By Oscar Jackson
Why the Honda Civic, and is it really an important car? These are questions
I get asked quite often. The answer I give is easier than the question.
I simply say yes.
Few automobiles in history have had the same lasting effect and influence on the world as the Civic. In fact, the Civic belongs in the same company with the Ford Model T, Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911, as the cars that have changed the face of how we live, let alone drive.
When the Civic first set down on U.S. soil, hardly a whimper was heard. No big fanfare, no media blitz, no cover of Motor Trend. It was just a little, insignificant entry from a Japanese motorcycle manufacturer?or so we believed. Today, the Civic has become the primary choice for an entirely new generation of hot rodders. The Civic is the '55 Chevy of the import performance world.
What has made the Civic the catalyst for the import performance movement is its simplistic design and universal appeal. Every model can be personalized, modified, made to go fast, look good and deliver years of reliable use. The cars are practical, yet stylish, fun to drive, yet utilitarian, conservative, and yet innovative. In other words, Honda has accomplished the nearly impossible?designed a car that can be for everyone?from grandma to street racer.
The evolution of the Civic as an icon of the import performance market started long before the advent of magazines such as Sport Compact Car and Super Street. In the 1970s, autocrossers began to discover that these front-wheel drive cars could run circles around their American counterparts (Pinto and Vega). Soon Civic was challenging traditional V8 muscle cars for ?fastest time of the day? at many events. The ideal blend of balance and power started turning people on to Honda as a viable alternative to domestic and European marques.
When the first issues of Sport Compact Car were produced (1989-90), the Civic was one of the featured models. It soon became evident that the Civic and CRX would dominate the market, thus catapulting the car to star status. The hook, however, was that it remained affordable and accessible.
Enter into the year 2000. Today, the Civic is the most popular car in the import performance niche. From early models to the power potential of the new Si, the Civic, CRX and del Sol are the preferred platforms for speed and beauty.
Building a trick Civic is easier than any other import car. Everything from simple bolt-ons, such as engine dress-up and shift knobs, to performance pistons and superchargers can be installed. Often, the first application that aftermarket companies design and offer is for the Honda Civic. The reason: it's a numbers game. There are so many Civics being built and enjoyed, it makes absolute and perfect sense.
So, when it comes to Honda performance, the Civic nameplate is at the top of the heap. Hey, I should know, I've built a business and reputation concentrating on Honda products. And, while the Accord and Prelude play a part, nothing compares to the interest in the Civic.
As you read through this book, you will find that it is a highly useful guide to everything Civic. There is something for everyone, from the first time builder to the weekend warrior.
You have selected the most popular car in the import performance industry, now it's time to make the most of it.