Digestible Collectible: 1999 Honda Civic Si
I can’t think of another small car that has been so consistently good, and occasionally great, as the Honda Civic. The Corolla matches it on the good column, but there really hasn’t been a “great” Corolla for enthusiasts since the FX16 GTS. Each generation of Civic, at least since the second generation’s “S” model, has offered a higher-performance trim level that caters to gearheads.
Elsewhere on these virtual pages today, we look at the most recent iterations of the Civic, but since I’m the guy here with grease under his nails and rust in his eyes, I’m looking back a few years at an iconic Honda.
The 1999 Honda Civic Si quickly became a favorite of the street tuning/Sport Compact Car scene of the early Aughts, mostly due to the powerful, highly-tuneable B-series engine fitted. In stock form, 160 horsepower was on tap, though few remain stock today. Most of these have had ill-advised engine, suspension, and bad-vinyl-sticker “enhancements” inspired by The Fast and the Furious franchise.
A good clean example, like this very-lightly modified car in Georgia, is a joy both in commuting and on track. I’ve heard of some cars seeing 35 mpg on the highway, despite the short final drive fitted to the Si. This one might have had lowering springs fitted, as there seems to be a minimal fender-tire gap to the rear, though nothing is mentioned by the seller. The muffler is a bit larger than normal, too, so you might annoy the neighbors, but both of these flaws can be easily corrected.
At under $6,000, this is a great buy. The car seems cosmetically perfect, and with little evidence of stupid modifications, the car will likely serve a new owner for a long time with easy maintenance. I’d love to get my hands on this Civic.
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in ebay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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