Exclusive Content: Unpublished Photos of Phil Sison’s Integra from 2015 SS Honda Issue…

I don’t really think people were sold on the idea of having two red Integras on the cover of Super Street originally. On paper, it just seemed a little odd. In the automotive print industry, it’s very rare to have two cars of the same chassis and color on the cover at the same time because repetition is not something that is sought after. When I first pitched the idea, it was met with some doubt even though I know Sam Du and the guys at Super Street would never admit it. If you came to me with the idea and I hadn’t seen the two cars, I’d probably doubt it too. Two Integras, that look very similar to non-diehard Honda heads, that are a very similar red hue just seems…well…stupid. Right? The Super Street Honda Issue is a big deal for the book because it is one of the biggest “special edition” issues that they do every calendar year and as such, the cover car is an important one. Let me state this fact right now, before my naysayers begin to log onto their social media accounts to talk shit: THE IDEA TO PUT MIKEY CRISTI’S INTEGRA ON THE COVER WAS NOT MY IDEA.. I actually was against the idea because I knew the backlash would be great, even though I don’t have any direct relation to Super Street magazine other than my work as a freelance journalist. I’m not saying that Mikey’s car didn’t deserve the cover. I’m saying that there are just too many personal relationships involved for my liking. People will cry favoritism and this and that about how I pitched the idea to them but again, the decision was NOT MINE. I believe that Sam Du had been sold on the idea of having Mikey’s Integra on the cover by the time it had debuted at Wekfest LA the year prior. Whatever I said wasn’t going to change that. He is the boss…

So…what I wanted to do, was compromise. Not with Sam or Super Street magazine, but for myself. If Mikey’s car was going to be on the cover, why not spice it up by adding another car to it? One that was equally as deserving of being on the cover that probably hadn’t been seen or out in public as much as Mikey’s car had in 2014. I like to do things a little differently so I thought, “why not have two red Integras on the cover?” Sure it didn’t seem like the greatest of ideas but being that it was THE 2015 Honda Issue, dedicated to Honda guys/gals who know what they’re looking at, I thought that it’d be appreciated. “Bug-eye” Integras “never get any love” according to Integra-owners so it’d be really interesting to have TWO Integras, one an early model, one a late model, built very differently, while also appearing similar to the naked eye, on the same glossy cover of Super Street. Enter; Phil Sison from ATS Garage and his newly-finished K-swapped Integra. The only real issue would be getting both cars together at the same time. Phil is originally from the Bay Area (Norcal) and Mikey, as many of you know, resides in Southern California. Fortunately, everything fell into place because Phil’s Integra just happened to be at Rywire where it was getting some work done. It was near completion and by that time, Mikey’s Integra was also running and he was driving it around with a fresh tune. I pitched the idea knowing that it was the right time to shoot the two cars since they were essentially in the same area and Sam was all for it. Others who asked me what I wanted to do for the 2015 Honda Issue were still a bit skeptical but when the issue finally came out months later, they understood my point of view…

The most difficult challenge of shooting this feature was just finding the time to get everything that each car had to offer. Mikey’s a little more simple in nature but Phil’s was incredibly intricate. I normally don’t even like shooting double features but this one was rough. It actually took three different days to shoot everything on Phil’s car and Mikey’s was about a day and a half. I had to go back and forth to shoot everything and for the cover, we only had a few hours time to get the cars positioned together for the cover shot. Red cars are incredibly hard to shoot, especially when the sun is out and shining bright so time was a big factor. Two cars equals twice the length of time in shooting and either the sun comes out too quickly in the morning or it sets just as fast in the late afternoon. All in all, I think everything worked out and I was very happy with the final results. What made things even better was that Super Street had finally made the transition over to better paper and as such, I think the photos looked even better…

Both cars are very different when it comes down to it and shooting the two of them was also a very different experience. I have regular access to Mikey’s Integra because I see it EVERY SINGLE DAY. It sits here in my office here at HQ so I can pretty much get photos of it any time I want to. I shot the engine bay and interior here at the shop and the exterior photos were captured a couple miles from here. I did the engine bay stuff first, and the exterior stuff was down an afternoon later after I had already shot both cars for the cover. I’ll throw those photos up in the next post but today we’re going to be looking strictly at Phil’s feature. His was a little more difficult. The car hadn’t been properly tuned yet as it was just completed so it wasn’t the easiest to move around. For his engine bay stuff, I shot it over at Rywire, and the exterior stuff was done the following morning at a completely different location in a different city. I shot his exterior stuff and then did the tandem cover right after. The interior wasn’t totally complete yet at the time of the shoot so I had to go back to Rywire a day or two after that to capture the interior pieces. It was a lengthy process, but again, totally worthwhile. I think the biggest obstacle when shooting any car from ATS Garage is all the hoopla that comes with it. Most photographers know that when you shoot a feature car, it is usually at a quiet location that needs to stay low-key so that police or any type of law enforcement doesn’t come and interrupt the process. That and you also don’t want to draw any extra attention to yourself because the property owners could potentially be involved and tell you to leave. Well, with ATS shoots, EVERYBODY comes. Like the whole crew comes, their wives/girlfriends come, friends of the crew come and it turns into a giant party. Everybody is helping out with the car but it also slows down the process in that there are “too many chefs in the kitchen”, if you know what I mean. I appreciate their enthusiasm but everything usually gets delayed when there are so many people involved. If you want to shoot a car from ATS Garage, you have to plan two hours in advance for them to prep the car and get it ready. That’s just how it goes. Squad rolls heavy no matter where they go… It is what it is and I’ve just gotten used to it over the years, haha…

Today you’re going to look at the digital versions of the photos you saw in the print feature, as well as a ton of unpublished content. There are so many details that comes with this build so I tried to capture as much of it as I could. I love how the engine bay is set-up so I spent a bulk of my time there. The exterior is pretty simple but it too has some cool pieces on it. There wasn’t really a set direction in where the shoot was supposed to go or how it was going to be incorporated with Mikey’s photos so I just shot everything from every angle. Enjoy the photos and share if you like what you see, I appreciate it. This is the third straight year in which I have shot the cover for the Super Street Honda Issue and I’m proud of being a part of it. This is also the third straight year in which an Integra has graced the cover of the SS Honda Issue. I think if they give me another crack at it next year, I can promise you that it will not be an Integra, haha…but who knows, maybe someone will surprise me with something incredible and Integra-related so you might have a 4-peat….

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Exterior: Special Project Motorsports P1 front lip/splitter; Password: JDM carbon fiber gurney flap; OEM Integra Type R roof skin, rear spoiler; Brand new OEM Honda headlights, EDM signal lights, EDM taillights; Audi Brilliant Red paint; Ganador Super Mirrors; FAL Flexite Molded Rear Lexan Window

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Engine: 2002 2.0L Honda K20A (Type R); Hasport EGK1 engine mounts; AT Power Direct-To-Head 45mm individual throttle body kit w/custom runner and horn lengths; AEM E85 High-Flow in-tank high-flow fuel pump; K-Tuned Ram-Style exhaust manifold, fuel pressure regulator, Swivel-Neck thermostat, upper coolant housing, dipstick, oil cap, pulley kit; Injector Dynamics 1000cc fuel injectors; Rywire Flex Fuel Kit w/-6AN fuel fittings; Brown & Miller Pro Gold polyester braided hoses, Pro Gold Re-Useable fittings, cooling hoses; Griffin custom Rywire-spec full-size radiator; R-CREW exhaust; ASC Speed Metal catch can & breather, metal overflow reservoir; Wisecraft Fabrication firewall delete plates, Autosport connector bracket

Drivetrain: K20A2 X2M5 6-speed manual transmission; OEM K20Z3 PNN4 limited-slip differential, 4.764 final drive; Competition Clutch 6-puck sprung clutch, Ultra-light flywheel; K-Tuned No-Cut Shifter Box, Race-spec shifter cables, transmission bracket

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Engine Management: AEM Infinity 8/10 EMS; RacePak SmartWire PDM; AIM Sports MXL Strada digital display; Rywire custom Mil-spec engine harness

Interior: Recaro RS-G seat; Willans 5-point safety harness, seatbelt pads; Vertex Limited-Edition 325mm Alcantara steering wheel (No. 37/100); RSi steering boss, spline-drive quick release, shift knob; OEM ITR-X pedal set, ITR center console, door panels; Rywire full motorsport-grade custom chassis harness; WiseCraft Fabrications ECU box mount

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Footwork & Chassis: Ground Control coilovers; Koni 3011 Mono Tube dampers; Eibach springs; OEM Integra Type R front sway bar, 5-lug conversion; Comptech 22mm rear sway bar, endlinks; J’s Racing front strut bar, fender braces; Wicked Tuning spherical front lower control arms, spherical rear camber control arms, rear to control arms; Function7 ITR spherical rear lower control arms; Skunk2 Pro Series Plus front camber control arms; Blox Racing roll center adjusters; Stanton Automotive & Fabrications custom 4-point bolt-on roll bar; 92-95 Civic manual steering rack & subframe; PCI spherical trailing arm bushings

Brakes: Brembo Monoblock front brake calipers; Stoptech 2-piece 328mmx28mm front brake rotors; Goodridge stainless brake lines; 98-spec Non-ABS ITR brake master cylinder, brake booster; DOT 4 ATE Type 200 brake fluid; Rywire soft-line relocation kit; R-CREW CNC billet front brake caliper brackets

Wheels & Tires: 17×8 +38 Volk Racing RE30; 225/45-17 (front), 215/45-17 (rear) Dunlop ZII; Project KICS R40 lug nuts; ARP extended wheel studs

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On a closing note, I thought the above photos were important to include in the feature because Phil Sison has owned this Integra for what seems like ages now. He even took his now-wife to her High School Prom in this Integra. It’s been a important and sentimental journey for Phil and his wife Judy so I wanted to make sure that it made it into the issue. Anyways, thanks for looking. I appreciate the support. Thanks to Super Street magazine as well for the opportunity to tell yet another great story. -J

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