Every self-respecting hot hatch enthusiast is aware of the virtues of the Honda Integra Type R. The latter-day DC5 is a lesser-known quantity: unlike its older sibling the DC2, it was only officially made for the Japanese market and is a rare sight on the U.K.’s roads.
Being the replacement, the DC2's successor was larger and more practical, more powerful and endowed with newer technology to make it arguably a better all-rounder. Honda had gathered a team of ex-F1 engineers to develop and engineer the replacement with chunkier styling, an expanded 2.0-litre engine and a close-ratio gearbox with six speeds.
There was just one major upgrade in the DC5's lifetime, from September 2004: A front- and rear-end restyle featuring new squared-off lights with auto-levelling HID headlamps (Option), redesigned bumpers and revised air intakes and grille.
Inside were new white-faced gauges that turned red at night and titanium-coloured trim plus keyless entry.
Under the skin, the suspension was improved with harder bushes, tougher mountings, and there were a larger brake master cylinder and tougher pedal mountings.
The raw performance figures were a peak output of 220hp at 8,000rpm, with an 8,500rpm rev limit and torque of 152lb ft at 7,000rpm. Top speed was 150mph and 0-60mph was 6.3 seconds. These are performance figures that even by today's standards remain quick, but that doesn't tell all. These were and remain very capable driver's cars, which reward a skilled pilot with impressive point to point capability, all without the use of heavier turbo charger, intercooler, etc. to add weight and inertia.
Equipment on the DC5 is comprehensive, without being over the top.
Opening either door you're greeted by the fresh-looking & figure-hugging original Recaro SR-4 seats. A Momo leather trimmed red-stitched SRS steering wheel is perfectly shaped for 3 & 9 o'clock hand positions on the straight ahead. The front seat passenger is similarly well seated, with an Airbag built into the dashboards. Doors are trimmed in the same material as the mesh sections on the seats. Air conditioning is powerful, with rotational vents that can be aimed as desired. Power Steering has variable assistance, meaning feel is never lost as speeds increase. The titanium shift knob has a pleasing feel and falls easily to hand.
The 4 speaker sound system includes Carrozzeria (Pioneer) TS-F1600 uprated 120W speakers and a Pioneer FH580 head unit. Lighting colour has neatly been set to the same red colour as the instrument display at night. Original Honda option fitted mats are included. Mirrors are electrically retractable and central locking works via the security key.
Rear seats are black Alcantara. As part of the C-Package, there's factory tinted rear windows and rear wash wipe. Many of the DC5 Facelift models were specified without a rear spoiler, or with a low rear lip spoiler design. Fortunately, this example was equipped with the full sized spoiler design.
The more angular shape of the DC5 in replacement for its predecessor was the work of Hideaki Uchino, who had at the time recently finished a stint at Pininfarina, before penning Honda’s replacement for a legendary icon. He cited the success (in his view) of the Ferrari 360 Modena's higher stance compared to the old 355. That the Facelift DC5 still looks fresh today, is indicative of a masterstroke – as is the case with so many other icons that still look fresh today, despite the tests of time.
There was substantial body strengthening throughout the Type R, with torsional rigidity up 116% compared to the DC2. Lots of aluminium bits (bumper beam, front lower arms & brake callipers) helped lighten the weight, with reduced sound deadening too. Being a larger car than its predecessor, although it had exactly the same wheelbase and overall length, the DC5 was both taller and wider, and 60kg heavier (although still a relatively lightweight 1,180kg compared to more modern equivalent cars).
Inside, Honda described the cabin as "dynamic yet also snug." The DC5 has enough rear seat space to fit two adults in reasonable comfort and even - thanks to the compact rear suspension design - a very usable flat-floored boot, with split folding rear seats trimmed in black Alcantara. The cabin also featured a full roster of enthusiast goodies, including Recaro SR-4 seats, a Momo leather steering wheel, four dials with red illuminated characters, polished aluminium pedals & titanium gear lever.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Honda's fresh K20 1,998cc engine - some 200cc bigger than the DC2's B18C engine. Being a thoroughbred Type R Honda threw all sorts of clever tech at the engine, including an isometric intake manifold, 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, High Flow Catalyst plus high-strength crankshaft and con rods. The K20 now carried a more intelligent version of variable valve timing called "i-VTEC”. This basically added VTC (Variable Timing Control) that could advance or retard the valve timing, in contrast to previous VTEC incarnations that merely adjusted the lift and duration. In addition, the engine now turned around to have the intake manifold at the front of the car. The new engine revved eagerly all the way up to an 8,400rpm redline. In spite of now making 220 bhp, the new powerplant was actually 10kg lighter than the legendary DC2’s.
The new Type R was equipped with a new six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox. The DC5 Type R was the world's first 4 cylinder car to use multiple synchromesh cones for all gears (triple-cone first and second, double-cone third to sixth), combined with a forged chromoly flywheel reducing inertia, for sharper response and acceleration.
WHEELS, BRAKES & SUSPENSION
The DC5's suspension consisted of McPherson struts up front and a double wishbone rear.
Thick anti-roll bars, while unique lightweight alloy wheels contributed to reducing unsprung mass. The front brakes (jointly developed with Brembo) used four-piston aluminium callipers, while 300mm Brembo vented discs. 17” wheels, produced by Enkei were colour matched to the Honda Championship White bodywork.
Being Honda Type R enthusiasts, with at least 5 of our own at any given time and having prepared and raced one, winning a 2010 endurance championship in Japan – Fast Hondas are something we have a particular affinity for. So when selecting this example for stock, our brief was: It had to be a facelift model carrying all the improvements of its predecessor, needed to be straight and in completely rust free condition, with excellent provenance.
After the exhaustive rejection of many examples that came before it, this is the example we chose, which as you’ll see – is in near-factory original condition and still very fresh despite rolling off the production line in 2004.
The interior is still close to new. No damaged foam on the bolsters, nor worn through Alcantara, or stains on carpets, or seat material. It still looks close to new. Just look at it!
The body panels are all completely straight, with no rust whatsoever. Exterior plastic trims are in near new condition with no cracks or hardening, and headlights have no fading - indicative that this car has been well cared for and garaged, out of the harmful UV rays, when not in use. A lack of stone chips and discolouration to brake callipers also confirms this car’s not lived a hard life, either.
We did find just 3 pin dents on the doors, which have already been professionally removed.
Granted, this is one of the more expensive examples on offer; but when you start counting the costs of repairing and replacing worn parts on other seemingly “cheaper” examples that may be available elsewhere, you’ll realise – this is the wisest choice.
The K20 engine is a gem of a powerplant. Many of the UK's now rotted away Type R Civics have donated their drivetrains to power plant swaps for race cars and resto-mod earlier model Civics for several good reasons: Performance, reliability, lightweight - all spring to mind. The six-speed gearbox is fantastically precise and had a light, short throw between speeds. No dramas, just super quick changes to keep iV-Tec on the boil. So what about handling on the Type R Integra DC5? Yes, there is a small amount of body roll, but in terms of precision and dialling out understeer, it's confidence inspiring, no doubt helped by the standard limited-slip differential. The '5' can be made to oversteer if you're really hooning it, and if the road is wide enough a dab of the jolly old opposite-lock will bring it neatly back into line. The rack-and-pinion steering, equipped with speed variable assistance remains one of the great achievements of the DC5: ultra-precise, ultra-quick (2.6 turns lock to lock), resulting in a turn-in is as crisp as a packet of Walker's finest. And when there's a hazard ahead, the Brembo brakes work with aplomb. No drama, just excellent well-balanced brakes that are more than a match for the car's ability to go fast. Not least, U.K. built Civics weren't endowed with Brembo discs and callipers, so these brakes are something a bit extra special, to make a very capable and entertaining package.
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- LayoutFront Engined
- Size2,000 cc
- AspirationNormally Aspirated
- Power240 bhp
- Top speed150 mph
- Acceleration0 to 62 in 5.8 secs
- Driven WheelsFront Wheel Drive
- Body typeHatchback
- Vehicle height-
- Vehicle width-
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