Seized Assets: 1984 Honda Civic 1500 S

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

This 1984 Honda Civic 1500 S is for sale by a storage facility that took possession of the car after the owner stopped paying storage fees. The seller claims the former owner loved this classic Honda hatchback, paying $200/month for 12 years to keep it in secure storage – then simply disappeared. Whatever the circumstances, these slightly sporting hatchbacks are rare to find in rust-free condition, and this one here on eBay looks like a keeper. 

We’re sure someone could sleuth through the California DMV database to find the owner, especially with those vanity license plates still attached. What happened to Saji, and why did she concede ownership of her treasured “S” package Civic? These precursors to the legendary Si models featured some modest upgrades like sport seats and a rear sway bar, but made do with the same engine as lower-spec base models like the DX trim.

The seller provides a detailed description of the Civic’s condition, and also tackled years’ worth of deferred maintenance while it was sitting in storage. Interestingly, my Subaru XT6 project had a similar story of an owner keeping it in storage for ten years and paying fairly expensive fees – and was also oddly obsessed with a car I now cannot wait to unload. Anyway, the Civic here has received fresh fluids, plugs and a new battery in recent weeks.

The seller notes the previous owner had the carburetor fuel lines disconnected to prevent fuel from pooling and going bad, but there is likely some hardened gunk present due to bogging during acceleration. Still, the car runs and drives well enough as-is but will need the factory locking wheel lug nuts cut off to replace the old tires. This is a time-warp example of Honda’s earliest upgraded offerings in the states, and the $4,800 Buy-It-Now seems reasonable – but the seller is accepting best offers.

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Comments

  1. Arvind

    $28,800 to keep a Civic in storage, wow.

    5+
    • Supersessucke

      Yep, all that lovingly spent cash is going to end up with someone hooning the living hell out of this thing. I would probably lower it, stick on some wider tires and a good exhaust and auto cross the living the piss out of it. Weeeeee! Thunk! Ooops 🙁 Great use of money here.

      0
      • Supersessucke

        Of course, what if it’s one of those situations where a loved one passed away and the caretaker couldn’t bear to part with the car?

        I know a guy who owns a storage facility and he had a situation like that once. It’s like they’re waiting for the person to come back because they can’t accept what happened. Very sad. I now wish we could get more information on how this car got to this point.

        0
  2. Miguel

    The $4800.00 price seems like a lot considering they are going to have to return any monies paid over what they are owed for the storage, if the owner asks for that money.

    That is of course if a lien sale was done and this was not a surrender in lieu of the fees.

    0
  3. Miguel

    Where the Ebay listing says it has a clear title, it does not. They have lien papers to register it in California and if the owner did not pay the non op every year, watch out for the fees.

    1+
  4. Rodent

    Parked in 1999 after failing 5 smog checks🤔

    1+
  5. Bruce Best

    This is the first Japanese equal to a the legendary Mini Cooper. I had one in 1984 and it was a total blast to drive. Would hold 5 big guys for short trips and for long trips was totally relaxing to drive. DO NOT think of this car as a economy car but as a very small high performance sports coupe, similar to an Alfa GTV.

    Looks are not the greatest, from the back it looks a lot like a micro wave but functional and fun of the highest order. I am a serious sports car guy and have had MG’s of all types, Triumphs, Jaguars, Mercedes, Lotus, Porsche and the beloved Alfa GTV and sypders of various types. I would rank this car with the best of them for pure out and out fun.

    I can not afford to purchase this one right now but if someone here does I would like to know so I can purchase it off of them later. It is rare that a product hits a sweet the sweet spot of both function and fun but this car most certainly did and the later versions lost some but not all of that. I think Honda could build this car today and still do very well with if. All you need to do is to drive one.

    2+
  6. Steve R

    Someone will buy it. The price seems very reasonable for that car in that condition.

    Steve R

    2+
  7. Mountainwoodie

    What is striking to me is how simple and functional these models were in comparison to todays over- OBD III’d toasters. Of course I’m biased as I owned a CVCC…….price seems high and then there is the DMV nightmare alluded to above by Miguel

    0
    • Steve R

      What nightmare? All a buyer would need to do to transfer title is to pay any back registration, that’s assuming the previous owner never filed a non-op with the DMV. Even if there is back registration due it wouldn’t be an astronomical amount, yearly registration on old cars like that isn’t expensive.

      Steve R

      0
      • Rodent

        Penalties after 2 years is 160% of the registration amount, plus the back registration fees. This car failed smog 5 times in 1999, so we can assume that it hasn’t been registered since. If the owner didn’t file a planned NPO, the back fees will be huge to register it in California again. Car needs to go to another state where it can be registered cheaply. Seller conveniently doesn’t list the VIN, so the back fees can’t be easily checked with DMV.

        3+
      • Miguel

        The problem is that in order for CA to issue a title to bring it to another state, the fees would have to be paid.

        You can’t request a title only on a car with back fees.

        0
  8. Blueprint

    Regular Civics had a 1300 cc engine, so the 1500S was indeed a performance upgrade with its larger engine.

    0
  9. MikeG

    $20k+ for storage?!!! The perfect example why you should just part ways with items you may consider putting into storage.

    1+
    • Supersessucke

      Agreed. My buddy kept his stuff in storage for 2 years and I just thought that was the dumbest thing. He spent more on storage fees than he would have if he’d just thrown it out and replaced the stuff with brand new furniture.

      But see my post above. What if this is a situation where somebody died and the caretaker just couldn’t bear to part with the car? I’d be curious to learn more about how this happened.

      0
  10. mike D

    not to burst anybody’s bubble, but, this car does nothing for me , hopefully whomever gets it, will continue to maintain it , it does look like a keeper

    0
  11. Doug

    I had one, new. When it came time to replace the timing belt, I had the dealer replace the water pump as well. Unfortunately, the tech who did the job didn’t
    bother to bleed the cooling system, and the car overheated in mid August about halfway from Winnemucca to Reno….. After letting it cool down, I was able to limp to Reno at 50mph with the heater going full blast and the windows wide open- not a fun trip ! It turns out that an air bubble ( from not bleeding the system ) had lodged where the sensor for the electric fan fits in the radiator, so the electric fan wouldn’t come on. There is a bleeder screw, just like for a brake cylinder, at the top of the cylinder head, and I hope whoever buys this makes sure the system is bled !

    1+
  12. Jim Morris

    Bought it’s twin in ’85 with 8k on it. Ex got it in ’02, she sold it to a friend of mine and he drove it ’til about ’10. He sold it with about 135k on it. Never had more than normal maintenance (which includes timing belt and water pump). Rear brake shoes were always an issue, always used Honda parts. I had one shoe have the material come unglued from the plate while driving (slow speed), that quivered my liver. Had one drum break at the edge so that the drum hub stayed on the axle, but the outer part bounced around. another liver thing.

    Still, it was the funnest car to drive I have ever had, nothing earth-shaking, but it did nothing bad, and felt much faster than it really was. Drove from Indy to near Dayton at a steady 100mph and still got 35mpg.

    If I didn’t have two projects (’92 Hurst Olds wagon, ’60 Tbird station wagon) sucking up money and time faster than I can make it, I’d be on this instantly.

    By the way, for the Honda, I traded in a ’78 Starfire, twin of the one on here today.

    0
    • whippeteer

      Any pics of your projects? They sound very interesting.

      0
  13. KevinR

    Question: if it does have a pile of unpaid California DMV fees between it and future CA registration, do those apply to out of state sales? Also, what is the effect on the title?

    1+
    • Miguel

      The problem is that there is no title on this car. The seller has lien papers and CA DMV won’t issue a title until all back fees are paid.

      Plus the car had personalized/vanity plates so who knows how much is really owed.

      There were extra fees for having the vanity plate.

      0
      • Rodent

        These plates are on a 2004 CR-V now. Obviously different plates, but same letters.

        0
  14. Jubjub

    Awesome. Looks exactly like the MRC Tamiya 1/24 kit box illustration.

    This was a great design and a high point for small cars.

    Bummer about the title etc.

    0
  15. Steve

    IMO it’s only good for a parts car now…

    0

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