Facing Extinction: 1993 Honda Civic Si

When I chat with my brother about potential project cars, we both agree that the fifth-generation Honda Civic Si hatchback is on our lists – if you could find one worth owning. This is the car that basically sparked the Fast & the Furious culture in the U.S., with the unfortunate side effect of becoming theft targets and modified to the point of extinction. This is a stock Si model with the high-revving 1.6L mill under the hood, and it’s here on eBay with a $7,500 Buy-It-Now.

Along with its Acura Integra sibling, 5th-generation Civics became extremely popular for its lightweight and ease of accepting larger Honda / Acura powerplants. Despite being as easy to buy as any other car in Honda’s showroom, the Si example shown here is practically obsolete. Cheap to buy and cheaper to own, the more powerful model effectively disappeared when it hit the used car market, either being driven into the ground by young owners or having its drivetrain stripped out for the basis of engine builds or other projects.

To our die-hard muscle car guys, the engine’s output may not seem impressive, but the 125 b.h.p. turned out a sub-eight second run to 60 with a lofty 7,200 RPM redline. The Si trim also added four-wheel disc brakes and of course, the legendary VTEC engine technology that gives these cars its legendary “screamer” driving qualities. Some may balk at the seller’s asking price but I would caution that it helps reduce the chance of yet another 18-year-old buying it to modify or blow up the motor; a stock example is worth preserving at the hands of an older owner.

Inside, this was plain-jane Honda at its finest, but that still meant nicely bolstered seats and the company’s trademark buttery manual transmission. The seller does note that the car has been repainted at some point, and that an aftermarket muffler is present; I can’t tell, but it doesn’t appear to be a “loud pipe” that so many Civics of this era now sport. Either way, that’s an easy fix if it is. Mark my words, if you’re following the Japanese collector car market, this one will rise in price in the not-too-distant future.

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Comments

  1. Rx7turboII

    Don’t forget, I think with the SI trim you automatically got the sunroof option. The first way to tell an S I from a VX or a CX or a DX.

  2. Fred w.

    If you had told me ten years ago that I would think a Honda Civic was “money in the bank”….

    • Superdessucke

      Not to get braggy but I knew 10 years ago. I also knew about 20 years ago. You could see these things getting riced up to the Nth degree. So it’s no shocker at all that stock original examples are worth money. That has been true for quite some time now with these and the related CRX Si.

      Question is how high will they go? I don’t see these hitting anything like the muscle car levels. Gen Xers will remember these fondly – the car they drove to San Francisco for dot.com riches and traded in for a new M Roadster or whatever. But this group as a whole is not as inclined to spend big money on old cars as their predecessor Baby Boomers were. I guess we will see.

      • Steve R

        You must not live in the Bay Area, they would rather have a Tesla or Nissan Leaf. If they aren’t interested in saving the world they are probably driving a BMW or Audi SUV.

        Steve R

      • Superdessucke

        That might be true now but back in the late 1990s when the original owners of these were upgrading, those little BMW Z roadsters and Porsche Boxsters (and to a lesser extent the stunted runt Mercedes SLK) were common. Times have changed.

  3. William Sanders

    180,000 miles around Philly? So the new paint covers the visible rust, but the undercarriage damage is done.
    Sorry, that’s not the $7500 car.
    Maybe 38000 miles from socal… not new england.

  4. johnforsman

    The images under the hood are not large enough for me to see indications of rust. No chassis images either. I have had friends that bought cars out of Pennsylvania that rapidly became rust buckets. My son bought a 60K EG6 from CA that is rust and accident-free for $3500. Someone should visually inspect this car before purchasing, it is premium priced.

  5. John

    My mom has 1998 Civic DX hatchback with 128K miles. She tells me guys are constantly asking her if she wants to sell it. She’s wants to be buried in it!

  6. UJ

    I’ve heard it said that Civics are the ’55 Chevy for the boomer’s progeny.

  7. JonnyA

    @SteveR-
    It’s all about the ego and one upsmanship in the Bay Area.

    This is a sweet little car. The librarian at the college I went to had a teal one. Several of us car guys constantly asked if she’d sell it. She was shocked saying it’s just a Civic. Surely she knew, right?!
    This was back in the early 2Ks.

    • Steve R

      That line of thinking is prevalent among the tech elite, but not everyone, though it is spreading. Many of the techies are incredibly smug, they think they are the smartest person in the room. They tend to suffer from group think.

      Steve R

      • Superdessucke

        That might be true of today’s techie but again, I’m talking about the late 1990s when a guy who bought this new would have been trading up. And back then, the big ego cars were those little German roadsters.

        And I’d be willing to bet that as the years passed, that person realized that that it wasn’t much of a trade up. That’s the market for these cars.

  8. AMCFAN

    Jeff I think you are on the money on this one. These vintage Honda’s are on most everyones radar. Seeing a stock SI is amazing. The peridm is to see them rusted/roached slammed and boosted. How high can the price go? I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow here. No one in the 70’s thought muscle cars would ever be worth anything.

  9. Daved N.

    The lone engine bay shot does indeed reveal corrosion on the bare metal parts are well as rust. Good chance the undercarriage appears similar. Wonder if the rear wheel well rust (so common to Hondas) was repaired during the repaint….

  10. Bobsmyuncle

    Better it goes to some young guy that is going to drive it as it was meant to be, maybe even hot rod it like has been done to car for generations, than have it sit around and languish in the hopes of being some prospector’s cash cow.

  11. Andre

    Even as a domestic guy the performance-trim Honda/Acura’s always did it for me. Simple, pre-gadgetry, and reliable.

    When I was 19 I was shopping for a mildly used daily driver for college, but in gearhead guise. I went to see 2 cars on a spring day – a 96 GSR Integra at a dealer, and a 95 TSi AWD Talon which was a private sale.

    Despite having the means the VW dealership who had the trade-in GSR would not let me test drive it beyond they’re (tiny) lot – even with a salesman. How am I supposed to buy a used car without first driving it? I took my scrawny self to Talon’s owners house and bought it.

    Following that I went through a few modified Talon’s.. an LS1 Camaro… C5 Z06… Life goes on and gears keep churning.

    My point? Every time I see a clear GSR I wonder how my automotive enthusiasm DNA may have been altered to this day had I drank the VTEC Kool-aid…..

  12. Frank Serpico

    One day. That’s as long as it would be before this car was stolen in my town in Southern California. Five years ago, I owned a 1993 Civic LX with 70K miles, it was my mom’s car and as a senior, she babied the car.

    After she passed, there were 8 attempts to steal it from my driveway. If you buy this, get a kill switch and alarm, GPS tracker and or LoJack AND pull the ECU fuse whenever you park it.

    I would always pull the ECU fuse 1/8″ to break connection. On eight separate occasions, I found the doors, trunk, hood open but they never figured out the ECU was out just enough to break connection.

    I sold the car after owning it for 4 years, two days, two days after I sold her, the new owner called me frantic to ask what the plate number was, it had been stolen from a church parking lot.

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