Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Honda is brought to you by the latter “S” and the number 3,000. It’ll be up to you to decide if that’s how you get to Sesame Street.
Group B may have been the most insane, cajones-clacking racing series of the post-war era, but its heyday was over thirty years ago and sad to say life does move on. The fact that the once great Audi Ur Quattro could now be embarrassed by a modern Subaru Outback doesn’t help, and equally disparaging was the wheelbarrow full of cash seemingly needed to purchase yesterday’s 1985 Quattro.
That resulted in a massive, and hard to argue with, 88% Crack Pipe vote. Things would have been different had it been the more-rare short-wheelbase Sport version because as we all know, less is more.
No car embodies that mantra more than perhaps the original Honda Civic. In an era when American cars were still growing bigger and dickisher, the Civic arrived as a modest teacup amidst all the gargantuan dinner plates.
As availability of gas suddenly became an issue, the fuel-sipping Civic proved to be wildly successful. How does one follow such a success? Well, in traditional fashion, Honda’s second generation Civic was more of the same, only a bit bigger in all dimensions and with more body styles to offer.
The 1983 Civic S that is today’s candidate hails from that second era, and is perhaps the most desirable of them all as it’s the one-year sporty model that combined all the best options into one package, and planted a red S on top, just like Superman.
The Civic S wasn’t all that super, but in comparison to the other cars in the Civic lineup it was cooler than the other side of the pillow. The engine is the large edition of Honda’s CVCC four. That’s a 1,488-cc 3-valve per cylinder inline, good for 69 stormin’ horses from the factory, an increase of 24 over the base 1300.
Tranny duties are handled by a clean shifting 5-speed manual and of course the power is put to the pavement by way of the front wheels. Suspension is more taut than on the non-S cars, and the rubber is a more generous 165/70R13, which for the era was massive.
This one is black over black, however I’d like to point out all the red as well. First there’s the red stripe that encircles the car, and ties the bumpers to the body. There is a stylized S on both grille and hatch, also in full cherry. The interior has seat covers over the worn and tattered chairs which have what look like red - or maybe orange - inserts. Finally, there’s the red in the wheel well, which is the area - at least one of them - where rust has eaten through the structure.
There’s another goober under the back bumper but otherwise the car looks remarkably clean and the paint is unfathomably shiny. It’s also a car that has aged remarkably well, and I can still see the appeal of what’s basically a dress-up package on top of vey little extra muscle.
The ad claims the car to have 79,000 on the clock and for those miles to have been entirely accident free. Maintenance includes a rebuilt carb - good luck with that down the road - a timing belt refresh, and a half-shaft on one half of the car.
The asking price is $3,000 which will buy you any number of more modern - and with the exception of fuel economy (these things drink like a Quaker) better performance. None of those will have the old-school appeal of this car, and honestly, when was the last time you saw one of these?
This was a one-year only model, the 3rd gen Civic arriving the following year, and even the standard models are getting more rare on the road. The rust and interior issues on this one are disappointing, but likely not insurmountable.
What do you think, is this S worth $3,000? Or, is that too much to do your Civic duty?
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