Here we have a special project that's been in hiding for a while. This is one of the few FWD projects that you'll see coming out of RaceFriv, and we have big plans for this tiny car. Click past the break for a full intro into Project Tinymobile!
This is somewhat related to Phil's post about You Never Forget Your First car. Likewise, my first car was a silver 1980 Civic Wagon that I picked up for $500 when I was 16. It was slow, but it was awesome. You know the old saying, "Driving a slow car fast is more fun than driving a fast car slow"? Yeah, these old Hondas are the manifestation of that saying. 63hp and 77lb-ft of torque won't do much, but 55mpg highway will! In 1980. With no fuel injection. Yeah, we remember when Honda used to be badass.
Back to Tinymobile. Our subject is a 1979 Civic 1200. Most people remember the first-gen Civic by the more famous model, the CVCC, but there was also the 1200. The CVCC was the KING of fuel economy back then, regularly getting 40+mpg in the city, without the need to use a catalytic converter OR unleaded fuel to meet emissions standards in California. It was also heavier and 2" longer in the front than the 1200.
Thanks to the lighter, all-aluminum engine with crossflow heads, the 1200 became popular with club racers. The ~1500lb weight made it quite tossable! A certain famous F1 racer even did a stint in the Canadian Civic Cup series...
My car was found in Kennesaw, GA and purchased for $600. It was running very rich, and a little bit of tuning on the Weber carburetor got it idling and running great! It turns out that it had some very old-school performance bolt-on parts: a Weber downdraft carb, an OLD Jackson Racing 4-1 header, and adjustable cam gear. It also has the sought-after "deluxe" gauges, which includes a tachometer! I added a Pertronix ignitor kit for a Datsun 510 to the distributor in order to remove the old points system for maintenance-free spark! Then, I daily drove it for MONTHS. The only issue I ever had was that it didn't want to heat up in the winter; the heater core would cool the engine all by itself with a blocked radiator!
1200cc's of pure awesome!
The interior is in quite rough shape that is associated with a Japanese car from the '70's: Cracked dash, tattered seats underneath ricey seat covers, faded plastic, and dirt from years of enjoyment! The hatch is pretty small, but does the job. I can fit a 78" counter top from IKEA in and still close the hatch. Lets see you do THAT with your new Honda!
A model of utility!
Anyways, we'll be bringing you some updates to Project Tinymobile within the next few months, but progress will be slow while I'm living overseas. The 1st-Gen Civic community is also working closely with a couple of well-known aftermarket companies to get some quality parts out there!
Until then, Stay Friv!