Acura Type S Origins  

The Origins of the Acura Type S Legacy

The Type S line of Acura comes from the same rich history that made Acura a force to be reckoned with in the luxury car market. It came from America's new desire for the best performance and amenities available in a vehicle after recovering from the poor economy of the early 1970s. After its design in the 1990s, the Type S lineup became Honda and Acura's trophy in the competition to produce the best performing luxury cars for the money.

Before Acura's creation, Honda had received extreme initial success from the Civic at the best time for the perfectly fuel-efficient and reliable compact car to be released: America's gas crisis of the early 1970s that resulted in government regulations and created a new automotive market centered around high reliability and fuel economy at a low price. After the success of the Civic in America, Honda proved that they weren't just a one-hit wonder with their subsequent sought-after models such as the Accord and Prelude.

Honda's philosophy of assembling cars where they sell them inspired them to create a new manufacturing plant in Marysville, Ohio, in the year 1980. The first model to be produced in this factory was the second-generation Honda Accord in 1981, a sister to the Honda Vigor released in Japan. This was the time when the economy was finally improving after the automotive industry was impacted by America's gas crisis, which naturally directed the new car market towards luxury and performance vehicles. The European auto manufacturers saw this ahead of time, and the American public became awestruck by the new BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz releases at this time. Although the Prelude and Special Edition Accords had a higher standard of luxury than the previous Honda lineup by offering comfortable leather interiors, it was still obvious that they hadn't yet matched the luxury and performance of the European competitors in the US market. Because American Honda dealerships were already busy enough with selling their economy cars, Honda created a new competitive luxury division originally known as "Channel 2" within the company. In the US, this division became known as Acura. To compete with the other luxury brands in the North American market, Honda had to go back to the drawing board to begin the design of a larger, more powerful, more luxurious sedan than the Accord. This sedan was finally released in North America in 1985 as the first Acura model, as well as the first Honda-made vehicle to feature a V6 engine- the Acura Legend.

Honda's inspiration for competitive luxury and performance eventually made for an even more specialized division of vehicles- the Type S model line. This concept began in Japan with their design and production of a show car at the time that eventually became the 1997 Honda NSX Type S available to the Japanese market. The essence of the JDM Type S NSX's luxurious interior and performance capabilities were transplanted into the first North American Type S models: the 2001 Acura CL Type S coupe and 2002 Acura TL Type S sedan that both offered the 260hp 3.2L VTEC V6 J32A1 and J32A2 engines with 5-speed automatic transmissions with manual shifting capabilities, and the 2002 Acura RSX Type S that offered a 200hp 2.0L i-VTEC K20A2 with a short-geared 6-speed manual transmission.

This new line of Acura sub-models became a game-changer in the eyes of the American performance industry and helped to fuel America's newfound love for tunable high-performance Japanese vehicles of the 90's and early 2000 years.