1984 Honda Civic GL (sort of...)

no picture available yet (but wait until you see it...)

With the GTA in forced storage for the winter (I had never realized that the 3rd-gen f-body could be so weird in snowy weather!), I had to find transportation and FAST! A family friend who worked at a Honda dealership called us about a line he had on a couple of old Civics that could do the trick.

A couple of Civics, I asked? Well, the 2 door hatchback was a 1984 1500S model with the high-output (?) 76hp 1.5l 12-valve motor in decent shape, but the body was rotten to the core... you could hear it decaying before your eyes. The second car, a 1984 Civic GL 4-door, had a body in better shape, but the original owner had forgotten to check/change fluids in over a decade, it seemed, and the engine promptly expired leading her to trade-in the car for a new model. For $500, the cars were ours. With both cars clocking around 175000km, I didn't know what I was getting into.

The idea was originally just to change whatever was broken on the 4-door using parts from the hatchback donor car. However, we got carried away and before you knew it, the semi-automatic transmission was out and replaced with the manual transaxle from the hatchback car. Never mind the wiring... until the very end that car never had functional back-up lights. Passengers were amazed at how the car would accelerate even with the in-dash transmission indicator light showing NEUTRAL (the switch had to stay in Neutral so the car could be allowed to start! Hence no functional back-up lights!). The hood looked like it had suffered a severe fire at some point, and this lended to the overall Mad Max quality about the car...

Over the course of about 4 years, the Bionic Civic plodded along, with every mechanical breakdown remedied by a constant supply of parts stripped and stocked from that original donor car. We're talking alternator, water pump, timing belt, ignition coil, rear axle, shocks/struts, wiper assemblies, CV-joints, even some sections of exhaust plumbing (which was interesting considering the two body styles had incompatible exhaust routing!!). With the stock manual choke system, the car was always guaranteed to start, which was especially outstanding considering that there was one year where we suffered 2 continuous months of -40 degree weather!

Eventually, the body just rotted out so severely that the window was cracking in 6-7 different places, in some cases letting in streams of windshield washer fluid and allowing it to crystallize on the defroster grille. A leaking gas tank made it a pain to park in closed environments, and eventually the torsion-bar spring support rusted through, the car slumping on its side. 225000km had taken its toll.

The body may be long gone, but the soul lives on... within the shell of a 1987 Honda Wagon. It's still kind of heartwarming to see the engine again every so often, knowing how it dutifully served me for many years, even as a daily (rain-day) driver when the GTA ceased to see rainy day activity. And all this with never having changed the oil in about 40000km.

With the newly arrived '92 Integra, I thought for sure that I had seen my last days with little Honda Civic winter beaters. But little did I know that it was not goodbye after all, but merely an au revoir...