1973 Honda Civic 1.2 from North America


Trend-setter for economy cars in the U.S. and still a classic


Cracked head at 100,000 miles. My own fault. Currently electrical problem resulting in failure to start. Undetermined cause.

General Comments:

Handles like a sports car.

Only option available when I purchased the car was hatchback/sedan.

Great car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2006

18th Feb 2007, 19:16

"Handles like a sports car."

I disagree.

18th Feb 2007, 22:31

Did you take into consideration that this car is the size of a shopping cart? I bet you didn't. Pretty easy for something that small to feel like a sports car or a go kart!!

24th Jan 2011, 13:46

I still own my 73 Civic, and have to agree that it handles like a sports car. Not so much in the acceleration, however, as in the steering. I remember dating a girl in 74 from Detroit who couldn't believe something that small was actually a car! Much like the Smart Car of today. But that original Civic model has led to over 12 million Civics sold to date. Somehow I don't think the Smart Car will match that.

25th Jan 2011, 18:01

I had an 83 Civic, and hated it. It never started in cold weather, despite having a block heater. It was so primitive that it had a manual choke. The transmission was awful. It was called the 'Hondamatic.' I didn't expect a whole lot of power, but boy was it gutless. The car broke down, and left me stranded. I've hated Hondas ever since. I think the notion that it handles like a sports car is absurd. I loved my next car, a 1998 Suzuki Swift. Now there was a car that was fun to drive.

3rd Mar 2013, 09:24

You're going to be in a pretty slim minority of people complaining about Hondas and subsequently advocating a Suzuki. Just sayin'.

29th Jan 2018, 10:04

Hi, I had a 76 Civic 3 door. I agree, it handled great whether on dirt roads or tarmac. Later in my time with the car, it was upgraded to about 70 hp from 50 hp, and it could outrun a V8 Ford in the mountains, so that had to be handling and low weight, as it wasn't horse power. Best car I ever owned.

1973 Honda Civic 4 cylinder from North America


Crude, but enjoyable


Nothing went wrong with the car in the 15,000 high-mileage miles that I owned it, other than rust.

General Comments:

This was the strangest little car that I ever owned, and I thought I'd write it up in the event there's still one alive out there somewhere.

It had a manual choke on the dash, and virtually nobody on earth could start the car, but me. There was a certain combination of gas pedal and choke position that you had to use, or you'd run the battery down trying to cold start it. The dealership I traded it in at actually had to call me three days after trade in, because it was still sitting exactly where I'd parked it - none of their mechanics could fire it up! I gave them the secret gas/choke combination and they had it running in two minutes.

The car had great acceleration and handling for the tiny little thing that it was. It also had a top usable speed limit of 55 mph - starting at 58 mph it would just BLOW white smoke out the back of the car, fogging the car behind you. So on trips, you just drove 55 in 4th gear and that was that.

I just bought a 2003 Civic, my first Honda since this one over 20 years ago. My, have things changed in the land of Honda since 1973!

The '73 was small, loud, uncomfortable, and slow (but quick). But it was fun to own and drive, and I missed it when it was gone. It had personality.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2003

22nd Jun 2004, 18:34

I owned the first Honda Civic, April 1973, sold in the eastern US... loved it.

6th Sep 2004, 17:14

1973 was the first year for the Civic, I don't know what month they actually made their appearance in the states. Mine was that model year, well used, and chocolate brown in color. I remember it well.

21st Apr 2008, 02:22

Having had a number of cars in the past, especially HONDAs, I have never sold a car. I still have em all. If it's broke, don't complain, just fix it. DRIVE ON!!!

5th Aug 2009, 22:42

My first car was a '73 Honda Civic. It had belonged to my grandfather, then my mother, and then me. When I finally got it, it had over 350,000 miles on it. It had never had a major repair. It did have a cracked engine block and it smoked like crazy when you first started it, but it ran. And considering it had that kind of damage, it ran very well. I put another 75,000 miles or so on it without a single problem.

24th Jan 2011, 13:39

I purchased my 73 Civic in April of 1973, and still own it. I am in the process of restoring it to as near original condition as possible. The only item on the current car that is not the original design at this time is the interior door handles, which I replaced with the arm rests found in a 74 model. Does anyone own a Civic with an earlier Vin number than mine? SBC-1007592. Just curious. Oh, and I absolutely loved driving my Civic until I parked it 20 years ago. Best car I ever owned.