History of the Montgomery Honda Civic

The Civic from its beginning to recent. In 1972, the very first Montgomery Honda Civic model was introduced with the 1973 Honda Civic. So far, eight different versions of the Civic have been built. With the more recent models, the more modern Civic has begun to emerge. Not only did each model gain a more modern look and feel, the Civic also became slightly larger in each new model. The Montgomery Honda Civic has won many "Car of the Year" awards both in the United States and the first three years it was in production in Japan.


Honda was known more for its motorcycles than its cars until the introduction of the Montgomery Honda Civic.  The very first Honda Civics hit the market in 1972. Both early available models were either sedan or hatchback. They were basic cars with an 1169cc engine, giving it great fuel efficiency numbers. The Civics unparalleled fuel efficiency helped its popularity during the gas shortages of the 1970s.


The 1974 Civic engine size grew slightly, to 1,237 cc and the power rose to 52 horsepower. In order to meet the new 5-mph bumper impact standard, the Civics bumpers grew along with its overall length (which was now 146.9 inches).


In 1975, the CVCC (Controlled Vortex Combustion Chamber) debuted. The CVCC was offered alongside the standard Civic engine but it offered a 53-horsepower CVCC engine and promoted cleaner and more efficient combustion. Also, in 1975, a five-speed manual gearbox became available as did a Montgomery Honda Civic station wagon (only with the CVCC engine). Civic sales topped 100,000 units for this year.



In 1978, the Montgomery Honda Civics exterior had several changes. The new model of the Civic gained a black grille, rear-facing hood vents, and new turn signals.


The easiest way to tell a '78 from an earlier example is to look at the front signals. Prior to 1978, they looked like foglights mounted in the Civic's grille. In 1978 they were smaller and mounted under the bumper. This same year, the CVCC engine was rated at 60 horsepower.

From 1980-1983, several changes were administered to the Montgomery Honda Civic. The 1980 Montgomery Honda Civic was recognized for its new and sleeker body as well as increases in the wheelbase and base-model engine size. A four-door sedan debuted for 1981, along with a three-speed automatic transmission that replaced the primitive two-speed unit. Rectangular headlamps and black bumpers appeared on the 1982 Civic. Also in 1982, a new gas-sipping model, the five-speed "FE" (Fuel Economy) was introduced and was rated at 41 mpg in the city and 55 mpg on the highway. The sporty new Civic "S" replaced the 1500 GL in 1983 and was fitted with a firmer suspension (with a rear stabilizer bar) and 165/70R13 Michelin tires. A red accent encircled the S and set it apart from the other Civics.

For 1984 through 1987, the Civic had a few more changes in design. In 1984, the Montgomery Honda Civic grew in size and sophistication of design. It also gained a new wheelbase of 96.5 inches (an increase of 5 inches), making Civic four-doors and wagons identical to the Accord in dimension.

In 1985, the hot-rod Montgomery Honda CRX Si came ready with a fuel-injected version of the 1.5-liter engine that pumped out 91 horsepower. The CRX Si could to hit 60 mph in less than 9 seconds. A power sunroof was standard on the Si, as were a monotone paint scheme and sport seats. Later, a CRX HF (High Fuel economy) model replaced the CRX with the 1.3-liter engine. The HF had an eight-valve version of the 1.5-liter engine that produced just 58 horsepower but offered more torque and thus better acceleration around town. Mileage figures for the HF stood at 52 in the city and 57 on the highway.

Flush-mounted headlights made it easy to tell the 1986 Civics from older Civic models. Other changes included a four-speed automatic and an Si version of the Civic hatchback, the latter geared toward those who wanted the performance of the CRX Si but favored a four-seat vehicle. The Civic Si hatchback also included a removable glass sunroof, a full-width taillight panel and color-keyed front airdam and roof spoiler. The CRXs received the same updates as the other Civics, including the flush headlights.

In 1987, the four-wheel-drive (4WD) system for the Civic wagon was revised. "Real Time" 4WD automatically channeled power to the wheels that had optimum grip and did away with the driver having to decide if four-wheel drive was needed and then move a lever.

A sleeker and more powerful Civic lineup debuted in 1988. All Civics (except the CRX) had a  longer 98.4-inch wheelbase. The CRX's wheelbase was increased to 90.6 inches.

Changes to the new Montgomery Honda Civics included increased glass area, lower wind drag, new engines, and double-wishbone suspension on all four wheels. This same year, one model was discontinued (the Civic Si hatchback ) while a new model was introduced to the market (Civic LX sedan).

In 1989, the Civic Si hatchback returned with a power moonroof and once again with the same powerful engine (increased to 108 horsepower for this yea). This engine was installed in the CRX Si and the 4WD wagon.

Revised bumpers and taillights were identifiers of the 1990 Montgomery Honda Civic. Hatchbacks received larger reverse lights and sedans adopted a horizontal taillight theme. An EX sedan also joined the Civic family that year. The EX had the Si's engine, 14-inch wheels and all the features of the LX. Four-wheel disc brakes appeared on the CRX as did a slightly revised dash-board.

The 1991 Civics were virtually unchanged. 1991 was the last year for the CRX.


Along with acquiring a more aerodynamic wedge-shaped body, the Montgomery Honda Civic was expanded in dimensions and trim levels for 1992. Wheelbases now measured in at 101.3 inches for the two-door hatchback and 103.2 inches for the four-door sedan. The wagon was dropped. The level of safety increased with the new Civic via a standard driver-side airbag for all models and standard antilock (ABS) brakes on the EX sedan.

This same year, the del Sol debuted as a replacement for the CRX. Built on a wheelbase 8 inches shorter than a Civic hatchback's, the del Sol featured a removable targa-style top, a snug two-seat cockpit and one of two engines, either the 1.5-liter unit with 102 horsepower or the 1.6 sporting 125 ponies, depending on whether one chose the base S or more sporting Si version.

1994 brought safety advances and an LX version of the Civic sedan. A passenger-side airbag became standard on all Civics, and antilock brakes were now optional on the EX coupe, Si hatchback and LX sedan. Power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; a tachometer; a stereo with cassette player; and 14-inch (versus the DX's 13-inch) tires were all standard on the Montgomery Honda LX.

A new del Sol premiered this same year called VTECH (named after its 1.6-liter DOHC with 160 horsepower). The new del Sol came with bigger brakes, a firmer suspension and high-performance (195/60VR14) rubber.

For 1996, a revamped Montgomery Honda Civic was introduced. The new design featured a grille, and character lines that ran the length of the car. Hatchbacks now had the 103.2-inch wheelbase of the coupes and sedans, and overall length was up around 2 to 4 inches, depending on body style.

Excluded from the redesign, the del Sol was now in its fourth year and got a host of tweaks to keep it current. The base model (S) got the new 1.6-liter 106-horse engine fitted to the new Civic, Si models got the beefier suspension of the VTEC, and all versions got a freshened front fascia.

In 1997, all Civics came with 14-inch wheels, DX models got full wheel covers, the LX sedan received air conditioning and EX coupes with manual transmissions no longer had the option of antilock brakes. This was the last year for the Montgomery Honda del Sol.

A slightly revised front fascia and taillights, along with redesigned climate controls updated the 1999 Civic. A "Value Package" for the DX sedan was also introduced that included features that most buyers wanted, such as air conditioning, a CD player, power door locks, automatic transmission and keyless entry.

Midway through the year to the joy of pocket-rocket enthusiasts everywhere, the Civic Si returned, now in the coupe body style and sporting a potent 160 horsepower from its 1.6-liter VTEC engine. A firmer suspension, front strut tower brace, 15-inch alloy wheels wearing 195/55R15 rubber and four-wheel disc brakes completed the hardware upgrades for the Si. A front spoiler, side sills and subtle bodyside graphics set the Si apart from the other Civic coupes, and the standard equipment was generous and similar to that of the EX.

The redesigned seventh-generation Civic debuted for 2001. Riding on a 103.1-inch wheelbase that was virtually identical to the outgoing model's. The main changes to the new Montgomery Honda Civic were a new front suspension design, with a comfort-oriented MacPherson strut design instead of the previous sharper-handling double-wishbone setup. This Civic also boasted a flat rear floor, which made sitting in the middle seat more bearable.

The regular Civic was available in coupe and sedan body styles, as well as a two-door hatchback style for the Si model. Honda offered trims DX, LX and EX plus a few specialty trims such as HX and GX. Most models had a slightly enlarged 1.7-liter engine good for 117 hp or, in the EX model, 127 hp.

In 2002 Honda announced the arival of the Civic Si. The Montgomery Honda Si was based on the European hatchback body style, the new Si featured a rally-inspired dash-mounted five-speed manual shifter and a high-revving 160-hp engine. Other changes for 2002 included a revised steering box for improved feel, added sound insulation and slightly tweaked suspension tuning.

The Honda hybrid model entered the market in 2003 along rear adjustable outboard headrests and a new steering wheel design for all models. Improved gauge illumination appeared on HX, LX and EX Civics.

In 2004, changes to the Montgomery Honda Civic included front and rear bumpers, hood, headlights and grille. Inside, the stereo speakers were upgraded and extra sound-deadening material was added. The LX received an upgrade to 15-inch wheels as well as standard keyless entry. A new value package for base models grouped together air-conditioning, a CD player and a new center console. The Si was treated to larger 16-inch wheels, and the hybrid got a height-adjustable driver seat.

2005 was the last year of production for this generation Civic. A Special Edition package was introduced for both sedan and coupe, featuring an upgraded audio system with MP3 capability, a six-disc CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack. The new SE model boasted a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a wing spoiler and alloy wheels.

The new generation of the Montgomery Honda Civic, starting in 2006, took a radical change. The new generation seemed to have a more futuristic look and was immediately loved by Honda consumers. The eighth-generation Civic was available in either sedan or coupe form, and Honda's familiar trim levels (DX, LX and EX, along with the specialty trims) were again offered.

Changes for 2007 were limited to the introduction of a sedan version of the high-strung Si model.

In 2008, the EX model had the option of leather upholstery - an all-time first for the Civic. Models equipped with leather were called EX-L models.

For 2009, all Civic models receive updated exterior styling with enhancements inside and out that include new colors and the introduction of available tech-friendly features like Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and a USB Audio Interface (available, Civic EX and above). An exclusively-equipped Civic LX-S includes alloy wheels, black sport cloth-trimmed seating surfaces, rear decklid spoiler and a chrome exhaust finisher. The Civic DX Sedan becomes available in a Value Package (VP) that adds A/C and an audio system. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is added to the Civic EX-L and the Civic Hybrid, plus the Civic Hybrid gains the availability of leather-trimmed seating surfaces with heated front seats and heated side mirrors.

There were little changes to the 2010 and 2011 Montgomery Honda Civics.

Changes to the 2012 Montgomery Honda Civic include a new mesh grill in front, revised head and taillight fixtures, front fascia, and rear deck. The coupe looks "leaner and meaner" with a rear profile that resembles the back of the mid-sized Accord Coupe.

New for 2012, to keep pace with the other cars in this segment Honda is introducing an even more fuel efficient trim of the Civic called the HF. The HF uses several aerodynamic exterior changes and unique alloy wheels wrapped in low rolling-resistance rubber to achieve 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. 

The inside of the Montgomery Honda Civic underwent many changes as did the exterior of the Civic.

For 2012, the center console has been shifted and now faces the driver. The unique split instrument panel on top of the dash has been expanded, and in addition to displaying the current speed it also houses Honda's new i-MID (intelligent Multi-Information-Display).

Also new for the 2012 Civic (not on Si models) is the Eco Assist system, which reflects the new car's emphasis on fuel savings.  On each side of the speedometer are bars that change color from blue to green as you drive more efficiently. 

The Montgomery Honda Civic has changed since its birth in 1972. As it continues to evolve and change, it will continue to keep you, the driver, in mind.













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