The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Civic calls it a “Classic.” That’s just because it’s old and at a certain point everything gets anointed with that descriptor. It’s also brown, a wagon, and sports a five-speed stick, which makes it almost in a class of its own. What might that be worth?
When you have a car as polarizing as yesterday’s 2005 Chrysler Crossfire, you don’t get a lot of fence-sitting in the opinions. People generally either adore the Daimler/Chrysler combo car or loathe it. Fortunately for the seller of the rare manual-equipped edition we looked at, the former seemed to be in full force in those comments. A modest $4,995 price tag didn’t hurt either, and in the end, the Crossfire crossed the finish line with a solid 65 percent Nice Price win.
With its Mercedes underpants and flamboyant bodywork, that Crossfire was definitely a car designed to stand out. That’s not always something people want. What if your advocation was robbing banks or as an international spy ring secret agent? In either case, you’d want something a lot less ostentatious—something that would easily blend into day to day traffic and not call attention to itself.
This 1982 Honda Civic wagon is NOT that innocuous car. I mean, just take it all in.
What it is, is a brown compact station wagon that if you look closely enough you will find also sports a five-speed manual transmission. No, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore. For that fact alone, this Civic will stand out.
It does check a lot of the right boxes for our present needs. It comes with a modest 140K on the clock and no egregious bodywork issues apparent in the pictures. There’s also that lovely Savoy Brown metallic paint which well serves the Civic’s modest dimensions and simple brightwork. Silver-painted steel wheels underpin and both they and their Kumho tires appear to have seen better days.
There’s some light peppering in the paint on the nose, and some small dings here and there along the flanks, but otherwise the car seems solid and joyously unmolested.
The brown color scheme is carried on to the interior, which features vinyl everywhere broken only by the crew-cut mouse fur on the seating inserts. Those show a bit of wear, and the driver’s throne suffers from an ugly gash on the inner bolster. This is a four-seater with a tray between the rear squabs and below the fold-down backrest and only two sets of rear belts.
The dash looks to be in marvelous shape and houses a factory AM/FM stereo with controls for both tune and tone. One notable element missing above that is an A/C button in the HVAC panel. That makes this car a summer sweater.
The seller says that everything on the car works as it should and that it’s been parked in a covered space its whole life. That likely explains to some extent the nice condition.
There is a bit of incongruity in the ad’s description of the car’s 1488cc CVCC four. It’s stated that the 79-horsepower transverse-mounted mill “runs amazing” but that is immediately qualified by the notation that it “will need a tune up.” Whatever, these cars have carburetors and more vacuum hoses than a Hoover outlet so keeping one running at peak performance could be daunting.
And that’s the big conundrum with cars like this, isn’t it? This looks to be a great little commuter or just putting around town car and would get excellent mileage whilst doing so. The thing is, these are really slow—like 14 seconds to sixty—and can’t even manage to break out of double digits on the top end. There’s also that lack of A/C which pretty much makes this a three-season ride for much of the population, and the fact that it lacks any form of modern safety equipment in case something stupid happens. That kind of limits its usefulness and appeal to all but the most hearty or curmudgeonly of users.
On the plus side, the title is clean and… oh my god, did you look at that brown paint and long-roof body? Also, did I mention it has a stick?
Okay, we’ve discussed how this is Civic hits a lot of the right notes, as well as a few clunkers. Let’s decide where its price tag falls along that score. The seller is asking $5,950 and just in case you were worried, he does hablo Español so you could potentially barter a deal bilingually. Before that can happen, however, you’ll need to decide if it’s worth the effort.
What do you think, is this old-school Civic worth that $5,950 asking as it sits? Or, brown or no, is that just too much green?
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