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Acura Integra Type R: America’s Only Type R Honda

Throughout the late 1990s, performance-craving Americans often complained that foreign automakers saved all the cool stuff for basically any market that wasn’t the United States. The BMW M3 had more power in Europe, for example, and wagon versions of the BMW M5 and the Mercedes E55 AMG didn’t make their way over here. But the biggest offender was Japan.

Burned by the poor sales performance of sports cars in the mid-1990s and faced with increasingly unfavorable exchange rates, the Japanese mostly kept their high-performance cars out of the U.S. in the late 1990s. Although some American car enthusiasts clamored for Type R Civics, Mitsubishi Evos, Subaru WRXs and the Nissan Skyline, none of those cars came to the U.S. in the late 1990s.

Except one. One single Honda Type R made its way over here — in the form of an AcuraSee the Acura Integra models for sale near you

It was the Acura Integra Type R, and it was sold in the United States for four model years: 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001, with an unusual break in 1999. The rarest model year was 1997, with 320 Integra Type R models imported, while the next three model years saw 1,002, 1,355 and 1,173 examples, respectively. Perhaps even stranger were the color choices: You could only get yellow in 1997 and 1998, while white and black were added in 2000 or 2001.

But the Integra Type R was an impressive car. Somehow, it managed to eek 195 horsepower out of its tiny 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine without the help of forced induction — and its tachometer went all the way to 10,000 rpm, with redline starting around 8,400. It went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in the sub-7-second range — that was pretty good for back then — and the ITR, as enthusiasts call it, reportedly handled like it was on rails.

But the Integra Type R suffered from some issues. None of these were problems with the car itself, but rather reactions to it: A huge number of ITRs were stolen for their rare engine and other lightweight Type R parts, and many more were modified to the point of being nearly unrecognizable. Today, a stock Type R is almost impossible to find.

And that’s a shame, because the Integra Type R ended up being the only Type R Honda we ever got, as the brand chose to skip high-performance Type R versions of cars like the Honda Civic and the Acura NSX. Or at least until this year, as Honda says it’s finally resurrecting the Type R name for a high-performance Civic. I wonder if it’ll rev to 10,000 rpm. Find an Acura Integra for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Good write up Doug… The 1997 & 1998 ITR’s were white, not yellow.  2000 ITR’s came in Flamengo? black & yellow.  Meanwhile, the 2001 ITR’s came in Nighthawk black & yellow.  My biggest regret back in 2000 was not buying one.  

  2. In 2000, my father was looking for something to replace his 1995 Integra RS.  His choices came down to a Camaro… or another Integra.  The Integra because I asked him if he liked his current one and, when he said that he did, I suggested just buying a fancier one.

    So he took a Type R for a test drive… and hated it.  Suspension was too harsh for the roads hereabouts.  So he ended up getting a GS-R instead.

    That GS-R lasted my family for 8 years and over 300,000 km.  When my mother traded it in (Dad passed away about a year after buying it), the Acura dealership couldn’t get it fast enough.  She replaced it with a CSX, which was a whole other story (clutches had to be replaced in less mileage than oil changes).

  3. Few years back i test drove a black Gsr. Around 70-80kish miles good condition and was around $7,500. Still really whish i had bought it.

    That dealer Also had a yellow type R with about double the milage in a rougher condition for about twice the price because there so rare. 
  4. I might suggest a 2006-11 Honda Civic Si. They’re not collectible, but are fun to drive and handle great, and like their collectible brother, the Type R Integra, have chassis re-inforcements at the suspension points. It was assumed by the designers that the Si would see track time. They used the Acura TL front brakes and had a very stiff front sway bar. The engine was smooth all the way to the cut-out due to counter-balance shafts, and the 6-speed tranny was smooth and quiet. Besides; there is a boat-load of modifications available for these cars now, including available Type-R motors from Japan! It was a well-thought-out design and the Japanese engineering team came from Tokyo to Ohio to put the finishing touches on it in 2005. 

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