California Civic: 1979 Honda Civic Wagon

It’s raining nice white ’79 Honda Civics here this week at Barn Finds. What a weird coincidence to find this nice 1979 Honda Civic wagon listed here on eBay after seeing another nice one a couple of days ago. The seller says that this was a California car that they recently relocated to New Jersey, that was probably not a cheap trip. They have an unmet opening bid price of $7,500 listed and a buy-it-now price of $9,500. Thanks to Larry D. for sending in this tip!

We just saw basically the same car in the two-door version a few days ago here on Barn Finds. The other Civic had been in storage for a couple of decades and it sold pretty quickly at the seller’s $8,000 buy-it-now price. I wonder if this one will sell as quickly? Certainly, the seller must have noticed that car and priced this wagon accordingly. Or, they know the market or both.

1979 was the last year for the first-generation Civic and Honda sold a jillion of them give or take. It’s hard to imagine a car weighing 3/4 of a ton being street legal but the safety regulations weren’t quite as stringent in the late-70s as they are today. Another visit from Cap’n Obvious there. A rear wiper would have been optional and don’t ask about a backup camera. Being a California car, this one has zero rust according to the seller, and they provided good photos, even of the underside.

The interior looks fantastic and there’s a good reason for that, the seller says that the seats have been reupholstered. They look good but it’s a bit unfortunate that the new front seats don’t appear to have the fabric insert. The back seat is wearing its original upholstery.  There isn’t much room in the rear cargo area and this one could have used a good cleaning to try to get the highest bid price. It also has a two-speed Hondamatic transmission rather than a manual.

The engine is Honda’s 1.5L inline-four CVCC model which would have had 63 horsepower and this one has had a new head gasket, water pump, all hoses, belts, along with all fluids and ignition components have been changed. The car has new tires and refinished wheels and it’s ready to go. All things being equal, would you rather have the two-door or the wagon version of this car?

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  1. alphasud Member

    Scotty when it rain it pours at BarnFinds! Almost identical to the other 79 minus the A/C. These were great little cars 63hp works with a light car but not with the Auto. I imagine a lot of people who are interested in this are searching for 5-speed parts cars for a conversion. I know I would be.

    Like 7
  2. CarnutDan

    I would love to have this, and annoy people by putting some wood grain trim along the side.

    Like 3
  3. JCA

    Pretty sure i’ve been driving by this almost daily in my travels…unless it’s another one just like it. I’ll have to stop and investigate tomorrow

    Like 2
  4. Phil Gitlin

    Had a 79 two door that I purchased in85… Was a 5 speed and pretty responsive. I bought it back then for $1,500 with 90K on the clock. Was my first Honda…been hooked ever since.

    Like 1
  5. Superdessucke

    Too bad about the Hondamatic. People today probably don’t realize how slow these were. A buddy of mine in high school had a 1979 Prelude with the Hondamatic and we used to call it the Quaalude. It added about 4 seconds to the 0 to 60 time, which wasn’t particularly swift to begin with.

    Like 2
  6. Mutt

    My first car was a red, 77 Civic CVCC, 5 speed, 2 door, bought around 1983. Great little car. Hondas ever since.

  7. Karl

    Very reliable, a little ugly but very bad rust problems!

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      That depends on where the car is from.

      Steve R

  8. Larryspeed

    Had a76 2door paid 3000, drove 4years,sold for 2600 .Best deal, used $3 00

  9. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. Although I was way too young to drive at the time, I remember when the Honda Civic looked like this.

  10. cxm

    It’s mine.
    To clarify something…the seat inserts were not cloth, they were a textured vinyl. Both of my upholstery shops were unable to get the correct material, so the front seats were redone in straight vinyl.
    As far as slow goes…I have been driving it around suburbia and it’s pretty peppy and fun to drive.
    That being said…cars are much larger and faster these days.
    The one shown last week… I was unaware of it until now. I think that fellow did very well indeed at $8000 for a non running car! Good for him,

    Like 2
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for the clarification, cxm, my mistake. Best of luck on the sale, it looks like a great car.

      • cxm

        For the record…I thought they were cloth inserts too, and I thought they were a darker color than the rest of the seats, but two different shops pointed out that any color difference was just dirt or sun fade, and that the material was all vinyl. Looks like cloth due to the texture, We looked through many swatchbooks from many suppliers and the original textured vinyl does not seem to exist.

  11. RepeatOffender

    I’ve seen two here on the west coast in the past 6 months of only casual searching. A yellow one in WA with Idaho plates for $2,500, and a white one in NorCal for $1,500. I was eyeing the white one. None for sale at the moment. Manual only for me!

  12. Barker

    Very cool car. I drove a 78 Civic 1200 (non CVCC) Hondamatic when new and yes a stick is desirable. But the Hondamatic is fun once you wind her up over 25mph in 1st. If I remember correctly, the speedometer has a 1st gear marked line indicating speeds up to 50mph. Thou shalt shift into 2nd by that time else very bad things might happen.

  13. Fireman DK

    Had one with rust in the top I bought from Goodwill when I was a maintenance Mechanic there…..California car … they said it had a blown head gasket ….paid $500…the exhaust nuts had backed off …. 2 speed automatic also …went like a little bat out of hell over Highway 17 which is all hills and curves banked the wrong way …never shifted down ….. was fun to drive and had about 68,000 miles …the swimming pool on the passenger side was a bit inconvenient though ….

  14. cxm

    Like I said…it really is fun to drive! Gets around just fine! This one was wearing California blue plates until recently…alas…1979 cars still need to be smogged in California, so the plates had to be turned in when it moved east.

  15. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    This wagon reminds me of my carpooling days back in the early 80’s. The cars ranged from large wagons and colonnades to these smaller Honda wagons and Rabbits. We would all squish into the smaller vehicles and be happy that we were saving money on gas – there was no fun involved at all.

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