Imported in droves, but they don't come as tidy – or original – as this
By Cam Tait / Tuesday, 30 May 2023 / Loading comments
I’ve never understood why Honda failed to bring the DC5 Integra Type R to the UK. I know every manufacturer has their reasons for restricting certain models to certain markets, which is usually down to a lack of interest in certain territories or legislation drawn up by joy-sapping bureaucrats. That’s why we don’t get the new Nissan 400Z and why the Toyota GR86 has a shelf life of just two years in Europe.
It’s more of an issue these days, but we’re here to talk about a 2.0-litre Honda that first appeared 20 years ago – when emissions and fuel laws weren’t nearly as nannying. Besides, Honda had launched the Type R brand in the UK with the original DC2 Integra in the late 1990s and although it was limited to just 500 units, we couldn’t get enough of the rev-happy coupe. The same could be said for the UK-made EP3 Civic Type R, a car so popular among enthusiasts that you voted it the third greatest hot hatch of the last 25 Years. So when Honda announced that the DC2 would be getting a replacement, we were rather miffed to learn it wouldn’t be coming to Britain.
Now, I’ve done a fair bit of digging to figure out why Honda decided to sidestep Europe with the DC5 Integra, but I’m coming up short. Unless proven otherwise, I’m chalking this up as another case of Japanese carmakers holding back all the good stuff for their home market. That being said, the DC5 wasn’t the instant hit that the DC2 Integra and EK9 Civic Type R were. It was some 200kg heavier than its predecessor, which is likely why reviewers at the time said it wasn’t quite as engaging to drive. But it’s all relative. Compared to everything else at the time, the DC5 was still one of the most scintillating front-wheel cars on the planet.
Despite being marginally heavier – likely due to increased safety kit – a 1,200-odd kilo kerb weight isn’t what you’d call portly, is it? And, remember, this was the peak of Honda’s four-pot screamer, with the DC5’s naturally aspirated 2.0-litre VTEC engine mustering 220hp all the way up at 8,000rpm – 400 revs shy of the limiter. An extra ratio in the gearbox brought a degree of usability, though all six speeds are tightly packed together to keep you close to the redline. Oh, and it’s accessed through Honda’s signature teardrop shifter knob – recently renewed for the latest FL5 Civic Type R.
Of course, it didn’t take long for DC5s to find their way into the UK as grey imports. Like the DC2, the newer ‘Teg was somewhat underappreciated for the best part of 15 years, with values sitting around the £10,000 mark for a clean example. But stock cars are becoming increasingly more difficult to find, though this car has a tasty list of parts from Honda tuners Mugen and Spoon.
However, the car you see here hits the JDM classic sweet spot. Not only is it completely stock, but it’s a fresh import from Japan and, therefore, hasn’t been exposed to Britain’s salty, corrosion-friendly winter roads. Not yet, anyway. Those red Recaros are known for wearing, though the interior of this example looks absolutely spotless. DCY Europe wants £17,985 for it, which sounds like a reasonable deal compared to some other JDM icons out there. Resist the urge to mod the heck out of it – and try to keep it away from gritted roads – and it’ll likely hold its value nicely. Not that you’ll want to part ways with it, mind…
SPECIFICATION | HONDA CIVIC TYPE R (DC5)
Engine: 1,998cc four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 220@8,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 152@7,000rpm
Year registered: 2001
Recorded mileage: 58,000
Price new: est. £23,000 (import only)
Yours for: £17,985.
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