Tuner sport compacts are here to stay.
This 1997 Acura Integra Type R is the Holy Grail for 1990s youth
If Acuras and Hondas are the quintessential attainable performance cars of 1990s youth, then the Acura Integra Type R is the Holy Grail of that era. That makes the low-mileage, showroom-fresh 1997 Type R headed to Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas Auction in September a pretty big deal.
Maybe crazy big.
The one-owner Barrett-Jackson car is the 37th of 320 first-year Integra Type Rs produced. It is unmodified, wears its original Championship White paint with black suede interior and red stitching, and best of all, it has only 1191 miles.
Hagerty auction editor Andrew Newton says it is not uncommon for Integra enthusiasts spend $30,000–$40,000 for solid examples on Bring a Trailer, but this one could go for $50K or more. It is listed without reserve.
“People tend to bid high at Barrett-Jackson. Plus, that’s crazy low mileage for an Integra,” he says. “These were not weekend cars bought by wealthy people. They often served as daily drivers, and many were modified, driven hard, or wrecked—or all three.”
The front-wheel drive Type R is equipped with a normally aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine that has been hand ported by factory Acura tuners to produce nearly 200 horsepower. Other performance enhancements include a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission, the addition of a limited-slip differential so both front tires pull their weight, larger anti-lock brakes, larger sway bars, and additional body bracing to reduce body flex for improved handling.
Hagerty Underwriter and Japanese car enthusiast Darold Mulvaine says “most magazines and journalists regard the Type R as the best-handling front-wheel-drive car of all time.” He added, “Some other ‘nerd facts’ that make this car special compared to even the Integra GS-R models is that the engine is completely hand-assembled, and the chassis is bespoke and stitch welded. They even went so far as to make the windshield 10 percent thinner to trim weight. With all of these changes separating it from lesser models, Honda lost money on every single Type-R sold, but deemed it necessary to maintain the brand’s performance image.”
The auction car also has air conditioning; power steering, brakes, windows, door locks, and mirrors, as well as a six-speaker stereo system with CD player. Included in the sale are the Integra’s original paperwork and bill of sale, window sticker, unopened special Type R key, spare key set, and owner’s manuals in a leather Acura binder along with a courtesy air gauge and flashlight.
If bidding for the stunning Type R climbs to $50,000 or beyond, it wouldn’t be the first time that a Japanese modern classic brought seemingly crazy money. It happened just a few months ago, in fact, when someone forked over $24K for a 12,000-mile 1999 Honda Civic Si.