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Spotted: a 1981 Honda Civic

November 24, 2023

The spotted specimen

There is always something interesting to see at the NDSM site in Amsterdam. Also in the automotive field. Thus, we were surprised by this still very neat 1981 Honda Civic. It has been a long time since we encountered a Civic of this second model generation at all, let alone one in such nice condition. This one has only been in the Netherlands since 2020 and probably imported from Germany, given the old ADAC sticker behind the windshield. This Civic undoubtedly belongs to an enthusiast. Nobody else imports such a car anymore. Noteworthy is the license plate holder of a Saab specialist.

Second-generation Honda Civic

Apart from the model’s rarity these days, then again, the second-generation Honda Civic is not that special. The car entered the market in 1979 and was primarily an evolution of the very first Civic. The new model was a bit larger and, according to the latest automotive fashion, more sleekly designed, but otherwise much remained the same. The engine lineup was thinned out to a 1.3- and 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, with 44 kW (60 hp) and 52 kW (70 hp), respectively. Shifting was again manual with four or five gears, with a two-stage Hondamatic automatic as an alternative. Later, a three-speed automatic was also available. The drive always went to the front wheels.

New body styles for Honda Civic

What was really new, however, were a number of additional body styles. The first Civic came only as a three-door hatchback and a five-door station wagon. Okay, there was also a “sedan,” but that was just a hatchback with a small tailgate, with the windshield not hinged up with it. The second generation Honda Civic offered a true sedan version, with “ass,” in addition to the three- and five-door hatchback and five-door station wagon.

Honda Civic becomes a Triumph

There was also a five-door liftback, but it was positioned as a separate model with a slightly different body design as the Honda Quint. Another related model line is the Honda Ballade, which was really just an extra luxury version of the Civic sedan. The Ballade is particularly interesting because that model was also sold as Triumph Acclaim in Europe as a result of a new partnership. A model that has the dubious honor of being the last new Triumph model to…

Honda Civic very popular

Back to the Civic. The second generation may have been fairly average, but it was popular. Perhaps precisely because he simply offered affordable and solid transportation. Moreover, even then Japanese were known for their good reliability. Rust was often a problem, and in addition, many were simply exported to countries where there was great demand for a well-maintained Dutch occasion.

At present, however, about 250 examples of this generation Honda Civic are still on Dutch registration plates. This surprised us a bit, because, as mentioned, it has been a long time since we saw one driving.

Follow-up is ready

The second-generation Honda Civic remained in production until 1982 and was succeeded that year by the third generation, with its distinctive straight-cut rear end.