New York man holds funeral service for 30-year-old Honda Civic

Last Sunday the Inwood neighborhood of New York said goodbye to an old friend, Harry Etting’s 1982 Honda Civic. A Dixieland band performed, a New Orleans jazz funeral procession marched down Seaman Avenue, and a wake was held at a local bar as dozens of neighbors came out to bid the car farewell. 

Harry Etting bought “Bluey” brand new 30 years ago. It’s been totaled by a drunk driver, flipped up-side down during New York’s Washington Heights riots of 1992, and rusted away to near oblivion. But, it’s also become a beloved regular in Etting’s neighborhood despite its property-value-lowering sheetmetal. With over 171,000 miles on its odometer Etting says, “I’ve always considered this car to be the most reliable friend I’ve ever had.”

The Civic even led the procession under its own power onto the back of a Hino flatbed, where it would be carted off to the organ donor junkyards. When asked if he would be getting a new car, Etting replied, “I need time to heal.” The service took place, appropriately, 24 hrs before Canada’s Civic Holiday.

[Image: Josh Max for New York Daily News]

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18 Responses to New York man holds funeral service for 30-year-old Honda Civic

  1. cesariojpn said:

    God, at least sell it to someone who’d either strip it for parts to keep another example on the road or restore it.

  2. Brownie said:

    Thats what happens when they don’t stumble onto websites like JNC, they can’t find new owners that could maybe restore them back to better conditions.

    my condolences to Bluey.

    • slimwhitman said:

      You expect too much of your fellow JNCers. I posted my ’81 Datsun 810 on JCN for $350. It was rusty, but the interior was perfect and other than rust, the body was straight and clean. $350! ..and it ran good, but leaked oil. That was the same price a salvage yard offered me! No takers. Not even an email. I listed it locally on CL for $550 and had 30 hard-luck buyers contact me in the first few hours. I sold it to the first person to come by (young gangsta type).

  3. bert said:

    I’ve never seen anyone go to their own funeral on their own power. That car is golden in my book.

  4. Danny said:

    Oh gheez c’mom guys, the best thing he could’ve done was junk that car. Its beyond restorable. I’ve seen what 10 years or snow can do to a modern car, here we are talking about 30 years of snow and salt to an old car. Its a Honda Civic its not like its a Datsun 510 or an 86. Its not worth the money to even attempt to restore it let alone tow it home. Seen those around my way for $300 bucks no rust, nobody wants them. I think he did the right thing, salvage yard. You want a radio knob which is probably the only thing good on it go pick it up. “(plays violin)”

    • E-AT_me said:

      sadly, as much of a “Honda-head” i am, i agree. that car was long past its’ time..

    • madfaber said:

      Agreed, like the wise Kenny Rogers said,”you gota know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em”. And t was defnatly time to fold that clapped out turd. Even 30 yr old civics are not that hard to find that we need to lament the passing of this thing

  5. Lincoln Stax said:

    That was a very classy send off for a reliable old friend.

  6. Tyler said:

    So what finally prompted him to put it to sleep?

    The video reminds me of the Live and Let Die funeral scene-

    “Whose funeral is it?”
    “Yours.” -BANG!-

    • Bob said:

      I had to click through to the original article for that answer- he was afraid his feet would go through the floor, so guessing the floor was gone. The A-pillar rust holes could have contributed to that.

      Either way, that was a piece of flat steel away from being repaired well enough to continue on. I feel like if it really mattered that much to him, he could have continued driving it. I’m not exactly sure how much of a demand there’s going to be for an ’82 Civic motor/trans in a NYC area junkyard, let alone any parts off the car- so this feels more like murder than “organ donation”, imo.

      Non-car people who get attached to cars are an odd bunch. I don’t look at my friends and go, “We’ve been friends for so long, you look like hell but you’re in great health, so let’s throw you a party and carve your heart and kidneys out so someone else can live.”

      • slimwhitman said:

        There comes a time when you just got to let it go. This car was probably in danger of folding in half the next time it got placed on a rack. Plus, it is very likely that the suspension was about to seperate from the frame…kinda unsafe. Not a single part off this car will be salvaged. If it went to a typical salvage yard, I bet it was crushed withing the hour after it was loaded on the truck.

  7. TransAmBandit said:

    Im from NYC. That car is just gonna be scraped for metal. No way any yard will even waste their time to save parts. Theres no demand for these cars.

  8. Well somehow i wonder why someone who loves his “good friend” that much didn’t spend any time and money for repairs during all the time. i mean if he had paid attention to rust and damages years ago and repaired it, it probably never would have ended like his. because i think it has really low mileage for a car that old. thats a sad story..

    • Benjamin said:

      It’s not a sad story. He had a car for 30 years in NYC! This is a stunning achievement. East Coast winter salt assault + aging j-tin = a losing battle, no matter how hard you try.

    • Tyler said:

      There’s no getting away from the rust. Sure, if he washed it more it wouldn’t be so bad but it would still be pretty ugly. If you want to keep a car in good condition you just don’t drive it in the winter.

      • i know that, i live in switzerland with lots of snow and my daily car (a honda bt) is parked directly at a street where they put a lot of salt in whe winter, but still i feel like if you take care and repair damages then your car won’t look like t his after 30 years. anyway. seems like he loved his car and that’s nice :D

  9. Ethan said:

    As an insanely loyal and slightly obsessed Honda owner (81 4 Door Accord) I am slightly embarassed to admit this video made me tear up a little and smile too. The ironic part? She’s a butter color (Oslo Ivory)…the same color as the outer edges of this webpage, and her name is “Goldie”. Thankfully she’s still got years left in her if I have any say in the matter, but when they drag her away to turn her into soda cans they might as well take me with her. These earlier Hondas were built completely in Japan to very high standards and I’m sorry, but they really DON’T build em like they used to.

    • The black CRX said:

      I’m with you, Ethan. It was a heartbreaking moment when I finally had to send my first Honda, a ’77 Civic wagon, to its final destiny. The 1st- through 3rd-gen Hondas were beautifully designed, engineered and built in a way no low-cost car is today.

      Clearly this ’82 Civic had more than served its owner well, and the send-off was fitting and touching. Other than encasing it in a giant cube of Lucite and making it a very large memento, I think he honored it with as much heart and soul as it honored him.

      Thankfully I still have the CRX Si I bought new in ’87 (and always will), and now that I have a “new” ’80 Accord LX as well, I’m reminded with every drive or turn of a wrench why I became a fan back then. And btw, I love Oslo Ivory 4-door Accords… a great color (with its one drop of green) on a handsome car.