49k Original Miles: 1998 Acura Integra Type-R

While the original VW Golf GTi is regarded across the globe as the pioneering Hot Hatch, the Acura (Honda) Integra Type-R raised the game to an entirely new level. This 1998 example is 1 of only 1,000 cars sold in the US during that model year. Its condition is impressive for a vehicle of this type and age, and it is now looking for a new home. Located in Westfield, New Jersey, you will find the Integra listed for sale here on eBay. It has caused quite a stir since being offered for sale, with bidding currently sitting at $40,600. The reserve has been met at that price.

The Integra Type-R has to rate as one of the most exciting cars developed by a Japanese manufacturer up to that point. Originally designed primarily for the domestic market, Honda’s approach was to create the vehicle as a complete package. This wasn’t just a case of jamming a hot engine into a standard Integra hatch because a lot of thought and creative engineering went into the bodyshell alone. If you were to take a bare body for a Type-R and a base Integra and drop them both on a set of scales, you would find that the Type-R’s body would weigh more than the base shell. This was because Honda went to the trouble and expense of using thicker steel in critical areas like suspension mounting points, along with additional spot welds to produce a shell with greater torsional stiffness. However, weight is the enemy of hot hatches in the same way as Kryptonite is to Superman. Both can sap strength and power, so Honda’s solution was ingenious. Some plastic and non-structural steel components were lighter in the Type-R, as was the glass. That gave the car greater strength without the impediment of greater weight. The 1,000 Type-Rs that found their way onto American roads in 1998 were finished in Championship White, and this car is no exception. It appears to be in excellent condition for its age, with paint that shines impressively and panels that are straight and fit perfectly. The spoilers and other aerodynamic body additions are free from damage, as are the original lightweight alloy wheels. There are no issues with the glass, nor with the badges and distinctive decals.

Lifting the hood reveals what makes the Integra Type-R something out of the ordinary. This is a 1,797cc DOHC 4-cylinder engine. Each Type-R engine was handbuilt by factory technicians and is full of high-performance components and clever technology. Ports on the cylinder heads are hand polished, high compression pistons are slotted into the cylinders, and when combined with the high-tech VTEC valve timing system, this little dynamo pumps out an incredible 197hp. These horses find their way to the front wheels via a 5-speed close-ratio manual transmission and a limited-slip differential. The result of all of this creative thinking is enough to set you back on your heels. Point this little beast down the ¼ mile, and the journey will occupy a mind-blowing 14.7 seconds. That is a figure that would scare a lot of classic muscle cars. Making this number all the more impressive is the fact that the Type-R isn’t just good for a short squirt down a drag strip. Wind it out on the open road, and it will find its way to 149mph. What isn’t to like about that? The engine bay’s presentation is immaculate, with no evidence of fluid leaks or long-term problems. The vehicle is only used for weekend drives, and the owner claims that it has a genuine 49,700 miles showing on its odometer. He doesn’t indicate whether he holds evidence to verify this claim, but the Integra’s overall condition makes the claim seem entirely plausible.

When considering Japanese manufacturers, the two that seemed to get their heads around producing rugged interior plastic trim were Mazda and Honda (Acura). The trim in this car is in excellent condition and stands as a testament to the company’s effort in this area. The only issue of any note is some wear on the outer edges of the heavily-contoured bucket seats. This is a common problem, but not one that is insurmountable. I did some online searching, and I had no difficulties finding several NOS sets of covers for around $750. The other solution would be to fit a set of aftermarket slip-on covers to protect the original upholstery. The rest of the interior presents well, and there have been no additions made. Air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power exterior mirrors, an adjustable leather-wrapped wheel with an airbag, and an AM/FM radio/CD player should combine to make life comfortable on the road.

When I was a young man, I would have struggled to believe that a secondhand 4-cylinder hatchback would be a desirable car that would cause a bidding frenzy when offered for sale. This 1998 Integra Type-R graphically demonstrates the reality because since it was listed for sale, an incredible 53 bids have been submitted. There can be no clearer indicator of the popularity and desirability of these pocket rockets, and I won’t be surprised if the bidding has a little way to go yet.

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Comments

  1. Geoff

    A classmate in college in 2000 had one of these and couldn’t sell it. So he turned it into a rally car.
    Here’s a great shot of it taking a bath
    http://www.comicozzie.com/gallery2/d/189292-3/01ST-088.jpg

    Another classmate bought one around 2003 that only had a few thousand miles on it. He bought it from a collector whom had decided it wasn’t worth keeping around as an investment. I guess the market has disproven that assumption.

    Like 6
  2. Frank Sumatra

    This is the type of listing that really shows the difference in generations of auto enthusiasts.

    Like 1
  3. ace10

    Looks like a nice example.

    The thing that amazes me about ITR values is that the primary “collector” of these hasn’t even reached their prime earning period yet.

    Like 2
  4. theGasHole

    Like it or not guys, this is where “the hobby” is heading. I have no problem with it personally. Another 10-15 years these cars will be the C2 Corvettes for collectors.

    Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      I also have no issues with time marching on. I am of the age where nobody cares about my opinion. I am just marvelling at the price. Good call by the folks who saw the value in these early. Hagerty loves these cars.

      Like 2

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