Super Street Network

 |   |  The Type R Saga
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

The Type R Saga

How Honda's red-badged bloodline came to be and what's next

Aaron Bonk
Jun 1, 2017

Let's get this out of the way right now: when the Integra Type R was first made available to Americans in '97, it wasn't as big of a deal as you think. Getting Type R horsepower and handling out of any other Integra wasn't anything you needed the Internet for, and the premium Honda wanted for its top-notch Integra could be better spent elsewhere. If you were serious about going fast, the ITR just wasn't on your radar.

Twenty years later, though, and all of that's changed. Middle-agers who once turned out 400 hp by way of T3/T4 turbos and DOS-based engine management systems have come to appreciate the sort of things that make a Type R special.

Today, the Type R makes more sense than ever. Getting a tenth-generation Civic Si to do the sort of things the impending Civic Type R is capable of is nothing at all like getting, say, that '94 Integra RS to blow past an ITR of years past. CAN-based electronics and tighter emissions regulations mean you getting that Si to behave like a Type R will cost about as much as, well, a Type R. All of which means there's no better time than now to consider the Type R, and there's no better time than now to have a look at what that red badge has come to mean.

'92-95 NSX-R

Type r saga 92 95 nsx r Photo 2/15   |   Type R Saga 92 95 Nsx R

Nearly two years after the first-generation NSX's introduction in Japan, Honda revealed the NSX-R, a race-inspired version that weighs 265 pounds less and has a stiffer suspension and shorter-ratio gearbox. It was marginally faster, a whole lot more expensive, and was offered in limited quantities just for Japan. It's the first time you'd ever seen that red emblem and Honda's Championship White paint this side of the racetrack, and it's everything the Type R badge would signify for decades to come.

The specs:

  • NA1 chassis
  • JDM only
  • 270 hp/210 lb-ft torque C30A

Why you care:

  • Carbon-Kevlar Recaro seats worth more than a new Accord
  • Titanium rods (and shift knob!)
  • One-off Enkei wheels
  • Sayonara, sound deadening, A/C, tape deck, and spare tire
  • Lightest NSX ever at 2,712 pounds

'95-'01 INTEGRA TYPE R

Type r saga 95 01 integra type r Photo 3/15   |   Type R Saga 95 01 Integra Type R

America's (and Europe's) first-ever Type R (U.S. model years '97-'98 and '00-'01) made 25 more horsepower than the GS-R, was lighter, cornered better, was sold with its own signature wheels and rear spoiler, and you didn't want it. In '97, 25 hp was too easy to find by way of a less-expensive Integra and the right bolt-ons. Twenty years later, though, and the ITR has come to be appreciated more than new-car buyers of the '90s gave it credit for. More power comes by way of a hand-ported cylinder head matched to an intake manifold and throttle body unique to the Type R. The cams, crank, rods, and pistons are also ITR-issue, the latter of which received a specialized coating that reduces friction within the cylinders.

The specs:

  • DC2 chassis
  • EDM, JDM, USDM (limited sales throughout Asia, Oceania)
  • EDM: 190 hp/131 lb-ft torque B18C6
  • JDM: 197 hp/137 lb-ft torque B18C
  • USDM: 195 hp/130 lb-ft torque B18C5

Why you care:

  • Get it without any A/C nonsense
  • Recaro seats standard
  • Finally, an Integra with an LSD
  • Reinforced shock towers and lower subframe
  • Anything developed for racing homologation is good

'97-'01 CIVIC TYPE R

Type r saga 97 01 civic type r Photo 4/15   |   Type R Saga 97 01 Civic Type R

Once again, Honda offered a Type R that you could afford but couldn't buy. Its chassis was wholly its own, too, if only by way of incremental changes like a series of added seam welds strategically placed throughout the unibody. The results are something more rigid than any other Civic. Unlike the NSX-R, various Civic Type R trims were available, including the stripped-down Motorsports Edition and the Rx, which came with power windows, A/C, and a CD player. For the first time, a Type R featured its own powertrain—1.6L worth of pistons and rods stuffed inside of a 1.8L block. Confused? Don't be. Just know that the taller block and longer rods mean the CTR's rod-to-stroke ratio and, therefore, its ability to rev high, is better than just about any engine on Earth.

The specs:

  • EK9 chassis
  • JDM only
  • 182 hp/118 lb-ft torque B16B

Why you care:

  • Ferrari-like power per liter
  • Rarest B-series engine ever
  • Red Recaro seats standard
  • VTEC changeover at a whopping 6,000 rpm
  • Red valve cover standard

'98-'03 ACCORD TYPE R

Type r saga 98 03 accord type r Photo 5/15   |   Type R Saga 98 03 Accord Type R

It's the only time an Accord's been given the Type R treatment, and you barely knew it existed. Based on the sixth-generation family sedan and exclusive to Europe, the Accord Type R features a higher-compression version of the Prelude's H-series along with a specialized, higher-flowing intake manifold that does away with the H22A's dual-stage inlet path in favor of more power up top. The Accord Type R dons the infamous red valve cover, and its five-speed transmission fitted with a factory-supplied limited-slip differential was geared to do 140 mph at a time when naturally aspirated four-doors had no business doing such things. The Type R went on to become one of the most winning Type R chassis in motorsports, taking the European Super Touring Cup season in '00.

The specs:

  • CH1 chassis
  • EDM only
  • 209 hp/164 lb-ft torque H22A7

Why you care:

  • Strategic weight reduction and stiffened chassis
  • Recaro seats in an Accord
  • White-face instrument cluster
  • A rear spoiler that works
  • An Accord with racing heritage

'00-'01 TORNEO EURO R

Type r saga 00 01 torneo euro r Photo 6/15   |   Type R Saga 00 01 Torneo Euro R

Honda of Japan's earlier sales strategies meant similar cars were often rebranded based on which dealership they'd be marketed by, a process that isn't much different than North America's Honda and Acura divisions. It's what led to the Japanese-only Torneo, which is really just a rebranded Accord, of which a Euro R version was made available that, despite its name, was never sold in Europe. All you care about is that the Torneo serves up one of the most powerful H-series engines ever, a unique stainless-steel header, and all the trimmings that make a Type R a Type R or, in this case, a Euro R. In its final production year, a Euro Rx model was added that included specially colored seats, a rear spoiler, rear privacy glass, and a titanium shift knob.

The specs:

  • CL1 chassis
  • JDM only
  • 217 hp/163 lb-ft torque H22A

Why you care:

  • Nobody's ever heard of a Torneo
  • HID headlights and foglights
  • Stainless-steel 4-2-1 header
  • Factory body kit
  • It came in Milano Red

'01-'05 CIVIC TYPE R

Type r saga 01 05 civic type r Photo 7/15   |   Type R Saga 01 05 Civic Type R

It's the Type R you care least about and that you couldn't get anyways. While you were too busy griping about the EP3's MacPherson-strut suspension and rally-style shifter, the other side of the world couldn't get enough of the kind of K-series and six-speed transmission the North American Si should've always come with. The CTR takes care of just about everything you don't like about the Si and then some. Quicker steering by way of revised electronic power steering, stiffer suspension, and a lighter rotating assembly all help address some of the things that make the Civic Si stink, like its ability to understeer, dull steering, and lack of torque.

The specs:

  • EP3 chassis
  • EDM, JDM
  • EDM: 197 hp/139 lb-ft torque K20A2
  • JDM: 212 hp/149 lb-ft torque K20A

Why you care:

  • You could buy one (if you lived in Europe)
  • Recaro seats (JDM only)
  • Limited-slip differential (JDM only)
  • It's what the Si could've been
  • Seam-welded chassis for more rigidity

'01-'06 INTEGRA TYPE R

Type r saga 01 06 integra type r Photo 8/15   |   Type R Saga 01 06 Integra Type R

You think it's an updated RSX and you're mostly right. As with most Type Rs, the differences are under the hood and come by way of a 217hp K20A so long as you get your mitts on a Japanese-bound model (other countries received less-powerful versions). You already know about its 8,400-rpm redline, but you have no idea what happens in between all of that and those tires. The Type R's gearbox, for one, is a wholly new design—one of the first to take advantage of multiple synchromesh cones for all six gears along with a lightweight chrome-moly flywheel to help reach that limit faster. The DC5 Type R also benefits from the usual Type R body strengthening, and weight-reduction improvements come by way of aluminum bumper beams, strut bars, lower suspension arms, and rear brake calipers.

The specs:

  • DC5 chassis
  • JDM only (limited sales throughout Oceania)
  • 217 hp/152 lb-ft torque K20A

Why you care:

  • Recaro seats
  • Brembo front brakes
  • Momo steering wheel
  • Limited-slip differential
  • Variable back-pressure exhaust

'02-'05 NSX-R

Type r saga 02 05 nsx r Photo 9/15   |   Type R Saga 02 05 Nsx R

By the time the face-lifted NSX was born, Honda had its Type R formula figured out. Unlike the earlier model, this Type R looks the part and in an obvious way. Based on the lighter-weight coupe with its fixed roof, the NSX-R's unique hood with its ducting and rear spoiler work together—not just drawing air across the body for downforce, but from underneath the hood, improving aerodynamics and cooling. Honda lore says that the NSX-R's V-6 with its twin-cam heads was meticulously blueprinted and balanced by specially trained technicians—a process that every VTEC engine undergoes to some degree—and Honda lore is mostly right. Although it's long been speculated that the NSX-R yields more power than what Honda says it does, there's no documented dyno data proving so. Honda did, however, rework the NSX-R's drive-by-wire throttle in an effort to make it more sensitive, a move that, along with the car's stiffer suspension and lack of power steering, reportedly makes it quite unmanageable at low speeds.

The specs:

  • NA2 chassis
  • JDM only
  • 290 hp/225 lb-ft torque C32B

Why you care:

  • Carbon-Kevlar Recaro seats worth more than four used Accords
  • Carbon-fiber vented hood and rear spoiler
  • A roof scoop that does something
  • Under-body panels and rear diffuser
  • Deleted sound deadening, A/C, audio system, and spare tire

'02-'08 ACCORD EURO R

Type r saga 02 08 accord euro r Photo 10/15   |   Type R Saga 02 08 Accord Euro R

It's another top-of-the-line Accord that you think was made for Europeans and that was available only in Japan. You call it a TSX, but the Accord Euro R is different enough to deserve the badge. Say goodbye to the TSX's 2.4L K-series and hello to the DC5 Integra Type R's high-compression (11.5:1), high-revving K20A. Like any good Type R, the Euro R is fitted with a Momo steering wheel and Recaro seats, its own aero package, and lighter-weight wheels. If there was ever a compromise between what a Type R ought to be and a practical daily driver, the Euro R, with its A/C, power windows, airbags, and ABS, is it.

The specs:

  • CL7 chassis
  • JDM only
  • 217 hp/152 lb-ft torque K20A

Why you care:

  • Euro R-spec bumpers
  • Aluminum shift knob and pedals
  • 217 hp, power windows, and A/C
  • Lightweight flywheel
  • Not the TSX's suspension

'07-'11 CIVIC TYPE R

Type r saga 07 11 civic type r Photo 11/15   |   Type R Saga 07 11 Civic Type R

For the first time, the Civic Type R wasn't a three-door hatchback and, like the first time, it was sold only in Japan. Like anything good, the FD2 Civic Type R's engine was built to the ragged edge; production ceased early due to the K20A's inability to meet strict Japanese emissions guidelines. Although based on the eighth-generation Civic, the Type R is wholly different. Its front bumper is wider, its rear bumper features an integrated diffuser, and its rear wing is there to increase downforce at high speeds. Aluminum was also used instead of steel for much of the car's structure. Gone are the Type R's Recaros and in went Honda's own racing seats that lend to the traditional Championship White-and-red theme.

The specs:

  • FD2 chassis
  • JDM only
  • 222 hp/158 lb-ft torque K20A

Why you care:

  • Brembo front brakes
  • Honda-made sport seats and steering wheel
  • Aluminum structural components throughout
  • Stiffer than an Integra Type R
  • Type R-specific bumpers, rear diffuser, and rear wing

'09-'12 CIVIC TYPE R EURO

Type r saga 09 12 civic type r euro Photo 12/15   |   Type R Saga 09 12 Civic Type R Euro

In a funny move, Honda began offering the FN2 chassis Civic Type R to its European base all the while its FD2 chassis Type R continued on back home in Japan. By all accounts, the FN2 isn't any better, but it still lived up to its pedigree despite it not sharing the FD2's limited-slip differential and double-wishbone suspension out back (instead, it's more like the CR-Z's with its torsion bar layout).

The specs:

  • FN2 chassis
  • EDM (limited sales throughout Asia, Oceania)
  • 198 hp/142 lb-ft torque K20Z4

Why you care:

  • HID headlights
  • Optional 225/35-19 Yokohama Advan Sport tires
  • Available Championship White exterior and wheels
  • A torsion beam rear suspension that isn't horrible
  • Handles better than a CR-Z

'15-'16 CIVIC TYPE R

Type r saga 15 16 civic type r Photo 13/15   |   Type R Saga 15 16 Civic Type R

It was the first Type R to come turbocharged and the first to have five doors. It only existed for two years, and since Japan stopped selling Civics and America refused to dole out Type Rs, it remained exclusive to Europe. And it was fast. Before it went on sale, a production-ready concept set the FWD record around the Nürburgring, which, incidentally, was quicker than a Lamborghini Gallardo.

The specs:

  • FK2 chassis
  • EDM (limited sales throughout Asia, South Africa)
  • 306 hp/295 lb-ft torque K20C1

Why you care:

  • It has an R+ button
  • It's got a turbo and it's there for going faster
  • Set the FWD Nürburgring record
  • Most powerful Civic to date
  • Helped pave the way for a CTR you can actually own

'17 CIVIC TYPE R

Type r saga 17 civic type r Photo 14/15   |   Type R Saga 17 Civic Type R

It's your second chance at a U.S.-legal Type R and your first ever at one by way of the Civic. This isn't '97 anymore. The chances of you making a tenth-generation Civic better than Honda's turnkey Type R aren't good. New-car complexities and emissions laws mean you relying on Honda for any more power than what, say, an Si will give, is critical. And, at 306 hp, it's the most powerful Civic you've ever had access to. That 306 hp happens courtesy of the K20C1 and its direct-injected and turbocharged self. Up front you'll find aluminum lower control arms and steering knuckles, 20-inch wheels all around, Brembo brakes, and adaptive dampers controlled from the driver seat. This is no lightweight and stripped-down CTR like you may have been familiar with 20 years ago, but with 295 lb-ft of torque and a turbo, it won't matter.

The specs:

  • FK8 chassis
  • EDM, JDM, USDM
  • EDM: 317 hp/295 lb-ft torque (engine code unknown as of press time)
  • JDM: 317 hp/295 lb-ft torque (engine code unknown as of press time)
  • USDM: 306 hp/295 lb-ft torque (engine code unknown as of press time)

Why you care:

  • First Honda Type R you could legally own
  • First turbocharged Honda you could buy that wasn't an RDX
  • The easiest 300 Honda horsepower you'll ever get
  • Massive aftermarket support is inevitable
  • Brembo aluminum calipers up front with cross-drilled 13.8-inch rotors
  • With exact pricing TBD as of press time, the CTR is said be in the mid-$30K range

Not everything special that Honda's churned out's been labeled with that Type R badge nor remained exclusive to Japan.

  • '87-'92 CR-X SiR: Honda never offered a CRX Type R. In fact, no Type R existed until the second-generation CRX had already been nixed. Which means the SiR with its twin-cam B-series and limited-slip trans was just about the closest any EF-grade Civic would ever get to being a Type R.
  • '96-'01 Prelude Type S: There should've been a Prelude Type R. That there was an Accord Type R twice is reason enough. The Type S looked the part with its red valve cover, though, and was good for 217 hp.
  • Mugen RR: The RR is what happens when famed aftermarket tuner Mugen takes an NSX and an FD2 Civic Type R and makes them its own. While the NSX remained a concept, 300 Civic RRs were produced and, ultimately, sold out within 10 minutes. The Civic features carbon-fiber aero all around, an aluminum hood, Recaro bucket seats, and a modest power increase that measures in at 225 hp.

RED BADGES AND WHITE PAINT

Type r saga honda ra272 f1 car Photo 15/15   |   Type R Saga Honda Ra272 F1 Car

That red badge and Championship White paint didn't start with that first NSX-R. For years the two were synonymous with Honda and its racing heritage, most notably its RA272 F1 car that owned 1965. Aside from its white paint, the RA272 is most remembered for its hulk of a 48-valve V-12 that was most happy at 14,000 rpm—an unprecedented limit for its day. In '65, Richie Ginther drove it to victory at the Mexican Grand Prix where it went on to become the first from Japan to secure the title and give you a reason for wanting something with a red badge of your own.

By Aaron Bonk
404 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

Proving that JDM style has a lasting power that requires only small updates to stay relevant
Austin LottAug 17, 2018
Preview the October 2018 issue of Super street, featuring a VIP widebody RB26DETT Cima; 1,000hp pro drift E30 M3; Nissan vs. Toyota turbo inline-6s; and much more!
Bob HernandezAug 17, 2018
While Infiniti's previous Pebble Beach concept was inspired by race cars from the 1930s, the Prototype 10 is more of a reimagined speedster from the 1950s.
Collin WoodardAug 16, 2018
A Viper Green Metallic paint job isn’t just for the Lamborghini Huracán anymore. Soon you can order a 2019 Volkswagen Golf R in one of 40 custom colors.
Ed TahaneyAug 16, 2018
Super Street Network has teamed up with ENEOS to offer one lucky fan the chance of a lifetime - a spot for his or her vehicle to appear at the largest aftermarket trade show in the world: SEMA!
StaffAug 15, 2018
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP