The Honda Type R Lineage
Time For Change

The new Civic Type R is a stark reminder of how times are changing. Forced induction on a Honda motor might be considered sacrilegious by the purest of purists, but as fans of BMW M cars have come to understand, progress is called progress for a reason.

Honda could still make a highly-strung four-cylinder engine that’s able to rev to the stratosphere and return decent – albeit peaky – power, but it wants to compete in today’s lucrative hot hatch segment where 300hp-plus and forced induction is the norm.


So Honda did what it had to do with the new Civic Type R and embraced turbo technology in the same way it has in many of its other cars in Japan. A factory-built turbocharged Civic Type R is as interesting as it sounds, and this is probably the most exciting car to come out of Japan in the past few years, as it’s attempting to stay true to a very respected lineage of red-blooded performance models that have come before it. I’m sure I’ll get to sample this new Civic soon enough, but for now I wanted to at least share it with you in a bit more detail…


A few days after the Tokyo Motor Show I was passing by the Honda HQ in central Tokyo when I noticed there was a rather mouthwatering display to showcase the newest arrival to the Type R family. I saw this as a much better opportunity to shoot the car, than the crowded access everyone had at the show.


It was great, as people who stopped by the display area could sit in the car and really examine it properly. That included being able to look under the Civic’s bonnet and check out the 2.0-liter VTEC turbo – the K20C – that powers its front wheels through a short-throw 6-speed manual transmission.


Since Honda has actually killed off the Civic in Japan, the Japanese market is only getting 450 of these cars – all imported from Europe where it was developed and is being assembled. It’s a curious way to do things, but since there is no more JDM Civic, it’s the only way to give the Type R to the Japanese public. Honda has done this before, and both the EP3 and later FN2 Civic Type R variants sold in Japan came from the UK. The only exception to the rule in recent times has been the JDM-only FD2 Civic Type R 4-door sedan which was discontinued a few years ago. The price for the new FK2 Civic Type R – just under US$35,000.


There’s absolutely no chance the 450 cars destined for Japan will satisfy local demand, as this is set to be one of most exciting sports cars Honda has made in a while, bar the prohibitively expensive US$150,000-plus NSX.


To promote the new high performance Civic, Honda brought out three important cars from the Type R’s history books, which now spans more than 20 years. Of course, the NSX-R started it all back in 1992.


The car on display was a 2002 NA2 NSX-R, which is easily recognised by fixed headlights, rather than the pop-up units of the earlier NA1.


This particular NSX-R is usually on display at the Honda Collection Hall inside Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Tochigi-ken, and it remains in the exact condition it did when it came out of the factory 13 years ago, right down to its Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres!


Looking at this car, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Type R badge will also grace the new interpretation of the NSX that I had seen a few days prior at the Tokyo Motor Show. If it is going to, surely Honda will have to strip it down and give it a more track-focused identity.

The Beginning

It was 1995 when Honda took the Integra and decided to create a more focused and thrilling version of it by shedding weight, stiffening the chassis, re-tuning the suspension and dropping in a high-revving 200PS version of the B18C. The DC2 Integra Type R was born, and with it came a legion of fans who enjoyed spanking ‘faster’ and far more expensive sports cars with their lightweight front-wheel drives.


The whole Type R look began with the DC2; from no-frills Championship White exteriors…


To color-matched wheels and a few simple aerodynamic additions.


Red Recaro seats become synonymous with the Type R brand, as did the rest of the performance Integra’s minimalistic interior.


And to this day it’s an interior that remains beautifully functional, just how you want it.


Two years later the Civic EK was given the Type R treatment too. In the same way the DC2 version was approached, it was stripped down and refined and then powered by a 185PS B16B.


Until it was discontinued in 2000, the EK9 Type R remained a JDM-only car.

17 Years In The Making

Fast forward 17 years; the new Civic Type R may have gotten a bit bigger and a little heavier, but it still stays true to the ‘R’ ethos.


While the DC2 and EK9 were beautifully simple in appearance, there is a much heavier focus on looks with the new car; a wider pumped stance and plenty of vents and ducts adding visual aggression.


Some aero is functional, some is there for looks, but there’s no doubting the fact that once you see one of these cars on the street, you will know what it’s all about.


As is the trend these days, the FK2’s wheels are massive – 19-inch to be exact. In an FF layout the front wheels have to do a lot of work, so it’s impressive that engineers are able to achieve the levels of traction, lateral grip and ride quality with such a small sidewall. Braking is by Brembo, so you know that you can shave off speed as quickly as the turbo motor can pile it on.


There are also some options available for the car through Honda Access, and next month Mugen will launch its version of the car which we will be seeing at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January.


The cabin has all the right sort of touches, including the signature red supportive seats and plenty of similarly-colored accents around the place to give a sense of occasion to the passengers.


The seats on the 450 imported cars have slightly different springs and cushioning in the lower section of the seat and are a little shorter compared to the European market cars to cater more to Japanese body sizes.


From what I was able to observe, the dash is nicely laid out with a split digital instrumentation section on a higher plane than the three analogue gauges. There’s even an ‘R+’ button to sharpen up the feel of the car and engine when you really want to push hard.


And look, there was even a strange long contraption topped with a with a lovely metal ball. They tell me this is a lever made for selecting gears yourself. Crazy, I know!


The tall rear end is finished off with a heavily-contoured spoiler, which is joined by a complex-looking diffuser housing the four (yes, four!) tailpipes.


I also spotted some weird plastic strips added onto the car’s flanks – obvious aerodynamic additions that may have been put there after engineers realised that the design was a tad too round and lift prone? That’s my guess why at least anyway.

This is an impressive package and one that is very much welcome now that Honda is making big efforts in re-injecting sportiness back into its DNA. I really can’t wait to drive the new Honda Civic Type R, but until then I hope you enjoyed this little preview.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Its limited to 750 cars, not 450.
500 Championship Whites, 250 Black cars : )



Every American Honda enthusiast

We even got the watered down versions of the Type R's we imported.

Like the article/pics though Dino


Tbh, this article made me orgasm slightly.


Damn! Damn! Damn!
NA2! <3 <3
So much jizz material! I need to visit this place when I get to Japan!


proud owner of FD2 Civic Type R JDM version and loving every moment of it. the last of the high-revving NA engine from Honda.


The FK2 definitely looks a bit much compared to the ones of the past...


Those 'weird' plastic strips are on all of this chassis Civic - including my girl friends gutless as ever, 1.8 Civic Euro. So, my guess is they are a aerodynamics fuel economy thing - as this Civic would never be able to go fast enough to feel 'lift prone' haha !


Rick Tee The coolest, I almost got one of them, but happy in my GT86! I saw the Mugen RR version once and boy was it sick


1. Where are the white color matched wheels?
2. Too many doors.
3. Still excited that the Type R is making it's return.
Once it makes it's way to our U.S. Shores I will certainly put in my order for one.


where is this place? PLEASE ANSWER


SoccerConner I'm not sure if this will help... " A few days after the I was passing by the Honda HQ in central Tokyo "


Are there any NSX-R GTs in a Honda museum somewhere? Would love to see one in the flesh!


RacingPast SoccerConner My guess is that was at the Honda Welcome Plaza in Minami Aoyama. I used to work 5 min away from there.


Can't wait for this car to come out!


Ah, the good old '90s... such a wonderful and awesome era of Japanese cars.
Every brand bringing out their best, high performance cars to the streets. 
From big twin turbos to screaming rotaries, the sound of Honda's iconic high-revving, natural-aspirated Type-R engines always remained echoing in our ears. 
Also, the best color for Type-R Hondas, Championship White. YES, PLEASE!


The introduce to the manual was funny. Sad manymanufacturers are skipping it these days...


Anthony959rs Agreed, surely the 90s will be remembered as the best era in Japanese motoring.


Rick Tee A very nice car, enjoy!


This post is so good. What I'd give to own one of those bone stock and immaculate Type R's. Such beautiful and simple cars that are definitely future classics. 

White on white with red recaros became a Type R staple. Just looked so clean. 

A new gen NSX-R would be awesome!


Please tell me this only appeared after the show, rather than just before it... I walked past here the day before the show, saw the lineup of current models outside, and didn't feel inclined to wander inside. If I'd know this little collection was there I might have spent a bit more time walking around!


Bro5 I think they're to reduce drag, more than they are lift. The side curves around to the rear too steeply for airflow to remain attached to the surface, which creates turbulence and drag. The little plastic strips act similarly to a kamm-tail - the theory being that if you can't keep the airflow attached for longer, it's better to cut the car off sharply to reduce turbulence.

Of course, a better indication of the ideal kamm tail shape is what you see on a CR-Z, either generation of Insight, or on cars like the Prius. All replicate a teardrop-style shape towards the rear of the car, yet all cut off sharply rather than carrying on the bodywork into an impractical, longer shape.


Three awesome minimalistic driving machines and one big bloated pile of unnecessary details


To bad this car is never coming to the US. At the same time $35,000 for a damn Civic is insane. I can't wrap my head around it seeing as that was the price range that killed the RX7, Supra, and other hot cars of the 90's.




I need that DC2!!


It looks so fugly...why did honda lose their way design-wise? The s2k was really the last good looking honda imo.


jbfromsiliconvalley Thanks!


@AzianBoi Was it the turbo that did it for you ? lol


I'm excited to see another Type R coming stateside. I can't wait to get one in black to match my 2001 DC2 Type R. Great pictures as always Dino and looking forward to a review from you!


Honda would screw themselves if the new NSX has NO NSX-R. Okay, NA isn't the trend, but what's good of a symbolic car without the best of the name?


As an owner of an old and worn DC2R, I want those headlights! And those immaculate steering wheel!


SkipShift  *depreciation


racerlordheiman  The rumor mill is that it is already being developed along a GT3 spec racecar. The racecar is rear wheel drive. The Type R could follow suite or stay AWD but be super lightened. We will see!


Epic article! It really is a great addition to the Type R family. To anyone who still isn't sure how to feel, trust me! I saw these bad boys live in Portugal during the World Touring Car Championship. Not the racecars. They took people around for rides in the road cars and they thrashing around the circuit like any proper R. Can't wait for it to come stateside!


Vittorio Jano This is so incredibly accurate.


@Dom Everyone has opinions. I think it looks ok. NOT good, but ok. As for your comment on the s2k, I totally agree.

Pete the perfect pilot

As a Honda owner, I can, I feel comment, and really, there's not much else to say, other than its damn ugly! Have t seen it in person, so it may look much better, but from all the media shots, they couldn't have made more creases in the panels, or made it more ugly.


Man, I'd love to see one of these motors dropped into a 2000 Prelude. Honda really needed this car but I'm really struggling to get past the donk wheels. Can't help to think that it would be the first thing changed in the car if I was to get one. Of the watered down ones, 'cause...murka. Seriously happy to see a type-r again but its gonna take me a while to get with the shape. I think I prefer my Hondas low and flat, not angular bricks.


It's crazy compared to the 90's what is coming out now. I would of never of thought I would see a FF car come out with 19' wheels and a slightly stretched tires. Also 300hp out the factory, I thought the Neon SRT4 was crazy back then. Lol, what a time to be alive.


bring back B-Series ....that generation ruled the world still does and will for many generations to come ... JDM love


is it just me or do hondas not look good in wheels that give little room for the tires, i like the new type-r. But i do think they should have gone with a smaller wheel to have more tire. It just doesnt look right to me with such a big wheel and little tire.


Ive got one aswell, probably the best car I will ever own, I love it. We're really lucky!!!


I'm so happy to see the FK2 finally come into mass production. That means inevitably in a few years' time there'll be a bunch of wrecks lying around, and consequently a bunch of engines and boxes that can be slotted into a DC/EG/EK shell, so you can have all that lovely power in a classic body shape.
Hooray for schadenfreude!


.... that profile is awful!!! It's almost coupe like with that large front door, and the rear door looks like an after thought

just so many strange angles and spaces........ I'd have to see it in person......... in photographs the whole thing looks like an accident


Like every other current Honda. Too overcomplicated, inflated, frumpy, busy, and messy in design.

Honda have truly lost their way.


@EMC2 Probably because it was designed in Europe?


MPistol It is a strange looking thing, almost awkward but then again the European Civic has always resembled a squashed minivan


CJC_Matty I like your thinking!


DRiFTaddict Wheels are way too big, or there isn't enough sidewall


D1RGE EXE This will be the new engine everyone will be trying to swap


xracer6 I don't think it's coming to the US?


FarisPakhri Doesn't Honda still sell/stock these?


xracer6 racerlordheiman Oh it will come...


01nbpitr Hope it will come to the US?


GregoryS You can find it at the Honda Collection Hall. Bit hard to steal though unless you have a crane lol


SkipShift zackspeed333 Yeah too bad salaries haven't followed that trend lol


Tinj Vittorio Jano Haha. No comment :)


antonyingram The day before the show opened I believe


DinoSawr Thanks!


Mayank0809 Glad someone approached the sarcasm ;)


Peter_Kelly Anthony959rs Now is the time to start collecting those old cars before they get too pricy!


tokuku Yes there are a couple!


@Yukster RacingPast SoccerConner Yes precisely. The display is no longer there though


oneslyfox Will it though, reach the US?


Bro5 those are vortex generators, they are there to fix the overly rounded rear design


After watching btcc and wtcc, I can't help but like this car; Especially after seeing the hideous new civic coming stateside.


Honda of America already said that we are getting the Type R at the NY auto show earlier this year. Probably won't be until 2017, but I hope they weren't lying. I just hope it'll be just as hardcore as the FK2.


speedhunters_dino xracer6 There's been ambiguous rumours of them importing it, but I doubt we'll see it in the hatchback bodystyle if we do get "it". I imagine it'll be a turbocharged "SiR" coupe or something.


Great article. The new Civic Type-R is currently for sale in the UK and in my eyes, it's a thing of beauty; but each to their own I guess. I completely understand why the look of this car might not appeal to people in the states but in Europe and Asia, it's already a big hit.


Lumpy Idle You mean the sedan they unveiled at the LA show?


I prefer the rims to be white just like their predecessors.


speedhunters_dino Bro5 
They just drop a smidg'n of emissions off in the wind tunnel testing


Future collectors car!


Great looking car. I believe it'll be an absolute blast to drive.

But, now maybe its just me, but has anyone else noticed, that ITR is a 4-lug? To my knowledge, and I may be wrong, Type-R's were 5-lug, no?


Honda, please go back to your 90s styling, your new stuff just isnt good looking.


H8RADE 4x114.3 for '96-spec, 5x114.3 for '98-spec.


"And look, there was even a strange long contraption topped with a with a
lovely metal ball. They tell me this is a lever made for selecting
gears yourself. Crazy, I know!" - Best comment of the whole article!

On another note, great article as always bud, great to see honda doing good things again, just heart broken that I wont see one down in Aus.


Thanks for the gorgeous old Type-Rs pics. Especially the NSX!


BrendonLawson speedhunters_dino haha glad so many liked that one!


Afonsoae82gt I'd say they are all collector cars right now...well not that new one lol


@MyLifeAsLouis I totally agree.


speedhunters_dino BrendonLawson that was seriously funny!


speedhunters_dino Lumpy Idle That one and the coupe they showed as the Type-R for the states a little while back.


speedhunters_dino antonyingram D'oh. In that case I definitely walked past all these cars...


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I thought I heard rumours that the new type r will be AWD


I've driven this twice now. Unbelievablely rapid and so much grip, you'd almost be forgiven for thinking it was AWD.
Not a huge fan of the looks, especially the wheels, personally think 18s with a bit more tyre would be better. Fancy it on CW TE37s! Can't wait to see the Mugen version you mentioned, Dino.


I agree. Japanese branded cars developed in the US or Europe don't seem quite as mythical, if that makes sense...


The new Focus RS will be, the plan from the beginning of this TypeR's development was, always, to be the fastest FF car round the Nurburgring.


Nah, it's FF. Even the Type R BTCC car is FF :)



Possible to get the header image in full background size?


the car was very good 
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Do you have anymore pictures of the Integra? I own one just like it but not in museum condition, yet!