This Civic is the ultimate in unexpected F1 memorabilia
Arriving at Hot Hatch Breakfast Club on a cold and clear November morning, we were expecting a decent variety of high-performance cars. What some of us weren’t expecting, was to be delivered a sting of ‘90s Formula One nostalgia, in the shape of a Honda Civic VTi-S Jordan.
Sitting on the grid in its distinctive yellow bodywork, and even more eye-catching black and yellow leather interior with Jordan Racing hornet logos to boot, the Civic Jordan was one of the highlights of the day.
Built in 1999 to celebrate Honda’s relationship with the Jordan Formula 1 team, at the peak of their powers with Damon Hill and Heinz-Harald Frentzen facing up to, and sometimes beating, the biggest names on the F1 grid, the Civic VTi-S Jordan was, at the time, the fastest Civic available in the UK. Built on the standard 1.6 VTi-S, the Jordan boasted 160bhp and could hit 140mph. Hot hatch box well and truly ticked then.
The appeal of these yellow hornets is on the up, much like their increasing rarity. Only 500 of them were ever made and today it’s estimated about 300 are still out in the wild, which explains the interest the car is receiving from the ever-knowledgeable Breakfast Club punters.
Owner James Hutchings, was just another admirer of the car, before a spot of luck gave him the chance to own one.
“An elderly lady in my village owned the car from new, direct from Honda,” he said. “After seeing it for years and years on the roads locally, I finally bumped into the car and the owner at the same point, and immediately asked to try and buy it. She said no, but I left my details.”
It was a savvy move, as the original owner apparently used to get stopped and talked to about the car often. James says the only thing that had attracted her to the car in the first place was the fact it was the only yellow car available in the Honda dealership she happened to walk into. Incredible.
It took half a decade for the owner to finally get back in touch with the eagle-eyed James: “Five years later, I got an email out of the blue at work saying she was ready to sell. I had a regular VTi as my first car, and that's because I could never buy or get hold of the Jordan model. I've always had a thing for them, the shape. I'm a big fan of the V series VTECH engine. So, it was a nice surprise to get the email”.
Today the car has 71,000 miles on the clock and happily ventures out for a blast along country roads on dry, sunny mornings such as this, and we’re thankful it does. Thanks for the ‘90s nostalgia James!
“It's like a new car to drive,” he added. “There's not a knock or a bang or a squeak anywhere. It drives well, and it's nice that it's not modified. Totally original, apart from the radio. I've even got its bill of sale. You’ve got to drive it and enjoy it though”
Words by Andrew Willis, photography by James Lynch.