RE: Honda Civic Type R (EK9): PH Heroes

RE: Honda Civic Type R (EK9): PH Heroes

Wednesday 19th October 2016

Honda Civic Type R (EK9): PH Heroes

Honda's original JDM Civic Type R is perhaps the most fun you can have in a 1.6-litre hatchback



Given the choice, we reckon most PHers would choose a high-revving naturally aspirated engine over a forced induction unit every time. Now although the majority might demand six or eight cylinders, one of the greatest exponents of the high-revving motorsport-derived engine - Honda - focused primarily on humble four-cylinder units. And the finest of these could well be the original EK9 Civic Type R.

Humble exterior, very exotic underpinnings
Humble exterior, very exotic underpinnings
Reflect on the spec for a moment: 185hp from a 1,595cc engine, two very different cam profiles delivering low speed docility plus full-on track-ready lunacy, and an output of nearly 116hp per litre. No turbos or superchargers in sight, a sub-1,100kg kerbweight and a proper limited-slip diff make the EK9 Type R a real blast to drive on road and track. In fact it feels most at home on circuit, with a banshee motorsport soundtrack and brilliantly balanced handling.

Yet despite this hardcore drive the manic little Civic looks delightfully plain, with a practical hatchback persona that gives very little away. Available today mainly from Japanese importers, its Type R goodies include Recaro bucket seats, a front strut brace, a titanium gear knob and that front limited-slip diff, plus of course a few Type R badges here and there.

Exclusivity is one of the EK9's many attractions - because the car wasn't officially sold in the UK you hardly ever see them on the road. Sadly many of the closest UK-spec Civics have rusted away too. None possessed such a focused factory chassis set-up as the Type R though and that means most owners keep their cars pretty standard, especially as values of good examples are now climbing rapidly. Today's minimum asking price is £6,500, but it won't stay at that level much longer.

185hp at 8,200rpm, 118lb ft at 7,500rpm...
185hp at 8,200rpm, 118lb ft at 7,500rpm...
A Hero is born

Launched in Japan back in 1997, the EK9 was the first Civic to receive the Type R name and based on the EK4 Civic three-door SiR hatchback. The blueprinted DOHC 1.6-litre four-cylinder B16 engine produced 185hp at 8,200rpm, whilst torque peaked at a stratospheric 7,500rpm. A light body (1,040kg-1,090kg, depending on spec) enabled the EK9 to top out at over 140mph, with 62mph arriving in around 6.6 seconds. Racers who have treated the clutch with some disdain and redlined the car in second claim to have reached 60 in less than six seconds, but most EK9 owners are a more considerate bunch and treat their cars with near reverence.

The five-speed manual transmission is a treat, with a quick action but quite wide gear ratios, whilst the handling and ride are excellent. With a helical front limited-slip diff and front and rear double wishbone suspension, the EK9 also featured a part seam-welded monocoque chassis to improve rigidity. And to think most people assume it's just a 90s Civic...

In 1998, a stripped-out Motor Sports edition Civic Type R was released; it lacked almost all the electrical goodies but still came with the same interior. Later that year Honda facelifted the EK9 (the immaculate Championship White car you see here is a pre-facelift model) with redesigned headlights, front bumper, a revised ECU, optional front fog lights plus minor cabin and electrical tweaks. An end-of-line Rx model was released in late 1999 boasting alloy pedals, remote locking and revised heater controls. In all Honda produced just over 16,000 EK9s for the Japanese market, with 9,205 being the facelifted version.

It's not a fast Honda without red seats, is it?
It's not a fast Honda without red seats, is it?
Scream dream

As brand snobs love to point out, the EK9 Type R is never going to win any classic car styling awards, but let's be realistic - this is a three-door Japanese hot hatch, not an Aston Martin. How would you want it to look? Exactly. And if you are unlucky enough to claim any brand snobs among your circle of friends, simply squeeze them behind the wheel, direct them to the nearest track (preferably via some undulating B-roads) and sit back. When they return head down, muttering quietly to themselves and admitting they've completely misjudged the Honda, it's best to simply offer a wry smile and some comforting words.

The low-slung driving position is flawless and you're held tightly by those bright red Recaros, with the stubby titanium gear lever absolutely perfect. It does get a little chilly to hold in winter but soon warms up as you need - and indeed want- to change gear as often as possible. At lower revs the EK9 possesses a surprisingly sedate character - although the chassis always feels taught and ready for action - but change down, enter the VTEC zone (yo) and all hell breaks loose.

The aggressive, infamous, much missed cam change at around 6,000rpm is most certainly present and correct here, accompanied by an unearthly scream as the rev counter rushes towards 8,000rpm and beyond. This changeover is more extreme than in later Type Rs and the performance between 6,000 and 8,000rpm means the EK9 feels like it has more than 200hp. It remains tremendously exciting.

On track this is where you want to be 90 per cent of the time, so that means plenty of gear changes. Thankfully the 'box is super slick and the clutch gentle, while the ride isn't as harsh as the later UK FN2 model in spite of the EK9's go kart handling. Our only recommend track day tweak to a standard car would be set of more powerful brake pads, perhaps with some braided lines.

We won't see its like again!
We won't see its like again!
Finders keepers

If at this point you're about to scour the classifieds for the nearest mint-condition EK9, a word of caution: finding the right EK9 might take you a fair while. The reason? Well there are two really. Firstly, with values rising most of the good examples aren't being put up for sale by their owners and, secondly, as a JDM-only model supply over here has always been pretty limited. The solution? Import an EK9 from one of the more well-known importers. Yes, you will have a bit of a wait on your hands as your heart's desire enjoys a well-earned six-week world cruise, but the wait will be worth it. And what's the waiting list for, say, a new Golf R? Exactly.

The most respected importers will follow your instructions to the letter, buy the best condition EK9 available and do all the preparation necessary to ensure your Type R is tickety-boo on UK roads. If you are lucky enough to find one that's already at home in the UK, then make sure you check it closely for any signs of rust. This can affect almost anywhere but is usually restricted to the rear arches, sill and underbody. Make sure it's not burning oil, that the VTEC engine has no nasty surprises and check under the boot carpet for holes.

In addition, make sure your EK9 has no signs of repaired accident damage (a lot have been on track) and test the gearbox thoroughly. Servicing is every 6,000 miles, with the biggies at 48K, 60K and 72K miles - often the point at which there are imported - and always avoid cars with missing service points. Avoid too EK9s with internal engine modifications, as standard cars will always be more in demand. Brakes and (arguably) induction, exhaust and springs are the only mods you should ever consider. Expect to pay between £6,500 and £9,000, although low-mileage Championship White facelifted Rx models can fetch even more - but that's still a small price to pay for perhaps Honda's most exciting PH Hero.

Inspired? Search Honda Civic Type Rs for sale


Honda Civic Type-R EK9 - Specifications
Engine 1,595cc 4-cyl
Transmission 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
Power (hp) 185@8,200rpm
Torque (lb ft) 118@7,500rpm
0-62mph 6.6 sec
Top Speed 146mph
Weight 1,040 to 1,090kg
On sale 1997-2000
Price new (1997) Approx. 2,000,000 yen (£16,500)
Price now £6,000-£9,500

Many thanks to Civic Type-R Owners Club, the Type-R-Owners Club and PHer David Haswell for letting us shoot his car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photos: Sim Mainey]

Author
Discussion

MrGeoff

Original Poster:

286 posts

105 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
What a great car this was and what a fun engine. Truly a PH Hero.

daveco

3,543 posts

140 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
These sound absolutely immense at full chat.

It's a shame they attracted the attention of the chav crowd, I remember getting an insurance quote for one back in the day and it was absurdly expensive.

crashley

1,473 posts

113 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Interesting little cars, worth noting they weren't that much quicker than the 168bhp VTI. Indeed my mum had a Civic Jordan from new that she ran until about 130k miles, when i (stupidly) sold it to some guys from Birmingham for a song.

V927 MJN- where are you now!?

steve1386

51 posts

105 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
I wish I had the pleasure of driving one of these - one of my all time favourite Hondas, along with the DC2 Integra Type R (in Japanese spec).

I've owned several VTEC Hondas (couple of Civics and an S2000) and sadly they are no more due to the relentless war on emissions...which will only continue and make everyday cars like these more and more dull.

To me, Honda made the best engines to ever go in a hot hatch / relatively affordable sports car.

mp3manager

4,226 posts

129 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Rev-tastic!

A guy at work has one of these and when parked next to my FK2, the EK9 is dwarfed by the beefed-up latest gen Civic.
It just shows how Honda have lost sight of what a true Type R is all about.
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krismccloy

149 posts

82 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Nice to see one of my favorites in the Heroes, I've driven the EK9, owned the EK4 SiR and then imported myself a '99 DC2 afterwards.

Can't help but feel this is an itch I have to scratch at some point, 92-00 was the era of the true Type R's for me, Not the MacPherson struts and budget driven manufactured cars we received afterwards.

My previous FN2 and current EP3 just don't compare, Although the K20 is a nice engine...

Edited by krismccloy on Wednesday 19th October 12:39

Tickle

2,789 posts

137 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
I see one of these every morning on my way to the station, it looks fantastic and is immaculate.

Never driven one but have owned a DC2 which was great, would love to have one as a daily although I think I would be too precious about it.

Potentially #1 in my hot hatch list.

Loplop

1,641 posts

118 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
crashley said:
Interesting little cars, worth noting they weren't that much quicker than the 168bhp VTI. Indeed my mum had a Civic Jordan from new that she ran until about 130k miles, when i (stupidly) sold it to some guys from Birmingham for a song.

V927 MJN- where are you now!?
Pardon?

An EK4 to an EK9 is night and day, even an EK4 SiR is considerably different to a UK EK, think the SiR has 176 ish HP?

Not mentioned in the article is the EK9 race base which doesn't have a Type R steering wheel, airbags, electric Windows, recaros etc... Because it was sold on the assumption that all of the interior would be stripped.

Let's not forget the Spoon tuned EK9 that saw a 13000 rpm (Yes, 13 THOUSAND) redline and around 240 bhp from the 1.6

daveco

3,543 posts

140 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Loplop said:
crashley said:
Interesting little cars, worth noting they weren't that much quicker than the 168bhp VTI. Indeed my mum had a Civic Jordan from new that she ran until about 130k miles, when i (stupidly) sold it to some guys from Birmingham for a song.

V927 MJN- where are you now!?
Pardon?

An EK4 to an EK9 is night and day, even an EK4 SiR is considerably different to a UK EK, think the SiR has 176 ish HP?

Not mentioned in the article is the EK9 race base which doesn't have a Type R steering wheel, airbags, electric Windows, recaros etc... Because it was sold on the assumption that all of the interior would be stripped.

Let's not forget the Spoon tuned EK9 that saw a 13000 rpm (Yes, 13 THOUSAND) redline and around 240 bhp from the 1.6
13,000 rpm??

That is phenomenal! Were they reliable and did you drive one?

James Junior

739 posts

90 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Love the concept and looks these and the DC2 Integras. Never driven either but reportedly they rank amongst the best FWD performance cars ever.

I like the Japanese stuff and currently have a 370Z and MR2 Turbo. Would like to add one of the above to the stable if a nice unmolested example of either were to come up for sale next year.

Tickle

2,789 posts

137 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Loplop said:
crashley said:
Interesting little cars, worth noting they weren't that much quicker than the 168bhp VTI. Indeed my mum had a Civic Jordan from new that she ran until about 130k miles, when i (stupidly) sold it to some guys from Birmingham for a song.

V927 MJN- where are you now!?
Pardon?

An EK4 to an EK9 is night and day, even an EK4 SiR is considerably different to a UK EK, think the SiR has 176 ish HP?

Not mentioned in the article is the EK9 race base which doesn't have a Type R steering wheel, airbags, electric Windows, recaros etc... Because it was sold on the assumption that all of the interior would be stripped.

Let's not forget the Spoon tuned EK9 that saw a 13000 rpm (Yes, 13 THOUSAND) redline and around 240 bhp from the 1.6
Indeed; the strengthened and seam welded chassis, lighter glass, LSD and springs/dampers would make it quicker than the VTI before evening mentioning the extra power.


Edited by Tickle on Wednesday 19th October 13:08

paulyv

509 posts

56 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
crashley said:
V927 MJN- where are you now!?
Still on the road, despite having one of the longest MOT failure listing I have seen some 12 months ago:

Reason(s) for failure
Bonnet cannot be secured in the closed position (8.4.1)
Exhaust emissions carbon monoxide content after 2nd fast idle excessive (7.3.D.3)
Anti-lock braking system warning lamp indicates an ABS fault (3.4.1c)
Power steering pump drive system missing (2.3.6)
Nearside Front position lamp(s) not working (1.1.A.3b)
Offside Front position lamp(s) not working (1.1.A.3b)
Offside Headlamp aim too low (1.8)
Offside Front Direction indicator not working (1.4.A.2c)
Nearside Lower Front suspension ball joint dust cover excessively deteriorated so that it no longer prevents the ingress of dirt (2.4.G.2)
Nearside Front suspension has a suspension upper ball joint securing nut not locked (2.5.B.1a)
Offside Front suspension has a suspension upper ball joint securing nut not locked (2.5.B.1a)
Nearside Front suspension has a suspension lower ball joint securing nut not locked (2.5.B.1a)
Offside Front suspension has excessive movement at a suspension ball joint (2.5.A.1c)
Nearside Front constant velocity joint gaiter insecure to the extent that it no longer prevents the ingress of dirt etc (2.5.C.1a)
Nearside rear brake binding (3.7.B.1)
Nearside Outer Rear Body has a sharp edge caused by corrosion (6.1.C.1)
Offside Outer Rear Body has a sharp edge caused by corrosion (6.1.C.1)
Rear Exhaust system not adequately supported (7.1.1)
Nearside Rear wheel bearing has excessive play (2.6.2)
Offside Front Brake pad(s) less than 1.5 mm thick (3.5.1g)
Nearside Front Wheel nut(s) missing (4.2.A.1e)

Advisory notice item(s)
Nearside Front Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Offside Front Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Nearside Rear Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Offside Rear Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Nearside Rear Tyre worn close to the legal limit (4.1.E.1)
Offside Rear Tyre worn close to the legal limit (4.1.E.1)
Offside Front suspension has slight play in a lower suspension ball joint (2.5.B.1a)
nearside mirror is insecure
all floor sills and chassis are slightly corroded

stew-S160

6,997 posts

171 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
As a former DC2 ITR owner, the EK9 is still held in high regard for me. I love them. Every time I see one on the roads, or a DC2 or DC5, I have instant respect for the car and owner.

The engines respond very well to breathing mods. There are plenty about and only enhance the manic nature. Yes, there are some out there kicking around with very stupid exhaust systems on, but let's not acknowledge those...

Krikkit

12,994 posts

114 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
How do these compare to a DC2? Never knew they had a seam-welded shell, very cool!

PaulJC84

599 posts

150 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
A friend imported one of these about 10 years ago and when he took me for a spin it just felt special.

Not sure what it was but it is about the only Civic I would own.

Values are on the rise but still pretty sensible when compared to some European hatches.

havoc

23,963 posts

168 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
How do these compare to a DC2? Never knew they had a seam-welded shell, very cool!
The B16C is a peakier engine still than the Integra's B18C, so the EK9 is even more on/off and needs even more thrashing to get the pace out of. A not-uncommon mod is to transplant the B18 into the EK9 body, which some suggest is the best of both worlds*...

Chassis - some prefer the EK9 to the DC2 (also part seam-welded) - EK9 is more of a go-kart, with an even-more-resilient front-end, but the DC2 feels a little more adjustable - it feels a little more willing to wag it's tail, in a very on-your-side way not in an old-school French "whoah, where'd that come from?" way. All depends on your preferred style, really.

Brakes/gearbox are I think identical - not sure if the EK9 has a shorter final-drive. The interiors are very very similar - same good points / same bad points.

If I get another one I'll go DC2 for a 3rd time as I'm still in love with that machine (and it looks so much better), but I've a ton of respect for the EK9 and a nagging suspicion that, mid-range aside, it might just edge the DC2 as a driver's machine...




* Some philistines prefer the K20! wink
(More seriously, K20 is a better real-world engine with, in JDM-tune at least, a ridiculously-good mid-range for a VTEC and a similar redline to the hardcore B-series lumps. JDM versions also sound very good, albeit in a more mechanical/metallic way than the almost-organic 'snarl' of the DC2/EK9 engines. A wrung-out DC2 in cold winter air is about as good as a fuel-injected 4-pot can ever sound, to me - every bit as good as a roller-barrel TB'd high-spec Caterham engine)

ikarl

3,606 posts

132 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
Article said:
Racers who have treated the clutch with some disdain and redlined the car in second claim to have reached 60 in less than six seconds, but most EK9 owners are a more considerate bunch and treat their cars with near reverence.
Wait,..What??

ShuthanVtec

145 posts

62 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
krismccloy said:
92-00 was the era of the true Type R's for me, Not the MacPherson struts and budget driven manufactured cars we received afterwards.

Edited by krismccloy on Wednesday 19th October 12:39
I always tell this to people and many agree, well apart from the EP3/FN2 owners who still think their cars are the best Type-R's ever (dellusional)

But the 90's designed Type-R's were an era when Honda made cars with passion and thought, I have been in LOTS of Hondas having been a fan since I started driving, and I own an Accord type-R which is also considered to be one of the best FWD greats too. Cars like the Accord Type-R and EK9/DC2 will remind anyone how great Honda used to be IMO. LSD, a well designed chassis and the old skool VTEC engines wink Good stuff.

Edited by ShuthanVtec on Wednesday 19th October 14:04


Edited by ShuthanVtec on Wednesday 19th October 14:09


Edited by ShuthanVtec on Wednesday 19th October 15:28

Usget

4,466 posts

144 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
daveco said:
13,000 rpm??

That is phenomenal! Were they reliable and did you drive one?
Fabulous BestMotoring video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoW4ud32MyI

FN2TypeR

5,591 posts

26 months

Wednesday 19th October 2016
quotequote all
crashley said:
Interesting little cars, worth noting they weren't that much quicker than the 168bhp VTI. Indeed my mum had a Civic Jordan from new that she ran until about 130k miles, when i (stupidly) sold it to some guys from Birmingham for a song.

V927 MJN- where are you now!?
MOT expires February 7th 2017 according to the governments MOT checker, but, oddly, the tax expired over two years ago.

Can you MOT a car than has been declared SORN?

paulyv said:
Still on the road, despite having one of the longest MOT failure listing I have seen some 12 months ago:

Reason(s) for failure
Bonnet cannot be secured in the closed position (8.4.1)
Exhaust emissions carbon monoxide content after 2nd fast idle excessive (7.3.D.3)
Anti-lock braking system warning lamp indicates an ABS fault (3.4.1c)
Power steering pump drive system missing (2.3.6)
Nearside Front position lamp(s) not working (1.1.A.3b)
Offside Front position lamp(s) not working (1.1.A.3b)
Offside Headlamp aim too low (1.8)
Offside Front Direction indicator not working (1.4.A.2c)
Nearside Lower Front suspension ball joint dust cover excessively deteriorated so that it no longer prevents the ingress of dirt (2.4.G.2)
Nearside Front suspension has a suspension upper ball joint securing nut not locked (2.5.B.1a)
Offside Front suspension has a suspension upper ball joint securing nut not locked (2.5.B.1a)
Nearside Front suspension has a suspension lower ball joint securing nut not locked (2.5.B.1a)
Offside Front suspension has excessive movement at a suspension ball joint (2.5.A.1c)
Nearside Front constant velocity joint gaiter insecure to the extent that it no longer prevents the ingress of dirt etc (2.5.C.1a)
Nearside rear brake binding (3.7.B.1)
Nearside Outer Rear Body has a sharp edge caused by corrosion (6.1.C.1)
Offside Outer Rear Body has a sharp edge caused by corrosion (6.1.C.1)
Rear Exhaust system not adequately supported (7.1.1)
Nearside Rear wheel bearing has excessive play (2.6.2)
Offside Front Brake pad(s) less than 1.5 mm thick (3.5.1g)
Nearside Front Wheel nut(s) missing (4.2.A.1e)

Advisory notice item(s)
Nearside Front Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Offside Front Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Nearside Rear Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Offside Rear Suspension arm rubber bush deteriorated but not resulting in excessive movement (2.4.G.2)
Nearside Rear Tyre worn close to the legal limit (4.1.E.1)
Offside Rear Tyre worn close to the legal limit (4.1.E.1)
Offside Front suspension has slight play in a lower suspension ball joint (2.5.B.1a)
nearside mirror is insecure
all floor sills and chassis are slightly corroded
eek bloody nora.

Edited by FN2TypeR on Wednesday 19th October 14:12