One of my first cars was a 1983 Honda Civic. The odometer had stopped working around 183,000 so I’m sure it had somewhere close to 1,000,000 miles…or at least it looked like it did.
First off let me say this was not a performance machine or family truckster, and it barely passed as a vehicle, but, it was probably the best car I’ve ever had. The car was my uncles and my dad was keeping it for him. It had so much character. The Civic sounded like 12, fourth grade boys trying to make fart sounds, which by itself is enough to want to run on down to Bob’s sell-some-junk and get’cha one! When you inserted the key and turned, the only thing that happened was the steering wheel unlocked. Next you would have to reach down, and on the floor board was a red and black button. The red button was labeled “Stop” and the black button “Start”. In order to start the car you had to make sure the red button was in the up position and then you held the black button down until it started…which it did almost every time. When you were ready to stop you mashed down on the “Stop” button, which was awesome. In order to turn the air conditioning on you…rolled down the windows and in the back there were windows that louvered out on hinges, however one of the two windows was just a piece of plywood. This beauty had WOOD TRIM! If you decided to carry around passengers and they were ok being transported around in the “death-trap-with-character” that was the 1983 Honda Civic they had to be ok snuggled up close to everyone, including the person in the front seats. Lets talk about those seats, they were lite blue sun bleached cloth. The color was as if someone took blue cloth and then took one of those pink erasers that we had in grade-school, and used it on every inch of the cloth…then put it in a car. Now if you ever spilled anything, threw up in, or generally made a mess in the car, no one would ever know. I’m not sure if that was a plus or a downside…nope, nope, no…nope, not thinking about that (ignorance is bliss they say).
Another very important feature of this car was that it was small enough to drive on sidewalks, which I did not-not do. This may not be considered a feature as much as an…option for those of us so inclined to such teenage stupidity.
And finally, the pièce de résistance: The car was a 5 speed manual transmission, which in itself would be amazing except for almost 2 years I drove the car with the clutch slowly failing. This meant that at every light I had to gingerly accelerate or the guy next to me would think that my engine revving meant I wanted to race (because who wouldn’t look at this car and think, RACING MACHINE!) when really it just meant the car was saying “I will not hold my gear, I will not hold my gear, I will not hold my gear”. The clutch failing also meant that when I drove it on the highway I had to plan the moments of passing miles ahead, or it was never going to happen and the only way to recover that embarrassment was to act like the person I was passing was a long lost friend that I was eager to wave to and then slowly fade back behind him or her. Semi trucks LOVED me because like them each time I approached a hill I silently apologized to the person behind me as I quickly plummeted in speed from 70mph to 40mph in just under 3 seconds (Not many cars can do that without hitting the brakes), so I liked to tell people that I hang with truck drivers.
With all this being said…I loved this car. There have been moments when I’ve actually looked at craigslist for another one. I feel a bit insane (well more than usual), as vehicles go this car was horrible, but it had become part of my family, kind of a friend, and I could barely resist it’s disgusting and weak awesomeness. Maybe one day I’ll break down and get one for one of my sons…after I break the side window and replace it with wood and get my dad to install an industrial start switch for it…oh and grind chips, fries, vomit, and pee into the carpet.
Doesn’t that just scream “Best car ever!!!”
Tell me about your favorite “misfit” car and whom ever has the story I like the most, I’ll send them a hotwheels car.