December, 2023
Randy Craig | 50 | Columbus, Ohio
I am a car guy and currently have a DE4 (fully modded), TLX Type S (all available mods), a 21 Hellcat Widebody Challenger, and just picked up a FL5. So, my DE4 was the car prior to the DE5 and I was pretty deep into the modifications when the Type S Integra was announced. I had convinced myself that I wasn't going to get one and moved forward with the 27Won GIN turbo and RV6 Clutch upgrade on the DE4... And then I saw the DE5 in person and was blown away with the styling and performance opportunity since it shared the same platform with the FL5. I absolutely loved the styling and the opportunity for upgrades in this platform since it shared so many components as the FL5.  Also, I had an incredibly hard time getting an FL5 and this vehicle was suddenly available at launch. As much as I loved the performance of the DE5 right off the showroom floor, the thought of better handling and an opportunity to enhance the performance of what Acura had provided to us was incredibly intriguing to me. This car scratched all of the itches in its stock form but just knowing that it had the capability of being so much better with simple modifications led me to start adding the modifications.  
I have leaned heavily on the team at TSP as I began building this car. Knowing that they had a shop FL5 approaching 530whp was enough for me to lean in and listen. So, I followed the recipe for performance laid out by many before me and I did it in these phases:
3) Finally released:
ECU Unlock
Hondata FlashPro
TSP/IMW Stage 1 Tune*
*WOW! Total game changer and this is my recommendation for 1st upgrade for every DE5 owner. So thankful for the opportunity to be the Beta Tester for this tune. 1st mod for any new DE5 owner: ECU Unlock, Hondata FlashPro and the TSP (IMW) Tune. Skip the PPF and spend that $1,200 on these mods...and then buckle up. :)
The TSP/IMW e-calibration has been my favorite. I think it's because I've started to realize that the only way all of this gear really works is with an experienced tuner to tell each component what to do and when to do it. Derek Robinson (DRob, TuneGod, The Doctor) is the best in the business and it has been fun to send over datalogs and anxiously await his next revision (along with some color commentary, if I'm lucky). With each revision, the car opens up a little more. Driving it after a fresh tune download, I feel more and more connected to the car and to the road, and each time I am blown away at the little gains I am recognizing. Safe power gains each and every time; that's the goal. I want to figure out some cosmetic enhancements like wheels and tires next. I didn’t want to rush that process. I have loved installing the bolt-ons, but have utilized the experts at my local Honda/Acura dealership to install things like the turbo, fuel system, and items requiring a lift. They (Brandon Bower and Corey Biddinger) have been great resources for me during this build and beyond.
For me, the highlights of the vehicle are the customizability of the platform. I remember going to a car show 20 years ago and seeing 50+ Civics and Integras lined up. Each was an example of its owner's individuality and creativity. Each one was different; each was unique. I feel like we have that same opportunity today with the DE4, DE5, FL5 and 11th Gen Civics. We are blessed to have so many manufacturers supporting the aftermarket for these platforms. Speaking of the DE5 specifically, the exhaust sound was a highlight, but I would say the overall appearance of the DE5 is just incredible and sexy from every angle. The lack of performance information in the dash/infotainment system is, to date, my biggest let down. Ohio winters will be my greatest setback second only to comments about paying MSRP or less for a DE5 or FL5...just stop already. Least favorite memory would be broken bolts on the stock turbo when removing the factory downpipe. I have really enjoyed having my 2 daughters watch the evolution of this car. They love going on the twistys with me after a new DRob revision. They have also named this car Spicy Mustard. I think it's pretty fitting. 
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