This is a subject that near and dear to me, as most of you will know from reading my articles I have an affinity for Hondas and I’ve owned a heck of a lot of them, from Integra’s and Civic’s to Accords and even a Crossroad, I’ve visited Honda in Japan and met Asimo the Honda Robot. I’m well qualified to speak on the subject.
So what’s the deal? why do they get so much hate? and why when I drove my Integra Type R though Henderson West Auckland a few years back did someone in a clapped out heap of a Holden Commodore pull up along side me at the lights and shout at me to F*@k off back to the North Shore.
It actually very simple. (Not the redneck westies attitude, although its true there are a lot of Honda’s on the Shore and ironically I do live on the shore) but the reasons for the hate, and boils down to 3 main entities. The United States of America, Honda America and Honda Japan. you see Honda manufacture domestically in the US and Honda Manufacture domestically in Japan. for reasons unknown to us all these two divisions sat down one day and came to the agreement that Honda US would not manufacture any performance versions of any Honda model whatsoever.
This decision made decades ago would then send the brand on a path into infamy and automotive folklore.
In the US, Hondas for the most part are cheap relatively speaking, and plentiful. Everyones Mom had a Civic and when their kids hit puberty, they looked out of their bedroom windows, saw their moms Civic and thought, yes! according to Gran Turismo, I have a full on performance race ready Honda in my driveway, all I need to do to unlock its untapped performance is a fart can exhaust, wing, and a badly fitting body kit.
These pimply teenagers feverishly set to work then, and once done this is what was unleashed.
Abominations like this hit US roads by the thousand, the term “Ricer” developed new meaning, real performance car enthusiast’s began to backlash against this phenomenon and Honda’s reputation suffered immeasurably.
Meanwhile those of us in New Zealand, Japan, the UK and a handful of other righthand drive markets were jumping into genuine Type R performance models and loving our cars. Unfortunately US culture spreads, and before to long we began to get singled out by ignorant bogans when we were sighted (as I was) in their neck of the woods driving one of these.
And thats it. Simplified of course. The US never had access to real performance Type R Honda’s and they were crying out for them. Kids modified their base models trying to get close, some did, but by far the majority became embarrassments and tarred Honda and genuine enthusiasts around the world with the “Ricer” brush that remains to this day.