Track-bred kudos and a VTEC heritage which stretches back to the 1989 (Honda's fourth-generation Civic SiR/VTI was the first to feature variable valve-timing and lift-control technology) have invested Honda's Civic Type R with a unique persona. Appealing to the purist these key elements set the Civic Type R apart from its hot hatch rivals; and although the first 1997 EK9 Type R was only ever officially available to Japanese buyers, the second generation UK-built EP3 Type R became one of the best-selling hot hatches of all time.
With a headline grabbing 100hp per litre the 2001 model quickly established itself as the benchmark hot hatch for a generation. And although its 2007 FN2 successor never quite attained the same dizzy heights, limited edition Mugen versions helped maintain the allure of the Civic Type R brand. Once more there was a hardcore Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) version - the FD2 - which was imported by a few dedicated fans. The Type R is now of course entering a revolutionary new phase with the new fourth-generation turbocharged FK2 model.
And that makes now the ideal time to look back at those three previous generations and find out which Type R Civics make the best buys, which are most likely to become collectable in the future and to discover which incarnation offers the finest track day drive.
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