The showroom pictures in this ad surely must document a fairy tale story. Some penny pincher put up with an old three-door Japanese appliance for years, slavishly scrimping to save enough money for the 3 Series they had always dreamed of. But you would be in error to heap praise on the owner while neglecting the true hero of that story: the loyal four-pot Civic that faithfully reported for duty every day for the past 29 years. Find this 1986 Honda Civic hatchback for sale in Portland, OR for $1,999 via craigslist.
In 1987, Honda would make a giant leap forward into modernity with the fourth generation. Double-wishbone suspension, the D-series engine, and fuel injection across the line. But back in 1986, ordinary-trim Civics like this one were really ordinary. This one has manual windows, locks, and mirrors, and a 1.5-liter carbureted four sending 76 horsepower to the front wheels through a four-speed manual. The 2,000-lb car should scurry to 60 mph in just under 10 seconds.
Old Hondas came straight from the factory with stripped interiors. People pay extra for thin glass and a lack of sound deadening in race-oriented Porsches and Ferraris these days, but in 1986, it was free. After 145,000 miles, this car’s interior looks presentable if not appealing. You can pretend that factory-fresh vinyl burgundy seats are hiding beneath the garish aftermarket seat covers. And I can pretend that this Civic drives like a 355 Challenge Stradale and we’ll both be let down. Misery loves company.
The black steelies and well-oxidized paint make this like any other third-gen Civic in the employee parking spaces of your local McBurger grease pit. However, this old hatch is a maroon miracle for three reasons: no major damage, no modifications, and no rust. Will a well-heeled Mercedes shopper recognize its value? If they do, can someone take a picture of the salesman’s face?
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PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.