Want something to bring up with your mates at the pub? Well, if they’re as nerdy about cars as you, they’ll love this Honda Civic Type R trivia.
The Honda Civic Type R is one of the most popular entry-level performance cars to drive, tune & modify. As a result, there’s plenty of common knowledge about these vehicles, which often culminates online in the form of slightly cringy VTEC memes.
However, we’re not here to explain Honda’s high-revving variable valve timing & cam lift technology to you. Instead, here’s a few bits of Honda Civic Type R trivia that you might not be aware of…
We all know that the Honda Civic Type R is a formidable sporting platform, but to put things into perspective, let’s take a look at what the model has achieved on track in recent years.
For a start, the outgoing FK8 generation of the car stamped its authority on the FWD hot hatch market by clocking lap records all around the globe. From the Nürburgring to Magny Cours, from Silverstone to Tailem Bend. It even held the Suzuka lap record for FWD production cars too, until recently, when the new FL5 Civic Type R outgunned it.
As a full-on race car, the Civic is just as potent. In the UK, the FK2-generation Civic stands as the most successful vehicle to ever compete under the current British Touring Car Championship ruleset. Before teams phased it out, it picked up an impressive 66 race victories and 4 overall championship titles.
Honda afficionados will often suggest that the Japanese-market version of the EP3-gen Civic Type R was a much better vehicle than the version we got over here in Europe. And with good reason, too. Make no mistake, the UK & EU market EP3 is still a wonderful hot hatch, but the JDM car had all sorts of extra goodies.
Those extras included the classic Championship White paintwork, matched with white alloys. The red Recaro bucket seats were also for Japan only, as was the EK9-esque standard helical LSD. In fact, the JDM-spec EP3 even had a more track-oriented chassis set-up, and more power too: 212hp, compared to the UKDM car’s 197hp!
However, the mystique of this supposed ‘Japanese Special’ fades somewhat when you learn that the Japanese had no hand in actually building it. Rather than being constructed at the hallowed turf of Suzuka like the EK9 was, the all-singing-and-dancing JDM EP3 was built in Swindon. How exotic…
Still, those added performance and styling extras definitely make importing a JDM-spec car worthwhile. Just be aware that this won’t be its first trip along the Suez Canal…
The FK8 Pick-Up Truck
If I was to say the phrase, ‘Honda Civic Type R pickup truck’, you’d be forgiven for thinking I was referencing a crazy grassroots project built in the back of someone’s shed. However, this FK8 pickup, or ‘ute’ if your rather, is a lot more official than you might imagine.
This skunkworks project is the brainchild of 12 engineers from Honda’s UK division, who decided to get a little creative. The FK8’s powertrain remains the same, however there are several other modifications, besides the obvious flat bed in the back.
The rear wing is different to that of a regular FK8, designed to give better access to the bed. Meanwhile, there’s also an upwards-opening tailgate in place of the old trunk, allowing entry into the metal-plastered loading bay. The anti-roll bars are also stiffer than normal in a bid to combat the dynamic drawbacks of chopping off the rear section of the car’s roof.
As you might imagine, this Frankenstein’s monster of a pickup is purely a one-off, never intended for production. So, why build it then? Well, when that question was posed to a Honda spokesman, he simply said, “Because it’s fun and because we like a challenge.”
If only more car companies had that kind of attitude…
Spoon & The Todo School
Aside from perhaps Mugen, Spoon Sports is the most well-renowned Honda tuner. Formed in 1988, Spoon has always had strong ties with the original Honda family, which undoubtedly will have helped them to become the tuning titans that they are today.
Specializing in engine and handling enhancements, every Spoon Sports aftermarket part is rigorously tested, usually through the realm of motorsport. Over the years, Spoon has competed all over the world, in series including the domestic Japanese Super Taikyu Championship, German VLN Endurance Series, and (now-defunct) United States Touring Car Championship. It is these testing and development ventures which spawned Spoons’ iconic bright yellow & blue racing liveries.
As a testament to Spoon’s prowess in the Honda tuning sphere, one of their demonstration cars is featured in hit Japanese anime series, Initial D. As the storyline goes, the show’s protagonist street racer Takumi comes up against challengers from a prestigious group called ‘The Todo School’. The School’s secret weapon is a Sunlight Yellow Honda Civic Type R EK9, that looks suspiciously similar to the Spoon demonstrator pictured above. The unofficial-but-obvious Spoon EK9 gives Takumi one of his closest battles in the entire show; a fitting and intentional decision by the writers, given Spoon’s stature in the world of modified cars.
Looking for more Honda Civic Type R content? Check out this compilation of our best modified CTR feature cars!