The Last One? 2nd-Gen Acura Integra GS-R

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At some point, it must be acknowledged that certain vehicle models will cease to exist. Whether due to rust or accident damage, or neglect that forces it off the road, cars that we assumed would be here forever are disappearing every day. While it’s not our typical muscle car or vintage iron example, the first generation of Honda’s spectacular hot hatch, known as the Acura Integra GS-R, set the bar very high in the sport compact segment for four-cylinder performance. Unfortunately, finding one in any condition is a struggle, making this stock 1992 example here on craigslist a rare find. 

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Whatever your feelings are on Hondas, it’s hard not to marvel at the ways its engineers extract every ounce of performance out of its tiny, four-cylinder engines. For front-drivers, their handling was unexpectedly neutral, and the manual gearbox put far pricier exotics and corner carvers to shame with its unflinching silkiness. The problem is, enthusiasts gobbled these cars up not only for their performance but for the astounding amount of abuse that could be heaped on them, whether from living at the redline or the eye-popping levels of modifications the cars could handle. Suffice to say, finding an unmolested GS-R is harder than finding a crusty Porsche 356 carcass, in my opinion.

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At the time, the GS-R held the title of delivering the then-highest specific output from a normally aspirated engine found in a U.S. passenger car. The rev-happy mill spit out 160 b.h.p. from a 1.6L four-cylinder, delivering 95 b.h.p. per liter and incorporating Honda’s then-revolutionary VTEC timing apparatus for better engine breathing, a feature we now take for granted as it comes standard on so many Honda and Acura vehicles. With under 5,000 of these first-generation GS-R’s produced for the U.S. market, they were rare when new and downright scarce nowadays. The seller is asking $6,500, which, mark my words, will look downright affordable within the next 10 years.

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With nicely-bolstered bucket seats, quick steering and the aforementioned buttery-smooth shifter, the driving experience is equal parts feverish and pleasant. If you’re not a fan of keeping a car on boil, then the Integra GS-R is not likely to set your heart on fire. But if driving one of the world’s most important hot hatches that actually has a functional hatch lid and can sing at 7,000 RPMs all day long is your idea of a good time, here’s a car you can enjoy now and watch appreciate in value later on. With only 105,000 miles, there is plenty of life left in this original GS-R, and I’d be surprised if the listing lasts through the weekend.

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Comments

  1. Todd Zuercher

    Too bad about the a/c and those darn motorized belts….

  2. Chris

    These cars are an excellent example of the best engineering and the best build quality of the time. I love American but you gotta admit these were great cars.

    The seat belts are a total buzz kill.

  3. Schwag

    I’ve been looking for a clean ’92-’93 GS-R for about a year now, but I’ve only seen a few rusted examples up here in MN. While Milano red is not my preferred color, if it were closer, I’d have to buy it. It’s really special compared to the ’91 LS that I had as a kid.

  4. John

    It’s hardly the last one. My 92 GSR has been my daily driver since 1994. It’s got 234000 miles on it now with very little cost to me. But original parts are hard to find. While at lunch in a better part of town, someone stole all of my badges and they don’t make them any more. I may have to go and buy them back on eBay.

    • Cassidy

      Oh sorry, you want them back?

  5. Paul

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the 86-89 the 1st gen Integra?

    • RayT Member

      It is indeed. To me, it’s nicer than any Integras that came after it. A high-winding engine in a relatively light body and superb handling made it a standout from all the boring, everyday Japanese stuff. I wanted one of these the first time I drove one, and still do.

      Or, even better, the engine from one to put in an early Honda CRX. The factory did that for some other markets — I drove one Honda loaned me in Germany — and the result was a real rocket sled!

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

      I should clarify: first-gen GS-R, not first-gen Integra. I was a bit slippery with my words.

  6. Leon

    How about when was last time a Prelude 4 wheel steering was seen on the road ???

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

      Another rare bird these days. I still remember drooling over the yellow ’87 Prelude Si in the showroom when my mom bought a new ’87 Accord.

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