And while practical types purr over the Accord’s saloon body, those with an eye on torsional rigidity know that such a structure spells good news in the handling department. Furthermore, it was beefed up with a strengthened rear bulkhead (the rear seats don’t fold as a consequence). Add a kerb weight of a little over 1300kg, multi-link double-wishbone suspension and a rapid rack and pinion steering set-up and you’ve a family car that runs rings around its contemporary front-drive rivals.
Being a Type R, it has other desirable stuff. Outside: a bodykit, chrome tailpipes, a rear spoiler (it could be deleted from the spec if the owner desired) and 17in alloy wheels. Inside: Recaro seats, a Momo leather steering wheel and titanium alloy gearknob, and carbonfibre trim with white dials.
The model was facelifted in 2001. You can tell the later cars by the slatted grille in place of the old mesh one, a red ‘H’ badge and black tailpipes. Meanwhile, 0-62mph was a few tenths quicker (6.7sec) and the gearbox synchros were strengthened (so said Honda at the time).
The engine’s a thoroughbred that thrives on TLC: cambelt changes, fresh oil, the occasional EGR spring clean plus a good hot run to keep the VTEC system beating. Expect suspension components (bushes, drop links) to be tired by now but replacement is relatively straightforward (and a good excuse to fit stronger polyurethane parts).
Rust is your number one enemy. It lurks unseen around the bulkhead and even owners aren’t aware of it. For this reason, make sure the car has a fresh MOT. Assuming the body’s sound and the engine’s strong, buy an Accord Type R with confidence – and don’t store it. Instead, put it on the road, where it belongs.
An expert’s view...
MIKE CLARK, R MOTION
“For the Accord Type R, we can source most major components, such as engines. They’re used, of course. If you need minor bits, Honda itself is your best bet. The engine is strong but, not surprisingly, requires regular oil changes. Bizarrely, the balancer shaft can vibrate, damaging the oil pump, so make sure you replace the pump if it seems suspect.
“The cylinders have fibre-reinforced metal (FRM) liners. They can wear over time, causing the oil consumption to increase. You can’t bore out the cylinder — you have to get a specialist to fit new liners.
“Rust is a big problem. The inner panels go first, so get the car checked out thoroughly because it’s expensive to put right. However, the gearbox problems [see right] are overblown in my opinion. In short, the Accord Type R is a great car — and so cheap.”