In the '50s, a Japanese car was roughly equivalent to lining your lunchbox with asbestos; it was only a matter of time before it killed you. However, by the '70s, Japan got its shit together and created gems like this original Honda Civic, one of the most reliable, frugal, and characterful cars ever made. Here's your chance to own one for almost no money at all.
This 1975 Honda Civic was an actual, no-foolin', game-changer in the automotive world. At a time when GM was trying to make sure their pistons didn't penetrate the block walls with haphazard diesel conversions and cylinder shutdowns with all the subtlety of a back alley mugging, Honda made a small car with a small engine that was surprisingly roomy inside. 1975 was the first year of the CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) engine which provided 53 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mile per hour figure of eventually. The kicker was, the car could pass emissions without the use of catalytic converters or the use of unleaded fuel. It kept costs low, it was easy to work on, and it wasn't bad to look at.
That's where this orange gem comes in. It's a non-running barn find, with some cosmetic issues and an engine needing some quality tune-up parts. At an asking price of $1,350, it's a crazy value for this any classic car, much less this soon-to-appreciate gas miser.
While the car does look like it's in somewhat rough shape, nothing on the car looks past the point of elbow-grease-refurbishment or replacement. Here's an excerpt from the car's description:
This car was sold NEW here in dry sunny Arizona and I purchased it from the grand daughter of the original owners. That being said there is no major rust on this vehicle EXCEPT for the spare tire well which filled with water and rusted from the inside out (see photos). The floors, rocker panels, fenders, wheel wells and body are all in great shape. It does show slight surface rust in the paint but no cancer except for the spare tire well.
This is the CVCC model with the 5 speed manual transmission. As can be seen from the photos, this is a project car. It is not currently running. The timing belt tensioner appears to have let loose. The belt is clearly NOT broken but is loose and slips easily off of the cam gear. Fortunately my research shows that the 1400CC Honda CVCC motor is a non-interference motor which means no damage has occurred to the head.
As I'm writing this, I'm on vacation and seriously thinking about how I can arrange a car carrier to get this four-decade-old Honda to my house and have it take over daily driver duties for the next year. Parts are cheap, the community is vibrant, and I'd be able to swap in a K-series engine if I really wanted to surprise the boy racers that would inevitably come a-runnin'. Please, please stop me from doing this.
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world's cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he's the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn't feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.