Junkyard Find: 1980 Honda Civic 1500 GL
Back in the Malaise Era, why did anyone buy a Corolla (or an Omni or GLC or any other miserable underpowered econobox) instead of a Civic? Somehow, Soichiro‘s little car managed to be economical, reliable, and fun to drive. Most of the second-gen (1980-83) Civics have long since been crushed, not being as solid as their successors and also not attracting a following of collectors willing to do any sort of restoration, so you don’t see many of them in the junkyards these days. Here’s one that managed to hang on for more than 30 years before taking that final tow-truck ride.
I’ve owned a couple of examples of this generation of Civic, and it’s startling how Honda made 67 horsepower (the base 1300 made just 55) feel like (nearly) enough. Even the Chevette had more power than this thing!
Thing is, if anything went wrong with the nightmarishly complex emission-control system on the carbureted CVCC Hondas, you were screwed. This diagram is dirt simple next to the CVCCs of the mid-1980s.
This one is pretty well beat, but should have had a few years left in it. Blown head gasket? Bad suspension?
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I am the original owner of a 1981 Honda Civic 1500 GL Hatchback, great condition, Blue, roof rack factor stylish addition, new tires and radiator with 149,000 miles and gentle use, for sale in Hawaii
The comment thread here is old, but I can't help but chime in, as I had an identical 1980 model in the mid 80s, except with Hondamatic and the pink plush seats(it also had the standard instrument cluster, without the tach). I'd previously had a '74 civic (orange), and the second generation model was quite a bit more substantial, although of course not as idiosyncratic or interesting. Even with the modest hp and the Hondamatic, it didn't feel underpowered (but then, I was coming from the '74). Although it did have some of that bubble up under the paint rust seen the junkyard car, it was quite sturdy, withstanding duty on 1980s NYC lunar landscape roads and even being rearended by Plymouth Fury taxicab without significant damage. I did have to sink $$ in the car right away for transmission work, and a little bit more at some point for a waterpump (the wheels on these broke on all 3 civics I had), contrary to some comments here, it was quite reliable and didn't need much attention. Note to today's car designers. Observe the relatively plain styling of this vehicle and relatively box-shaped passenger and cargo area. This maximized passenger room and enabled the driver to see other cars and pedestrians on either side of the car and on the rear, without use of external cameras or other aids.