Why This Rare Honda Civic Type R Mugen Costs Nearly $90,000
Only 20 were built.
If you were perplexed by that 20-year-old Honda Civic Si that sold for $50,000 last month, prepare to be baffled all over again, because listed for sale is a 10-year-old Civic for the U.S. equivalent of almost $90,000. Despite the sky-high price and humble badge, however, there are a couple of details here that actually make the price tag sound almost reasonable.
First of all, this isn't just any garden variety Civic, it's a Type R, and not just any Type R either. Based on the European FN2 hatch, this is the Type R Mugen, an ultra-limited, handbuilt "ultimate" Type R that, according to Motor Trend, boasts upgraded camshafts, pistons, a stainless steel exhaust, better intake, and even a custom ECU map that matches its owners' personal driving style.
Connecting its body to the road are lightweight forged wheels, four-piston monoblock brake calipers, and a "completely revised" suspension. The whole thing is capped off by more aggressive bumpers front and rear, a bigger spoiler, the obligatory Mugen badges, and the compulsory paint choice of Championship White.
Its horsepower figure of 237 is, by modern standards, small, but so are its production numbers. Honda only ever made 20 of these and, according to the listing, this one in particular just happens to be the last one it ever did: #21.
For presumably superstitious reasons, Mugen Type R #13 was never made. Car #21's odometer sits at 11,000 miles and is being sold by dealer Contempo Concept in Hong Kong (a pretty stunning shop that appears to specialize in enthusiast cars featuring not one but two Mercedes CLK DTMs in its showroom) for $688,000 HKD, which at today's exchange rates, equates to a little under $89,000.
Before you scoff at paying new Mustang GT500 money for a 237-hp Civic, remember that Hong Kong is one of those regions, like Singapore or Mexico, in which buying a car is prohibitively expensive thanks to taxes. According to Honda's Hong Kong website, a new, non-limited Civic Type R (the same one that starts at $37,000 in America) carries a total price of around $76,000, almost $30,000 goes towards a "First Registration Tax." A fairly basic Mercedes-Benz C 200, meanwhile, is listed at over $58,000, not that far off from what you'd pay for a full-on C63 AMG elsewhere.
Given that the Mugen Type R already cost about $64,000 when new in Europe, $90 grand for a one-of-20 hot hatch in Hong Kong frankly isn't all that outrageous. Still, think used Japanese collector cars on Bring a Trailer are expensive now?
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