August 06, 2015 @ 10:27 PM

Legends and Legacies: Honda Civic Type R

This is not just any Civic, this is the highest performance version you can ever get and it all started in… 1997.

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This is not just any Civic, this is the highest performance version you can ever get and it all started in… 1997.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve featured a Honda Civic, but the Type R deserves a “legendary” article of its own. And since this month, our cover story is all about how the brand new Honda Civic Type R is built with "Speed and Speed Alone", I think it is fitting that everybody read about the origins of the legendary Civic Type R.
The first ever Civic that Honda had badged the Type R was based on a chassis donated by the sixth generation Civic three-door hatchback, code named EK9. Technically speaking, the EK9 is only just the first Civic badged with a Type R and not the first performance based Civic that Honda has ever produced. The company had started playing around with the idea of a performance version of the car since the fifth generation Si trim which Honda had code named SiR before deciding to continue the project by creating a variant of its own.
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Behold the first ever Civic Type R with that familiar bright red H badge known to all, this is the car that started the tradition for Honda to take a base Civic and reinterpreting it into a high performance car capable or smashing circuits. Under the bonnet features a naturally aspirated B16B 1.6-litre engine, capable of 185bhp at 8200rpm and a torque output of 248.1Nm at 7500rpm.
The Civic Type R shares more similarities to its sibling Integra Type R DC2 than anybody had suspected. Not only do the EK9 and the DC2 share the same 182bhp kicking B16B engine, the EK9 was also given the same diet that includes the lack of sound reduction comforts and a number of weight reduction procedures like high compression pistons and undercut valves for the engine.
The chassis itself had been an innovation on its own. This is the first time Honda featured a strategically seam welded monocoque chassis to help improve the chassis’ rigidity therefor making it a tougher car then the box standard Civic.

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Of course it wouldn’t be a Type R if the car doesn’t comes with a permanent manual gearbox. The EK9’s engine is mated to a five-speed front helical limited-slip differential and close ratio gearbox. It is only the second generation onwards before Honda perfected the current six-speed gearbox trend present is almost all their manual cars.
Nothing much has changed since the EK9 for the interior, the red seats, red door cards all the way to the red Type R floor mats has been present since the first generation Civic Type R. But a more civilised version of the EK9 was created a few years later known as the Type Rx. The Type Rx features a number of upgraded creature comforts like a CD Player, auto air-conditioning and key-less entry system while the cabin spotted aluminium sports pedals and carbon type centre panel.

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In our country, the only version of the Civic Type R most familiar to us was the FD2R. The launch of the FD2R in Malaysia was the first time a Type R JDM was launched outside of Japan and it had yielded massive attention. The FD2R is also the only sedan version of the Type R ever available but unfortunately production was ceased in 2010 due to the car’s failure to meet the upcoming emission standards. Of course in Europe there is still the FN2R only the car packs an output of 197bhp compared to the FD2R’s 225bhp power output. Nevertheless, the FN2R still won the best hot-hatch award in many motor enthusiasts' hearts.
The origins of the Honda Civic Type R had started when the company wanted to dabble with taking a standard best-selling car to be recreated into a high performance track capable machine. While the idea had gotten lost along with way, the fourth generation seem to have latched back onto it with a vengeance. Why? It’s time you pick up a copy of our August issue to read what we think about the brand new fourth generation Type R!

Jerrica Leong

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