This week, Honda announced a brand new Civic Type R, due to go on sale in 2015. Synonymous with performance motoring for over 20 years, Type R-badged Hondas have enjoyed a strong following in the UK and around the world. Here we take a look back at the best cars to wear the famous red emblem.
Honda, famously helped by Ayrton Senna, took the first step towards the Type R brand with the development of the NSX supercar in 1990. The first production car ever to have an all-aluminium chassis, body, and suspension, it was designed to excel on both road and track.
Despite the low numbers of cars produced, throughout its life the NSX was revamped constantly, with two NSX-R variants along the way. The second, launched in 2002, used a 3.2-litre V6 which was hand-assembled using racing-derived techniques. The outrageous NSX-R GT, of which just five were built, featured a huge roof scoop as part of a drive for domination in Japanese race series'.
Both NSX-Rs bore the ‘Red H’ emblem from the RA 272 Formula 1 car, the first Honda to win a Grand Prix.
In 1995, looking to widen the Type R market, Honda set about creating the Integra Type R. With a hand-finished 1.8-litre VTEC on board, the Integra Type R provided serious performance at an affordable price.
The first Civic Type R rolled off the production line in 1996, based on the 6th generation model of Civic. With its screaming 1.6-litre 182bhp engine, it delivered massive performance with few drawbacks, being a cheap and practical hatchback.
In 1998 the Accord Type R went on sale in the UK, with a 2.2-litre VTEC engine on board, complemented by a limited-slip-diff, 17-inch alloy wheels, and Recaro seats. Huge rear wing aside, it was regarded as an extremely competent Q-car.
The second-generation Civic Type R, known as the ‘breadvan’ style model, was released in 2001. The 212bhp VTEC engine allowed the car to reach 62mph in 6.6secs and go on to a top speed of 146mph.
The Japan-only ‘FD2’ third-generation Civic Type R was contrasted by the European ‘FN2’ model. The Japanese model was more powerful and had independent rear suspension (as opposed to the European model’s torsion beam set-up) but most noticeably it was a four-door saloon instead of a three-door hatchback.
Honda’s tuning partner Mugen took the concept even further with the Mugen Civic Type R FN2- with a body kit, huge rear wing and up to 256bhp in the 2.2-litre version.
Click the image above to launch the Type R gallery