1979 Honda Civic Reviews

1979 Honda Civic Station Wagon 1.5 liter 4 cylinder CVCC from North America

Model year1979
Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1987
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.5 liter 4 cylinder CVCC Automatic
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired65000 miles
Most recent distance140000 miles
Previous carPorsche 914

Summary:

One of the most functional and utilitarian vehicles I've ever owned

Faults:

Engine was replaced at 80,000 miles and thereafter I had a persistent head-gasket problem. Replaced the gasket 6 times until I finally found out that when the head had been resurfaced at time of engine (short block) replacement, the idiots at the machine shop had planed it improperly.

The front suspension bushings are worn and probably need replacement, but since this doesn't create problems (other than a somewhat 'clunky' ride), I have not bothered with them. Shocks (MacP struts in front) have been replaced, as have conventional oleo shocks in rear.

Alternator has been replaced twice and numerous tires have been gone through.

General Comments:

Like several other owners of similar model & year Honda Civic station wagons, I love this rugged little beast. I would compare it with a Mexican burro--a faithful, sturdy, always capable, and sure-footed little vehicle with commodious cargo capabilities, excellent gas mileage stats, and an overall utility value that simply goes WAY off the charts. It handles in a very spirited manner with its front-wheel drive, and the two-speed manual automatic transmission seems bomb-proof (and is snappy & fun to drive, as well). It was never intended to be a Rolls Royce and I don't expect that type of creature comfort from it; however, it can't be beat as a great all around town-car (and our two Siberian Huskies love it, too!).

Its name is 'Buster the Wonder Honda' and it is, interestingly enough, a REAl 'SUV' ("Small Utility Vehicle"). To paraphrase another 1979 Honda Civic station wagon owner, "I am keeping this little guy in the motor pool until it dies a natural death from terminal metal oxydation (if that ever occurs)." I have several Porsche 914s (including a rare 1970 6-cyl) that I am quite fond of, but this little Civic is still my ultimate favorite 4-wheeled vehicle around town!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th September, 2005

9th Jul 2008, 17:59

Update on my head gasket problem: Turns out that it wasn't the head that was causing the persistent gasket blowing, but a warp in the engine cylinder block's deck!

An examination of the deck revealed a .0003 inch declivity in the deck's head-sealing surface, located directly at the spot (between cylinders two and three) where the older Honda Civic's engine block has an inherent cooling defect.

This made me reflect back on the fact that the gasket blowing problem had developed AFTER I had a rebuilt engine installed in the car. This was back in 1995.

The fix that eluded everyone over the past history of 6 subsequent gasket ruptures lay in planing out the engine block's deck, NOT in re-machining the cylinder head (the usual remedy)! No one, in the course of the past 13 years, thought to check the engine block's deck for perfect flatness! Furthermore, one has to conclude that the people who sold me a 'rebuilt' engine that had a deck; no one had checked for perfect flat-plane smoothness, either!

There's a lesson in this (an expensive one!) : always be sure you are getting a rebuild from a company that checks EVERYTHING before installing the engine (even the block's deck plane).

Hopefully this revelation will help some other poor soul in the future, who has an older Honda Civic (1972 through 1979) that has been similarly plagued by repetitive head gasket blowouts (that cannot be otherwise logically explained)! As the old jokey German saying puts it: "We grow too soon old, and too late smart!"

1st Nov 2010, 17:13

Were the 1979 Honda Civic Wagons made automatic (honamatic :P) back then? I'm looking to buy one because my parents had one when I was a kid and I'd love to own that trip down memory lane, but I'm not a fan of the stick shift. :(

1979 Honda Civic 1500 DL from North America

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1979
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission Manual
Distance when acquired4 miles
Most recent distance120000 miles

Summary:

I love this car and intend to keep it!

Faults:

Clutch went out.

General Comments:

I bought this car new for me and my dog in my young, single days. Have since raised a family in it, used it as work vehicle for route work in stop and go traffic and running short distances most of the time in the wet Pacific NW. Rust happens here... It still loves the freeway and performs wonderfully climbing the high passes and going through snowy and ice-slicked roads.

I love the way it maneuvers. It's quick and has guts enough to pull out in heavy city traffic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th September, 2005

1979 Honda Civic 1.5 liter CVCC from North America

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1979
Most recent year of ownership1989
Engine and transmission 1.5 liter CVCC Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired7 miles
Most recent distance144750 miles

Summary:

Awesome, reliable little car

Faults:

At 5000 miles, the float stuck disabling the fuel pump. Took 3 days to diagnose and repair.

No other repairs in the next 139,000 miles!!!

Though at around 125,000 miles it could have used a ring job.

General Comments:

This was a perfect little car.

Gas mileage was as high as 39 and was 32 around town... consistent for 10 years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th December, 2003

13th Aug 2004, 16:52

My Honda Civic has done the same as yours. Can you tell me how you fixed yours?

22nd Apr 2005, 10:40

Can you please tell me if a 5speed can fit a 1978 cvcc? I have 4speed in mine and won't to put a 5speed in. THANK YOU.

14th Sep 2005, 21:52

Yes, a 5sd will fit in a 78 4sd with no changes. In fact I have 77 civic with a 5sd I need to sell, cheap.

3rd Sep 2007, 21:54

I used to own a 77 Civic and it was one of the most fun and reliable little beaters I've ever owned, the engine was strong and got from 39 to 45 mpg, those are imperial gallons, the 39 was attained with the pedal to the floor for hours on end on the highways.

My mom owned a 78 Civic and for some reason they changed the design of the door latching mechanism and the doors were always flying open when you hit a bump!!! the doors on my 77 were perfect in that regard. no idea why they changed them.

Average review marks: 6.5 / 10, based on 3 reviews