’s the next best thing, and given where Integra Type R prices are going, is that a bad thing?

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This one-family-owned Integra GS-R may have two hits on its Carfax, but that’s a lot better than the alternative. Look, it was the 1990s and 2000s. Immobilizers weren’t widespread factory-installed things, Honda products of the time had relatively few ignition key variations, and more than a few Integra GS-Rs ended up as torched shells due to people who should’ve been swallowed.

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Acura Integra GS-R Interior

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However, it is a California car, so in addition to escaping death by thieves and death by making out with a lamp post, this Integra GS-R also escaped death by rust. It seems to have a solid shell, which in addition to not being cosmetically perfect (the driver’s seat is a sight to behold) and having 158,300 miles on the clock, makes it a great candidate to pile on some miles with. Oh, and you’ll be able to pile those miles on fairly quickly because this thing is a performance machine.

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Acura Integra Gs R Engine Bay

Sure, the old Integra GS-R may be down 30 horsepower to the new car’s 200, but it also weighs 2,667 pounds compared to the new car’s 3,150-pound curb weight. This means that the GS-R boasts 15.69 pounds per horsepower to the new car’s 15.75 pounds per horsepower, and that’s pocket rocket material. In Car And Driver testing, a 1994 GS-R hustled from zero-to-60 in a nice 6.9 seconds, two-tenths quicker than the magazine managed out of a new Integra. The GS-R also coaxed up 0.81 g on the skidpad using thoroughly outdated 1990s tire technology, but most importantly, it put a smiles on the faces of the magazine’s staff. As written in the long-term test wrap-up:

“Buzzy at 85 mph,” noted Yates. “But not bad. And that motorcycle rev limit and taut steering are marvelous. I love this thing—it’s the Sugar Ray Robinson of automobiles, the original Sugar Ray having been considered, pound-for-pound, the greatest fighter in history.”

Now that’s high praise, and it’s easy to see how the Integra GS-R got it. From sweet, communicative steering to a nigh-on perfect shifter, the Integra GS-R is a car that invites the keen driver to a stimulating dialogue, buzzing with feedback as it receives inputs. It doesn’t just get you down the road, it reminds you that you’re operating a machine of fire and steel with the agility of a wasp, a tiny ball of vapor-honed speed. The cosmos will vibrate at 8,100 rpm for you and you alone, as human and machine achieve singularity.

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Acura Integra GS-R Rear

Sure, with the GS-R, you give up safety, modernity, luxury, theft resistance, and your hearing, but think of what you gain. The new Acura Integra with its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine is a good entry-level premium car, but the Integra GS-R is ruthless optimization of economy car parts by people who want to make driving fun. We won’t ever see another car like it, but we can cherish the examples that roam this Earth.

(Photo credits: Cars & Bids)

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Marlin May
Marlin May
24 days ago

I loved my Supersonic Blue GS-R. Finally had to trade it in because maintenance became too spendy. So, what did I get next? A manual Audi A4 Avant so I could have fun in the snow. <facepalm>

Steven Moor
Steven Moor
26 days ago

Yes, sadly I think the future is heading towards a soulless same-ification of 1’s and 0’s, perfect execution, low noise, low stress motoring. Was thinking about this this morning, how much I miss analogue feeling technology that makes you feel more connected to the world, somehow, like all of the vibrations, sounds, imperfections, and random chaos seem to have a life of their own.

James Carson
James Carson
26 days ago

My kid has a JDM SIR in his toy collection. Quite a fun little beast to rat around in. It’s cosy inside for a lump like me and I have to drive it without shoes. I wouldn’t want to do a long distance trip in it as it is pretty buzzy. Nice car otherwise.

AMGx2
AMGx2
27 days ago

Why is 170hp in a ragged-ass car (check that seat as you said), with questionable history, a good buy for 8 whopping thousand dollahs?

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
26 days ago
Reply to  AMGx2

Go buy a random CUV like a Nissan Rogue or whatever. The taxes, title fees, registration are going to be $3500-$4000 alone in California.

Plus it’s a fun, lightweight, manual, insanely rev-happy car where most of the examples have been modded to death, used up or rusted away. Price out a B18C1 engine, just the engine alone.

Noodles Gargamel
Noodles Gargamel
27 days ago

Is the GS-R similar in spec to the Sir-G?

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
27 days ago

> due to people who should’ve been swallowed.

Adrian is leaking.

Wait no poor choice of words

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
26 days ago

I think it is possible that Thomas is Adrian’s illegitimate son.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
26 days ago

One of many

Taxi maniac
Taxi maniac
27 days ago

That’s beautifully written.

I almost feel like it’s 1998 again and the integra is like the holy grail of a businessmans sport coupe again.

I don’t know if I’d love owning this so much anymore though. Let me go back to my 20s and hell yes

Holly Birge
Holly Birge
27 days ago

I had a 97 Integra GS-R — forest green with the tan cloth seats which is the correct configuration. Amazing car, but that “buzziness” actually drove me crazy. I wound up trading it in after 4 years for a VR6 equipped Jetta which was a little better mannered for me.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
26 days ago
Reply to  Holly Birge

I have an auto DA. 4,000rpm in the slow lane on the freeway.

HumboldtEF
HumboldtEF
27 days ago

I love the dual runner intake manifold on the GSR motor, i think they were underappreciated. Most people yanked them off and replaced them with knock off type R manifolds. I thought they were interesting so I kept one on my swapped EF hatch.

Dual runner intakes have a set of short runners for better low end and at 4500 RPMs switch over to longer runners for better top end. So this torqueless wonder had a little more torque down low. Its a really fun motor to rev out.

Random Shots
Random Shots
27 days ago

I thought about buying an Integra GSR as I always wanted one in high school. Like others here, the cheap examples I found were run into the ground and “modified” not to my liking and the stock ones had a severe nostalgia tax that I was not willing to pay.

I am now looking at the R53 Mini Cooper S to satisfy the itch as they are similar in weight with more power. They are not as reliable as a Honda but the charm and playfulness of the Mini seems like it would be on par or even better for a significantly cheaper initial cost. On the other hand, ongoing maintenance and repair costs might ruin me but I am a masochist.

Luvmeadeadpedal
Luvmeadeadpedal
27 days ago
Reply to  Random Shots

Masochist is right. I purchased a 2011 Cooper S with only 65k on the clock and all of a sudden started eating $1000 bills.

They don’t put a temp gauge in that car as they run them so hot at nearly boiling temp on purpose. It is such a tidy package that heat is your enemy and kills all the seals including a crazy oil filter housing that has both oil and water running through it. Heat baked the seals and they leak oil and coolant in what otherwise a fantastic front drive car.

Because BMW it has a crazy expensive high pressure fuel pump – $800!! that has wont to fail. Lovely car but unless you want to wrench on a difficult platform or want to spend $$ I would stay away. Sad as it was fun to drive but I am on my second Miata and I have never had similar issues.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
26 days ago

Ooof! 2011 is an R56, the least reliable generation. The first gen R53 has a better reputation for reliability. The 3rd gen F56 is supposedly better, using a version of BMW’s current 4-cyl that they put in everything. Drawback is that size grew a bit in the move to the BMW 1-series platform, but it is still less than 3000 lbs (2723 to be precise) and 19 more HP than the 28 y.o. Acura.

Random Shots
Random Shots
25 days ago

Only 19 more hp, but 80 more lb/ft of torque at 1250 RPM vs 6200 RPM on the GSR. Similarly, the R53 Cooper S had the same HP as the GSR but 50 more lb/ft of torque at 1650 RPM vs 6200 on the GSR. The Minis also have the same city fuel economy but better highway fuel economy.

Finalformminivan
Finalformminivan
27 days ago

Even with that high mileage it’s not bad for the price. I’ve seen most GSRs listed for $15k+

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
27 days ago

Comparing anything to Sugar Ray Robinson is a tough sell. He was truly special among special people

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
27 days ago

Underrated car for sure-though good look finding a clean used one. I tried in vain awhile back to find a clean GS-R sedan for a fun practical daily. I think they’ve almost all been run into the ground or turned into fast and the furious wannabes.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
27 days ago

> more than a few Integra GS-Rs ended up as torched shells due to people who should’ve been swallowed

LOL wanted to preserve this turn of phrase in case the article is edited.

I had a ’99 GS. Had the base engine and the automatic but was still awesome. Leather interior and sunroof. Loved that car – sold it to a coworker. His teenage daughter promptly yanked it into a jersey barrier inside of a month.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
27 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

Ya, when I saw that line I feared for the politically correct police. Let us pray it stays

Evan M
Evan M
27 days ago

We roasted that poor car over on Oppo when the auction listed. The more you look, the more bad things you see. Mismatched panels, weird water lines and stains, questionable interior “repairs”, and damage to almost every panel… that car as seen some stuff. Still under $10k for a nostalgia-heavy car isn’t as bad as I’d feared it would go.

Last edited 27 days ago by Evan M
Jj
Jj
27 days ago

You’ll be spending a bit more than that for a new Integra with a manual transmission. You need to select the A-Spec plus the Technology Package to be granted permission to select your own gears.

I know because I am begrudgingly shopping for these things at the moment. I guess it’s refreshing to not be stuck with the poverty spec to get a third pedal.

Data
Data
27 days ago

Coming next year from Honda, the 2025 Acura IntegraCross GS-R. Impress your barista at the Starbucks drive through on your way to pilates class.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
27 days ago

That is likely NOT a gsr. I had one exactly like that, and it was the “SE”, which was the GSR interior and suspension, but with the lame non vtec B18. Someone swapped the head or installed a vtec B18, so it’s about what a GSR is, but those wheels are a give away. Terribly ugly and as far as I know, they only came on SEs.

Evan M
Evan M
27 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

As sketchy as that thing is I was prepared to believe you, but looks like the VIN decodes to a GSR on honda-tech

Von Baldy
Von Baldy
27 days ago
Reply to  Evan M

If the vin is dc2, it be a gsr coupe

Jj
Jj
27 days ago
Reply to  Evan M

Someone probably had custom wheels on it and sold the stock GSR wheels, then bought these wheels to put on it for sale.

I bought my Miata on 15″ wheels even though it originally came with 16″ wheels. It happens.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
26 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

Wouldn’t pass smog in California if those were swapped without a lot of paperwork

It’s possible someone jacked the stock wheels off it sometime in the past 30 years. It’s Los Angeles.

Last edited 26 days ago by Rabob Rabob
Rob M
Rob M
26 days ago
Reply to  ADDvanced

I had almost this exact car – 96 GSR in Milano Red. Drove it for 8 years. Those wheels are stock.

LOVED and regret that I sold it.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
25 days ago
Reply to  Rob M

I swore they were unique to the SE models, but you’re right, the factory press photos of GSRs have these ugly things. Unfortunate. Great cars though. 30mpg, fun to drive, reliable, cheap. Thing was a winner.

Alexk98
Alexk98
27 days ago

I know the Type R is “perfection” in everyone’s eyes, but at over 4x the price of a GSR, the Type R seems comically overhyped, and the GSR criminally undervalued

Jj
Jj
26 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

I agree, but the Type R does have a few things that set it apart. If I remember right, the Type-R has a stiffer chassis thanks to some reinforcements and extra welds not present in any other Integras (Integrae?). Then, of course, the 5 lug hubs. Probably more differences I’m unaware of but I’m not a Honda guy.

It’s overhyped / overpriced, but it still seems like you get more for the extra dough than you would when buying an E36 M3 Lightweight, where you’ll pay an extra $70k for an aluminum hood and a sticker.

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