Accord Engine Swap: 1979 Honda Civic CVCC

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This 1979 Honda Civic CVCC looks to be in great condition and possibly spent all this life in the dry climate of Arizona. This little bitty car is listed for sale here on Craigslist for a price of $7,900. Besides being in very nice condition, engine has been upgraded to a 1.8 EK1 four cylinder engine from a 1981 Honda Accord. The car is located in the Phoenix, Arizona area and shows 104,000 miles on the odometer. I like the air intake system in front of the windshield on these cars.

This Civic originally came with a 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine that developed 60 horsepower. The swapped 1.8 liter engine from the 1981 should produce quite a bit more horsepower than that and was rated at 108 horsepower by Honda in 1981. The upgraded engine came out of a Honda Accord and is backed by a 5 speed transmission. The seller states that the car gets 33 + miles per gallon and is super fun to drive. My friend had one of these in high school and I was amazed how much fun it was to drive. My guess is that it was so light and small and it can zip around pretty well. The white paint looks nice and there are no visible signs of rust.

The interior looks very nice and the upholstery has been redone on the seats and the seller has installed new carpet. The factory stereo has been replaced with a Bluetooth stereo and new speakers in the rear. I wonder how many of these little Hondas are left on the road today. The car is said to run well and accelerates strong and smooth. The seller also provides a YouTube video there can be access via this link.

The first generation of the Honda Civic was produced from 1972-1979. It was a successful car and outpeformed its competitors such as the Chevrolet Vega, Ford Pinto and Volkswagen Bug in terms of gas mileage and it was more fun to drive. Some of the early Civics had rust issues. The asking price seems reasonable considering sellers insurance agency, Hagerty, has placed an agreed value of $10,000 on the car. This may not be a definitive indication of value but the price seems like not too much money for a lot of fun.

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  1. alphasudMember

    These were good little cars. My parents had a 75 2 door and a 76 wagon. This car won’t last long at $7500 in this condition and especially with the Accord engine swap. I wonder if the current owner did the transplant or if it was done a while back? Not too easy to find a old Accord these days.

    Like 4
  2. RoughDiamond

    Sweet Civic CVCC and super clean with no rust showing. I wish it were closer. It will probably be gone soon.

    Like 6
  3. Bick Banter

    Originally had 54 horsepower from the factory so the engine swap doubled it. I would imagine it’s a hoot to drive.

    Like 4
  4. greg v

    Wow, it’s a trunk model not a hatch. Don’t see those very often. Nice little car!


    greg v.

    Like 6
    • onree

      Trunk models rare indeed. Especially as late as a ’79.

      Like 3
  5. Mark

    Would have been a good cash for clunkers car, despite its condition. It’s as desirable as Corona.

    Like 2
  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    Very nice. I saw one like this yesterday. I couldn’t tell what engine powered it. But I knew what an early Honda Civic looked like.

    Like 1
  7. chrlsful

    almost a DD 4 me BUT:
    not a waggy (or hatch) and not auto.
    The swap-in may B problematic (in the small lill things if not carefully done) & I already have an accord 5 speed I’d like gone~

    For me stick is only for trucks &/or 4 WD now. AND those R not dailies…

    Like 0
    • angliagt angliagtMember

      Nothing personal,but your posts are really
      hard to read.Could you please use actual words,
      rather than “texting”?

      Like 14
      • Lothar... of the Hill People


        let me interpret chrlsful’s strange text jargon for you:

        DD= daily driver (nothing to do w/ bra size);
        waggy = wagon;
        hatch = hatchback;
        lill = little (but again, nothing to do w/ bra size);
        dailies = daily driver;
        stick = manual transmission.

        i have no idea why he is talking about his honda accord but apparently he wishes for it to be removed.



        Like 1
  8. Art

    Everything I can find online says the 81 EK1 engine is 72 horsepower, which is certainly better than the original 60 on a first gen civic but I’m not sure where that 108 hp is coming from.

    Like 1
    • Dickie F.

      The one featured in the original Cannoball run movie, featured a Japanese team and I remember a Jet engine ?

      Like 1
  9. qmmq

    Years ago when I had an RSX I threw a bearing. I had the K20a2 swapped for a K24a2. The guy who did the swap fixed my old motor and put it in a CVCC. Needles to say…that old civic ran strong.

    Like 1
  10. Ward William

    I could drive that every day with a smile on my face knowing that nearly every car around me will breakdown before I do. I’ve had Hondas of this era and they were bulletproof.

    Like 1
    • Poppy

      But far from rust proof…

      Like 0
  11. Richard Ray

    I had the squareback version of that year, same color. Only 4 speed. 5 speed was better if you were going on any highway. After changing the pitiful little bias ply tires (only lasted 6,000 miles with my aggressive cornering) with Michelin 185/70’s my mileage was 40mpg. I only had two issues: the points setting and the clutch cable adjustment at the firewall. The points would slip about every two weeks, so I’d pull out my credit card for a quick adjustment on the side of the road. Very easy. I finally put a pop rivet in the point base to fix that issue. The clutch cable adjustment point was a bit of a problem. It finally stripped out the retaining ring slot, so I installed a pair of shaft collars on each side of said retaining ring.

    Like 0
  12. Richard Ray

    I bought the wagon version of this one in ’79. Loved the little car, but the bias ply tires only lasted 6K miles.. mostly due to my driving sideways in the turns. After I replaced the dinky bias tires with taller and fatter Michelins, I was getting 40 mpg. But, no more sideways turns. The Michelins were too sticky for that. The only complaints I had were the slippery breaker points and the clutch adjustment at the firewall. I had to reset the breaker points about every other time I filled the tank. They simply wouldn’t stay put. So, back to redneck fixes.. I pop riveted that sucker. The clutch adjustment was made with an e-ring at the aluminum slider tube going thru the firewall. The ring slots in the tube stripped out early on. I finally used a couple of split shaft collars to set and lock the clutch adjustment. If I had the chance to get another of these little gems, I’d definitely go for the optional five speed.

    Like 0

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