Road to Type R – evo meets owners at Honda HQ - Honda Type R owners
evo and Honda UK host a meeting for Type R owners - and bring every generation of Civic Type R together
Before the event, we weren't sure Honda's abandonment of natural aspiration would be universally embraced. Spend too much time on internet forums, and you'll discover plenty of consternation at the move towards turbocharging – high-revving engines are part and parcel of the Type R experience.
But we're not sure as many of those natural-aspiration advocates exist as you’d expect. A significant number of owners in attendance had embarked upon their own forced induction programs. Supercharging in particular seems popular – hardly surprising when power figures close in on the new car’s 300-plus horsepower range.
It’s that desire to tune that makes us wonder what owners might achieve with the new car. The last few generations, particularly the gloriously hardcore EK9, have acted as blank canvasses on which owners can make their mark.
Owners have certainly achieved a lot with their own vehicles. EP3s were notable by their prevalence. Almost all were tuned – from a stripped, caged track special with a 2.4-litre block, through to a fast road car making 300 supercharged horses, on a set of rare split-rim alloys.
The contrast between modifications and those left standard is stark. One owner’s EK9 was almost completely standard, just some sticky tyres and an aftermarket exhaust separating it from stock. You'll be able to read about that very car in evo issue 210. Another featured a set of heavily bolstered Bride bucket seats, a half cage, a beautiful heat-tarnished exhaust manifold and stunning gold-coloured Rays wheels.
The non-Civics also stood out. One owner had brought along a DC5-generation Integra Type R. These were never officially sold on UK shores, but are most recognisable from their brief (and successful) spell in the British Touring Car Championship.
The sole FD2 Civic Type R was a treat, too. evo first tested the car in issue 108, and subsequently included it in evo Car of the Year 2007 – where it beat a Gallardo Superleggera and almost scalped BMW’s V8 M3. Unfortunately, contemporary exchange rates scuppered any chance of them flooding into the UK in decent numbers, so now they’re among the rarest Type Rs on our shores.
One model that never received the Type-R treatment, but left plenty of people wishing it had, was the Honda CR-Z. Renowned Honda tuner Mugen took matters into its own hands with a supercharged, bodykitted take on the little hybrid coupe. A modified CR-Z wearing this kit – as well as other Mugen and Spoon components – was an interesting diversion from the more conventional models.
The cars though don't matter. What truly links all the owners who attended is a love of Honda's single-minded engineering and a desire to leave their own mark on the cars. If the new model is as impressive as it looks on paper – and leaves room for further improvement – then it will have earned its Type R badge.