Has the world gone mad: 20-year-old Honda Civic sells for almost $80,000
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Just when you thought the world was out of curve-balls, along comes the obscene sale of a rather mint 2000 Honda Civic Si.
This wonderfully tidy example of a sporty-adjacent two-door Japanese coupe, left-hand drive and sold new in the US 20 years ago, sold over the weekend for the eye-watering sum of US$50,000 (NZ$76,580).
And, that's not including on-road costs, taxes, and other additional fees either. On the road, this is almost an $80,000 purchase.
The Electron Blue Pearl Civic was listed for sale on enthusiast car auction website Bring a Trailer, and is admittedly close to immaculate. Along with near faultless paint and panels all round, the little Honda has completed just 5600 miles (9012km) in its two decades of life.
The interior is just about as clean as the exterior, with an unoriginal head unit being perhaps the only blemish on an otherwise spotless cabin. And yes, naturally, it's a 5-speed manual.
While all of these things underline the fact that this Honda is a good example of its kind, none of these things actually answers the core question in all of this ... 'Why?'
Why would an old Civic fetch such a stupendous figure — an amount that, for some perspective, would be enough to buy a brand new Civic Type R with enough change to buy a first-generation EK9 Civic Type R.
It isn't the first time that the sale of a Honda Civic Si has attracted global headlines. Two years ago a similarly clean example with less than double the mileage sold for US$22,750. A silly amount of money at the time, but chump change in comparison to the number blown on this latest auction.
This particular Civic Si generation, known as the EM1, has some significance in America as the first model of Civic to truly be injected with the jungle juice performance the brand had become known for overseas.
America at the time, and in the years following, became starved of hot Hondas. Apart from the DC2 Integra Type R (badged over there as an Acura), few Type Rs ever made their way to America.
It wasn't until two years ago that the land of the free finally got their hands on Honda's ultimate Civic; the Type R. From the much anticipated launch of the angular hot hatch came a fresh wave of hype and respect for quick Hondas of old. And those in the US with a Civic Si or old-school Integra know there's something a little special beneath them.
The jewel in the Si's crown was its engine. The B16A2 wasn't exactly a numbers monster with 120kW to play with, but it was more than enough for some fun in a platform that weighed so little a stiff breeze could throw it into the air.
And it revved to the moon. Peak power came at 8000rpm which, when combined with a slick 5-speed, made this a bundle of fun to toy aroud with. When new, and even today.
Perhaps it's indicative of what some modern car manufacturers misunderstand when it comes to the performance car customer of 2020. You can throw huge power figures, oodles of tech, and luxury surfaces at a buyer. But, few of those things can be a substitute for balanced, simple, fun engineering.