Nathan Nash had an itch for a Honda track car that he just had to scratch, and this stripped and supercharged stunner of an Integra DC5 is the result!
Feature from Fast Car. Words: Dan Sherwood. Photos: Adrian Brannan.
All cars come with compromises. That’s just an undisputable truth. Even the most expensive, exotic and outrageous cars made by the best automotive manufacturers on the planet have some form of compromise inherent in their DNA. In fact, it’s the very reason why we modify them in the way we do. By selecting different parts than those that came fitted from the factory, we can tailor or eliminate certain compromises to better fit with what we want from our car. But that doesn’t mean that modifying can somehow magically eradicate all of a car’s compromises, it merely trades the ones we don’t want for ones we are willing to accept as part and parcel of the deal. Take suspension for example. A manufacturer has to take into account things like a usable ground clearance, comfortable ride and an acceptable level of noise, vibration and harshness. But those that want to primarily use their cars on track, or are simply after the ultimate in sill-scraping lows for nothing more than their five minutes of Insta-fame, don’t need to worry about any of those factors. They simply trade the soft, wallowy ride and ability to negotiate pot holes and speed bumps for a bone-jarringly hard ride, that corners like it’s on rails. And for them it’s a compromise well worth making.
One man that knows all about trading automotive compromises is 27-year-old petrolhead Nathan Nash. As an MOT tester by trade, he knows a thing or two about cars and the way they are designed to behave from the factory, but as well as that, his love of modifying, which began just minutes after he’d passed his driving test, means he’s also well versed in trading off those traits to fit his own very specific needs.
“The complete Plastics 4 Performance polycarbonate window set in the Integra DC5 shaves a hell of a lot of weight off the car when compared to the stock glass windows,” explains the South Wales based car nut. “It’s also weight which sits high up in the car, so a reduction here also benefits both handling and braking too. But the small window sliders are a bloody nightmare on a hot day, and you can forget about fitting a box of 20 McNuggets in there. It’s just not possible!”
See? Trade offs. What Nathan has gained in performance, he’s lost in juicy reformed chickeny goodness. The handy addition of an in-car sauna is also a neat side-effect.
“Yeah, there’s always trade-offs when building a car, the key is to know what you want from the build at the start and prepare yourself for what’s coming,” he laughs. “I’d always fancied a hot Honda track weapon, and I knew exactly what I’d be giving up in order to fulfil my dream build, and it’s been more than worth it!”
Nathan’s modifying journey began with a VW Polo 9N, which was the car that got him bitten by the bug. This was followed soon after by a Corsa VXR, an EG Honda Civic, a Mk6 Golf estate and a slew of sleek EK Civics, one of which he started transforming into a dedicated track tool.
“It was a bit of a half arsed attempt really and unfortunately I never actually finished it,” he shrugs. “But that was all about to change when I bought my Integra DC5.”
Nathan’s love-affair with the model started long before he could even drive when he would lust over the curvy coupe while playing early versions of Forza Motorsport on his games console. So when the time came that he could afford to get behind the wheel of one for real, he was only too keen to pull the trigger, but after weeks of looking at Championship White DC5s, he just wasn’t feeling it, and wondered if the right car would ever turn up. That was until he stumbled across a Nighthawk black example, which instantly ignited his inner Sith and drew him squarely to the dark side.
“After seeing all the virgin white ones, the black one just looked so much meaner,” he beams proudly. “I had to have it, and I knew there and then that this would become the track car I had always wanted.”
Starting off with a clean, standard example, Nathan began the process of transforming the Integra DC5 from mild to wild with an AEM air intake, a Skunk2 Mega Power R exhaust system, Rota Torque wheels and a damn good detail. This satisfied him for a while, but after owning it for around a year he decided it needed a more purposeful wheel and tyre setup, a feat he achieved when he stumbled across a set of Enkei NT03 gen 1 wheels. They fitted the bill for the aggressive track style he was after perfectly, but were in serious need of refurbishment, so he sent them off to get a new lease of life before bolting them on to his ever-evolving steed. But racey wheels with standard suspension is not a good look, not to mention only half of the equation when it comes to improving your car’s handling, so Nathan wisely invested in a set of coilovers to complete the job.
“I bought a set of adjustable BC Racing coilovers as they have always been my go-to brand for nearly all my cars,” says Nathan. “They offer excellent performance and you can tailor the handling to your own liking.”
To complement the coilovers, Nathan also fitted a set of Tegiwa rear upper adjustable camber arms, which allowed him to dial in extra camber to achieve his ideal geometry settings, and this combination totally changed the way the car drove.
Around this time, Nathan also began craving what every good track car needs: a hit of the lightweight weave, and soon an OEM-style Seibon carbon spoiler and a carbon fuel cap found their way onto the rear of the hot Honda.
A host of interior tweaks such as a pair of Corbeau Revenge seats, Takata harnesses, a K-Tuned billet shifter and an SW Motorsport bolt-in cage gradually moved Nathan’s ride away from its road roots, to a more circuit specification, but it was still more of an aesthetic than a true motorsport machine.
“I used the car more for shows than any serious track abuse, and it was after the car started winning trophies at a few shows that I decided this wasn’t the reason I bought it in the first place,” he reveals. “It was always meant to be a balls-to-the-wall track car, that I could use hard and get my kicks on the circuit, not just polishing it for a show ‘n’ shine trophy.”
So, after the event, Nathan took the car home and made the drastic step of stripping it back to a bare shell in order for its true transformation to begin.
“I constructed a homemade spit that enabled me to turn the shell upside down so I could strip all the factory under seal off and allow me to stitch-weld the chassis, body panels and engine bay for extra strength. Then when that job was done I reapplied fresh underseal and repainted it all.”
Next on his list was to send the car off to ARC Autosport in Doncaster to have the bolt-in cage removed and replaced with a full weld-in custom cage.
“The new cage is a work of art and has made the chassis super stiff and perfect for track driving,” Nathan says proudly. “Once it was complete I got the car back home and painted the whole of the inside and engine bay in a small booth in my home garage.”
With things now suitably serious on the chassis front, it was finally time to add some serious ponies to the equation, so Nathan started the process of stockpiling his wish list of power parts that would endow his ride with the requisite fire-power to match the rest of the increasingly potent build.
“I started the engine work over the winter,” Nathan says. “I just locked myself in my garage and got busy with the spanners. I like to try and do as much as I can myself, as not only is it less expensive that way, but you also get a greater level of satisfaction from the
The end product of all of Nathan’s fettling is an engine that is equipped with a dream spec of circuit-slaying parts, all contributing to produce prodigious linear power perfect for reducing lap times.
“I went for a TTS Performance Rotrex C30-94 supercharger kit as it’s the perfect power adder for a track car,” says Nathan. “The kit is so well engineered and can easily double the stock horsepower, but delivers it in an extremely linear way without some of the heat and driveability issues of a turbo.”
As well as the charger kit itself, Nathan’s equipped the screaming K20 with a Skunk2 Ultra Street intake manifold and fuel rail, a set of Deatschwerks injectors, a high-flow Walbro fuel pump and swapped the old exhaust for a Solid Fabrications 3in Super Silent system with a 4in pie-cut titanium tip.
“After the oily bits were complete I sent the car off to Racing Circuits for a full custom wiring loom to be made and installed,” says Nathan. “I’d had a go at sorting the loom myself, but had lost patience with it, so sent it off to the pros instead. They did an awesome job.”
As well as the new wiring, the K20 motor now runs off a later-spec ECU from an FN2 Civic Type R running EcuTek software. This has allowed a host of trick functions to be added such as drive-by-wire, flat shifting and launch control to name a few.
The supercharged Integra DC5 track car now makes a blistering 420bhp, which in a stripped out weapon like this is more than enough to shame some seriously exotic machinery and put in some scorching lap times to boot.
The final piece of the puzzle for the supercharged Integra DC5 track car was to add the livery, a job that Nathan left to vinyl wizards E11evens.
“With the wrap, big brake kit behind the wheel spokes and seeing the wild cage through the Perpex windows the car has turned out even better than I planned it,” Nathan beams proudly. “It’s gone from a smart, circuit-inspired show car to a real deal track car that I can use as hard as I dare and it just keeps begging for more. It’s just awesome!”
And we couldn’t agree with him more!
Tech Spec: Supercharged Integra DC5 Track Car
2.0-litre, 4-cyl, 20v turbo engine, Skunk2 Ultra Street intake manifold, Fly-by-wire throttle body, Skunk2 throttle body adaptor, Skunk2 fuel rail, Deatsch werks injectors, Rotrex C30-94 supercharger, billet CNC supercharger mounting bracket, Walbro fuel pump, Billet blow-off valve, 4 bar map sensor, TTS Performance race spec radiator, TTS Performance race spec intercooler, custom aluminium boost pipes, Clockwise motion drop in sump baffle, Innovative engine mounts, Mocal oil cooler kit, Mishimoto oil sandwich plate adaptor, Torques oil sandwich plate housing, Torques fuel system fittings, Torques oil system fittings, Torques fuel lines, Torques oil lines, Motamec oil catch tank, K-tuned upper coolant housing including built in filler neck, aftermarket upper coolant hose, Skunk2 Alpha manifold, Solid Fabrications 3in super silent with 4in titanium pie cut turn-down tip, Racing Circuits custom looms and fuse boxes, Kit Car Electronics wireless steering wheel control, Aim MXG Strada digital dash, custom switch panel, Honda FN2 ECU with EcuTek, Odyssey battery, 420bhp
6-speed manual gearbox, Kaaz 1.5-way plated limited-slip differential, refreshed bearings and gears, Competition Clutch stage 4 clutch, Hel braided clutch line
BC Racing BR adjustable coilovers, Tegiwa rear upper adjustable camber arms, Hardrace rear lower control arms, SuperPro caster adjusters, Polybush front arms, SuperPro anti-roll bar bushes front and rear, Buddyclub P1 roll-centre ball joints, Spoon sports front strut brace, adjustable rack ends
KSport front BBK with 330mm discs and 8-pot calipers and Project MU front pads, OEM rear refurbished calipers with PBS rear pads, Wilwood brake bias valve, Proline Motorsport front braided brake line kit, Hel rear brake lines
Wheels & Tyres:
9x17in ET35 (front) and 8x17in ET35 (rear) Enkei NT03 wheels with 255/45/17 (front) and 225/45/17 (rear) Federal 595 RSR tyres
Plastic 4 performance complete polycarbonate window set, Fiberworx custom wider front wings, aftermarket carbon spoiler, Aerocatch bonnet catches, underbody and inner arches sealed and painted, engine bay painted, vinyl wrap carried out by E11evens, full chassis, shell and engine bay stitch welded for strength
ARC Autosport custom rollcage, Corbeau Revenge bucket seats with custom stitching, Takata 4 point harnesses, Sparco 368 semi-dished steering wheel, Lifeline snap-off steering wheel boss, K-tuned billet shifter, T7 Designs 5kw midi heater box, custom floor foot plate, Lifeline fire extinguisher kit, Kap industries hand held extinguisher and mount