• The original Acura Integra was intended to be fun and sporty to drive, but also everyday livable.
• Relive the glory days of pop-up headlights and Paula Abdul with this example, which has just 55,000 miles on the odometer.
• Bidding lasts until March 5.
When Acura announced that the Integra nameplate would return for the 2023 model year, not everyone was convinced. How could this four-door hatchback live up to our memories of the stripped-down Integra Type-R, with its screaming engine and razor-sharp handling? Simply put, the new Integra doesn’t have to, because the Type-R was a fun but rare departure in the Acura lineup. The reborn Integra really had to be faithful to something like this: a 1989 Acura LS, up for auction on Bring A Trailer (which, as 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 gained traction on the Car and Driver 10 Best list. “We love everything about the three- and five-door Integras—their punchy sixteen-valve engines, their sporty good looks, their usable roomy interiors and their fun-to-drive personalities,” we said at the time. Acura was the new kid on the block, but its cars were infused with essential goodness from parent company Honda, in an era 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-liter 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 sheet metal still looks great today, and you gotta love the pop-up headlights.
The paint color on this little coupe is Laguna Gold. If your brain is going to meander straight through Laguna Seca’s famous Corkscrew, dial it back a bit. This color was also supposed to embody a sluggish sunset over a beach in Southern California. Acura wasn’t just a brand for steely-eyed Brazilian Formula One drivers, it was created to bring driving pleasure to ordinary people as well. 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 stop driving for good. As it sits, the car only has 55,000 miles on the odometer.
Because this Integra was donated by the previous owner’s family to the Kars4Kids charity, there were a few title issues. It is now listed on a Restored Salvage title in Arizona, despite a clean bill of health from the California DMV and CarFax.
If that makes it less of a potential museum piece, so much the better. The seller has addressed wear items like the CV axles, spark plugs, and tires, and this literally golden era Acura is just itching to be driven. You’re going to want to dig through the attic for your old mixtape Memorex cassettes. Oh, Roxette and Good young cannibals? That’s the one.
You can find the new Integra at your local Acura dealer, and it does a great job of living up to the standard set by the original. However, the new car does not have pop-up headlights or a cassette deck. Here’s a chance to rewind the tape to Acura’s early days.
Brendan McAleer is a freelance writer and photographer based in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. He grew up with his knuckles on British cars, came of age in the golden age of Japanese sport-compact performance, and started writing about cars and people in 2008. His particular interest is the intersection between humanity and machinery, be it the races. career of Walter Cronkite or the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He taught both of his young daughters how to shift a manual transmission and is grateful for the excuse they provide to constantly buy Hot Wheels.