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Monday, May 9, 2016

Hot Wheels 2001 Acura Integra GS-R and 2000 Honda Civic Si, and Johnny Lightning Acura Integra Type R



Honda has been on a roll at Mattel lately as a bunch of models have come out over the years; in fact about 15 years ago only one or two Honda's were made from Hot Wheels; today you can find about a dozen different models with more to come (and a few more reviews coming up as well).  To start the onslaught of Honda/Acura models from Hot Wheels this year is the long-awaited Acura Integra, and how it sizes up to the 2000 Honda Civic Si custom coupe.




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The Integra was one of the first Acura models when the new high-end line debuted for Honda in 1985.  Based on the Civic the Integra had a unique personality of its own despite sharing the same underpinnings.  Aside from standard features that would be options on the Civic the Integra also came standard with the largest engine offered by Civic.  In 1994 the Integra got a redesign with the Civic that included the quad round headlights that was controversial to some, stylish to others.  Later on Honda offered the hottest part of the Integra: the Type R with it's famed 1.8L DOHC I-4 with VTEC variable valve timing.  It produces 170 hp. and 128 Ib-ft of torque in the GSR trim, but produces 195 hp. in Type R trim.  Both are mated to a 5-speed manual, and this same engine/transmission combo would appear on the 1999-2000 Honda Civic Si Coupe.  The Civic Si would be a return to sporty Honda Civic's, but the 1999-2000 coupe is rare and even more rare trying to find a bone-stock version.  Aside from the engine and a few cosmetic tweaks the Si looks basically like the standard Civic coupe.  In 1995 the JDM market got a front-end redesign to the Integra that used larger headlights resembling the ones used in the previous-generation.  Despite the success Acura decided to move onto another area separate from the Civic bones with the three-door only RSX coupe in 2002, which did not translate to sales success, and the current IDX has yet to revive the magic from the days of the Integra.




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This Hot Wheels version of the Integra starts with a 2001 GSR model from the JDM line.  The front-end has detailed headlights with louvered hood, larger lower grille, and side wings to the front bumper.  The sides show a car that is lower, wider, and shorter than the larger Civic casting, with a rather clean look similar to the 1990 Honda Civic EF.  The rear has the famed tall rear wing, detailed taillights, Acura logo, and large exhaust tip that is not too large.  All sits on OH5 wheels to finish off the look.  I'm not too sure about the yellow color as it hides some details, and the lighting details could be a bit better.  The base shows off some front-engine details and the exhaust, not to mention the hallmark of this Integra and Civic models: fully independent rear suspension.  The interior is stock except for supportive racing front seats with 5-point harness.  The stock dashboard remains with a low tier, central radio and HVAC controls, 4-spoke steering wheel in front of white-faced gauges, and seating for two in the rear with a hatchback that adds to the versatility.




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For comparison I brought out the Johnny Lightning version of the USA 2000 Integra Type R.  Yes, Johnny Lightning made imports thanks to a new series introduced in 2003 called Import Heat.  The reason why I got this integra is because I found my first White Lighting from the Integra (which I since sold off) and I got the non-WL version as a comparison.  The Integra has the round quad lamps with stock lower bumper that sill has a large grille area flanked by signal lights.  The sides have detailed window trim, exterior mirrors, Type R badges just ahead of the rear wheels, and chrome lace wheels to add to the effect.  The rear has the tall spoiler as a separate piece, detailed taillights, Type R badging, red Acura logo's, and Type R plate.  Compared to the Hot Wheels version the JL version looks more complete.  The base shows off more detailing that includes the exhaust, fuel tank, and front engine all encased in metal.  The interior shows off more detailing than the Hot Wheels version right down to the door panels, shifter, steering wheel , and the stock front seats.




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In 2000 Hot Wheels and Super Street collaborated to make their first custom 1:1 tuner car, and then turn that car around to make in 1:18 and 1:64 scale.  The car they chose was the 2000 Honda Civic Si coupe.  The end result is a wild custom Civic that flows with the lines instead of impeding on them.  I got the 1:18 when it appeared early in 2001 (sold off since), and the 1:64 followed suit.  Both have the matching red with white/black hood and white side Hot Wheels graphics.  The 1:64, compared to the new Integra, is a larger beast with a length that matches the new Dodge Charger sedan's!  The front has the stock large headlights and center grille, but then adds a custom bumper with larger scoops, side wings, and integrated signal lights.  The hood is a lightweight carbon fiber setup with exposed vents that warns the driver not to drive this car in the rain.  The sides add more style to the clean profile with 5-spoke wheels (PR5 and Lace Wheels offered on 1:64) and lower ground effects.  The rear adds a custom spoiler, tinted taillights, and a lower bumper with diffuser and custom muffler tip.  The rear decklid still remains stock.




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The base shows off more detailing that includes the engine, fuel tank, and the exhaust system in a stock setup, while the engine gains a turbocharger to make output exceed 250 horsepower.  The interior is wildly done with two racing bucket seats with 5-point harness, custom shift knob, roll cage, rear seat removed for subwoofers and amplifiers, racing tachometer next to the driver's A-pillar, and a stock dashboard that has a smaller racing 3-spoke steering wheel and the radio is removed for a more advance sound system complete with a graphics screen.  Hot Wheels has made many other variations, including blue, black with green windows (some thought of this as the black car from "The Fast and The Furious), blue with flames, and then the yellow one which was only available with a pack of batteries at Wal-greens.




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The new Integra from Hot Wheels is nice, but it needs better paint and better lighting details to really match up against the better Johnny Lightning Integra and the good-old custom Honda Civic Si coupe.

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