This Was The First Honda Civic To Receive The Type-R Badge

The current Honda Civic Type-R is one of the crown jewels of Honda's lineup. It's a 300-plus horsepower Civic with a big wing that's made for racing. Any gearhead worth their salt will say that's a winning combination. The United States has been able to enjoy the Type-R since it came stateside in 2017 after decades of waiting for a factory-made fast Civic that's leagues spicier than the Civic Si. 

The Civic's native Japan has enjoyed the Type-R for several generations. Prior to the Civic receiving the honor of a Type-R badge, Honda's NSX and Integra got the Type-R treatment with the Integra model gaining a cult following in the United States in the 1990s, where it became a favorite among the tuning and street racing crowd. The Integra and the NSX are adored in their own right, but the Civic is by far the most iconic car to wear the badge, so when did the very first Honda Civic Type-R first roll out of Honda's factories in Japan? 

The Civic that started it all

According to a Honda press release, the first ever Honda Civic Type-R model arrived at Japanese dealerships on August 22, 1997. It was introduced as a hatchback-only version of the sixth-generation Civic. It was powered by a 1.6-liter inline-four that produced 182 horsepower which was quite a lot of oomph coming from a Civic in 1997. For comparison, a base Civic hatchback for sale in the United States only generated 106 horsepower.

The engine was designed specifically for the Type-R, and no other car shared the same powerplant when it was first introduced. Honda pulled out all the stops to make sure the very first Civic Type-R was a showstopper. Given the fact that the model is still synonymous with super-quick Civics, Honda succeeded. 

In addition to the high-strung engine that reached its peak horsepower at an eye-watering 8,200 rpm, the Type-R came standard with anti-lock brakes, a purpose built set of tires from Potenza, and Recaro seats, not to mention a big wing and a bodykit for an extra aerodynamic flair.