Georgia Peach: 1974 Honda Civic 1200

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While far from a hot hatch, this 1974 Honda Civic is the desirable non-CVCC version, which featured less restrictive emissions equipment and lighter weight, offering drivers a more sporting experience. While I understand “sporting” is relative, let’s just use it in comparison to the more frequently seen CVCC models. This example is a true survivor, according to the seller, wearing original paint and only recently discovered after living in an airplane hangar from 1983 to 2015. Find it here on craigslist in South Carolina for $7,995. 

To me, it looks as if this Civic sports a lowered stance, which wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility considering early adopters of these cars included weekend autocross warriors, who likely favored the light-weight and short wheelbase. The original paint looks quite nice, although the seller does acknowledge a dent on the rear hatch / trunk panel. Old-school license plates and weathered bumper stickers are all vestiges that survived thanks to long-term preservation, most likely.

The interior is quite nice, with the classic three-spoke steering wheel, bucket seats, and the must-have manual transmission. The dash looks quite nice as well, with preserved wood inlays. OEM floormats are a nice touch, and the seller notes that the backseat remains un-used. There is a tear in the driver’s seat and the seller notes weatherstripping has failed and will allow water in, but only when being hit with a pressure washer.

Mechanically, the current owner has lavished the Civic with several improvements. This includes an engine overhaul, cooling system refresh, new exhaust, rebuilt braking system, fuel system service, and more. The later Accord alloy wheels look good here, and are mounted on fresh rubber. Overall, there’s a lot to like about this Civic hatchback, and the period colors will make it a welcome sight at almost any vintage car gathering. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Richard T. for the find.

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  1. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Time Warp!

    My fuzzy memory says that these really did sit this low.

    Like 5
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    These cars, literally, single handed, changed the world of automobiles,,for ever. They didn’t last long up north, which is why it’s so unusual to see one,,,at all, but these told the world, Honda didn’t make toy cars anymore, and went on to become the biggest car maker in the world,,all thanks to the Honda Civic. Would I want one? Nah,,

    Like 9
    • Dave

      I concur. Honda stood the motorcycle world on its ear with the CB 750, and with the 1973 Arab oil embargo the Civic and Rabbit helped stretch those precious gallons. This car should never go north of the Mason Dixon line!

      Like 11
      • ICEMAN from Winnipeg

        I bought a brand new 1978 Rabbit. It was Demon Possessed. Brakes that squealed like freight train. Leaked oil like a sieve. Muffler that rusted out and fell off after 6 months. Horrendous torque steer on wet, snowy, or icy road surfaces. And a chronic stalling problem made it dangerous to drive. Years later, Consumer Reports confirmed the chronic stalling problem, which the dealer service department told me did not exist. Will never buy another VW product. The Civic, on the other hand, friends who had them loved them, but they were serious rusters. Another friend had a 1979 Ford Fiesta, which I wish I had bought instead of the Wabbit.

        Like 1
    • Craig

      Honda is great but they never became the biggest carmaker in the world.

      Like 9
      • Jack in RI

        That is true about not being the biggest carmaker in the world, but Honda is the #1 biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world since 1959 and also #1 biggest internal combustion engine manufacturer in the world by volume.

        Like 1
      • Kevsky

        You don’t have to be the biggest to be the best!

        Like 0
  3. JimmyJ

    I had the same car but blue, I think it was $300? Anyways drove it for awhile then sold it to a buddy. His mom was pissed that I sold him this beater but he drove it for years barely dropping a dime on it.
    Ive owned many Honda’s after that as I believe they make the best internal combustion motor in the world! As I don’t have a Honda car right now because the ridgeline isn’t a truck but if they made a real truck I’d be first in line to buy one.
    I do have 3 Honda dirt bikes and a rubicon quad with 8500k that runs like new and will bury a brand new Polaris quad despite being 10 years old.
    BTW I’m also a big fan of mopars and fords so spare me the import trash talk.

    Like 14
    • On and On On and OnMember

      My daily driver is my incredibly dependable and comfortable 2007 Honda Ridgeline. Gets 20mpg on the road and pulls my 20ft pontoon boat in and out of my lake. Maybe not a real truck to all but a close runner up. Just turned 130K and now just broken in. When we go on long road trips and need a little extra room we take it cause it’s solid on the interstate. AWD is a plus. I put a soft cover over the bed and it keeps pretty dry inside. If that’s not enough it has a HUGE waterproof trunk under the bed. I’ll stop now, heading to the dump with a big load.

      Like 6
  4. John M.

    It’ll make a nice little cruiser to zip around country roads in on warm sunny weekends.

    Like 4
  5. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking car. I remember this generation Honda Civic. I was way too young to drive at the time, but I thought it was perfect for driving around town. Our version of the Japanese Kei car.

    Like 4
  6. KevinR

    A girlfriend in high school (in 1980) had one of these. It looks too low by my recollection. It could simply be worn out/blown shocks. Also the tires are too big and the wheels appear to be the ones fitted to a ’79 Accord (my wife had a ’79 Accord when we met).

    None of that detracts from the car. 45 years is a long time for things to get changed. It’s a pretty cool car and I like it. Just not $8K worth of like for me.

    One last thing: the ad says Greensboro. From the pictures it looks Greensboro NORTH Carolina, not South Carolina.

    Like 1
    • Eric

      Shock absorbers do not support a vehicle at all.

      Like 0
      • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

        Not exactly accurate for some types.

        Most shocks have gas in them to prevent and control foaming of the hydraulic oil. The pressure of that gas varies by type and manufacturer, and can be quite high. It is why shocks and struts are almost always shipped with wire strapping which prevents piston rods from extending to maximum possible length.

        Installing gas shocks on a car which was not originally set up with them will definitely raise the car. Going the other way will result in a car which sits lower.

        And…. Some cars have load-compensating leveling systems. I own one, and will admit that it is from 1993, so not the very latest technology. There is an on-board compressor which adds pressure to the rear shocks when passengers hop into the back seat and/or items are placed in the trunk.

        Shocks carry load in many applications.

        That may not be the primary reason for their existence, but it is a fact nonetheless.

        Like 2
  7. Ted

    Man I went through a half dozen of these in the early 80’s and they weren’t rollover cars either… to drive, cheap on gas, a truly great little car. If this was just a little closer and a little cheaper……….

    Like 4
    • Neal

      By rollover do you mean odometer or crash upside down?

      Like 0
      • Ted

        Hey Neal, quite a lot of Civics here in the Vancouver area were bought up and destroyed at the PNE’s rollover competition. That’s what I meant by rollover. Still makes me want to barf seeing how many got smulched in those shows………..

        Like 1
  8. Mountainwoodei

    I had a CVCC in the same color with two wide black stripes down the hood to the roof and down to the rear bumper. I bought it from a speed shop garage in San Diego in 1979…drove like a bat out of hell. Got a ticket on the I-5 trying to get from SD to LA for an emergency at about 90 miles an hour. Believe it or not in 1979 you could actually speed on the 5 to LA. Today, its a parking lot. :)

    Great car.

    It was a great car. Dont remember it being strangled by pollution equipment but then I forget alot! :)

    Like 4
  9. Stevie G

    Here is another one that brings back memories! I just love this little car.
    A friends sister had a bright yellow one back in the 1980’s, my high school era. Their Dad made her lend it to him when the families Town Car was not available for him to use. We had a great time in both cars lol. I am now still the same height @ 6 feet tall, but twice the weight @ about 320 pounds lol. I would be wearing that poor little Honda like a suit lol. Still a cool car, before Hondas became oil burners. My son LOVES the Civics from the 1990’s. They all have soot on the back bumpers right above their coffee can exhaust.

    Like 1
  10. Brad

    Almost purchased a couple of ’78 Civics in my teens, but neither deal panned out. Always liked these cars for some reason, despite the fact rust consumed these faster than cookie monster could gobble an entire jar of cookies. One correction to the write-up, though. While it is noted these are Accord rims, they are steel rims – not alloy.

    Like 2
  11. rallyace

    We pounded the snot out of this series Civics. We would rally on Saturday night and then autocross on Sunday afternoon every weekend from April to November. Maintenance was just regular oil changes, replacing the front brake pads every couple of months and the occasional tune up. Great little cars that proved that it is a lot more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.

    Like 5
  12. Ramon

    Very nice car!

    Yes it’s been lowered. They almost looked like 4x4s when stock on the 12 inch wheels. The price seems a bit high for the miles and body damage. I haven’t seen a first gen 1200 at auctions lately but a low milage CVCC just went for 22k at Mecun Monterey 2018.

    Here is my 1973 Civic 1200 with 18k original miles.

    Like 12
  13. Brad

    My first car was a ’75 Civic. I drove the hell out of that thing until I finally threw a rod after 280,000 miles. I’m currently restoring an orange ’75 CVCC with 90,000 original miles. Absolutely love these cars.

    Like 1
  14. Rex Rice

    I loved my ’78 Civic 1500S. I quickly blew the engine & installed an 1800 Accord with a Weber carb and Accord wheels & tires. One of the most fun cars I ever had & that includes a few Porsches. I rolled it, beat out the roof & replaced the windshield & continued to drive it for many more fun miles.

    Like 5
  15. Paul

    If I had the cash and garage space, I’d snap this up in a heartbeat! I just love the first generation Honda Civics! Charming styling to me, a lot like a classic VW Beetle from the early 60s on the charm scale. Whoever gets this car will have a lot of fun driving it.

    Like 1
    • Bodyman68

      First gen had 600 motorcycle engines and shifters on dash . My neighbor had 2 with 600s and a few of these cvcc’s after them . I like the color and would buy it. Not bad cars !

      Like 1
      • Ramon

        Those where the Z600 and N600s. Not civics. 1973 was the first Civic produced. The CVCC came along in 1975.

        Like 1
  16. Fiete T.

    My grandma had a ’76. In Wasilla, Alaska.
    My wife’s next DD? Acura RDX.
    Honda’s weakest link has always been their auto trannies. We’ll see if it’s gotten better, the RDX has a 10-speed and the Type-S is in works. 3.5L, turbo V6…we’ll see if the transmission lasts!

    Like 1
    • Neal

      Amen to the Honda transmission BS.
      I switched to Sienna after crazy tranny crap with a 99 Odyssey!
      This one, though, would be a cool little car to own and enjoy. But maybe at half the price.

      Like 0
  17. stillrunners

    Neat-o….remember all the colors of them being around back in high school…..

    Like 0
  18. Andrew S MaceMember

    The paperwork shown in the ad says it all: Back then, one was extremely lucky to pay “only” list price on these, at least in the Northeast US if not everywhere. It wasn’t until about 1978 that the situation calmed down a bit; even then, there was still no guarantee you could get the color you wanted! (My girlfriend at the time was lucky, as the red one she really wanted became available! She also quickly opted for the dealer-installed 13″ wheels with Michelin radials as opposed to the stock 6.00 x 12 bias-ply Toyos.)

    Like 0
  19. Wayne

    Many, many great memories with the first generation Civics. (we called them civilized Minis) Recurve the distributor, crank in some additional initial timing advance and the engine would pull hard to 8,000 RPM. (at which time the valves started to float) I had a 1978 that I poked and stroked to almost 1500 CCs. I never got beat in an autocross or an ice race. Bought the car new on Friday night. ($2,900 cash including sales tax for a sedan which means no hatch) and then drove straight to my tire shop (I was the manager) to install a set of Goodyear F32 snow tires on Accord 13″ wheels. On Monday went back to the dealer to return the borrowed wheels. And on the back seat there were 4 first place ice racing trophies. (Ice race Saturday and Sunday men’s and women’s classes)
    The picture is of a 1974 with 1973 (tin foil) bumpers. The car was sponsored by the dealership that I worked at in 1974. It took second in the National SCCA Solo II championships for G stock. Great fun and memories. Over the doors it said “We beat the nicest people with our Honda”

    Like 3
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      Where did you run on the ice?
      Solo trials type runs, or W2W?
      Out of NW Ohio, I ran on the Ice in Michigan in the early to mid 80’s

      Like 0
  20. Wayne

    DayDreamBeliever, I ran in Wisconsin mostly. Mostly Solo trials type but also some W2W. (in a borrowed car) I ran a VW Scirocco the first 2 years and took the Tri-State Championship the second year in the Scirocco. (in class) The following year I ran the Honda. The Scirocco was a dream to drive on the ice with minor oversteer it was a walk in the park. The Honda was tons of work to get it around the track. (tons of understeer that had to be dealt with) left foot braking/dragging to steer the back end. I would be totally drained after my run. BUT the Honda was faster than the VW. (lighter weight making for faster acceleration and braking) It was faster by about 15%. (won the championship that year also in the different class) I went to Pro Rally the following year. And now live in Nevada. No ice fun here, I had to learn to ski!

    Like 3
  21. David Prowse

    I bought a ’73 used in ’75 for about $1000 and it was a brilliant driver. Would do 100mph flat out all day long and cornered like it was on rails. Would buy another for fun in a heartbeat but $8k seems optimistic.

    Like 0

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