Rust Free & Stock: 1990 Honda Civic DX

We all started off driving our first cars back in the day – most of the time these were either econoboxes, with a feeble amount of power from the engine or a complete beater, with bits falling off, and parts of the car taped up. Whatever you drove, you probably know someone who drove a Honda Civic, which fits into one of the categories above. If that was you, and you want to drive a mint(ish) example to recapture those early driving days, then today we have this 1990 Honda Civic DX just for you! The car is available in Puyallup, Washington on eBay here, and with just two days left, no reserve and the price is just over $5,500!

This is the 4th generation of the Civic, introduced in 1987 and was the last of the wedge/boxy shapes before the famously popular 5th generation, as seen in films like the Fast and the Furious. This was the first Civic to have independent rear suspension, and all US models came with electronic fuel injection, whereas carb models were available elsewhere in the world. This was also the time that the cult classic of the CRX was introduced, in the same family but with a bit more kerb appeal than the DX Civic we have here.

These were massively popular, selling about 220,000 per year in the late 1980s as a reliable and economical small car. Our car today, in typical Honda red comes at us with remarkably low mileage – just 67,720 on the clock. It’s one of the base-spec models of the Civic, but has surprisingly survived from being a learner driver’s car. Now it’s not all sunshine and roses, as the seller states the driver’s seat is a bit poor plus there is a small ding on the body. But other than these minor issues, the car is a completely stock, manual Civic.

Realistically the next owner could just use it as a cheap and reliable run-around, or they could stick it in storage and wait for the value to…maybe increase in the next 20 years. It seems a shame to put it on beater duties given its great stock condition, but perhaps someone who learnt to drive in one of these will want to relive their youth…in a 1.5 liter economy car. So does this basic Civic from the 1990s appeal to you and what duties would you put it on in your household?

Comments

  1. Harvey Member

    Just like most Honda’s. Put in gas, change the oil and drive it 300,000 miles.

    Like 14
  2. robj Member

    I wonder what the parts availably would be. I guess with the web you can find “just about” anything but to be sidelined by a tiny bit of plastic something that’s become unobtainum…

    Like 1
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    Nice looking car,but not much fun to drive.
    They get you there and back,but boring to drive.

    Like 2
    • stembridge

      I disagree. We owned an ’89 DX (1.6l / 5sp stick) and a ’90 base (1.5l / 4sp stick and red like the subject car), and put 165K on it before moving it on to my brother, who ran it to 220K and sold it on. Very hoonable (in the “slow car driven fast” mode), and well balanced. I will, however, agree that it wasn’t the most comfortable road trip car.

      If the subject car has the 1.5, then I think it’s not a DX, based on the two we owned.

      Very tempting, but I’m already at my vehicle limit, sez the wife!

      Like 2
    • TheOldRanger

      I agree with Stem… I still own a 1996 Honda Hatchback and it runs like a charm (I bought it new). I live back in the woods about 20 miles from town, and it’s very dependable, and fun to drive (even on the highway). I’ve had people stop at gas stations wanting to buy it, but no sale. I’m 80, and I’ll die with it and I have 2 son-in-laws battle it out… both want it.

      Like 2
    • JMB#7

      Also disagree. I had a 1989 Civic DX 3 door (2 door hatchback). 1.5 liter Dual Point Fuel Injection. Fitted with 14″ wheels from a Miata (very light), Tokico shocks, drop in K&N filter with ducts removed ahead of airbox. Exhaust was increased to minimum of 2″ from stock manifold to the back. A/C components removed for less weight. Was extremely fun to drive, held the corners very well, throttle response was quick. Always returned between 37-42 mpg. Yes performance did drop off quickly when adding passengers. Think about it, one more passenger can add 10% to vehicle weight. Drove it from 105k miles to 320k miles. Was a light blue when I got it, but later I painted it (Subaru’s) WR-Blue, including bumpers, door handles, & side bumper. The next owner told me it was running great a year and a half later.

      Like 1
  4. Terrry

    For those who don’t know, the DX was the basic Civic, no fancy trim, wheels or interior, and had the base engine too. The bumpers were either black or gray depending on the year, not body-colored. What you got, and what Honda is famous for, was a reliable gas-miser.

    Like 2
    • nlpnt

      On the hatchback, the DX was a step up from the base no-suffix Civic Hatchback which is what we have here. A DX would have cloth seats and a 3-spoke steering wheel, these are vinyl and 2-spoke respectively. That also means this probably has only a 4-speed manual transmission (the DX added the 5th gear).

      Like 2
  5. Bill D

    One of my best friends back in my youth had one of these, in this exact color, only a 1989–it had been a college graduation present from her mom. It may not even have had A/C or a radio in it but it was basic, economical, functional, reliable transportation, which was more than I could say for my 10+ year old VW Rabbit.

    Like 1
  6. Emel

    We all started off driving our first cars back in the day – most of the time these were either econoboxes, with a feeble amount of power from the engine or a complete beater,

    Who’s ‘we all’ ? My first 2 cars were a Charger and a T-Bird.

    Like 1
    • Will Irby

      I agree! My first car (1972, about a month before starting my senior year in high school) was a ’66 Valiant with a 340 and 4-speed. I added an 8-3/4″ rear end with 4.30 gears. I never lost a race in that car.

  7. Mike

    Better make sure this car is well protected. Hondas in WA state are targeted for theft.

    Like 1
  8. Porqpine

    Initially, this Civic attracts me with a nice lil sense of nostalgia. These Hondas were among the best cars made in the late 80s and 90s.

    The red paint, 4-speed, and lack of air conditioning sober me right up, though. I’m no stranger to being hot and sticky, or cold and clammy in loud, modest cars with no cool or dry air. Misery isn’t nostalgic.

    It’s a lovely old Honda, best wishes to its new owner!

    Like 4
  9. Frank Sumatra

    I will confess I watched too many episodes of “CHPs” and “Emergency” back in the day. All I can picture is a tractor-trailer combo jack-knifing down the hill and launching the Civic to Escondido. Fortunately “Ponch” got the driver out in the nick of time!

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      Of course the driver was an attractive young lady. “Oh, Officer, how can I ever repay you for saving my life?” Camera pans to Ponch- music up and out. End scene.

      Like 1
    • Emel

      Emergency tv show was actually instrumental in launching the Paramedic EMT program/career thru out America.

      Prior to that, they didn’t have anyone that gave medical care at the scene of the medical emergency.
      They threw you in an ambulance, and if you made it to the ER…you did.
      And if you didn’t…..you expired in the ambulance.

      The Police also threw you in the back of police wagon if they were there.

      Like 1
  10. JMB#7

    I am a little surprised to see the 4-speed. My 1989 DX had a 5-speed. I don’t know if that varied by year, or was an option. I mention some basic modifications in an earlier post, which not only improved throttle response and a little more power, but also improved fuel economy on average. The fuel economy he lists in the ebay ad seems very wrong. I don’t think I ever got less than 36mpg and was usually between 37-42mpg. My driving habits cover the full spectrum of hyper-mile to full performance.

    Like 1
  11. Troy

    Well the brackets to mount to the front so I can tow it behind my motor home are about $200 bucks and it’s not to heavy so I don’t need the extra brake buddy except for California but I avoid that state just on principal. The bidding is almost $7k at the time in posting so it’s one to watch

    Like 1
  12. JMB#7

    Note to next owner. Use OEM spec NGK plugs, with high quality plug wires, fresh cap & rotor. Ignition coils can fail, so put a quality new on in. Keep valves adjusted and use a fresh cover gasket set, to keep oil from seeping in by spark plugs. New timing belt every 100k miles (water pump can be done at the same time). If intake & exhaust are stock, set timing to factory spec. If slightly modified, my experience is that an extra 2 degrees of advance adds better response. If run spirited you still should get 300k miles out of it. I highly recommend the Tokico “blue” HB….HP shocks for this generation of Civic, regardless of stock or modified.

    Like 2
  13. Big C

    I feel sorry for the kids that got one of these as their first car. Maybe that’s why you have folks that would pay $5k for these. They don’t know any better.

    • JMB#7

      Have you ever owned one? I swore that I would never own a front wheel drive car. I was over 40 years old when I bought my first one. That happened to be a 1989 Civic similar to this car. With a small budget these can be modified to approach 1G cornering on the skid pad. Minor performance mods can yield more power, and simple engine swaps can double the power. I have owned plenty of cars and still prefer rear drive. But these little machines really made front drive fun.

      Like 1

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