We hate to start our articles off with well-worn clichs, but Honda's Type R is a modern day classic. Honda's Type R label represents the pinnacle of factory-bred race engineering, and only the company's fastest and best drivers' cars get the right to wear the badge. Americans got their first taste of the R when the Acura Integra Type R hit showrooms back in 1997. Though that original R is now 10 years old, it is still considered to be one of the best performance cars ever built.
Anyone that is even remotely into cars has coveted a car with a Type R badge at one time or another. But as the R was produced in very limited numbers, only a select few people got to see one on the streets, let alone drive one. This scarcity only made people want to drive a Type R even more, resulting in a flood of homemade Type Rs.
At first, most of these homemade Type Rs were, to be blunt, crap. People just slapped a Type R badge on whatever car they were driving and hoped that the R's cred would somehow magically make their Accord, Prelude, Mustang or "VTEC" Celica the fastest thing on the streets. Thankfully this concept of sticker tuning seems to have died, but the people's desire to build a Type R for themselves has not. And these days, people are building cars that are actually true to what that R stands for. Take, for instance, the 1992 Honda Civic you see here. Unable to score a true Civic Type R (as they were never sold here and all), its owner, Kelvin Hernandez, set about turning his EG into a ride worthy of the R badge.
With Type R motors still rarer than a sober Britney sighting, Kelvin picked up a B18C1 out of an Integra GS-R. This motor is no slouch in stock trim, but Kelvin knew that it was capable of so much more. Displacement has been bumped up to 2.0 liters, and the block has been blueprinted, balanced and stuffed with goodies like CP dome pistons and Golden Eagle connecting rods. Up top, the head was treated to a three-angle valve job and Buddy Club Stage 4 cams-controlled by Skunk2 cam gears-work their bumpstick magic on the Supertech double valve springs and titanium retainers.
All the usual bolt-ons are present and accounted for: an AEM cold air intake, Sparks Racing 4-2-1 header and MagnaFlow exhaust keep the B18 breathing right. Fuel duties are handled by an AEM fuel regulator and fuel rail, Precision 440cc injectors and a Walbro 255 lph fuel pump. Igniting this enhanced mixture of air and fuel is an amped up and amplified ignition system comprised of an MSD 6 AL Blaster 2 coil and NGK plugs and wires. A 2000 Civic Si transmission-packed with goodies like a Type R LSD and a Tilton single disc street clutch-gets this engine's power to the ground via a set of Integra Type R axles.
As powerful as this Civic's engine may be, Type Rs aren't known for their power; they're known more for their handling prowess. To give this Civic R-like handling capabilities, Kelvin slapped on a set of Omni Power coilovers. For wheels, Kelvin felt that sticking with OEM Honda parts was best, so after giving his Civic a 5-lug conversion, he hooked his car up with a set of 15-inch gunmetal rims (right off a U.S.-spec Integra Type R) and wrapped them in sticky Bridgestone Potenza rubber.
The Type R goodness extends to this Civic's cabin, too. Hardcore Honda heads will immediately recognize the U.S.-spec Type R seats in the front, and we're sure that the JDM otaku out there are now making pointing gestures toward the JDM Type R steering wheel. While these two items would be enough for most people, Kelvin went one step further and added the U.S.-spec Type R gauge cluster and head unit. But that's not all: even more JDM bling has been added in the form of a Japan-spec defroster switch, coin tray, amber clock and climate control. The only non-Honda bits in this Civic's cockpit are the AEM wide band gauge and Auto Meter oil pressure gauge.
Honda never built a Type R variant of its EG Civic hatch, so there were no genuine Type R parts for Kelvin to add to the exterior of his car. But that didn't stop him from creating a car that looks like it could have rolled off the assembly line with a Type R sticker slapped onto the side. The first thing one notices about this car is the PPG Phoenix Yellow paint-the same color found on later generations of the Integra R. This paint is so bright, it almost hides the Mugen-style carbon fiber front lip and 3-piece Wings West RS aero kit. VIS was called upon to supply the car with a carbon fiber hood, rear hatch and wing. Type R-like blacked-out headlights, Vision smoked side markers and Spoon-style mirrors round out the Type R look. Surprisingly, Kelvin opted not to adorn his Civic with a red H or a Type R badge. The car fans of 1998 are surely upset about this, but we appreciate the subtle, clean look.
It took Kelvin a little over a year to build the Civic of his dreams, and according to Kelvin, building a car like this takes "patience, perseverance and dedication." When asked what sage advice he'd give budding Type R builders, he said that "they have to give their best (when) building a race car to achieve good results." Hmmm... patience and giving one's best... It's a good thing no one asks us to build a Type R; we'd just slap a Type R badge on whatever car we were given and call it a day.
'92 Honda Civic
Owner Kelvin Hernandez
Hometown Plainfield, NJ
Daily Grind Acura Auto Mechanic
Under the Hood
B18C1 w/ 2.0L displacement; balanced crank, pistons, rods; Buddy Club Stage 4 camshafts; Golden Eagle connecting rods; CP dome pistons, rings; 3-angle valve job; Supertech double valve springs, retainers; Blocks Racing port-matched intake manifold; Hondata gasket; Precision 440 cc injectors; AEM fuel regulator, fuel rail, cold air intake; Walbro 255 lph fuel pump; AEBS 68mm throttle body; Magnaflow exhaust; Sparks Racing 4-2-1 header; Skunk2 cam gears; MSD 6AL Blaster 2 coil; BKRE 7EII spark plugs; NGK Power Cables spark plug wires; Integra Type R oil pan, radiator, crank pulley; JDM Integra Type R valve cover, oil cap, fuse box decal; Earls steel braided fuel lines and fittings; Endyn external engine breather; Prothane motor mount inserts; AEBS closed deck sleeves;
2000 Civic Si transmission; Civic Type R short throw shifter; Integra Type R axles, L.S.D.; Tilton street single disc clutch;
Omni Power Sport Version coilover
Stock Integra Type R
USDM Integra Type R 15-in wheels; Bridgestone Potenza 205/50R15 tires
Wings West RS aero kit; Mugen carbon fiber front lip; VIS carbon fiber hood, rear hatch, rear wing; black housing headlights; Vision smoked marker lights; Spoon-style mirrors
Integra Type R seats, gauge cluster, shift boot (USDM), steering wheel (JDM); Suede and tweed upholstery; AEM wide band gauge; Auto Meter oil pressure gauge; Civic Type R shift knob, pedals; JDM Civic defroster switch, coin tray, amber clock, climate control
USDM Integra Type R head unit / CD player; Pioneer speakers
CNM Advance Tuning, E-Shift PRO, Asbury Auto Tops, Lester Releyo and my girlfriend Dianne Manalo, Jon Stephen, Paul over at ABC
www aebsracing.com; aempower.com; buddyclub.us; goldeneaglemfg.com; magnaflow.com; msdignition.com; ngksparkplugs.com; omnipowerusa.com; skunk2.com