Sometimes the oldies

really are better

Honda Integra Type R, side static
Honda Integra Type R, front static
Honda Integra Type R, front static 2
Honda Integra Type R, rear static 2
Honda Integra Type R, rear static
Honda Integra Type R, dash detail
Honda Integra Type R, dashboard
Honda Integra Type R, front seats

THE golden glow of nostalgia plays havoc with reality - adding unreal lustre to almost anything as the years roll by.

And it applies with gale force strength to cars. Listen to some people and every succeeding generation of our personal transport loses something to what went before.

Well, here's a car that proves the dismal Jimmys aren't always right. Sometimes things really were better back then.

Even when back then is as recent as September 2000, a date which for some of us seems about as close as a week last Wednesday.

That's the month the Honda Integra featured here was registered, one of a model run that is these days revered by a band of enthusiasts who love cars that drive well enough to cause them sleepless nights of recollection.

Conceived by Honda as a machine directly connected to its driver's pleasure centre it represents one of the purest approaches to motoring nirvana ever offered for public sale.

Most obvious feature is a 1.8-litre engine that puts out 187bhp, enough for a 145mph top speed and a sprint to 62mph in 6.7 seconds.

Pretty remarkable figures back at the start of the century and still worthy of note today. But it was the way this power was produced that earned the Integra Type R its footnote in the history of affordable fun cars.

Put simply, it revs its head off in a manner more akin to Silverstone than a traipse to the supermarket. With a rev counter red lined at a stratospheric 8,400rpm, this little coupe has to be kicked hard to perform.

You'll love the kicking, though, slapping through gearchanges via a short stroke change that hasn't been bettered since, even if the lack of a sixth gear means the Integra is a noisy companion on motorway hops.

Once Honda was satisfied its Integra Type R was fast enough it made sure it went round corners quicker then you'd imagine.

Part of the trick was stiffened and lowered suspension but an expensive limited slip differential turned this front wheel driver into a car that lapped up bends and begged for more.

The wonder is that it still rides in a carefully controlled way. Honda has a splendid low mileage example on its historic fleet and an energetic punt on some Warwickshire byways proved the point - nothing since (or before) has combined agility with the sort of driver feedback the Integra Type R serves up for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It shows its age in dimensions (modest) and weight (slight and lighter still thanks to a diet applied just to the Type R), which are both utterly positive attributes.

Showing its age less positively is a cabin that looks plasticy and sparse compared to even a modest modern machine. Being a Honda, it will all last more or less forever, but wins no prizes in the first impressions stakes.

Still, sink into the deeply recessed front seat and fire up that eager for action engine and you won't care. You can pick up a decent unmolested Integra Type R for less than £10,000 and there's only one way values are heading. Buy yours soon!

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