One of our favorite series on the internet right now is by Shannons Insurance of Australia. In the latest episode, they explain why you should go out and buy a first-gen Civic immediately.
Perhaps surprisingly to US readers, much of it has to do with the advanced technology that made it a fierce contender as a race car:
The Civic’s all-aluminium 1169cc overhead-cam engine had a genuine hemispherical crossflow head with rocker arms to operate opposing-incline valves. Five main bearings added strength. Cylinders were siamesed in pairs to keep the block short and light. The four-branch exhaust manifold and a water jacket inlet manifold with its four-throat carburetor were on opposite sides of the engine, away from heat-soak issues.
The conclusion? In 1973, the year the Civic debuted in Australia, these specs, along with a four-wheel independent suspension with long-pivot control arms made it “one of the most factory-ready class contenders in Bathurst history.”
And in fact those crazy Aussies did race the Civics. Whereas we in the States primarily saw them as fuel sipping economy cars, Civics down under were revving to over 7,000 rpm all day in Group A Touring Car races at Bathurst and hitting 111 mph on the straights.
The entire video — which includes an owner profile of a ’74 that still has plastic on the door cards — is worth a watch. If it doesn’t want to make you run out and buy a Civic, you have no soul.
Images: Autopics.com.au, Shannons