Fifty years ago today, on July 11, 1972, the Honda Civic went on sale. The tiny but mighty compact became synonymous with value, dependability, and the tuner culture of the 90s. It’s a household name to even the least car-aware people, and with 27 million sold it’s one of the best-selling nameplates in the world. Nearly everyone has either owned one or knows someone who has.
What’s your Honda Civic story?
The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What type of car has the best community of owners?“.
As a fellow AE86 owner, I definitely agree with Art and Jacob Durbin. The Hachiroku has an incredible and supportive community. Yes, it might be filled with snark about how high prices have gotten, but they will always help an 86er out. I have never personally owned an MR2, but based on the tightness and willingness to travel long distances from MR2 owners we’ve met at shows like Toyotafest and JCCS, we can also safely say Ian G. is right about Toyota’s Midship Runabout 2-seater.
Michael DeLashmutt is of course correct about the Z, which is the only Japanese car to have a club system both regional and nationwide (in the US) that rivals those of Porsches or Corvettes. Lupus votes Subaru, but that must only be a European thing. Just kidding; There’s a lot of flat-brim hatted stance bros out there, but NASIOC and USMB are an amazing forums where users are very helpful and knowledgeable. We will take Mark‘s word about the Miata scene and Long Beach Mike about the S2000’s, while Fred Langille does his part to spread the Nissan Pike Car gospel.
The winner this week goes to Alan, who perfectly described the ethos of Japanese cars and the reason we love them so much. It’s a sentiment we live by, and stated with beautiful eloquence.
Japanese cars do.
Their roots are in working class transportation, and their badges are steeped in blue collar ideals; they’re reliable, hard working, and unpretentious, but not necessarily unsophisticated or unambitious.
Broadly speaking, Japanese cars are attainable, quality goods, with a cultural vernacular fed by earnest aspiration; the desire to improve for the benefit of oneself and family, rather than the shallow, passing approval of flim-flam clout chasers.
They often under-promise and over-deliver, supplying raw performance and nuance of handling in quantity and quality equal to snooty European brands, but with the humility and quiet confidence of an overachieving individual from modest stock; not the brash, insecure arrogance of one born to entitlement.
Japanese cars, again broadly speaking, are sincere, forthright, practical, and effective.
Japanese cars appeal to people of similar disposition, and that’s why they have the best community of owners.
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
Oh boyy…I have a few but the best one that I remember vividly is from Dec 2001 where I got to live out my Fast and Furious/Grand Turismo fantasy in a 5 spd 92 Civic LX with 140k on it. I drove from Philly to Chicago in 9 hours (normally it’s a 12 hour drive) in my friend’s car with him enjoying the action from the passenger seat; what his reaction was when he woke up and witnessed what was going on is a story in and of itself (keep on reading).
It was on Christmas Eve and there was literally no one on the road, except another random 97 Civic that we saw some time after we’d left. The Grand Turismo part of the fantasy was being able to experience drafting which was INSANE to the newly licensed me. The Fast and Furious fantasy was, well, Civic vs. Civic showdown on the interstate. To my friend and my surprise, our Civic was always able to pull away from the 97 Civic, even though both were stick shift and the other one was obviously newer. When the stranger and us had to part ways, we both smiled at each other, waved our hands, and wished each other safe travels.
So my friend had fallen asleep fairly quickly when we set out. I saw the 97 Civic and can’t remember how it started but we both just sent it. When my friend woke up, he looked at the speedometer and rubbed his eyes a few times because he couldn’t see the needle, LOL. He then quickly put on his glasses and tried to look at it again and still couldn’t see it. He asked me what’s going on and I told him to look over to his right and there was the 97 Civic. When he realized what was going on, he peed his pants (hahaha, j/k!). He got an adrenaline rush and he just couldn’t believe what was going on and double checked his seat belt.
When my friend bought the Civic, he had no idea about how cool they were. After this trip, he found a new love for it. I knew the Civic was special but having to experience it that way is a memory I’ll never forget.
Teaching my sister how to drive her first new car, a 1988 DX four-door. She got major respect from me, committing to making years of payments on a three-pedal car before mastering how to use those pedals.
The “best” (i.e. “worst”) memory is of the one stoplight where she got super-flustered, kept stalling it, for at least three cycles of the lights. I remember looking through the back window at the poor driver behind us, gesturing “Sorry!, she’s just learning!”
I loved that car, revved and shifted so cleanly, and had that handy rev-limiter, which was an effective-enough substitute for a tachometer to this freshly-licensed driver. My best time driving it was when her friend needed a quick ride to the train station, my sister basically telling me to “send it” but without those words ’cause that wasn’t a thing back then. Yep, hit that rev-limiter a lot that trip, used each one of those 100 (?) ponies…
Domo arigato gozaimasu! I am honored that you agree.
I have no Civic story, I’ve never owned a Honda, despite being a yuuge fan. I need to change that.
The one time that I got to drive one was about 10 years ago, it was a 7th gen Civic in silver. Super mundane car. Nothing worth noting about it, but I’ll never forget about it as long as I live as that car was the car that I took my license test on.
Finished the road test and passed with flying colors, and then my friend who owned the car did her test that day as well, went in thinking she was hot stuff, got points taken off for a few things here and there. Still passed, but of course that bothered her because it was her car. lol I’m still laughing about it many years later.