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The first "real" car

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

A brand new SUPER Mini

Ready for testing and the press


The first car from Honda

with worldwide appeal was the Civic.

Here in Denmark, many of this first "real" car model from Honda were sold.

I myself also stood and looked wide-eyed at the new wonder at Honda in Silkeborg, right when it was introduced. The first drive in that car was a bit of a revolution. In many ways it was ahead of its time compared to other minicars of the time. Finish and overall quality were some of the best you had seen in such a small car.

The model was available in Havana metallic brown, and it was just the right color, because otherwise you could soon see all the rust seeping out everywhere. Just 5-year-old cars could have corrosion in critical places.

It was probably not made better by the fact that many who drove the Civic bought it because of the super fun driving characteristics, combined with its charm and fresh radiance. So many were driven "freshly".

In addition to the rust, the brakes were a weak asset, and the gearbox could not withstand the rapid gear changes that the car's engine was up to. That's why the old Civic quickly disappeared from the street scene, and there are hardly any that have survived..

But there are exceptions!

This Civic below was first registered on 08.05.1974.

The local Honda service workshop was contacted by the son, whose father had unfortunately passed away. No one was interested in the old Honda, but the family did not think it should be scrapped.

The car is thus 1-owner, and this owner must have gone to great lengths to maintain the car. The family wanted the car to go to a place where they knew it would be cared for and looked after as the man had always done.

From unusual details you can see, for example, that the plastic that was used from new to protect the door trim is still in place.

The car has had the big ride with new paint and new wear parts. The biggest problem with restoring an old Honda is access to spare parts. Several parts are impossible to find. But the service garage that bought this car has been Honda dealers for many years, and in the attic were many spare parts that had been saved from when the model was new.

Back then, the negotiation of this model came with a box of spare parts that a new dealer had to buy. Some of these parts were still in the attic of this former Honda dealer.

They are now sitting on this unique car.

Honda Civic with type designations

Civic was the first "real" car from Honda and to this day is still the most important model from Honda.

Since 1972, over 20 million have rolled off the assembly line, and thus the model is also one of the most popular car models of all time, a piece of Japanese industry and car history.

Model with large variations

The model selection is large and quite confusing with a sea of variants. 2-4-5-door, Hatchback, Sedan, Estate, Coupe. Motorized with almost everything that Honda has created in terms of engines throughout the ages with 3/4 cylinders. The model has thus added engine space for a bit of everything, OHC, DOHC, petrol, diesel and recently also turbo. From small economic machines to sports engines with great power.

From a time in the 90s until 2016, there was quite a big difference between models for the European market and for the rest of the world, especially those for the American market were significantly different (the models for the EU during that time were mostly produced in the UK). This model confusion ended starting with the 10th generation, all of which are made in England, but equipped and motorized differently according to market.

Engine in a special class

The special feature of the Civic has always been the engine and transmission, characterized by an almost sewing machine-like function. The rest of the car has at times seemed a bit thin and flimsy for European tastes. The design has also not always hit the mark here in our part of the world. But much of that is forgotten behind the wheel, because what they all have in common has been an unrivaled agility. The sporty models in particular have excited many car enthusiasts throughout the ages. No one with a car heart will forget the fast and revving VTEC machines from the 90s, which were unparalleled for their time. From a mechanical point of view, there has been little to complain about; almost all Honda machines have a minimum of 300,000 trouble-free km in them when they leave the assembly line. However, many gearboxes have had the Synkromesh rings destroyed due to a little too eager handling of the gear stick. Automatic transmission has been an option in all models, but those who have chosen this type of gear have cheated themselves of the experience of operating the fine and precise gearboxes that have been a Honda characteristic in most models.

Several models have been plagued by rust, and Honda models were also standard equipment for many years with delicate brake discs.

A complete family book of all models and engine variants would take up many pages, but here are the model designations and variants that came to this country.

1th generation Honda Civic

SB1, SB2, SF2, SE


2th generation Honda Civic



3th generation Honda Civic



4th generation Honda Civic

ED3, ED4, ED6, ED7, EC8


5th generation Honda Civic

EG1, EG4, EG5, EG6


6th generation Honda Civic

EJ9, EK1, EK3, EK4, KN, KX


6th generation Honda Civic 5D UK

​MA8, MB8, MA9, MB9, MB1, MB3, MB4, MB6, MC1, MC2


7th generation Honda Civic

EM2, ES1, EP1, EP2, EP3, EU1, EV1


8th generation Honda Civic



9th generation Honda Civic



10th generation Honda Civic



The sporty models have somewhat of an image problem, but the regular Civic models are peaceful cars. Yes, so civilized that some would call them boring. Then the sporty ones are something else entirely. No one who has driven a generation 5 Honda Civic VTI with a 160 hp B16 DOHC VTEC engine or a generation 7 Civic type R with a 200 hp K20 DOHC engine will ever call a Civic an ordinary, boring Japanese car. The wild peak power these engines generate between 6,000-8,500 rpm is simply unparalleled in mass-produced standard engines. These machines are something all by themselves, the sound and joy when the VTEC changes the camshaft profile is quite simply an experience. You have to have a car heart of stone not to smile from ear to ear!

I still have to try a Type R of the latest version, that's something I'm looking forward to.

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