KIDNEY, ANYONE? EM1 Honda Civic Si sells for $22,750

The 1999-2000 Honda Civic Si is not really a classic yet going strictly by age. Going by what this pristine example just sold for, however, it might be one of those cars that becomes a classic in its own time, fetching more than it cost new long before it reaches the 25-year threshold. 

A Milano Red California example of the EM1 Civic Si just sold for $22,750 on Bring A Trailer, a hair less than a brand new 2018 Civic Si. When it was new, Honda’s factory-souped coupe sold for around $20,000. For that, you got 160 horsepower, the almighty VTEC system, an 8,000 rpm redline, and a double wishbone suspension — all the things that made Honda great in the 90s. It was, of course, only available in a 5-speed manual.

In the pantheon of Civic Si models it was an oddball, offered only in coupe form rather than hatchback like all previous examples of Honda’s hot rod had been (at least in the US market). It also came with a much bigger power bump over regular Civics that the Si models that had preceded it. Somehow, it hit showrooms at exactly the right time and instantly became the hottest thing since sriracha.

Little did we know, it would also be the last great Honda not explicitly built to be a sports car. Subsequent Civics would downgrade to MacPherson struts and lower-revving motors.

These days, it’s nearly impossible to find an example that hasn’t been modified, salvaged, or stolen/recovered. The Fast and the Furious debuted a year later and created a zombie horde of “tuners” that insatiably consumed every remaining E-chassis Civic on the planet.

This particular example is not just any stock Civic Si, though. It has only 10,439 miles on the odometer. The seller was said to be a Honda collector, someone with the foresight to preserve this very special specimen, and even includes photos of a digital paint thickness gauge against every body panel.

So you could say that it’s a fluke representing any car with near-new mileage. However, we would argue that there are only a precious few models that have ever sold for more-than-MSRP prices before it reached historic status, regardless of mileage.

Furthermore, the fact that the auction logged 330 comments means that there was massive and genuine interest in this model. When you consider the fact that in a mere four years an EK9 Type R, the true king of performance Civics, will be legal for import, it seems that cause for yearning for the EM1 transcends just the spec sheet. It is truly a Japanese nostalgic car. That’s what makes the price of this example seem simultaneously ridiculous and totally justified. And it’s not even the best color.

Images: Bring a Trailer

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19 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? EM1 Honda Civic Si sells for $22,750

  1. Ben Hsu said:

    I personally have very fond memories of the EM1 Si. I’m really curious to know what other JNCers think about this price.

  2. this makes me as an owner of a EK9 typeR in good condition with low mileage quite happy 🙂

  3. BlitzPig said:

    I was following this one on BaT. This auction is a very teachable moment for owners of all special interest cars, and that is, DON”T MESS WITH THEM.

    Does anyone thing that this particular SI would have gotten anywhere near this much money if it had been slammed, turboed, fart canned, and had a giant wing tacked on it?

    Not a chance.

  4. Nigel said:

    Every one I see around here has rust in the usual places, so this one must have been hidden.
    If I was rich I might pay that price, however I would also have shipping containers from Japan
    filled with EG6 and EK9’s. (I like this car more in Electron Blue).

  5. Ruediger Mueller said:

    is there any reason to still ignore my 83 Corolla ??

  6. Dave said:

    A high price for sure. I was watching it, knowing it would easily crest $10k but it went much higher obviously . This could have tremendous implications for other sport compact cars of the 90s. Although, I’m a Nissan guy, and I don’t ever see another FWD JNC selling for the prices of these Hondas. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen any FWD sell for what the DC2 ITR fetches.

    I can understand it somewhat in the sport compact segment. What I can’t understand is what these Tacoma’s are selling for. I just don’t get it.

  7. Khoua said:

    I remember a relative having this specific model and color. Superbly clean and all it had was a cold air intake. The VTEC fly-by blew my 14 year-old ears. haha.

    But yeah, I can definitely see why this car fetched for this much. Not many around as clean as this one. Unless there is one somewhere being driven by a very very old couple…in the southern states.

  8. ish said:

    I think the EK si is the third best Honda to make it to the states after the Integra Type R and the CRS2000. And those two are already well into the 20k mark so it doesn’t surprise me to see a super clean example like this make it there. Its honestly a great car and will last you 200k. So seems like an ok investment to me.

  9. CobaltFire said:

    As someone moving to Japan in about 18 months an EK9 Type-R is on my shortlist of cars to buy there, drive for 3 years, and bring back. Most of the people I know bought GT-R’s, which ARE nice, but I was a Honda guy when I was younger and miss the light, agile cars.

    On an interesting note, the article yesterday about the Mazda Luce Coupe reminded me of how much those look like a second generation Corvair (one of my favorite looking classic cars). There is a weird quirk shared by the Honda B/D/H engines and the Corvair’s air cooled flat six (they both rotate “backwards”) that means a few guys in the Corvair world have taken to installing Honda B motors in Corvairs, in the original rear drive configuration, attached to the original four speed. I would love to have that setup, as Corvairs are startlingly cheap, gorgeous, and powered by a Honda engine would be daily driver worthy.

  10. Mike in Long Beach said:

    VERY interesting idea, Cobalt.

    I enjoyed my 99 Si tremendously. It was the first car I decided to “improve”. JR supercharger, full dress engine bay, Mugen MF8 rims and Twin Loop exhaust (hardly what one would call a fart can), Mugen pedals, etc etc. The bronze MF8s looked great on the Milano Red Si. The subtle front lip was great but the carbon fiber hood was a step too far. I took her back to stock before trading her in on a V6 Accord. Funny thing. It was amazing how much fun the car was in stock form. I had forgotten how good it was right out of the factory. Had I to do it again I would only swap in the Recaro Sport seats as I found the OEM chairs to be real back breakers on long drives.

    • CobaltFire said:

      I can’t take credit; there is at least one guy running around with a stock block turbo’d B20 in a convertible since 2016. There are a few videos on YouTube. Turns out the Honda pilot and throwout bearings are a perfect fit on the Corvair transmission, and the input shaft and bellhousing just need minor machining (less than $200 worth) to make everything fit and adapt the engine and transmission. Distributor needs taken off the head (hits the firewall) so a standalone ECU is in order. Fab up a few engine mounts and setup a cooling system (cooling system has bee done a million times on thee cars, pick the solution that appeals to you). The transmission in a Corvair is funny in that it’s actually a period GM Saginaw four speed and standard GM differential slapped in a custom case with a jackshaft going from the rear input to the front, hence the reversed rotation. You have to have a new jackshaft machined for this, but it’s not terribly expensive.

  11. Jayrdee said:

    This is absolutely beautiful.

    My first car was a black EM1 with a jdm B18C, but not as nearly as clean as this one. 1st owner riced it out, got it stolen / recovered, 2nd owner “restored” it by removing the body kit and swapping the worn out b16 with the b18, and then me … I did what every Highschool kid does, race it and wreck it LOL. One time I got caught doing 115 on a 35 on my way back to school one morning with a buddy in his rx8. We didn’t get pulled over, but the police knew we were on our way to school so the school punished us instead (luckily). We had to take the bus to/from school from then on which is embarrassing as a senior Lol.

    After the wreck, I did end up fixing it later on using the money I saved after going to Basic Training (it was absolutely flawless) but I got rear ended on my way home from work by some chick with no insurance. Totaled it … I didn’t even have it for a full 3 weeks. After receiving the insurance check I sold the chassis to a kid in a nearby town where it got passed through many owners, etc.

    The typical story of a civic.

    I now have a RHD AE86, but I still miss that car dearly. I had so much fun in it. It had koni yellow shocks / ground control coilovers with some TE37v knockoffs.

  12. Cho said:

    I wonder how long until they mess it up with “UPGRADES & MODS”?

  13. Don Scott said:

    I have a ’91 Civic Si, a ’92 Integra GS-R, an ’89 Prelude Si, and a ’01 Miata SE, all low-mileage cares, which are not modified and in good condition. What makes these cars so cool, is that they are rare to find in original condition, but more importantly, unlike exotics and other expensive old cars, they can be driven and enjoyed without grief. (unless you are in an accident, as insurance companies treat them as shit-cars worth next-to-nothing)

    • Don Scott said:

      What I forgot to say was that an older Japanese car like the BaT Civic Si offers a lot of fun and driving pleasure without a much expense or drama, and that may be part of the reason it brought so much money on the auction.

  14. Mike in Long Beach said:

    On the auction price:

    Total including auction buyer’s fee would have been close to $24,000.

    The Civic Si MSRP in 2000 was about 17,500 (Not the 20K listed in the article, although some Honda dealers were marking them up.) Adjusted for inflation, that is almost 26,000 in today’s dollars. The BAT example is practically brand new. Add in rarity and a driving experience that is very hard to find in a new vehicle, and the BAT price starts to look pretty reasonable, and maybe even a bargain.

    By the way, Milano Red WAS the best color (IMHO), even if, unlike Electron Blue Pearl, it could be had on lesser Civics. The car just looked right in red. And when I went to NOPI Nats a couple of times with a bunch of other Si owners, my car was an eye popper in a sea of EBP.

  15. Travis T said:

    WORTH
    EVERY
    PENNY.

    Have you seen the Civics they’re making now?
    Have you seen them???

    Any performance gains have been offset by a nasty combination of weight and drag inducing, faux-grilled, ugliness.

    THIS is a Honda. The new cars are a joke…beyond self-parody.

  16. Scotty G said:

    Dang, my 1988 Subaru RX Turbo 5-speed sedan in unmodified condition sold for $3,750 on BaT a couple of weeks ago. Sigh..

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