You don’t need to sell your children to acquire a slice of retro Japanese automotive history – this 1981 Honda Civic Mk2 is on the market for less than $10k

If the original Honda Civic in standard form boasted the excitement of Vanilla ice cream, the second generation represented a sugar-free equivalent. Launched in 1979 and soldiering through until 1984, the Civic Mk2 scaled the model up by 10% and injected two new engines with solid build quality and reliability. Yet, in doing so, stripped an already certified white good of all soul.

However, once as common as shoulder pads, time has not been kind to Honda’s hatchback from the era of Reaganomics. Numbers are thinner than Donald Trump’s natural hairline. The genesis model finds itself tucked up in museums and car collections whereas newer incarnations have favour with the tuning fraternity, but the Mk2 is an endangered species. There’s a real danger than an entire slice of automotive history could be lost to bean cans.

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The Civic Mk2 may appear with an awkward stance to the untrained eye, but delve beyond the initial styling cues and you’ve got a certified icon. Besides being dependable and as practical as Rambo’s knife, the Civic epitomises an entire generation who yearned for frugality during an oil-starved decade.

1981 Honda Civic for sale: retro Japanese icon for $9k
1981 Honda Civic for sale: retro Japanese icon for $9k

America’s response to such a fuel crisis was the AMC Pacer, a car that could only achieve 18mpg and would self-detonate every time there was a day in the week. The Europeans brought the Alfasud to the party, a car built so badly that most examples didn’t see their third service. The Japanese, on the other hand, had it licked.

Honda’s Civic sold by the bucket load, riding on a wave of solid build quality amid the steadfast ability to go more than a year between garage visits. Sadly, familiarity breeds contempt, and an immeasurable number have been fed into the junkyard shredder. No one has bothered to save the humble Civic Mk2, instead favouring more flawed yet characterful models from the 1980s.

1981 Honda Civic for sale: retro Japanese icon for $9k

As such, good Civics are hard to come by. Low mileage examples are practically extinct – yet there is this gem in our classifieds. There’s only 36,000 kilometres on the odometer; 34,000 of which have been driven over the last 18 years.

A complete time warp, the opportunity to acquire such a healthy 1980s Civic is rarely found. Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classifieds.

Gallery: 1981 Honda Civic for sale: retro Japanese icon for $9k