Sold under the Acura badge in North America, and a Honda everywhere else, the 1997 Acura Integra Type-R was a rare car, not so much because of a small production run (it wasn’t small; they sold tons of them) but rather because it is exceptional in almost every way. Its styling was definitely understated , despite the large rear spoiler, and it was given a spectacular weight loss treatment, in great part to allow for the use of larger, tougher mechanical components, particularly in the suspension, transmission and differential (limited-slip). It got special Recaro bucket seats, drilled aluminum pedals, a titanium shifter knob and more.
Of course, Honda being Honda, most of the efforts were put in the engine. The Type-R was fitted with a spectacular VTEC 1.8-liter, 16-valve engine that produced 187 horsepower, and that redlined at an insane 8900 RPM. It featured hand-finished heads, light-weight pistons and all the little details that transform an everyday, humdrum engine into a fire-breathing, Formula-One inspired beauty. Performance-wide, the Type-R was impressive: a top speed of 145 miles per hour, and a 0-60 time of 6.9 seconds.
Numbers, however, don’t do this car justice; priced at about the same thing as a nice family car – nothing too extravagant – it was a true sports car, in every sense of the word. The 1997 Acura Integra Type-R is certainly in contention to be considered a modern classic.