Catching a unicorn: DA5 Integra Coupe | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 05, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:01 PM, July 05, 2017

Project Cars

Catching a unicorn: DA5 Integra Coupe

What is this?

The entries in the Honda lineage of the 80s and 90s served very specific purposes for the brand – much like the established German brands like BMW and Mercedes Benz, Honda stuck to a segmented approach to their models from the mid-80s onwards. Unthinkable in today's variant driven world, the Hondas of the time were neatly packaged into different classes. The City was the entry level urban runabout, the Civic was a sub-compact with loads of charisma, the Accord and its Japan-only variants made up the entry level luxury segment and the Legend, badged as an Acura outside of Japan, was the full bore luxury model post-1987.

Come 1985, with Honda doing very promisingly in North America, it was time to introduce a sub-compact that would slot in between the Civic and the Accord – combining the fuel efficiency and the lively driving dynamics of the Civic with the style and the equipment of the larger Accord into a new segment. The Integra was born – the best of both worlds and an enduring name in the compact sports segment.

The rest, as they say, is history. The Integra, sold as an Acura in North America in varying body styles from sedan to hardtop to coupe, would become a mainstay of the American import car scene beside the Civic, spawning refreshed models one after the other. The DA8 is already a sleek 90s classic in markets like ours, the DC2 was once heralded as the “best handling Front Wheel Drive car of all time” by Evo Magazine and the DC5 is still a sought after modern sports coupe.

So what about this one?

What we have here today is Sadi Mehedi Zaman's DA5 Integra coupe, possibly one of only two surviving examples in the country. When we say surviving, we mean revived – according to Sadi this nearly complete-on-the-outside Teggy came in with plentiful work still remaining.

On the outside, the sleek 90s lines are so striking that the Integra Coupe needs little else to shine in Dhaka's summer sun. A simple front lip, subtle side skirts, a low wing, custom headlights and taillights, not to mention the right wheels make this machine quite the looker, a sentiment shared by most people in the local automotive community. Silver is very hard to pull off when trying to make a car interesting look interesting, but Sadi's Integra is spot on with the shimmering gloss paint.

What does our resident Toyota and Mitsubishi dude (Zaer Z. Ahmed) think about it?

This was my first ride in a tuned Honda. I've seen them rolling, I've heard about them and I've always wanted to experience them. The car is running a 2 liter non-VTEC B20 motor lifted off a CR-V which means the car has no shortage in torque from the get-go. The revs climb and the car just moves in every gear. The traditional VTEC kick that sends you rocketing towards the horizon is sadly missing, but the Teggy makes up for it with street presence and noise. While the interior is starting to show its age, the short-shifter has way too much slack but the owner assures us it will be addressed.

The car is a cruiser according to the owner. The stance upfront doesn't really allow for a lot of spirited driving. But all of that is going to change very soon according to Sadi. He says he has a lot left to do to the car, and we'll be waiting. It's a rare machine in Dhaka streets, and is slowly being taken back to its 90s cool coupe roots.  

What's it like to live with?

Being an extra rare sight on our roads, this Integra Coupe would give any owner nightmares when the issue of parts availability comes up. Sadi says he had to ship in parts from Japan on a regular basis when trying to get the Teggy up and running, and that locally available parts are next to non-existent. However, he puts up with it because of how head-turning this machine is, and what it can be in the future.

So what's that future like?

Sadi Mehedi Zaman loves his Integra, but he's mulling a Subaru STI build to satisfy the AWD/Turbo cravings that everyone in Dhaka has been having recently. Till that happens, the Integra might undergo a heart transplant with VTEC machinations, taking this already cool little coupe to the next level.



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