The 1990s “EG” Honda Civic is still one of the great economy car designs, unbelievably understated, classic to the point of invisibility. But did you know that the coupe version could have had a second spoiler mounted halfway up the back window?
I remember my first gig in the car world, working as an unpaid intern at the Cal Auto Museum in sunny Sacramento, California. It was an enriching experience in that I got to see the progression of car design and manufacturing and not just read about it. Little things that get skipped over in most written or video stories about cars. The old, old Fords, the ones from before the Model T, were huge. Cars from the weak economic years of the 1970s radiate cheapness in comparison to the ones from the boom times of the 1960s. My favorite part of the job was hiding away in the museum’s little library, which had a bunch of old issues of a magazine I’d never seen before: Car Styling.
Printed in Japanese and English, it was like an industry publication, if that industry was the business of styling concept and production cars. There were interviews, profiles, design awards, event coverage. There were even in-depth looks at the process of cars being designed, including numerous sketches and photos of prototypes and alternate designs that never made it to production. I’d never seen them anywhere online, and in all my years now working on the internet, still a ton I’ve never seen.
I’ve managed to gather a small collection of back issues (thanks to Jalopnik reader Manny!) and I figured I’d breeze through some of them to show you all the joys of what’s out there in the world of old print. I also figured I’d record it on video as taking pictures of each page and writing about them takes forever.
I grabbed the November 1992 issue off my shelf at work and dug into it to find a ton of information of the development of the fifth-generation Honda Civic. Nerds usually call this the EG, though it’s the EJ coupe that struck me in it. Look at that secondary spoiler! We could have had gazillions of these cars rolling around looking like Dodge Stealths. Instead the Civic Coupe of the early ‘90s was as smooth as a jellybean, and, if I’m honest, probably better for it. But cooler? Nah.