Honda never officially sold a Civic Type-R Tourer, so what the heck is this thing?!
If this looks like a Honda Civic Type-R Tourer to you, that’s because it is. Sort of. Honda sold the FK2 Civic Type-R as a hatchback or nothing at all. No saloon version and definitely no estate. So what is this and who built it?
We’ve seen a few reports on this car suggest it was put together by Synchro Motorsport, probably because of the graphics on the car. However, after speaking to the man who headed-up the project, Alyn James, we can reveal that’s not strictly true. It’s more accurate to say it was built by members of the Honda UK Manufacturing at their Product Development workshop in Swindon. The confusion is that members of Synchro Motorsport, a race team created by Honda employees, use the car for events. Some of the team who built this car are also members of Synchro Motorsport too.
There’s nothing official about this project. Other than the fact Honda allowed the guys building it to use spare parts salvaged from development cars and the like. Alyn is the Manager for powertrain and durability at Honda, so he’s kind of a big deal. Funny thing is, he still gets a kick out of building project cars like the rest of us. He’s just got a posher workshop to play in.
He explains: “The idea came from a few of the senior engineers within the Product Development Division. We had just finished the development of the 2016 Civic Type R and really wanted to show off the engineering skills we have at Honda. We thought of different ways to demonstrate our expertise and the uniqueness of a Type-R Wagon interested us the most.”
Alyn has experienced a few engineering firsts while working for Honda. He was heavily involved in the creation a Jazz Type-R for example. He looks over the stealthy, stretched-out beast and says: “Basically we have built a complete Civic Type-R Tourer. Everything works as if it is an FK2, just in a Wagon body; Active City Braking, adaptive dampers, cruise control and even hill-start assist. The touchscreen infotainment system, Garmin sat nav and DAB radio all work too. The best part is the 306bhp turbocharged direct-injection engine under the bonnet. We took all the parts available to us in the factory and converted a 1.6-litre Diesel development car into the first ever Civic Type-R Tourer.”
That’s quite a transformation. So despite literally being a family Wagon, this thing can really move. As Alyn points out, it’s not just an engine swap either. It’s got the same Dual-Axis Type-R suspension setup at the front, designed to eliminate torque-steer. Plus a helical limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes and all the other goodies that make the FK2 such a weapon on both road and track.
Incredibly, the car was built in less than a month. Alyn explains: “We put a time limit of 4 weeks on this project as we couldn’t have it impact on the core roles of the engineers as the next development project was fast approaching. We had about 6 or 7 engineers involved directly, with many more that we could call upon to assist here and there. From the first part being removed to driving the car on the road, the build took a little over 3 weeks.”
Alyn adds: “That was quicker than expected, which I believe demonstrates the level of engineering skill we have at the factory. Darren Parsons is the Manager for the Body, Interior and Exterior teams. He was able to use his engineers to take on some of the bespoke parts. Everything forward of the rear wheels is pure FK2 Type-R but obviously the longer rear section meant we had to make some custom parts, mainly the rear bumper and exhaust.”
“Jason took on the remodelling of the rear bumper, making one-off moulds, plastic-welding and printing 3D parts. Rich Vanes used his knowledge from leading the Electrical team for many years to extend the cabin harnesses, set up the cross traffic alert radars and ensure all the safety packages on the FK2 worked on the Wagon Type-R. Leigh Simpson, Alan Hulbart and several other engineers were involved in the project too.”
With all this brain-power and experience, it’s no wonder the guys knocked this out of the park in around 21 days. Alyn admits: “These guys had just finished a huge project, I thought they might like a bit of down-time but I couldn’t keep them away from the car!” Apparently it’s been a similar story since, with everyone wanting to get comfortable in the Type-R driver seat, pull that distinctive red seat-belt across them and push the engine start button. We’re still getting used to turbo VTEC power in a Civic hatch, having that flame-spitting power in an Estate car must be a right laugh. We’re sure it’s crushed more than a few egos already.
Ever since we first saw the car at a VTEC Challenge trackday at Castle Combe, we knew it was special. The hardest thing to do in the modified car scene is something new. That’s exactly what this car is, it’s truly unique. You guys certainly think so. It’s appeared at both Japfest and The Fast Car Festival, each time surrounded by knowledgeable Honda nuts nodding their head in appreciation. It reminds us of the Honda Yuasa Racing BTCC Civic Tourers, expect this one has a stealthy matte black wrap and a pair of numberplates. This is one tasty set of Wagon wheels.
Who are Synchro Motorsport?
Synchro Motorsport is the voluntary racing team based out of Honda’s flagship European factory in Swindon, Wiltshire. The team is made up of Honda of the UK Manufacturing employees that dedicate their own time; Synchro Motorsport enters Britcar’s Dunlop Endurance Championship and the Creventic 24H series.
To follow their adventures, see the Synchro Motorsport Facebook
TECH SPEC: CIVIC TYPE-R WAGON
K20C1 2.0-litre 16v 4cyl turbo, extended exhaust system finishing in quad tailpipes
306bhp, 295lb/ft torque. 7k rev limit
6-speed manual FK2 gearbox, clutch and flywheel, Type-R helical LSD
4-pot front calipers with 350mm drilled discs, 296mm rear discs
Type-R Dual-Axis Strut front setup, Type-R springs and dampers, Type-R 23mm front anti-roll bar
WHEELS & TYRES
8.5x19in FK2 Type-R alloy wheels wrapped in 235/35-19 tyres
Full FK2 Type-R conversion including front bumper, wider front wings, sideskirts, etc. Custom rear bumper to match incorporating big diffuser, matte black wrap
Full FK2 Type-R conversion including front seats, red seat belts front and rear, steering wheel, gear lever and gaiter
Full Type-R Infotainment system and DAB Radio
Words Dan Goodyear Photos Chris Wallbank