5th-Gen Civic: Cargo-Haulin' Workhorse!

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Some folks will tell you that you need a big ol’ truck to haul a grimy cast-iron V8, but those folks are wrong! My beater ’92 Civic, which stood up well when compared to the Audi R8, not only sports a trailer hitch (no doubt suitable for hauling popcorn carts weighing up to several hundred pounds) but the cargo-area capacity to take a disassembled Chrysler LA engine.

When I pulled the rod-knockitty 318 out of my ’66 Dodge A100 Hell Project, I thought that I might rebuild it for later use in the ’49 Plymouth sedan project I keep threatening to do… but once I opened it up, I changed my mind. Crank bad. Block bad. Smog heads. Plan B: give the engine to my friend who makes regular scrap-metal-for-cash runs, so he can turn it into a few bucks for his ill-advised car projects.

The key to making large objects fit in your pre-Model-Bloat Civic (the current Civic has packed on the bulk like Ozzy Osbourne after his infamous motel-room whiskey-and-donut binge) is the tailgate. Even though the car is a total cheapo beater, I laid down an old sheet in the cargo area to keep the worst of the grunge off the interior. Block, heads, intake, exhaust manifolds, accessory brackets, everything. It all fits just fine, even with the back seats up!

The rear doesn’t sag too badly with all that extra weight, although the handling did get a little funky. As for the engine for the ’49 Plymouth project (which will use this car as a role model), I’m thinking supercharged Slant Six.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Itsgotvtakyo Itsgotvtakyo on Dec 21, 2010

    My 93 vx picked up it's current motor, trans and turbo kit up in one shot. Fantastic, versatile, fun to drive cars even in stock trim. High 40's without fail and nothing ever broke for the year the stock 250k+ drivetrain was in the car.

  • WRC555 WRC555 on Dec 21, 2010

    @Evan Reif You have a wagon, not a hatch, and that's a plus IMHO. The pre-MY2006 Impreza wagons have a much larger cargo capacity than the current hot hatch Impreza.

  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)
  • 1995 SC I'm likely in the minority, but I really liked the last Eldorado best. That and the STS.