• The original Acura Integra was intended to be fun and sporty to drive, but also everyday livable.
• Relive the glory days of popup headlights and Paula Abdul with this example, which has just 55,000 miles on the odometer.
Bidding runs through March 5.
When Acura announced that the Integra nameplate would be returning for the 2023 model year, not everyone was convinced. How could this four-door hatchback live up to our memories of the stripped-out Integra Type-R, with its screaming engine and razor-sharp handling? Simply put, the new Integra didn’t have to, because the Type-R was a fun but rare aberration in the Acura range. The reborn Integra really needed to be faithful to something like this: a 1989 Acura LS, up for auction on Bring A Trailer (which, like car and driveris part of Hearst Autos).
The Integra was part of the original Acura brand launch for the 1986 model year, and it quickly landed on the car and driver 10 best list. “We like everything about the three- and five-door Integras—their snappy sixteen-valve engines, their sporty good looks, their usefully roomy interiors, and their fun-to-drive personalities,” we said at the time. Acura was the new kid on the block, but its cars had been infused with essential goodness from parent company Honda, in an age when the big H was at its best.
This 1989 LS is a great example of a first-gen Integra. It has a 1.6-litre DOHC four-cylinder good for 118 horsepower at 6500 rpm, a five-speed manual transmission, and a lovely two-tone interior with well-bolstered seats. The sharply folded sheetmetal still looks good today, and you gotta love the popup headlights.
The paint color on this little coupe is Laguna Gold. If your brain went straight to hurling through Laguna Seca’s famous Corkscrew, dial it back a little. This color was also supposed to embody a languid sunset over a Southern California beach. Acura wasn’t just a brand for steely-eyed Brazilian Formula One drivers, it was created to bring driving pleasure to regular folks, too. According to the seller, this one was delivered to a woman in California who drove it until 2022, when she decided it was time to give up driving for good. As it sits, the car has just 55,000 miles on the odometer.
Because this Integra was donated to the Kars4Kids charity by the previous owner’s family, there were some title issues. It’s now listed on a Restored Salvage title in Arizona, despite a clean bill of health from the California DMV and CarFax.
If this makes it less of a potential museum piece, so much the better. The seller has addressed wear items such as the CV axles, sparkplugs, and tires, and this literally golden-age Acura is just itching to be driven. You’re going to want to go digging through the attic for your old mixtape Memorex cassettes. Roxette and Fine Young Cannibals? That’s the one.
You can find the new Integra at your local Acura dealership, and it does a fine job of living up to the standard set by the original. However, the new car has neither popup headlights nor a cassette deck. Here’s a chance to rewind the tape back to Acura’s early days.
Brendan McAleer is a freelance writer and photographer based in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. He grew up splitting his knuckles on British automobiles, came of age in the golden era of Japanese sport-compact performance, and began writing about cars and people in 2008. His particular interest is the intersection between humanity and machinery, whether it is the racing career of Walter Cronkite or Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He has taught both of his young daughters how to shift a manual transmission and is grateful for the excuse they provide to be perpetually buying Hot Wheels.