1999 Honda Civic Type R Conversion
We look at this modified Civic owned by Mario Dias and his family from new – now with a Type R motor under the bonnet
By Imthishan Giado
Watch our video review by clicking below
For all of us, the family car has cherished memories of long drives and blissful days. For Mario Dias, these memories are very fresh – because he’s still got it!
His beloved ’99 Civic has belonged to virtually every member of his family, but today it’s his weekend toy and never-to-be-sold heirloom. What started out as a 1.5-litre automatic however, has been transformed into a trackday-ready beast.
Under the hood is a B18C5 Type-R motor (from an DC2 Integra) mated to a five-speed manual, putting out more than 180bhp at a screaming 8000rpm – he reckons it can do up to 9000rpm but hasn’t dynoed it in a while.
The engine boasts the complete complement of Honda aftermarket go-faster kit – Samco hoses, Skunk2 strut bars, Hasport motor mounts – while the suspension is from Ground Control consisting of Eibach springs and Koni adjustable shocks.
Brakes are a complete swap from the DC2 Type-R, Rota wheels are courtesy his old race car and sticky Nittos somehow manage to pass registration every year! On the road…well, it’s exactly as you’d expect a revved-up Civic to perform.
Torque is reasonable but serious power doesn’t make an appearance until at least 6500rpm. Then the banzai cam screams into life and this Civic turns from mild to wild, though performance is more quick than blistering.
Nevertheless, it’s really fun to drive in the way a go-kart is. The clutch is easy to live with, the gearbox snicks nicely, the handling is very sharp with a noticeably pointy front end.
Mario’s Civic feels alive in the way hot Hondas used to, encouraging you to wring every last drop of performance and grip from this humble sedan.
Demerits? Well if you’re not a fan of fast Hondas this one won’t convince you. But I strongly encourage you to try one. There’s a rawness and simplicity to these underrated ‘90s Japanese cars that we’ll never see again – and if you really love driving, not just going fast, you owe it to yourself to get behind the wheel of a mean Civic just like this.