Is this the original Pregnant Roller Skate? Internet sources say no, pegging the VW Beetle as having earned that CB radio moniker among truckers. On the other hand, this was the first car I had heard referred to by that nickname back in the '70s and whenever I see one these days--rare though that is--that's what I think of it as. To be honest, back in the days of its introduction to the U.S., a lot of us probably saw the Civic and many of its Japanese subcompact brethren something like the dinosaurs viewed a diminutive little mammal in a certain Far Side cartoon: laughing their heads off while one of them noticed the first few snowflakes starting to fall. Yeah, yeah we were wrong.
Then again, I still can't say I can work up a lot of enthusiasm for the car itself other than as an historically interesting object that started off one of the great success stories in American business. It was tiny, rusted out soon after driving it off the lot (at least in the Midwest), and had fairly unexceptional 0-60 times. Still, as the years have rolled by, I guess I've developed a certain fondness for the little bugger, maybe a bit like Austin Powers finally did with Mini Me by the third (otherwise best forgotten) movie in that series. Part of this has to do with my association here, delving into the forgotten cars of the past, but I am also part of the Civic owner base, at least by marriage if not blood: my Spousal Unit has driven a Civic for several years now, and I have come to view it as an absolutely brilliant car in its simplicity and functionality.
So, I write this missive as something of an ode to youthful folly and the wisdom of old(er) age. I won't go too far into the weeds on the particulars of the car itself, which would probably be boring anyway with such a straightforward little car, but simply give a few specs, a little history, and a couple of pictures to take you, gentle reader, back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when big cars were expensive, small cars were cheap, and the Little Car That Could foreshadowed an epic struggle pitting some Japanese upstarts against the titans of the U.S. auto industry.