The Seventies was a time of big changes when it came to cars.


The 1973 Arab oil embargo shut off the taps for North American customers and drove up the price of gas in a big hurry.


The net result was long lineups at the gas pumps that had chaotic and sometimes violent results for consumers.




The big gas-guzzlers became instant liabilities and suddenly motorists were casting an envious look at the Volkswagen Beetle owners.


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The Beetles were frugal gasoline consumers and their owners could drive right past the giant lineups at gas stations. However, the Beetle’s rein as king of the economical sub-compact cars was about to be tested by a new Japanese entry into the North American sub-compact market.




The new kid on the block was the Honda Civic and it was much faster with gas mileage than a Volkswagen Beetle. It was also water cooled and had an actual heater/defroster for winter conditions.




The front wheel drive Honda Civic grew in popularity during the Seventies as gas prices got higher and big cars fought with horsepower depletion in a new world where complicated air pollution equipment choked the life out of V-8 engines.


Most of this information was simply history before Levi Reid’s time because he was born long after the end of the Me Decade. His connection with his 1978 Honda Civic was pretty simple: he liked the front grille and round headlights.


Round headlights are not exactly common on modern highly engineered cars, but they were standard issue on a 1978 Civic. So were the rubber bumper guards that were designed to meet North American low speed crash standards and was the basis for the name “bumper cars” in the 70s.




Levi never mentioned whether he liked the bumpers on his ’78 Civic but he did mention that he had only seen two of these iconic cars in his entire life before he purchased his Honda sub-compact. Those of us from an earlier generation can recall a time when these popular little cars were a very common sight.


In fact Levi gets plenty of comments about his car from older people who owned one or knew somebody who owned one. His Civic prompts a lot of trips down memory lane for people and Levi is more than happy to listen to their stories.


Levi actually loves all the attention his Civic gets and added that he gets plenty of “smiles and waves” whenever he is driving his terminally cute car.


However, there is more to his Civic than its good looks because he can more than keep up with traffic on the highway. His 39-year-old car is still able to cruise at 70 mph (110 km/h) and deliver some incredible gas mileage in the bargain.




Levi plans to take his car on a road trip through the Rocky Mountains this year and has long term plans to restore it right back to its former glory when it left the showroom in 1978.


But right now he just wants to enjoy a car that makes people happy when they see it.    


Jim Sutherland


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