Honda Integra Type R (DC2)
The Integra Type R DC2 is a legend. A full on, turned up to 11, unique and focused car that is unlike anything else.
Honda, whose bread and butter is servicing the masses with cheap, reliable, slightly dull family cars obviously have a wicked streak in them. The Integra Type R is one raw, driver focused machine.
The Integra Type R was released in the UK in 1997 (Japan had it for a while previously) and immediately it became obvious this was no ordinary hot hatchback. The 187bhp 1.8 litre VTEC engine was nothing short of a masterpiece on it’s own. Coupled to the lightened, stiffened and strengthened chassis, the car was a revelation to drive. 0-60 came in just 6.2 seconds, astounding since there were no devilish forced induction devices employed to artificially boost power. The 1797cc inline 4 features some pretty special and unique engineering for a production engine. The stratospheric rev limit of 9000rpm was made possible by exotic components and time consuming hand finishing techniques. Hand polished and ported cylinder heads, forged aluminium pistons, undercut valves, and revised intake and exhaust ports all combined with Hondas Variable Valve Timing Engine Control – VTEC – to provide the uncanny, racing car-like engine. That unforgettable hollow scream from the engine makes hairs the on the back of your neck prick up as the needle quickly heads towards “10″ on the rev counter. The light and precice close ratio gearbox helps keep the engine in the VTEC zone above around 6000 rpm (when most engines have run out of puff).
Double wishbone suspension, anti roll bars both front and rear and a Torsen limited slip differential helped transmit that power to the road. The way the car turned, could be balanced on the throttle and kicked out at the rear at will became legendary. It’s still considered one of, in not the greatest front wheel drive car ever made.
The UK version of the Integra Type R came in just 3 colours, Championship White (with white wheels), Red and Black (both with gunmetal wheels). The interior featured Recaro bucket seats (with holes in the backrest for 4 point harnesses), a Titanium gearknob and a plaque specifying the build number.
Once the secret was out, UK enthusiasts became switched on to the amazing handling and power of the Integra and started sourcing cheaper, Japanese imports. The Japanese models can be spotted from their wide, square front lights.
Even though the Integra Type R has such a high specific output (104bhp per litre, of of the very highest of the time) reliability is still excellent with no major engine problems repored. Remarkable when you consider that a lot of the cars will have been soundly thrashed around the b roads and tracks, and quite rightly so.