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What has happened to Honda's fabled Type-R heritage series?

2019-10-22 16:00

Robin Classen

Type R interior

Image: Joao Melo on Unsplash

High revving, small displacement and big power: those are the traits of Honda's series of Type R models from yesteryear.

Japanese automakers were at the height of their powers in the 90's where a host of high-performance models made their influx - many of which are still worshipped today by fans. It was during this period that Type R's were born.

Race cars for the street

Honda has been producing engines for bikes, lawnmowers, and generators, but that all changed in 1992 when the NSX was the first model to be emblazoned with the red 'R' emblem.

READ | Golf R, Civic Type R, Megane RS... Vote for your favourite hot hatch in SA?

At the time, it was Honda's strongest offering boasting 205kW while its suspension setup was tuned by the late Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna.

Honda's concept for its R models was to make race cars for the street with its core focus on minimising weight, and maximising tuning potential, all incorporated with its famous VTEC valve lift technology.


Do you think Honda should revive the Type R name in future models?  Or, have you owned an older Type R model? Email us your story and pictures.



The release of the NSX R was the catalyst for other models to make their introduction like the DC2 Integra and EK9 Civic, none of which came here unless you had it imported. Their latest local offering on the Type R front is the FK8 Civic that produces 228kW from its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, the first ever forced-induced offering in the Civic and Type R's history.

                                                                          Image: Newspress

But nobody hears the words Type R anymore like we used to, and that is probably largely down to the fact that the brand has scrapped speed in favour of economy. Fuel-sipping models like the Amaze and Jazz are now leading the line along with its collection of SUV and compact offerings.

Buyers are looking elsewhere to appease their craving for speed whereas Honda used to be the benchmark for this specific topic.

The FK8 is the only Type R offering available in SA and even so it is unattainable for most with a price tag of just under R600 000 brand new back in 2017. Golf's R and Ford's ST is considerably cheaper, proving a better option for buyers.

I've been lucky enough to see the DC2, DC5, EK9 and EP3 in the flesh, and my word is it a sight and sound to behold. You are given a stark reminder of why these cars carry such a strong racing heritage.

Maybe Honda will attach the red 'R' to other models in the future, but for now we have to be fortunate enough to be able to drive a piece of racing history, albeit now sporting a turbo.

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