The Japanese have always been obsessed with mythology: tales of cruel divinities and paths to redemption, creatures with magical powers and legendary places with spiritual resonance. And this is one such tale, about a great deity loved by all, brought low into the realms of the humans, and now on a quest to make its way back into the pantheon. Type R.
It seems such a long time since Honda held us in its thrall. The global meltdown, crappy Yen and the base business of selling itself out with dollar-rich bland sedans in the US meant that its soul, those light, singing, artisan-engineered fast cars, seemed as distant in its past as Senna. Now though, there is a new Civic Type R. We thought it might never come, a fable to keep the home fires burning, talked of in hushed whispers while weird little dwarf robots did moonwalks on stage, hoping nobody would notice the lack of interesting new cars.
On the Black Mountain though, deep in Wales, it is finally alive. The start of the great passage was more prosaic though, requiring stoic endurance, hours of trundling through pouring rain, off-boost and at 80kph along the motorway for hundreds of kilometres. It did it all very tidily, riding surprisingly comfortably, with no inkling of what might be ahead. Please don’t be okay, I thought. Please be magical. And then the first chance to find out, to surge up the black hill: second gear, throttle pedal hard to the floor. The distant turbo whooshes, the noise growing as the revs rise, the VTEC on cam and then we are gone. Up to 7000rpm, flick the exquisitely milled gear to third and the Type R bolts up the mountain.