a tiny survivor with a big part in Honda’s success

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At first glance the original Honda Civic looks like a typically tinny little Japanese car of the early Seventies. Cute enough, especially when compared with the majority of modern motors, but not necessarily the kind of car to inspire passion.

Look a little closer though and you’ll see racy-looking bonnet vents on the sides of the dual power domes, a promising wheel-at-each-corner stance and an uncluttered interior with even a flash of wood on the dashboard.

The technical spec is even more interesting, the Civic using a similar transverse engine and front-wheel-drive layout to the original Mini but, in typical Honda style, packed with sophisticated features such as independent suspension all round (still unusual on cars of this class) and a lightweight, overhead cam 1.2-litre engine. 

Appropriately given that the modern-day Civic is now built in the UK, the version you see here is the car that launched the brand in Britain. This very example – a 1974 1.2 DeLuxe in Carnaby Yellow – featured on the cover of the brochure of the time and is among few survivors in such condition.

It’s part of Honda UK’s historic fleet and the chance to drive it along West Sussex lanes comes at an exclusive Goodwood-hosted event. 

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