SP Rides: The Black Pearl
BY MICHAEL KITCHENS
Year, Make, Model: 2001 Acura Type R
Owner: Ernesto Baltazar Jr.
Hobbies: Cars, family, collecting Hot Wheels
Color: Nighthawk Black Pearl
Engine: Mugen (valve cover, air filter, radiator cap, oil cap) ITR battery cover, Toda headers, Skunk2 fuel rail, Spoon N1 exhaust
Exterior: Mugen Gen2 wing, EDM taillights, EDM front blinkers
Interior: Recaro seats, Mugen Racing III steering wheel with Works Bell quick release hub, Mugen shift knob, JDM ITR radio, Auto Power roll cage, ITR cargo mats, Spoon rear view mirror.
Suspension: Tanabe suspension, Mugen Gen2 strut bar, Miracle X bar
Wheels/brakes/tires: 16-by-7 Mugen MF10 bronze wheels, Spoon front calipers, Yokohama S drive tires in 205/45R16
I’ve had the privilege of photographing a Type R before. They are amazing machines. Pure exhilaration is the best way to describe this high revving, naturally aspirated 1.8-liter wonder. The Type R was a legend in the 1990s. It’s even more so today in the world of electronic steering — the carnal nature of this feedback is a delight to the senses. This 2001 Acura Type R was Ernesto Baltazar Jr.’s holy grail.
Although Baltazar is young at 28 years old, he grew up as a Honda fan thanks to his environment of friends and family. His first ride was an Integra LS, his second was a shell that he built from the ground up and he’s even had the ever-popular Civic. One of his favorite games growing up was Initial D, and the Type R was always his main choice. Years later, he’s now the proud owner of one.
This Type R was unique. It was located on island, had low mileage and a price that Baltazar sacrificed his current builds for — his K20 Civic, his engine, and his parts within a week — to raise the funds. That’s some dedication, but after hitting the sweet spot of VTEC at 8,000 rpm in a purpose-built machine like this, he knew he had to have it.
Having the car in his hands felt like an accomplishment. What followed soon after was a dedication to the house of Mugen, one of the respected tuning parts manufacturers for the Honda lineup. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s difficult to acquire, but the reality is that a Type R deserves nothing but. The entire car is filled with Mugen mods.
The engine obviously features a ton of Mugen components, including a valve cover, air filter and dress-up parts. Toda headers and a Spoon N1 exhaust round out the mods. It was important to keep the engine relatively untouched due to its classic reputation.
Inside and outside is a nice mix of refined tastes. The exterior is left relatively alone with a Mugen Gen2 wing, and EDM taillights and front blinkers. The interior now has added Recaro seats, a Mugen Racing III steering wheel with Works Bell quick-release hub, Mugen shift knob, and an Auto Power roll cage for his Takata harnesses.
The suspension features Tanabe suspension with a Mugen Gen2 strut bar and Miracle X Bar. The wheels have been swapped over from the 15-inch stock to 16-inch Mugen MF10 bronze wheels. Although relatively small compared to today’s monsters, these wheels fit perfectly for the Type R with gorgeous blue Spoon front calipers peeking from behind.
Baltazar has spent a lot of time building up his previous Integras — swapping parts to try and replicate his idol. However, after experiencing one in person, he realized that he was wasting his time trying to build a replica. He wanted the real deal. Well, he got it — his black pearl.