Digestible Collectible: 1991 Honda Civic Si

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 1991 honda civic si

The “Si” badge has always denoted something special from Honda, from the ’85 Civic and CRX that flaunted the new-fangled fuel injection on the sport model to the not-quite-a-Type R that will hopefully be gracing our roads later this year. Honda fanatics will continue to debate the best, but my favorite Civic generation has to be its fourth, popularly known as the “EF” Civic.

Honda apparently didn’t like the U.S. at the time, as other markets were blessed with hotter engines, some with VTEC to boost high-end power. It took enterprising enthusiasts, some with more energy than money, to develop a trend to swap these powerplants into American-market Civics.

I recall test-driving one such swapped Civic, put together so poorly that the shift lever — not the knob, mind you, but the entire lever — came out in my hand on a 3-2 downshift.

No, I didn’t buy that car.

I briefly tested another that had such awful rust that the carpet provided the majority of any protection to my feet from the road surface. The stench of patchouli in the car, incidentally, was another turn-off, though I stopped for Doritos on the way home from that particular drive.

The twin terrors of rust and hack hotrodders have yielded a dwindling number of clean Civics for fans like me who can finally consider one as a toy. The seller of this 1991 Honda Civic Si in Omaha clearly sees the scarcity, but might be reaching in asking over its original MSRP for this example.

These Civics are such a joy to drive that I can see someone parting with the cash. The handling is such that this generation Civic has become the de facto “car to have” in a couple classes of national-level SCCA autocross, with dozens showing up and taking trophies every year.

No, I wouldn’t spend $11,000 for this car, especially when I could buy a competitive autocrosser for less than half. (I think I still have jorts that fit.) But, even in the oh-so-’90s turquoise, this looks magnificent.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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  • Davew833 Davew833 on Jan 27, 2016

    This is one of those cars I always thought I'd own someday, and then poof- they were all gone. My girlfriend had a red one in about '94 and it was fun to drive. I still tinker with old Hondas-- I've got three 3rd generation Accords- 2 '89s and an '87 LXi hatchback that I just picked up at an auction for $90. Yes, that's right, $90. It was a non- runner but after the sale it took me 10 minutes and a new main fuse to get it going. I'm guessing by the crocheted sunvisor covers it had that someone's grandma owned it originally. None of the three have any rust. I think when the apocalypse comes the only things left alive may well be old '80s - '90s Hondas and cockroaches.

  • Carauto Carauto on Jan 30, 2016

    Old Honda's and Toyota's are my favourite cars. This model of Civic is just beautiful. Shame about the colour of this one! There are still some really nice examples of this model cruising around in the UK, but I don't like it when people mod them so much that it looks too over the top. Kind of spoils the retro simplicity. Get the mix just right and they are something special to look at. It doesn't top the CRX though for me.

  • Lou_BC I'm not too picky about gloves. If I'm concerned about heavy oil or grease contamination, I'll donn nitrile gloves. Heavier work and I'll use "old school" leather gloves, fake leather, synthetic or whatever is available.
  • Dusterdude Getting the popcorn ready . May be a good plan for strikers to make sure they own good winter jackets for future pickets .
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The term fastback is more applicable. Take the 67 full sized Chevrolet lineup. Impala hardtop coupe as well as the fastback coupe.
  • Jeff GM currently holds 16% market share in the US with GM's peak market share in 1962 of 50.7%. Current market share for Stellantis in the US is 12% and Ford is 13.4%.
  • Chiefmonkey Honda just cuts too many corners. There's no reason why the base Accord should have a 4 speaker stereo lol. It's a $28,000 midsize sedan, not a Mitsubishi Mirage! Not to diss the Mirage it's a great car for what it is. And what's up with Honda's obsession with the dullest most spartan looking black cloth or leather interiors? Literally every other automaker I can think of offers two, three, four possibilities. If I order even the top trim accord in the blue paint, I am limited to a black interior...why???? Strangely, if I order the white paint, the possibilities expand overwhelmingly to two: black, or dentist's office gray (which clashes with white.) There's zero rhyme or reason to it. Just a cheap, corner cutting company.