The Honda Civic made its US-market debut as a 1973 model and is now in its eleventh generation. The third- and fourth-generation Civics, introduced here as 1984 and 1988 models, respectively, were instrumental in putting Honda into the car-sales big leagues here, with demand so strong that new Civics often sold for well over sticker price (if you could even find one for sale). Today’s Junkyard Gem is one of the last fourth-generation Civics built, found in a Denver-area self-service yard recently.
Honda began building Civics in Ohio in 1986, and that’s where this car was born.
The Marysville plant started out building motorcycles in 1979, then moved up to Accords in 1982.
This car’s fifth-generation successor had the rounded/flush-glass, wind-tunnel-derived shape pioneered by Audi and then placed fully in the American mainstream with the 1986 Ford Taurus. This squared-off sedan shape looked a bit dated for the early 1990s.
Dated-looking or not, it held together in proper Civic fashion. I’ve found a couple of discarded fourth-generation Civic sedans with better than 300,000 miles on their odometers (an Ohio-built ’89 and an Ontario-built ’91), but this car reached a very respectable final mileage figure. The highest-mile junkyard Civic I’ve ever found was a sixth-gen sedan with 435,028 miles on the clock; the most-traveled junked Honda I’ve documented was an ’88 Accord with 626,476 miles. I’m sure some of the early Civics I’ve seen had even more miles, but Honda didn’t start putting six-digit odometers on US-market cars until the early 1980s.
This one was rusty (by Colorado standards) and its interior on the beat-up side by the end, but it might have been a runner when it got to its final parking spot.
Its last owner tried to sell it via this sign, without success.
Perhaps this car’s final owner was in the Class of 2021. I find many graduation tassels in junkyard vehicles.
This car is a DX, which was the cheapest trim level available for a 1991 Civic sedan. The MSRP was $9,745, or about $22,090 in 2023 dollars.
The engine is a 1.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder, rated at 92 horsepower. Buyers of the absolute cheapest 1991 Civic (the $7,095 base hatchback) got a single-cam version rated at 70 horsepower.
The original buyer of this car wasn’t willing to spend a few extra bucks for the optional right-side mirror, but did find the money to get the automatic transmission instead of the DX’s standard five-speed manual.
There’s no air conditioning, but someone installed a halfway decent Pioneer cassette deck early in this car’s career.
Makes your troubles go away, just like a tow truck.
The easiest way to fix your car is to get a Civic sedan.