When Acura announced that the Integra name was to make a comeback, the hype went through the roof. An Integra, badged either as a Honda or an Acura, has not been seen since 2006 and since then people have been clamoring for a revival of the name. However, when the new Integra was finally unveiled, it didn’t quite live up to most people’s expectations. In fact, what it really is under the skin is just a Honda Civic Si with a new set of clothes.
All that got us thinking about the original Integra. In fact, one very particular Integra. Seeing the new Integra has brought back memories of the third generation Integra Type R, a car that is slowly rising in value and is often seen as one of the best cars that Honda/Acura ever built. It’s very much seen as the brand’s front-drive hero, and we first got to know the Integra Type R in 1995, and it ran from then until 1998. Even now, its looks are timeless, and it’s one of the cleanest and sleekest looking cars that has ever come from Honda and Acura.
The Design Of The Integra Type R
The design of the Integra Type R stems from the third generation of the Integra. It was debuted in 1993, and was quite different to the previous generation of Integra. It had an unusual four headlight front end design, which proved so controversial in Japan that all JDM Integra’s underwent a facelift in 1995 with more conventional flat headlights. It was in 1995 that the Integra Type R was introduced, firstly to the Japanese market and then latterly as an Acura for sale in the United States.
The car came with a factory tuned 1.8-liter four cylinder B18C engine that produced 197 hp, and of course it had VTEC variable valve timing. This is pretty much the origin of the “VTEC just kicked in, yo!” memes that we have seen for many years now. The engine was paired up with a close ratio five-speed manual transmission, as well as a Helical LSD. The handling of the Type-R was drastically improved compared to the standard version, thanks to extensive changes to the car. This included things such as a strengthened chassis with extra spot welds, more power from the engine, weight reduction and lighter wheels.
The 1998 Integra Type R
Perhaps the ultimate form of the Integra Type R however was the car in its 1998 form. This saw the car known as the ’98 Spec R. Changes included a redesigned rear bumper, 16-inch wheels and bigger brakes to name just a few changes the car went through. Power from the engine remained the same, but a new 4-1 long tube header brought the torque down to 6,200 rpm. Again, the handling was a key area in which the car excelled, with the level of grip the car could produce one of the big highlights.
Road and Track reported in a retro review that the steering is hair-trigger quick, as well as having great road feel with just the slightest hint of torque steer. This all added to the glowing praise the Integra Type R had been accumulating, and many have gone as far as saying, such as Evo Magazine, that the Integra Type R is “the greatest front-wheel-drive performance car ever.” Of course, though, it isn’t just the driving characteristics of the Integra Type R that make it so good. We haven’t gotten into how good the car looks yet.
A Timeless Looking Acura
You would be forgiven for looking at the Integra Type R and thinking that it’s just a bit too subtle, and doesn’t scream at you. But that’s what makes the styling so good. Especially when you see it next to modern Honda Civic Type Rs. The styling is very clean, with smooth surfaces and a sharp front fascia. The rear hints at the car’s true sporty nature with the rear wing. The most desirable combination for the Integra Type R seemed to be a white exterior with a black interior, although the red interior looks pretty epic as well. A white Integra Type R is one of the best looking sports cars ever made.
Still A Truly Special Car
There is no doubt that the new Integra will never be able to capture the magic of the old one. And it is highly unlikely that we will ever see another Type R and even if we did, it just would not have the same appeal. The Integra Type R from 1998 really was the epitome of the Integra Type R, and it is perhaps no surprise that the car is slowly but surely rising in value, with one example going for some $65,000 relatively recently. The Integra Type R will always be a timeless classic.
Sources: Bring a Trailer, Garage Dreams, NetCarShow
The Integra is set to be a core part of the Acura lineup from now on.
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