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What Makes the 1998 Type R Acura Integra so Special?


There are some cars that we seem to be able to see on a daily basis. In fact, we see these vehicles so often that we tend to lose all forms of appreciation for them. In the automotive world, much like in life, though, sometimes things are not exactly as they seem. Perhaps one of the best examples of this can be found in the Type R Acura Integra. While those who are not excessively knowledgable about the Integra’s history may not be able to tell the difference between a Type R model and the rest of the Integra line, there are indeed many differences, and those differences are what has made the Type R Integra one of the most sought after and rare import performance cars available.

First, however, a little bit of background on the Integra. For the third generation models, there were three (four depending on how you look at it) different types or variations of the Integra, having to deal mostly with the type of engine that was euipped to each model. The standard RS/LS model got a non-VTEC 1.8 liter Honda Motor, which made about 140 horse power or so. The next model up, the GS-R, received a 170 or so 1.8 liter VTEC motor. However, the rarest, and most iconic Integra, the Type R, only came to the United States in very small numbers, and was given the now legendary B18C5 motor, which, at the same 1.8 liter size as the other engines, made right around 200 horse power, an almost unmatched number for an engine of that size without forced induction. Although the Type R did not have the luxuries (leather seats, sunroof, etc.) of the GS-R, it’s incredibly light weight and higher power made it a legend in only a few short years.

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However, because of the very limited number of Type R’s that ever made it to the United States, the cars have become very rare, and a model from 1998 that is in good condition can easily fetch upwards of eighteen or nineteen thousand dollars if it has not been fooled around with. However, while the value of the Integra may be easy to calculate, perhaps the more difficult question lies in exploring what exactly has made it so popular.

Certainly, the powerful engine is a part of it, but something even greater is the overall quality of the car. The Type R Integra was designed to top of the line standards, which means that no matter how or where it was driven, it sprung back like new. The B18C5 engine is legendary for so many reasons, and not the least of which is long life. Very rarely are sports car built to such incredibly high standards. However, the Type R is definitely one example of such. Also, the short throw of the manual transmission, as well as the seemingly perfect gear ratios made the Type R a joy to drive. The reasonably sporty, but not overblown exterior, it takes an Integra enthusiast to know that it really is a Type R, makes sure that the car appeals to nearly everyone, regardless of age.

While the Integra has become a fairly common car to witness driving down the street, very rare indeed is the elusive Type R. Now we know what makes them so incredibly valuable, and why they are so often sought after by car enthusiasts. So, remember to take an extra look at the next Integra you see, it is possible that it may be a very rare and valuable Type R.