The 1979 Honda Civic; first generation of the quintessential Honda classic. Quite a few were killed by the rust devil. This generation Civic was notorious for rusting in less than three years from purchase where salt was used in the winter; even complete cars were bought back by Honda because of this, but here’s one example that survived. It went from original to old-school and back within a few years, but it remains a cute little car.
Where do you live? What do you do for a living?
I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and I drive an 18-wheeler across the Southeast.
What kind of Honda are you driving? How did you come to own it, and how do you use it?
My car of choice is a 1979 Honda Civic CVCC. I approached an acquaintance from a long time ago and asked him if he knew of anyone selling a first gen Civic and told me he had one in the back of his shop. I checked it out and bought right then. This is a daily driver. Weekend driver, too.
Why did you decide to buy this particular model Honda?
The size. I just think how small it is gives it a lot of character. I also love old school cars; more particularly Japanese.
What’s powering the Honda? Some specs of the engine?
A week after I bought the car, the engine blew, so I had my mechanic swap in a 1.8L engine from a 1979 Accord. Gave it an extra 10hp and about 20 extra foot/pounds torque. A five speed transmission from a 1981 Civic replaced the factory 4 speed.
What have you already done to it? What are you still planning on doing?
Aside from the engine swap, I’ve had the front and rear bumpers tucked in closer, lowered the car about 2 1/2″, had the body stripped completely down to the metal and repainted (Dave Wilson of Garage Zero and Gabe of MiracleGlo), put Japanese spec fender mirrors on, had the wheels stripped and powder coated gloss black, acquired chrome trim rings for the wheels, and a replica of dealer option Civic pin striping (koosjer of 1stgencivic.com) made to complete the 70’s look. I also have a set of 13″ Carroll Shelby wheels that I use sparingly. On the inside, my car did not come with the deluxe gauges so I added that, giving myself a tachometer and the Japanese market dash clock. All I lack to really be where I want to be is to have the seats restitched and the radio hooked up.
How easy/hard is it to get parts for these Honda’s?
It’s not that easy to get parts. They seem to have wet and dry spells making it hard to get stuff, lolol. For a few months nothing will be around and then, out of nowhere, a bunch of different items pop up. And when they do, they often aren’t that cheap. But it’s all part of the fun in obtaining these parts.
Share a favorite story from your past and a goal for the future.
I don’t really have a favorite story from the past as every day in this car ends up being that favorite story. It’s just that much fun to drive.
Share one of your favorite tips/tricks/ideas.
I don’t really have any tips or tricks, but the one idea I have right now concerns my stereo. I will be retaining the stock AM/FM radio and having a Sirius receiver hardwired into it and hidden in the dash. That way, I’ll have the factory look and be able to listen to whatever and not having to use the glovebox to house another radio.
[Editor’s note: I wonder if this will be done similarly to how Nakazoto-san hooked up an iPod to his 1967 Mitsubishi 360…]
Would you consider yourself a gearhead? What does that mean to you?
I would not consider myself a gearhead in the sense that I’m not very mechanically inclined. With this car, though, I have really been more hands-on than with any other car I’ve had. I’ve really tried to learn to work on it myself. And that’s part of what being a gearhead is to me, I guess. I guess I’m working my way towards being one.
Where can people find & connect with you?
My personal website (for the building of the car) is www.mycvcc.weebly.com, where there is a contact form that can be filled out. Also, my car would not be where it is right now without the great people at 1stgencivic.com.
A big thanks to Mike Rue for doing this interview! We’ll check in shortly to see how the Civic has changed then. Gearheads United!
- What do YOU think of this ’79 Civic?
- Have YOU ever owned a small car like this? What did you think of it?