Unseen Anymore: 1979 Honda Civic CVCC Wagon – $2,750

Jun 2020 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

Just in yesterday from the “When was the last time you saw one of these?” is this 1979 Honda Civic CVCC Wagon listed yesterday here on Craigslist in Jackson, New Jersey with only just under 60K original miles and the quirky Hondamatic semi-automatic transmission with a price of $2,750.  Currently not listed on Hagerty Insurance, a check of the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has their Civic priced within the current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $1,450, $2,175, and $3,625, respectively.  If you are serious about buying this Honda, you can start the conversation by emailing the seller  and when you do please remember to mention you first saw their car featured here on GuysWithRides.com

Honda introduced the first generation Civic in 1972 as a 1973 model. Equipped with a 1,169 cc inline four cylinder water-cooled engine, Civics featured front power disc brakes, reclining vinyl bucket seats, simulated wood trim on the dashboard, as well as optional air conditioning and an AM/FM radio. The Civic was available as a two- or four-door fastback sedan, three- and a five-door hatchback, as well as a five-door station wagon like the one featured here. One innovative feature was the Honda’s “Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion” chamber or CVCC for short.  In addition to the standard two-valve design, a small auxiliary inlet valve which provided a relatively rich air–fuel mixture to a volume near the spark plug. The remaining air–fuel charge, drawn into the cylinder through the main inlet valve, is leaner than normal.  The initial rich mixture was like a stratified charge that ignited the latter leaner mixture, resulting in an overall much cleaner burn without the need for a catalytic converter.  When the 1973 oil crisis hit, consumer demand for fuel efficient vehicles was high, and due to the engine being able to run on either leaded or unleaded fuel, it gave drivers fuel choice flexibility over other vehicles.  Thus, this was the car that established Honda’s significant automotive presence in the U.S.  Unfortunately, the Achilles Heel of these cars was that they would eventually rust out, often with their engines still running.

Here’s a U.S. Honda Commercial from 1979 that was part of their “We Make it Simple” Campaign at the time:

Originally from San Diego, this 1979 example hasn’t rusted away like nearly every other late seventies Civic performing everyday duties in the Northeast. In addition to the overall very clean and solid condition, this Civic Wagon features Honda’s semi-automatic transmission.  Honda’s original automatic featured gears on parallel axes rather than planetary gears like most other such transmissions. Each gear is continuously meshed, and each gear included a dedicated clutch. The clutches are hydraulically controlled, applying oil pressure to the desired “gear”. Shifting between forward gears was done by simply sliding the gear selector (actually a hydraulic valve) from 1 to 2. It did not automatically shift, but because of the torque converter, could be driven entirely in second gear. The Honda automobile torque converter had a lockup, leading the company to sell the original Hondamatic (which had just two forward gear ratios) as a three-speed. 

It was refreshing to come across this driver quality wagon for such a reasonable price.  If you’re a devout Honda fan, this will make an affordable classic car that will have literally everyone stopping you to say, “Hey, my <insert relative here>had one of those.” Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“HELLO HONDA OLD SCHOOL LOVERS. For sale is my 1979 Honda Civic Cvcc wagon. 59176 miles on odometer( only 5 digits)It has a Hondamatic tranny. Means at 25mph u put it in 2nd gear. No clutch. Under 25mph,back to first gear. Car runs good and has no rust issues because it came from San Diego,California. Interior and headliner, very good. It has some quirkiness to it which is always a good conversation piece. Its 41 years old. If this is for u, the price is $2750 or best. Not looking for trades,lowballers,or waaack ass stories. I’ll answer questions that are not on this ad,so please read it full so we don’t waste each other’s time.More than happy to show u the car.Email me with time when u can come in.Thank you. Dont mean to be rude,but there are just too many IDIOTS out there.

Do you have a Honda CVCC story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

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