The Weekend Garage: Honda VTEC

The stretching branches of countryside shrub transforms from stagnant farmland vegetation into an accelerating blur of dark green.  The tach needle soars past revs with maniacal pace.  Your eardrum tingles as the blaring tone of the exhaust note loudens with each passing RPM.  6,000, 7,000, 8,000…  Ladies and gentleman, welcome to VTEC.

All amusing memes aside, the Honda VTEC engine is nothing short of a legend in the motoring industry.  Think the Sir Matt Busby of affordable auto.  Call it witchcraft, but the upshot was that all of this Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control (that spells VTEC if you look closely) meant that for less than £30,000, you could buy a car so high-revving that it could cause a Ferrari to reassess life.

And while it’s oh-so easy for manufacturers to toss a terrific engine into an underperforming chassis, you’d have to look awfully hard to dig up one with a red ‘H’ badge on the bonnet and lusciously red cam covers, and if you do, it’s probably the fault of some overly ambitious twenty-something rather than Honda itself.

Seriously, if you were attempting to draw up a rundown of the best VTEC-powered Hondas, you’d likely have a rather hard time of finding anything that you could label as ‘dull,’ ‘unimpressive,’ or really anything that’s an antonym of ‘astonishing.’

This brings us to the question of the weekend.  The weather forecasts are clear (hopefully), and you’ve been thinking about that enticing stretch of road you found on Google Maps all week.  Thing is, you know that in order to truly enjoy it, you need a proper piece of free-revving performance metal.

So, if it was up to you, and money was no limiting factor, which VTEC Honda would you choose to give small, quiet towns a rude awakening, and why?  An S2000 for its Ferrari 360-rivalling rev range?  An Integra Type-R for its stripped-out, zero-compromises driving experience?  Maybe it’s a Civic Type-R for its prodigiously fun chuckability?  We’re keen to find out what you’d choose, so please do leave a comment below.


  • Lanky Says

    VTEC are the future. I have never seen one brake, they run forever.

    • Grant Says

      you are correct, they don’t brake, they mutate. the piston arm, or connecting rod, heats during the compression stroke, and at high RPM, bends.

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