It's not like there hasn't been plenty of front-drive performance cars to get excited about in the last twenty years. Yet despite fabulous entrants from Renaultsport, Peugeot and Ford (to name a few) the DC2 Integra Type R stands tall. If you've driven one, you'll know. If you haven't, then imagine what an atmospheric 190hp, 7,900rpm 1.8-litre VTEC is like when its attached to a 1.1-tonne, limited-slip diff chassis steered hydraulically and tuned by God.
Forget what seems like middling output. Honda toiled to hand-extract the power from its indestructible four-pot, and its efforts are admirable to this day. It's 8hp more than Dieppe managed in the larger capacity and heavier-engined Clio 182 Trophy, and its inherent lightness means the Integra feels poised and even-footed. Crucially, it feels like a sports car - which is a neat trick for something powering the wrong axle.
To say it corners well is like saying Messi strikes a ball okay or that Ronnie O'Sullivan is decent at frame building. For what it is, it is dreamily good. Apply any descriptive you like. Communicative? Like a neon sign. Adjustable? Like silly putty. Fun? It makes even a car as prodigiously able as the FK8 Civic Type R - which is obviously considerably quicker - seem pound-cake stodgy. Sure, 6.7-sec to 62mph and 145mph is nothing to write home about - but in the right hands the numbers could hardly be less important. It's like asking how fast Rudolf Nureyev runs.
The DC2's cohesive setup and fluid handling was the front-drive benchmark in the nineties, and while it wouldn't see which way a present day hot hatch had gone, rest assured that its purity is unmatched. Nothing built by a mainstream manufacturer in 2021 can weigh so little or be so naturally nimble when saddled with modern safety equipment. Nor can anyone - not even Honda - replicate that VTEC wail when turbochargers and particulate filters are added.
It makes for a unique prospect. And a rare one in good nick. Hence the appreciation in prices. Niche appeal meant the used prices for the DC2 plummeted below £5,000 not so long ago. But changes in the wider world and the car's stellar reputation among the few means that modern classic status is now assured. The pictured car is a perfect example. It's a 60k-mile V-reg advertised for £13,995, which goes £995 beyond our maximum estimate when Matt drove a Honda UK heritage DC2 for our hero piece in 2017. It's also £5k more than the other listed DC2.
But this car has averaged fewer than 3,000 miles a year. And the results of that are plain to see; Recaro Trendlines in fine shape, apparently near-spotless black paintwork and 15-inch wheels you could eat your pub garden dinner off. The first of just two owners had this car from new to 2019, which suggests they were rather fond of it. The servicing history and included supply of paperwork backs that thought up. So while it's right up there at the top of DC2 'teg money, it's probably the best example we've seen in ages. And if you're the preserve-for-posterity type, arguably cheap at twice the price.
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