Remember the Integra Type R? It was a sport compact dream, with nearly 200 horsepower from a hand-built 1.8-liter VTEC four, limited-slip differential, extra handling goodies and lighter weight than the already splendid Integra GS-R. Just 3850 made it to our shores from 1997-98 and 2000-01, and some call it the best-handling front-drive car ever. (Unless you think that crown belongs on the new Civic Type R.) Oh, and it cost about 24 grand when it was new, or about 38 grand in 2018 dollars. One just sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction for $63,800. If you weren’t sure already, there can be no denying factory-tuned sport compacts have officially arrived on the collector car scene.
The car in question is a 1997 model showing 1191 miles at the time of the sale. It’s bone-stock, looks like it just rolled out of the factory, and it’s finished in gleaming Championship White (the only available color for the initial model year) paint. It’s a one-owner example with the window sticker, original bill of sale and all its original books and tools. Just 320 of these came here in 1997, and this is car number 37. It’s practically a new Type R, and even though it’s barely 20 years old, that makes it a real unicorn.
We’ve already noted how good unmolested ‘90s hot Hondas like Civic Sis and Integra Type Rs have been trading at big numbers lately, and there’s good reason for that. They’re a lot rarer than you might think. Even when new, the majority of these cars got beat on. People modified them, raced them, wrecked them, reenacted their favorite scenes from TheFast and The Furious, you name it. My own ’00 Civic Si was stolen and chopped for parts, which was another not uncommon fate. I’m still bitter about it.
Hot Hondas have never been fair-weather cruisers that lived in a three-car garage, got polished obsessively and had all scheduled service done early at the dealer. Most served as daily drivers and racked up a lot of miles. Attrition took lot of them off the road. The Integra Type R may have been on the expensive side when it was new, but plenty of them led a similarly tough life. That’s why coming across a low-mile, clean, stock example is such a rare occurrence, something that piques the interest of folks like me who have fond memories of getting up to no good with some VTEC in our younger days.
That said, $63,800 is still a curve-bending price. For sure it’s the most anybody has paid publicly for one of these cars—by quite a bit, too. It seems like crazy money, and it sort of is when you really think about it, but consider the fact that other clean Integra Type Rs have been selling the low-40s on Bring a Trailerfor about a year now. Those were 30,000- and 40,000-mile cars. This car has 1200. One owner. It’s not a car that somebody is going to drive as much as round out a collection.
The Vegas bidders knew their chances of finding another Integra Type-R this mint are slim to none. As they say, something is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it, and in this case it’s more than the cost of a new Corvette.