Barn Find… Honda? 1978 Honda Civic

We don’t often see barn finds here that aren’t big, old American cars. Some have been imports, of course, but I didn’t expect to see a 1978 Honda Civic hiding out in a dusty barn next to a New Holland TN65 tractor, or I think that’s what the blue tractor in the background is? This dusty but good-looking Honda Civic can be found here on eBay in London, Kentucky and the current bid price is $2,700 with no reserve.

Wow! It’s amazing what a little soap and water will do, as I’ve heard a few times from the in-laws. The first-generation Honda Civic was made from mid-1972 to 1979 and they were quite an update from Honda’s N600 which was even smaller, narrower, and had half as many cylinders.

A friend of mine in high school got a first-generation Honda Civic and at the time I thought it was cool. It was so different from what almost everyone else was driving at the time which were mostly American vehicles. He was two years older than most of us were so he may not have been the brightest kid having been “held back” (i.e., flunked) a couple of times, but it helped that his dad had enough money to buy him a car, even if it was a Honda Civic. It was much cooler than my vehicle, which was a 1974 Schwinn Varsity 10-speed.

This particular Honda Civic was apparently stored in a warehouse for years and was then purchased by an older gentleman who put it his barn for an undetermined amount of time. Or, at least the seller doesn’t mention how long it was there, I’m sure someone does. The interior looks fantastic overall, it’s hard to beat those plaid seats. It looks like the rubber door seals could use some help and the door cards also need some help. The seller mentions that the car has had one repaint at some point in its life.

The engine is, I believe, Honda’s 1.5L inline-four CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) unit which had 60 hp in 1978. One thing the next owner may want to dig into is the fact that this car has a fuel cell in the cargo compartment. You can see more rubber gasket issues in the fuel cell photo so just plan on replacing all of them. Or not. Any thoughts on this barn find Honda Civic?


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  1. Dave

    To quote from Indiana Jones, this belongs in a museum! The tinworms feasted on these and are already assembling for dessert. People around here bought many of these and the three year payment book outlasted most of them.

    Like 4

    These were fun little cars and used the mini cooper formula of being small and light to go quick.
    I remember a silver one at the chimney rock hill climb that was indecently quick.
    Like a lot of cars from this era rust is the bugaboo, and the Honda’s sheet metal is paper thin.
    I wonder how part support is for these.

    Like 5
    • Rodney - GSM

      What part support? None would be the answer. Private party only.

      Like 2
  3. Little_Cars

    My college room mate had the wagon version of this. The cool thing about it was we rigged the then-new-technology Sony Walkman onto the dashboard to play our music through the radio speakers. The ashtray area directly under the center gauges presented a perfect platform for the Walkman.

    Like 4
  4. CJinSD

    These came from a time when Honda was only selling 60,000 cars a year in the US and they were still all over the place in Virginia until about 1990. It’s possible that people took care of them because you had to really want a Honda in 1978 to pay more for one than the average transaction price of a Cutlass. And unlike all those PLCs, Civics with sticks are fun to drive.

    Like 4
  5. Chad Member

    So that silver thing in the back is a “fuel cell”?

  6. djkenny

    If you want to spend a lot.. go Nuts. Lotta work. I had a 79 Accord and it was lovely ti drive, nice dash. But Not the Hondas of the mid 80’s on Up. Carpets and upholstery were weak. Master cylinders and cooling system issues.

  7. MFerrell

    I wonder if someone converted the carb to fuel injection, so they installed the fuel cell with electric pump and pressurized fuel system? I love that it’s “installed correctly” – as in, Bubba did a real good job.

    Like 3
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      I dunno, being that it is in the passenger compartment, there is a bit of a question in my mind about how well thought out the installation is. A little less benign than a bag of groceries in the hatch.

      Like 1
  8. Cooter914 Cooter914 Member

    If anyone is actually interested in this little classic, I am about 45 mins away and could be convinced to go inspect it.

    Like 2
  9. Skip Elliott

    I bought a 1974 that I dearly loved. It was my daily driver but I autocross it a lot. I drove it from Alabama to Texas for the national championship in 1977 and to the South East divisional the same year. I would still drive it today but I rolled it at a race in Dothan.
    I owned six or eight Civics of the first generation and even had a slightly newer station wagon.
    I had a fully race prepared car that I raced for a number of years.
    None of mine were CVCC models.
    I never saw any rust problems. They were all solid ,trouble free cars.

    Like 2
  10. JudoJohn

    My guess the reason for the fuel cell is that the original tank was rusted, and it was easier, or more cost effective to put in the fuel cell than get a new tank.

  11. chrlsful

    $83 – $150 in prts to get ur ‘trunk space’ back..

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