By on December 5, 2017

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCWay back in the polyester era, there was a little thing called the Oil Crisis (circa 1973). And right about the time giant American barges were coughing and wheezing their way to the (empty) fuel station while managing eight miles per gallon, Honda had a little idea.

Say hello to the “Civic.”

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCStill a fledgling car company in North America, Honda just happened to have a small and fuel-efficient car available for the desperate public. Released in Japan just before the oil crisis, the Civic was that efficient car. The CVCC version we have here was the most fuel efficient of them all.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCIntroduced in July 1972 for the Japanese domestic market, Honda shipped the Civic to North American shores in 1973. Several inline-four engines were available, and the CVCC version came along in 1975.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCOriginally, a four-speed manual or two-speed semi-automatic (a manual without the clutch pedal) were available, but this one has the five-speed introduced in 1974. In case you were wondering, this little 1.4-liter engine generates all of 52 horsepower.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCCombined with the power sap of the dealer-installed air conditioning, this Civic is most assuredly not quick. But the slow pace of travel does have a benefit: about 40 miles per gallon. For the final two years of the first-generation Civic (1978 and 1979), there were some exterior revisions and a bump in power for the CVCC engine. It now generated a whopping 60 hp.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCThe dash design on this first-gen Civic looks oddly pleasing for the time period. Clarity in gauges and realistic some wood panel add an air of luxury.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCThe plaid seats also please me, though they don’t match. The ad indicates a recovering happened to the soft front buckets.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCBut the Civic’s tale was not all sunshine and rainbows. Buyers of first-gen models in areas with salt-crusted winter roads were displeased, as their Hondas often started to rust — quite rapidly, too. The problem was so pervasive that American Honda agreed to a recall with the FTC. All owners of 1975 to 1978 Civics with rusty fenders could receive replacements or a cash reimbursement for the damage, or about 1 million Honda owners all told. This amounted to about 10 percent of all Civics sold. Dealers conducted inspections and performed replacements of rusted-out fenders.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCThe NHTSA issued its own recall for the Civic’s suspension corrosion, covering over 900,000 vehicles built from 1972 to 1979. Suspension components were replaced under the recall, and in some instances Honda bought back the entire car if corrosion proved too extensive.

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCCIn any event, this little Civic is in spectacular condition, had only one owner in the past 40 years, and sold to its second one recently on eBay. This one sold for $5,700, surely to a Honda enthusiast who will take care of it and keep the rust worm at bay for years to come.

[Images via eBay]

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94 Comments on “Rare Rides: Honda Civic CVCC – Conserving Various Carbons, Circa 1977...”


  • avatar
    mzr

    What looks like five HVAC vents for the passenger. Must be like sitting in a wind tunnel.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Parents had 82, I had 83 bought in 88. They actually had pretty good flow through ventilation when you opened the manual dash vents and popped the tilt out rear windows. Mine had a/c, which never really worked well. Still, ranks in my top 3 best cars, and #1 favorite.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “the factory air conditioning (rare?)”

    You betcha. AC in Hondas was a dealer install until the early ’90s.

    • 0 avatar

      Will fix that one. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Honda refused factory AC.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      Dealers still installed AC through the end of the century. The 6th gen Civic CX (1996-2000) hatchback came with no A/C from the factory, and was still a dealer-installed option.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Source? I owned 1983 Civic with factory a/c. Perhaps they were only regionally available? Mine was bought in Texas. I know they didn’t ship very many with a/c to the West Coast.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Nope, the dealer lied to you, Hank – A/C was a dealer installed item in those days, even in Accords.

        By ’83, the cars were coming from Japan with the right number of vents and a punch-out plastic tab on the dash where the A/C switch went (versus the unit that would just hang under the dash), so it was a pretty seamless-looking install that may have looked like it came that way from the factory.

        But it was a dealer install nonetheless.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          You guys . . . it may not have been installed at the dealer, and not at the factory either, sheesh!

          My uncle spent about 25 years working in Tacoma where they unloaded the Japanese cars from the boats. You know what they did there once the cars were unloaded? They installed sunroofs, stereos, air-conditioning, cruise control, pinstriping and a host of other options, on tens of thousands of imported cars per year.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Good point.

            But in my experience with Honda in the ’80s, this was definitely a dealer add on.

          • 0 avatar
            snakebit

            Specifically at American Honda, A/C kits were stocked at the various AHM parts centers(Gardena,CA and French Camp, CA for the West Coast).The port of entry for Japanese-built Honda’s was Portland,OR.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      AC in Hondas was a dealer install WELL INTO the 90s.

      The gen Civic that started in 92 had dealer installed A/C. When did that gen end? 97? 98? The 98 Accord came with factory AC; it seems to me that even up through 1997, at least some trims had AC available only as a dealer installed piece. I seem to remember that at some point DX and LX–the two lower Accord trims–had to have AC installed at the dealer, but they finally installed AC at the factory on the highest EX trim.

      And btw, it wasn’t until the 98 Accord that Honda figured out how to make AC actually work and be cold. Up to that point, all it did was wave some slightly cooler air around.

      I remember. I was there. I remember sitting in the 98 Accord when it came out and remarking to people about how they finally borrowed some GM engineering manuals on how to build an AC system.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Like you can tell its an aftermarket unit cos all the vents are on one side of the car. Massive knee killers those things. Sounded like a vacuum cleaner too.

    • 0 avatar
      incautious

      Toyota’s too. Dealers did most of the AC installs

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        Does anyone know the reason for the dealer installed A/C? Seems kind of ridiculous when it could easily be done at the factory.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          Additional Dealer Profit.

          I worked for a multi-line dealer in the early 90’s, the Nissan, Honda and Toyota stores all used dealer installed a/c. Interestingly, they all added $1000 to the list price of a car, no matter which brand you bought.

          I have to imagine there was some sort of precedent set when most Japanese cars came from Japan; by the time US production happened, they may have been reluctant to change engineering to include a/c to all regions of the world.

          Now, it’s moot point.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Would changing the post to ‘factory approved’A/C make you happier? The fact is many manufacturers offer factory-approved accessories, whether they’re special alloy wheels, striping, armests, that are designed for their cars but are installed by dealership technicians, and whether it’s Ford or Toyota and Honda. In the case of A/C installations, all the parts came in a carton, designed for a Honda dealer technician to install. What do you think Ford and Mercury did for dealers when a dealer had cars in stock, like Mustang and Cougar in 1967)without integral A/C, but which buyers wanted A/C for before they took delivery? They used a factory kit(in this case an A/C unit that resembled A/C on a 1965-6 Mustang, hung underneath the instrument panel. To my mind, the A/C unit you see on this Civic CVCC 5-Speed(that’s the Honda model name for this car in the photos) is factory A/C. It’s just that the dealer installed it.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I love it.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Me too. There’s a simplicity and a charm to this car that is irresistible to me. My folks had a 78 or 79 at one point I’m told.

      I remember seeing some of these during my youth, but most of them died (or were bought back) according to the write-up here, due to rust. I’ve personally never seen one this clean, maybe that’s why it rings true with me.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Correct on all points. No factory A/C, dealer install only. And they were quite problematic.

    Recovered front seats.

    This particular model appears to have every available option?

    Where is the manual choke switch? Every Honda that we owned prior to 1982 had a manual choke.

    Such a clean design. In my opinion this and the next generation Civic were ‘maximum Civic’. Had each plus a number of the following (3rd generation) and much preferred the older versions, as far as looks.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I voted for the third-gen Civic as “maximum” with my dollars (and paid well over sticker, unfortunately). Just a brilliant little car.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      <>

      The HondaMatic is a conventional 3 speed auto transmission, only without automatic changing between first and second.

      This was a fairly common feature on small European cars at the time, as the American autos at the time starting in _second_, and would only shift down to first if you really booted it. This gearing was too high for small engines.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    I’m surprised none of the B&B has bemoaned the fact that the current Civic is so HUGE now. And how “perfect” this little model was – just as Corey pointed out, it was not perfect.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      The current model Civic rents as an “intermediate” from major rental car companies.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        I had an 82 Accord. Per the specs I found, the current Civic sedan is approx 10 inches longer than that Accord was.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        LOL, Jim, the rental car companies have been renting compacts as intermediates, and intermediates as “full size”, for a LONG time now.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          I know what you mean. Case in point: the Nissan Versa hatchback “compact class” on the rental receipt. Sure it’s quite space-efficient but it’s a two-box design without a separate trunk.

          I’m OK with all this and I think it’s just funny. Kinda like how you can’t order a small pizza anymore, the smallest size is “medium.”

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          I learned from my time at Big E (many moons ago) that a lot of what determines the E-car, I-car or C Car status in the fleet is the price paid for the car as well as it’s dimensions. Not sure how true that is (was).

          I always rent the minimum I need and hope they have no choice but to upgrade me due to lack of vehicles to something else.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    What a time capsule. A growing part of me thinks that the most interesting cars are the remaining pristine examples of these old ones that we just don’t see anymore, even if they were 2-digit horsepower econoboxes.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I had a 77 Civic, not CVCC. 4 sp manual, non-functioning dealer A/C. I seem to recall a 2 spoke steering wheel and woven vinyl seats. The exterior was Alluvial Gold with a light brown interior.

    Good cheap little car, and I could buy retread radial tires at Sears for very little money.

    Drove to the dock at the old Hudepohl brewery and learned that they would sell beer to 17 year olds, and that a quarter barrel would fit in the back but a half barrel would not, at least not with the back seat up.

    • 0 avatar

      Man, you are a lifetime Cincinnati resident eh?

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        Corey, I grew up in Cincy, went away to college in St Louis, and stayed there for 20+ years. I’ve been back for about 5 years. The weird part is I’ve spent most of my adult life in STL but I never cease to be amazed at how many people I see now, that I went to grade school with, who live in the same neighborhood they grew up in…2 guys I went to grade school AND high school with, own the homes they grew up in. The west side is a weird place…

        Of the kids in my grade school class, something like 85% were there 1st-8th grade, very few came or left partway through.

        • 0 avatar

          No one moves!

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You moved from one city like that to another…St. Louis is INFAMOUS for folks who are born, grow up, and die together.

          The most common question among St. Louisans: where did you go to high school? And that’s not just a conversation starter – it’s code for “should you be in my circle?” Especially true for the parochial school grads.

          Good news: Tight knit community with lots of traditions.
          Bad news: If New Orleans is the City that Care Forgot, St. Louis is the City that Time Forgot. Same stupid BS going on there when I moved away 24 years ago is still going on today. It never changes. The Old Boy Club still runs that town, and it shows. They do have Ikea, though.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve heard the high school question here as well. We have Ikea too! It’s just up north of downtown 35 minutes, in West Chester.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The Ikea in St. Louis is a few miles west of downtown, which is interesting. I’d have figured they’d want it out in the western suburbs, which is where all the money is.

            But Ikea’s a “non traditional choice”. And the folks with money in St. Louis want nothing BUT traditional choices. That’s the way they roll.

          • 0 avatar
            CincyDavid

            West side Cincinnatians ask what parish you live in, or what parish you grew up in…it’ll tell you everything you need to know about a person’s background.

            St Louis and Cincinnati are very similar, STL is more spread out and the streets have French names instead of German names, but LOTS of similarities. I lived in St Charles County for a long time, and that’s a little different because nobody is really FROM St Charles, so it’s not like the inner-ring suburbs where everybody knows everybody.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Wow, that’s beautiful. Note how clean the engine bay is compared to mid-80s Civics.

    Odd memory: As young teens, my brother and I were driven to see Star Wars Episode IV in theater by an older friend in her Honda Civic. This was 1977.

    It had the 2-speed automatic, and it really struggled on the hills of western PA. First gear would wind up hard, then it would die in 2nd gear. Then she’d downshift and repeat the whole process.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Yes, these cars were awful in that part of the country. In the early 1908’s a girlfriend of mine had a 1977 Accord with the a/c and the HondaMatic, the thing was just miserable to drive. I had a 1980 Mercury Capri Turbo at the time and when it ran well, it was a far better drive than the Accord.

  • avatar
    FalcoDog

    I rode in one of these back in the day. It was very small and light. I don’t remember it being slow despite the fact that it had, what I thought at the time, was a motorcycle engine.

    I do remember it being a pretty cool little car.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    I’m having flashbacks to a TTAC piece that had this image, showing the dimunitive size of a CVCC.

    http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/accord.jpg

    That’s an interesting pose for that young lady.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    My grandma had a green 1979, 2-speed HondaMatic, dealer-installed AC. It was a bear to get going in the winter. Wouldn’t run without the choke, but with the choke would flood the carb at the drop of a hat. Once warm, though, it was pretty entertaining in a lightweight slow-car-fast way.

    She got hit pulling out of a parking lot and never fixed the damage to the left front fender. As a result, the fender rotted, even here in rust-free Washington. After she passed away, my mom told me to sell the poorly-running, rusty car and keep the cash. I got $400 from a Russian guy who said “Ees all money I haf.”

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      LOL, my kid brother had an ’83 sedan that he trashed so thoroughly that the springs were sticking through the seats.

      We gave it away to the Jewish Federation, which was giving donated cars to recent Russian Jewish immigrants so they could have something to get around in. The one who ended up with ours actually called us to complain about it (turns out we’d left some identifying info in the glovebox).

      Russians…oy.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “Russian Jewish immigrants so they could have something to get around in. The one who ended up with ours actually called us to complain about it (turns out we’d left some identifying info in the glovebox).

        Russians…oy.”

        To be honest, it would probably be even more valid to say “Jews…oy.”

        After all, the Russian proverb is “Дареному коню в зубы не смотрят,” or in English, “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

  • avatar
    daveydog

    So, ah, can anyone tell me *why* Honda left AC to the dealers?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I suppose they were ‘making it simple’:

      https://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/media/jpg/oaaaarchives/med/AAA7636.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      The story that I got when Honda Canada was a customer of mine, was that Mr. Honda himself considered Honda to be a primarily an ‘engine’ company (Honda Motor Co.being the official name) and that A/C was a parasite regarding engine performance. Perhaps apocryphal?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My two guesses:

      1) Honda’s always been stingy about model variations (colors, trims, etc.) to keep costs down. They’d rather send ’em all out from the factory the same way. They still do this.

      2) Profit center for dealers.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        This was also the era when “port-install” options were a thing, to keep the tariff costs down a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        in 1985 Honda sent out a coupon for a/c for my 1984 CR-X – $400 or so, about 1/2 the price when the car was purchased.

        went for it and felt I paid enough since I paid way over list for the car originally

      • 0 avatar
        kanu

        Yes, being stingy about model variations does keep costs down. But in so doing, it delivers value to the customer.

        Every 1977 Accord was shipped from the factory in one of only six configurations: three colors times two transmissions.
        But every car was equipped with pretty much every accessory that a buyer would reasonably want. The A/C was a dealer-installed option, but once installed, it looked and acted like a factory system.

        I don’t have the book in front of me so I am paraphrasing, but Soichiro Honda stated his manufacturing philosophy as something like this: It’s amazing how low the cost of things is when you put them on all the cars.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Yeah, while I don’t entirely agree with how Honda currently structures some options, they have developed a fairly decent understanding of how most people buy cars and what they want. Better than most of the manufacturers IMHO, though it does leave little room for “unicorns” which are desirable.

          Our ’14 EX-L Odyssey had all the things I like to have in a vehicle ( leather, heated seats,moonroof) for a reasonable sticker. I never really wanted for anything that was in the Touring or Limited vans and still don’t.

          To get a moonroof in a ’14 Chrysler Town and Country, for example, was hard to find without opting for a 45k Limited van or an T&C with the L package which was also a challenge to find. Not sure about now.

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          I had a ’78 Accord hatchback that I bought 6 months old from a seller who had to get out from under a car payment. Your description reflects my experience; the car was red with black interior and had a 5-speed manual. It also had a/c which did not look like an add-on, and which worked very well in the metro Washington DC area. It was a good car, which served us well for 7 years.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Honda left AC to the dealers for the same reason that they’re stingy about features AT ALL.

      Honda is the absolute last to implement things that other companies have used for years.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The same reason they refused to outsource automatic transmissions for decades, with all the silly design patents surrounding them, Honda had to come up with a fresh all original design.

      Their design was mostly just their own manual transmission, but with a gear cut and “automated”, this worked for smaller engines if it was a bit rough, it didnt work so well with their V6’s.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        They did fine with the V6 in the early years. Both generations of Legend, the first-generation TL, and the first-generation RL rarely suffer from transmission issues. They just got the design wrong with the revamped unit that went into 1998-up Accords and the TL and Odyssey generations based on them.

        My own second-gen Legend’s original transmission is perfectly happy at 192,000 miles. Legends are much more susceptible to engine issues (cough, failed head gaskets indirectly caused by poor EGR system design).

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’m actually going to side with Ryoku on this one. My understanding is that Honda didn’t want to pay Borg Warner royalties on the “classic” auto transmission design and insisted on their own unique Honda internals, which gave a more direct feeling link to the wheels and less parasitic loss at a cost of smoother shifting. These transmissions were also not really engineered for high load applications either, not a problem while most of the products were low-torque 4 cylinder engines pulling around cars that generally weighed less than 3k lbs. Things started to shift in the mid-late 90s. Honda started to introduce more and more models with v6 engines, making larger, heavier cars, and tuning their automatic transmissions to mimic the smoothness of Toyota Camrys and Lexi Aisins and GMs 4T65Es. That increased slip increased heat load on the transmission, as did the higher torque load from the engines and the weight of the cars. I think older Acuras with the V6s just didn’t sell in high enough numbers for people to see the pattern failures show up, and keep in mind that even the worst offender cars (2nd gen TLs, V6 Accords, early build 2nd gen Odysseys) have transmission failure rates that can be called more or less average compared to their contemporaries. After ’05 or so the issues cleared up, and even by the early ’00s some of the retrofit fixes (additional cooling via an ATF return line plumbed into the dip stick hole that cools the trouble-prone area in the trans) cut down the failure rate a decent amount.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            The CVT for the second generation Civic Hybrids (’06 and later) went engine-pulleys and belt-computer controlled clutch-wheels. Not sure why they didn’t do engine-lockup torque converter-pulleys-wheels.

            Wait, I do know why: because “Honda.” Same reason they made choices like putting two air conditioner compressors in those cars…

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You may be right that increased weight and programming for slip had a lot to do with the failures. But I will tell you that there is a major difference in failure rates between the early V6 products and their descendants (the first Legend, the longitudinal Acuras, and the C27-powered 5th-gen Accord) and the early J-powered cars (6th-gen Accord and its descendants.)

            Hang around all the Legend and RL owners you want, and you will very rarely hear of a transmission failure, even at absurdly high mileage. The statistics backed that up at the time; the RL is one of the most reliable cars of its era, and the Legend would have been had it not been for the head gasket issue.
            Meanwhile, it’s common for the ’98-’03 V6 cars to go through two or even three transmissions in a normal service life.

            The Legend is a 3600-pound car with 208 lb-ft of torque, but it does have the old-school Honda firmness baked in.

          • 0 avatar
            thornmark

            >> think older Acuras with the V6s just didn’t sell in high enough numbers for people to see the pattern failures show up,<<

            My dad had two Legends, first and 2nd gen w/ no transmission issues – for decades. And the Legend was the best selling imported luxury sedan at the time they were bought.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          At Dal: The first-gen unit that was a bit delicate from what I understand. Both it and the engine were recycled late into the 5th generation Accord to ease demand for a V6 model.

          I cant vouch for the later models though, my only experience was test driving a shady RL “My secret mechanic friend said you can fix the AC for just $30! No I cant tell you where he works”, classic craigslist.

          As crude as the design was I did like the automatics in the two Accords that I briefly owned, I didnt mind the notchy-ness, not when its easier on the transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        Guitar man

        >>”Their design was mostly just their own manual transmission, but with a gear cut and “automated”,”<<

        I've seen these Hondamatics dissassembled at a mechanicas Trade School. They are a standard conventional three speed automatic (planetary gearbox and torque converter) but you need to shift them manually from first to second. They are nothing like a manual.

        There was no demand for AC in Japan at the time for a car of that class.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Two different transmissions being talked about – the ’70s Hondamatics were planetary but manually shifted. And two-speeds, not three. The later 4spds were based more on manual transmission practice.

          Did Honda ever do a conventional 3spd auto in-between? I have no idea.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The first-gen Accord had a three-speed automatic available. I don’t know what technology it used.

            The manual-based four-speed appeared in the second-gen Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Many if not most imported cars had dealer or port installed A/C through the 70s into the 80s. The rest of the world didn’t buy it, so they didn’t build the cars with it. And I assume they paid less import duty by installing it here. Usually American parts – my ’79 and ’80 Peugeot 504Ds had Frigidaire A/C units that would freeze your you-know-what’s off. My first car was an ’82 Subaru with dealer-installed A/C. That was actually the first car with A/C my grandparents ever bought. New England Yankees were a cheap bunch.

  • avatar
    greenbrierdriver

    One of my High School friends parents had a 74 model. We called it “The Orange” as in “Run up to the grocery store, take The Orange” That described both the color and size of the car quite nicely.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    A Honda dealer in my area keeps a mint-condition example of one of these in the showroom – I was struck not just with how small it was, but how NARROW it was. But these were built like (rust prone) tanks.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Ah back in high school there was this really cute punk rock girl who drove around in one of these. Her friend has a baby blue VW bus. Good times.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    In 1979 my mother requested that I accompany my 18 year old brother to the local Honda dealer to buy a Civic. Our father who was a WW2 veteran did not want to participate in a deal that enriched the Axis powers so I was called into the fray even though my objection to Honda was based on the reprehensible behavior of the local Honda dealer who was native born US citizen AND Under investigation FOR arson at the previous Detroit dealership that he owned. Such was the state of car dealerships in the day.
    Long story short is that the Honda dealer was so over the top when it came to the final price for the car that my brother bought a car from the local VW dealer who was far more transparent than the local Honda dealer. This set a precedent that I did not buy a car from a Japanese dealership until 1999 and that experience was so bad that it took another 15 years until I bought another Honda.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Prior to this Civic Honda had been selling a few kei cars here, the Mini-inspired N600, and the Z600. I cant help but feel that they were just testing the waters, seeing which model US shoppers preferred. Both were mostly the same car with some styling differences.

    Afterwards came the Civic. a car inspired by the 3-Door Simca 1100 (just as it was on the original VW Golf.), which combined bits of the NZ line up.
    Of course this is all just theoretical nonsense.

    I have to say that the dash is quite nice for an economy car, what with a tachometer, decent air vents, are the two other gauges aftermarket?

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “are the two other gauges aftermarket?”

      No.

      I had a series of ’79 Civics. Man, I loved those cars. Got my then-girlfriend turned onto them, too.

      Oil changes? Ummmm….when the oil light flickered as you turned hard right, that was when you added oil. Filter optional. And it kept on ticking.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Funny, my overwhelming memory of these cars is that all of them seemed to blow decent amounts of blue smoke out the exhaust. Well, and the rust. They did NOT live long in Maine. I think only Subarus rusted more quickly than Hondas. And some things haven’t changed!

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “And some things haven’t changed!”

          I’d say Hondas, particularly since the early 2000s, are better than average at rust resistance. Definitely better than the vast majority of domestics and most of the Japanese. Mazda catches all the flak, but Nissan had some seriously poor rust proofing well into the mid 2000s.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      To clarify ‘jalop1991’s one-word answer, those two gauges to the right of the speedo and tach are for fuel level and temperature. They’re unique to the 1975-1979 Civic CVCC 5-Speed. On a Civic 1200 and lessor Civic CVCC four speed and Hondamatic, those gauges would be incorporated into a large gauge next to the speedometer, which on the Civic CVCC 5-Speed(Hondas name for the model that the red car is)is taken up by a large tach(again unique to the CVCC 5-Speed).

  • avatar
    Fred

    My Mom had one after a disaster of a Plymouth Cricket (aka Hillman Avenger) it was a pretty good little car, but gutless with the automatic. It also had fierce torque steer that my Mom never experienced.

  • avatar
    Driver7

    This was one of the cars that made Honda (ahem) a legend.

    Per Arthur Dailey’s comment at 5:12 p.m., Honda has been an engine-centric company for all of its history.

    When James G. Cobb reviewed the Honda S2000 in the Nov. 14, 1999, New York Times, his article was headlined, “The Little Engine That Could.”

    Some excerpts from Cobb’s insightful review:

    “… Check out the Formula One-style tachometer that arcs over the instrument displays of the Honda S2000: The red line — the limit of where the engine can safely be run — is just short of 9,000 revolutions per minute. …

    “… Cast your eyes on the window sticker. It says that the engine is a 2-liter, dual-cam four cylinder and that it churns out as much horsepower — 240 — as many big V8’s. …”

    “… All conversations about this car start and end with its engine. Here is proof that Honda is, foremost, an engine company that just happens to make cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers. …”

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The horsepower of a V8 – and the torque of a weedwacker… I’ve never gotten the fascination with Honda motors.

      Of course, I am the guy whose preferred motor is a 2.0T.

  • avatar
    grein002

    “The CVT for the second generation Civic Hybrids (’06 and later) went engine-pulleys and belt-computer controlled clutch-wheels. Not sure why they didn’t do engine-lockup torque converter-pulleys-wheels.

    Wait, I do know why: because “Honda.” Same reason they made choices like putting two air conditioner compressors in those cars…”

    The dual compressor (one larger pulley-driven, and one smaller electrically driven) was implemented so a small amount of AC could be delivered while the engine was stopped due to auto-stop/start. This was also the case in the 2005 Accord Hybrid that I owned. It worked reasonably well to prevent the cabin temp from spiking at traffic signals.

  • avatar
    sfrunner

    I had an ’85 Civic DX hatchback with the dealer installed A/C. I loved that car but the A/C was laughable and after a few years the lowest fan speed stopped working. I moved to Dallas with that car from Utah and the A/C was no match for the heat and humidity there. I traded it for an ’89 Acura Integra RS and to my disappointment discovered that it was the same miserably inadequate A/C. On hot days it felt like coolish to lukewarm air (depending on whether the compressor was cycling or not) was slowly leaking out of the air vents.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      This. 100% this. Even the wonderful ’88 Prelude AWS suffered from the exact same weak A/C, behaving exactly as you describe.

      And my buddy took it to the dealer because he was sure that was wrong. Nope. “Operating as intended.”

      It wasn’t until the ’98 Accord that Honda figured out A/C. And as it turns out, they spent their entire engineering budget figuring that out, when they should have spent it on transmissions…

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Heck my parents’ 1st gen Honda Fit had pathetic AC. Black interior with large (for a modern car) glass area, and what was definitely an undersized compressor. Could barely keep the car cool-ish on a sunny day in the mid-80s. And having the compressor running totally sapped an appreciable amount of power, messed up the already finicky throttle/clutch balance away from a light. My 2012 Civic was a vast improvement. Still sapped power, but it would absolutely freeze me out. I’d like to think that’s teh difference between a car originally built for the Japanese market (gen 1 Fit/Jazz) and one that is basically a North American focused one.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        To be fair to Honda, the transmission failure episode was limited to 1998-2003 Accord and Acura TL V6 cars and some Odysseys which used the same V6 powertrain. And owners of affected cars got an extended powertrain warranty over and above what they got when the cars were brand new.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I recall visiting my uncle’s Oldsmobile dealership in beautiful Newport KY some time in the early-mid 70s with my dad. Tucked in the corner of the showroom surrounded by 88s and 98s was this little yellow car. My dad and his uncle were snickering about it, but he figured he might sell a few here and there. The little yellow car was a Honda, don’t recall which model.

    By the time the family sold out to the local Jeff Wyler Auto Group in the late 90s, the Honda store was their money maker, the Olds, GMC Truck and Mitsubishi stores were afterthoughts.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh my, Newport at that time would’ve been dark dark. Still run by the mob then?

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        Simon & Fischer Oldsmobile…where the Newport Aquarium is located now.

        My grandfather used to call that city “Nudeport” and was quite the devotee of the strip clubs on Monmouth Street, particularly the Brass Ass.

        Apparently the Northern KY mob guys were more low-key than their big-city counterparts and bought a lot of Oldsmobiles and Chevrolets…they lived in Ft Thomas and tried to blend.

        • 0 avatar

          Makes me wonder when/if the last ones packed up, and where they went.

          OR, if they have a hand in the Levee presently.

          • 0 avatar
            CincyDavid

            Corey, that’s an interesting point. You sure don’t hear about any organized crime in N KY so either they old guys died off and their kids went legit, or they’re still skulking around out there somewhere. The RICO statutes really hammered the big mob families since the 80s.

  • avatar
    mjg82

    I don’t know if anyone here fell in the demographic of the show, but I like that True Blood featured a yellow 70’s Civic, driven by the main character. Had some good action scenes, even a curse placed on it.

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