Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Honda has less miles than the worlds worst jazz collection. Does that lack of use however, make its price a deal by a country mile?
Before we get to today's Civics class, let's review how yesterday's 1970 Checker Marathon with an OM617 faired. First off, let's check through the list of likables: Station wagon? Yes sir. Quirky but inoffensive styling? Yep. Diesel of the gods? You betcha! Only its lack of a stick shift kept that Checker from being a complete Jalopgasm, but it did trundle slowly off with a respectable 63% Nice Price win nonetheless.
You know who hasn't been winning lately? Honda, that's who. For whatever reason, the Japanese brand that for decades was seen as the builder of that island nation's most engaging cars, has somehow lost their mojo. I don't know why, perhaps they offended a gypsy or used the number 4 too much, but for the past few years every model introduction has seemingly been accompanied by a metaphorical whaaa-waaaa horn.
There was a time however when Honda was at the top of their game, and one of the products that put them there was the first generation Civic, as represented by today's jaw-droppingly low-mileage 1975 hatchback.
When Honda introduced the Civic for the 1973 model year, the car literally scared the crap out of American industry execs. Small but decently equipped and exceedingly well engineered, the Civic became the poster child for the proper response to OPEC oil embargoes, sort of an eff-you to all the Sheiks wishing to deny us our precious go-juice.
If the Civic was a hit, the CVCC engine introduced in 1975 was a grand slam home run. That 1,488-cc 55-bhp mill managed to meet even California's stringent emissions standards without a catalytic converter. Running cat-less lowered the car's cost and allowed it to run on either the then new-fangled unleaded, or good old - and at the time more commonly available - leaded gas.
That was accomplished through the use of a fairly complicated three-valve head with the third valve drawing a small rich mixture in close to the plug, allowing the main intake to pull a much leaner mixture in at the same time. This created the now famous stratified charge combustion and hence the name: Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion (CVCC).
This Orange '75 features the CVCC as well as Honda's 5-speed gearbox, which had been introduced the year prior. What's remarkable about this car is its pristine condition, as it is for all intents and purposes brand-freaking-new. There's only 345 miles on the clock, and nothing on the trip odo. That's right, this vinyl-capped Honda has yet to take its first trip!
Wait, you can reset the trip miles? Well, you can't do anything much about the main odo, that's the law, and with so few miles under its houndstooth belt, you're going to be unlikely to find another car in such pristine showroom shape.
That's all the more likely as these Civics did have the tendency to rust like nobody's business, and those living in areas where roads are seasoned with salt became so holier than thou that Honda was forced by the FTC to replace fenders on their own dime.
This one apparently was protected from the harmful elements by having been squirreled away for decades. The dealer - how the hell did this car end up at a dealer? - claims it to be a barn find, but I doubt that as it seems to be free of dust, marks from old paint cans having been left on it, and the expected mouse turd mountains that typically plague even the best of barn finds. I'm thinking this was more a museum find.
Who would buy such a beast? Well, obviously another museum would be a prime candidate, as would a weirdo who does things like wear clothes without removing the tags/pins/etc, and is saving a Twinkie from his youth for 'just the right moment.'
Aside from that, the very thing that makes this Civic so unique and apparently fosters the seller's thought that they can make a killing on it - its almost complete lack of use - would be sullied if it were pressed into typical service. Also it should be pointed out that such efforts to introduce into society a shut-in rarely if ever work out for the best.
With that in mind, and in consideration of this tidy orange Civic's $18,995 price tag, I think the prudent decision is to say oh what the hell and eat that Twinkie, I mean drive the car. To that end, the question is, could you find and restore another Civic to comparable condition at less than this price?
H/T to si4ws89 for the hookup!
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