Type R. It's amazing how many emotions can be conjured up by just five letters and a space. Lust, awe, excitement, respect, joy and-in the case of North American fans-frustration, annoyance, and exasperation. Honda's FD2 Civic Type R, which came out in Japan in 2006, could be the most intriguing Type R yet. And are we able to buy one? As if. Funny how Nissan can bring out an expensive supercar like the GT-R and sell every one, yet a cheap (ish) car that would have people lining up around the block isn't available in the U.S. It's a sick and twisted world. Anyway, pop some St. John's Wart and brew the chamomile tea-or whatever it is you do to calm the nerves-while we focus on a most wicked and unattainable Civic Type R. It almost makes you want to emigrate to Japan.
Even the more sieve-brained and/or irregular readers will have heard of J's Racing, those Osaka-based purveyors of all things fine, fast and aftermarket Honda. This is what can happen when J's goes wild with an R and Mercury isn't in retrograde. Built to demonstrate what can be done regarding speed and refinement, this car is happy on the street or the track.
Let's be shallow for a while and talk about what's skin deep. The company's Type S line (there's going to be a few Type-insert-letter-here model names, so apologies and forewarnings) shows up big on the body, with a carbon fiber front bumper, rear diffuser and twin canards, plus a racing shroud, air intake and brake ducts fashioned from fiber reinforced plastic (FRP). J's has spent plenty of time and money in aerodynamics R&D, knowing that optimum cooling will have a benefit in horsepower. Throw in a Type X sports grille, Type N carbon fiber aero hood, carbon trunk lid, 3D GT wet carbon wing (measuring 1,390 mm/54.7 inches) and here's one serious body kit.
This kit is one of the latest creations from J's. The company is using it in the Super Taikyu series. The whole exterior shebang is finished off with a graphics job from Art Factory, incorporating that peculiar mustardy hue which has become something of a J's Racing hallmark. Just for good measure, a J's Racing towhook is also found at both ends.
While we're still on the eye candy, what's not to love about the black-on-black Personal steering wheel (incidentally, Honda decided to ditch its much-maligned electronically assisted steering for good old hydraulic power steering. How happy we are for our Japanese brothers-in-tuning) and titanium shift knob in a resplendent blue hue, branded J's-style? Meanwhile, the car sports two staple fixtures of any good project build. The first being Recaro front seats-in this instance, red TS-GS models. The second being Takata harnesses, here in TK-341-R four-point form. And just behind those chairs is a proprietary SPL rear seat bar that goes across the body for extra rigidity.
Time to get greasy. Honda's all-aluminum K20A sits at the top of the food chain when it comes to two-liter, four-cylinder, four-stroke engines. The Big H is unarguably a virtuoso player in this arena. Hey, it invented VTEC. The chief engineer's gig before this one was working on Honda's Formula One engine program, so all the finer points of breathing, friction, strength, lightness and reliability have been mastered as much as possible. In stock form, the Civic Type R's engine makes 223 hp at a screaming 8,000 rpm (just 400 rpm short of redline) and 158 lb-ft of torque at a similarly stratospheric 6,100 rpm. In terms of specific output for a naturally aspirated engine straight from the factory, it's up there with Olympic gold medallists and pilots who can land safely in the Hudson River; it doesn't get any better.
However, a top-flight tuner can squeeze out even more. The Big J is using this Civic Type R to highlight another new feature-its N1 ECU, specially developed for greater power and torque, and to deliver that muscle in a smooth, linear manner. Thanks to this ECU at its nerve center and NGK #9 racing spark plugs, along with improved breathing from the company's Tsuchinoko carbon fiber intake, a 66.5 mm diameter throttle body, SPL exhaust manifold, and an FX 70RR blue titanium exhaust system, our K20A here kicks out a claimed 276 hp and 202.5 lb-ft of twist. All without the aid of forced induction. A quick "ta-dah" is in order.
As does the Crux 30-way adjustable racing damper kit, rear upper suspension arms and front camber plates. The only interlopers here are Hyperco springs, rated at 14 kg up front and 26 kg at the rear. More chassis reinforcement comes courtesy of J's Racing front and rear tower bars, front and rear lower arm bars, floor bar, front monocoque bar, and inner side braces.
Lube-wise, Oberon F322 0W-20 flows beneath a J's gold filler cap and into an SPL pan (featuring a J's Racing magnetic drain bolt). In the cooling department, an in-house aluminum radiator topped off with a high-pressure cap connects to Samco Sport hoses and a low-temp thermostat so that Billion-brand Zero Racing Water ("wetter" than normal water) can do its thermal thing. Also, check out the engine shot for that anodized blue valve cover, another J's Racing signature.
The next carriage on the drivetrain is accessed through a Hyper single clutch with an aluminum pressure plate and chromoly flywheel. The six-speed manual transmission has also been modified with a WPC (wide peening and cleaning) 5:1 final drive in conjunction with a high-traction limited-slip differential. When the time comes to change the Oberon F808F 80W-90 gear oil, there's a magnetic drain bolt for that, too. All this comes from the J's stable.
At the sticky end of this performance envelope is a mighty J's Racing six-piston front brake setup, complemented with SPL stainless steel braided brake lines. Running through those lines is Oberon (surprise) F555 DOT 5.1 brake fluid, pressing Seidoya R-Master N1-500 pads onto 14.1-inch slotted rotors with floating bell mounts.
It's been said that brakes don't stop cars, tires do (although it's hard to shake the feeling that brakes help an awful lot). Either way, seeing Yokohama Advan Neova A048 embossed on the sidewalls of these 225/40 tires is reassuring. They're wrapped around Rays RE30 forged one-piece aluminum, twin-seven-spoke wheels, finished in bronze and measuring 18x9.5, with a +38mm offset at each end. The whole combo is secured by J's long racing nuts.
If a Civic Type R owner wanted all the above goodies for his or her car, it would cost around six million yen, the best part of $63,500. Perhaps that dollar figure looks worse because of the current economic climate and poor exchange rate. Maybe six mill is more achievable in the Land of the Rising Sun. In which case, see you in the immigration line at the Japanese embassy. Or if you happen upon another gaijin hitting the touge around Mount Fuji in a Civic Type R jazzed up by J's Racing, give us a wave.
Behind The Build
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Making single, possessive consonants cool.
"The 'xtreme' honda ride!"
Honda Civic Type R
Output 276 hp
Engine J's Racing Tsuchinko carbon fiber air intake, 66.5mm throttle body, oil pan, magnetic drain bolt, gold oil filler cap, blue valve cover, aluminum radiator, low-temp thermostat, high-pressure radiator cap, N1 ECU, exhaust manifold, 70RR Blue titanium exhaust system; NGK #9 racing spark plugs; Samco Sport hoses; Billion Racing Water; Oberon F322 0W-20 oil
Drivetrain J's Racing Hyper Single Clutch; WPC 5.1 final drive, high-traction LSD, magnetic transmission drain bolt; Oberon F808F 80W-90 gear oil
Suspension J's Racing Crux 30-way adjustable dampers, rear upper control arms, front camber plates, front strut tower bar, rear strut tower bar, front monocoque bar, floor bar, front lower arm bar, rear lower arm bar, rear seat bar; Hyperco springs (14kg front, 26kg rear)
Wheels/Tires 18x9.5 +38mm Rays RE30 wheels; 255/40-18 Yokohama Advan Neova A048 tires; J's Racing long racing nuts
Brakes J's Racing six-piston front calipers, 14.1-inch slotted floating rotors, stainless steel braided brake lines; Seidoya R-Master N1-500 pads; Oberon F555 DOT 5.1 brake fluid
Exterior J's Racing Type S CF front bumper, FRP racing shroud, FRP air intake duct, CF canards, CF rear diffuser, Type X sports grille, Type N CF aero hood, towhooks, 3D-GT wet carbon rear wing; carbon fiber trunk lid; Art Factory graphics
Interior Personal steering wheel, blue titanium shift knob; Recaro TS-GS seats; Takata MPH-341R four-point harnesses