The History of the Civic
Honda began selling its diminutive front-wheel drive Civic to the U.S in 1972. It was right before the 1973 oil crisis began in October 1973 when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) proclaimed a worldwide oil embargo. The embargo was targeted at nations perceived as supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The initial nations targeted were Canada, Japan, the U.S., The U.K., and the Netherlands. By March 1974, the price of oil had risen from $3 a barrel to nearly $12. Automobile buyers turned en masse to economy cars. The Civic offered a 1.2L (70 cubic inch) 50 HP engine that delivered 40 mpg in a package thart sold for about $2200. The Civic's small size and excellent fuel mileage allowed it to outsell American competitors such as the Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto.
Features and Performance
As of 2019, the Honda Civic is in its 10th generation body style. My Civic was a third generation model, built from 1983-1987. It was 10 inches longer than the first generation Civic, The Civic was offered in four versions: a four-door sedan, a five-door wagon, and two styles of 3-door hatchbacks. The standard Civic Hatchback had seating for four, while the CRX hatchback had a sharply tapered roofline and seating for only two. A new 12-valve, three valves per cylinder 1500 cc inline-four engine was introduced that produced 60 hp and attained up to 50 mpg through a smooth-shifting 5-speed manual transmission.
I bought my Civic new in 1985 from an Alcoa, Tennessee dealership. Then as now, Honda was a hot seller, and mine had just come in by truck. It had 3 miles on it, and the side mirrors were still laying packaged in the passenger's floor-board waiting to be installed. The price was right at $9000, but the dealer would not sell it without air conditioning, an $800 dealer-installed option. I tried to walk out on the sell, but the salesman didn't care. It was their experience that Honda buyers would upgrade in three to five years, and used cars without air conditioning would not re-sell. It didn't matter. I was super impressed by the quiet engine, responsive steering and silky-smooth shift. By comparison, I had test driven a Pontiac 6000 and Buick Skyhawk. The Civic was far superior to the "floaty" steering and the awkward feel and clunky noise of the General Motors siblings.
I was very happy with the Honda. The car was quick and nimble, not so much fast, as I think its top speed was 94 mph, but fun. I had a Pioneer radio installed with a small amplifier and BaBB speakers. BaBB was a small company that made sturdy, waterproof marine speakers, but because of their construction, were perfect for small cars. Later, I added a pair of 6 x 9 Jensen speakers from my Spitfire in the rear in a home-built wooden box.
Where is it Now?
I sold the Honda to my brother in 1990 in order to buy a new Nissan pickup,