Home » The 2024 Honda Civic Is $10,000 More Than A 1973 Civic, How Much Better Is It?

The 2024 Honda Civic Is $10,000 More Than A 1973 Civic, How Much Better Is It?

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The optimist in me says 2024 could be a good year for us. Inflation has cooled off, and the cars are good. But recent economic conditions got me thinking. How do the affordable cars of today compare to those of yesteryear? Is the cheap car dead? Or are we better off today than ever before?

I decided to take the Honda Civic as a yardstick. Let’s compare the 2024 Honda Civic with the first model to grace the United States, all the way back in 1973.

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We’re going to dive into the figures to determine what you get for your money today versus way back when. We’ll examine whether the Civic is still good value and whether it’s still the humble commuter car it once was. I’ve warmed up my inflation calculator, so let’s get started.

1st Gen 1975 Honda Civic Hatchback
The first-generation Honda Civic. It’s a handsome and classic design, but back in the day, this was just what cars looked like.

PRICE: 2024 Civic v. 1973 Civic

Hondacivic Price Comparo

The 1973 Honda Civic was a humble but capable machine, and it sold for the bargain price of $2,150. That’s just $15,027 in 2024 dollars, which would easily make the 1973 Civic the cheapest car on sale today. Meanwhile, the median family income was $12,050 in 1973, equivalent to $84,221 today.

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Honda Civic AdThe 2024 Honda Civic starts at $25,045 by comparison. That’s a full $10,000 higher than the 1973 Civic, accounting for inflation. Median family income was $74,580 in 2022, the closest year that the Census Bureau has released data for. Adjusted for inflation in the last two years, it’s equal to $79,083 today.

04 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Sport With Hpd Package
The Civic isn’t bargain-basement transport these days. It’s a few levels beyond that.

Basically, the sad reality is that a Honda Civic is a lot more expensive than it used to be. As a further kick in the teeth, the median American is earning more poorly today than in 1978, but this has been a problem for some time now.

POWER & WEIGHT: 2024 Civic v. 1973 Civic

Honda Civic Hp Lbs Comparo

Okay, now back to the cars! The 1973 model ran a fuel-sipping 1.2-liter engine, good for 50 horsepower and 59 pound-feet of torque. It may not have had a lot of power, but that hardly mattered given the compact hatchback weighed just 1,522 pounds. You could get it with a four-speed manual as standard, or you could choose the oddball two-speed Hondamatic semi-auto if you were so inclined. Seating for four was available, though there was little stopping you from cramming a few extra kids in the back in those wilder, carefree days.Honda Civic 1972 Images 1

Photos Honda Civic 1972 2
The first-gen Civic would eventually gain the larger CVCC engine, which allowed it to bypass using a catalytic converter under contemporary emissions regulations. This was after the 1973 model year, but this photo goes to illustrate the simplicity of the engine bay nonetheless.

In 2024, Honda is building the eleventh-generation Civic. It’s available as a hatchback and a sedan now, though they’re pretty similar looking. You can have it with the naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter inline four, good for 158 horsepower, or the 1.5-liter turbo which offers a mighty 180 hp. You can go even more hardcore with the Civic Si, with 200 hp, or the Type R with a hilarious 325 hp going through the front wheels. Depending on the model you choose, you can have your Civic with a six-speed manual or a CVT.

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Power is the big difference compared to the Civic of old. The lowest model has over triple the horsepower of the original, while the Type R is 6.5 times more powerful. You’ll never struggle to merge onto the highway in a modern Civic, that’s for sure. With that said, those powerful modern engines do have a bigger job to do. The new Civic weighs between 2,877 to 3,218 pounds depending on trim. That’s an 89 to 111% increase. In some cases, the new Civic weighs more than double the original model!

27 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Sport
Modern engine bays are as ugly as a minibar that only has Diet Coke.
2023 Honda Civic Type R
It’s a little nicer in the Type R, at least.

Options: 2024 Civic v. 1973 Civic

Honda Civic Options ComparoThe Civic’s options list was tiny in 1973. You could upgrade with an AM radio, air conditioning, and radial tires if you were feeling spendy. Standard equipment was spartan, too.  The Civic had disc brakes up front, with drums in the back. The brakes were power-assisted, of course, and Honda also noted the independent diagonal brake line circuits for redundancy, which was still a new idea at the time. You’d never mention this stuff today, but back then it mattered.

Photos Honda Civic 1972 3
The original Civic had a spartan interior, but it still looked good.

42 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring

The current Civic puts a wealth of technology at your fingertips. It’s an entirely different kind of car compared to the original first-generation model.

The new Civic absolutely dominates in the equipment stakes. You get a laundry list of stuff that didn’t even exist in 1973. Starting with the base model, you get an infotainment system with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto built-in for a start, plus it picks up both AM and FM bands! You also get steering wheel controls, a remote trunk release, automatic climate control, cruise control, power windows, and power locking. A lot of this is standard equipment these days, but it would have only been found on luxury models back in the 1970s. The new model also seats five, which is a huge boon for flexibility.

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If you’ve got the cash, Honda will gladly throw a ton of extra equipment into your new Civic, too. You can have satellite navigation, though it seems pointless when you can just pair your smartphone instead. You can also get a Bose premium sound system, SiriusXM and HD radio, USB charging ports, heated seats, a power moonroof, and dual-zone climate control. Oh, and a sunglasses holder, too, because the future’s pretty bright. Other niche inclusions on higher trims include seatback pockets, illuminated vanity mirrors, and LED fog lights. Go ham, and you can end up with a Touring model that sets you back over $32,000. The sportier Civic Si and Type R come at a significant price premium above that.

A More Comparable Comparison

38 2022 Honda Civic Sedan Touring
The modern Civic is quite unlike the Civic of yore.

Ultimately, how does the Civic compare from the past to today? Well, the Civic has changed significantly. It’s no longer a budget barebones option at the base of the market. It sits above cheaper models from rivals like Kia and Hyundai, and as a compact, it’s more expensive than some of the subcompacts out there.

The closest thing to the original Civic that’s still on sale would be the Mitsubishi Mirage. With 78 horsepower and a curb weight of 2084 pounds, it’s way closer to the 1973 Honda Civic in specs than Honda’s latest effort. It’s a small no-frills hatchback built for affordability rather than style. Starting at $17,955 including destination charges, it’s pretty close to the inflation-adjusted price of the original Civic.

2021 Mitsubishi Mirage
They call it a Mirage but it’s a very real car. It’s more like the original Civic than the new Civic is.

Mitsubishi advertises the Mirage based on its class-leading fuel economy and its competitive turning radius if that gives you an idea of its equipment levels. Even then, it still comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic climate control, cruise control, and power windows.  Even this bargain basement car has great equipment versus 1973 models.

The fact is that customers in the US have become accustomed to a certain standard of automotive living. Technology and manufacturing have also moved on. For example, it’s often cheaper for automakers to simply throw in power windows with every car, rather than managing two streams of parts to build manual windows as well.

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Overall, modern cars exist at a much higher standard than ever before. At the same time, the Honda Civic has outpaced the baseline. Where the Civic could once be had as a bargain-basement stripper model, it’s now a capable and desirable car that sits a few steps higher up in the marketplace. Back in the day, you’d clamber out the back of a tiny three-door Civic, losing some dignity in the process. In contrast, you’d step out of the 2024 model with pride. Times have changed, and the Civic with them!

Image credits: Honda

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Ohgodwhyme
Ohgodwhyme
2 months ago

Can we talk about how lazy Honda was on the original Civic to not produce a proper left side horn graphic? The just took the right side button and flipped it 180* to use on the left. So the graphic is now upside down. All they had to do is use the same piece of plastic but put a proper graphic designed for the left side on it. Honda, you are better than that!

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
2 months ago

I’d like to see Honda’s “Cog” movie redone with 1973 Civic parts.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z57kGB-mI54

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
2 months ago

Here’s a link to some cars available for $3500 (25k in 2024 dollars) in 1973, it’s interesting to see what the new Civic would compete with. https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/time-machine-dilemma-its-1973-and-you-have-enough-cash-for-a-new-ltd-what-do-you-buy/. I think i’d pick the Civic over any of the alternatives

Beached Wail
Beached Wail
2 months ago

I bought a ’76 Civic 5-speed in ’78 and drove for 6 years. I’d be concerned about driving one today on a regular basis. One distracted driver and it (and me) would be two-dimensional.

Back in the late ’70s, I would regularly get cut off by opposing drivers making left turns in front of me or drivers pulling out from side streets. I concluded that it was because the Civic was so small that drivers accustomed to large cars thought it was farther away than it actually was.

I solved the problem by installing a pair of Fiamm air horns, which are primarily used for waking the dead. Amazing increase in attention and respect from other drivers.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago

I’m also a little bummed, in a sort of general malaisey sort of way, that AC is not optional in much of the world anymore. Certainly not the US and I would guess not Australia, Central & South America, Africa, much of Asia. You might not be the one to die from it, but being stuck in traffic, or even having a windows-open breeze at 105° F, 100% relative humidity can kill. Honestly it gets so bad here I drive with the top up on the Z4 on otherwise perfect days because it’s 95° and I’m just getting scoured and scalded with hot air, and the black interior soaks it right up.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
2 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Yeah … Convertibles are spring and fall cars. The summer is a bitch with the top down.

Dug Deep
Dug Deep
2 months ago

This brings back some memories. When the Civic first came out my family was visiting my uncle, and he took us on his test drive of a first gen Civic. My brother and I were in the back seat and I remember thinking that it was different, but still a car. Oddly I remember the sales guy telling my uncle to expect the car to pull a bit because it was front wheel drive. Weird thing for a little kid to remember, I know. Years later an old girlfriend drove one, I don’t remember the year but it was the first car I drove that had a manual choke. Fun times, but I’ll take the new one.

PeriSoft
PeriSoft
2 months ago

It’s worth pointing out that in terms of affordability, you can finance a modern Civic for 60 months and it’ll be worth quite a bit at the end of that time, with a lot of life left. In the ’70s you’d need to finance over 36 months, and there’s a pretty good chance your dead pedal would be a rust hole in five years.

The initial price of a modern Civic is higher, but in terms of cost per mile over a given time period it’s likely quite a lot cheaper.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago

Boy am I glad I don’t have to figure out Aussie phone numbers. Some have seven digits and some have six? How the hell does that work?

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago

Even their dialect sounds like a password generator to me. 😉

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
2 months ago

The 70s were a weird time… they’ve all been 8 digits for, I would say, 25 years.

Martin English
Martin English
2 months ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

It was a gradual process, area code by area code, state by state, but
– The first numbers to be converted to eight digits were numbers in the 99x xxxx and 99 xxxx ranges in the suburb of Mona Vale in Sydney, which all became 999x xxxx or 9999 xxxx on 25 July 1994.
– The final codes changed to eight digits were the Queensland (070), (071), (076), (077) and (079) codes, which all changed to (07) 4yxx xxxx on 10 November 1997.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Former_Australian_dialling_codes

Last edited 2 months ago by Martin English
PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin English

I lived in the Northen Rivers of NSW at the time and we were area code 066, the prefix for the town was 62. When it all changed, the prefix for the town was 6662. As kids we thought it was awesome that all our phone numbers now started with 666!

The Dude
The Dude
2 months ago

I’d be curious to see a comparison between the new Civic and an older Accord since the Civic pretty much replaces what the Accord used to be at this point.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
2 months ago
Reply to  The Dude

Beat me to it!

According (ha!) to the inflation calculator and Car and Driver a 1978 Accord was:

$5,645 base
$26,867.95 in 2024 money

which is almost spot on for the current Civic

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  The Dude

The civic isn’t even a straight across replacement for older accords: a new civic is bigger than my 4th gen accord, which is way bigger than a 1st gen accord.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

It is quite a close comparison though, the Civic has about an inch extra height and three inches width but almost an inch less in length. Closer still is the 5th gen Accord which shrunk about an inch in length over prior gen, but gained 3 in width.

Throwing a DX sedan (which still didn’t have A/C then) for each in the inflation calculator:
1990 Accord: $12345 new; $30,070.44 today
1994 Accord: $14330 new; $30,417.04 today

Even the $28,990 of a ’24 Accord LX with destination is even less actually. Speaking of destination I think those older Accord prices are without it which I think Honda was around $350-375 back then; the $1095 on a new Civic or Accord works out to $520.84 in 1994 so that has gone up. Odyssey or crossovers are $1395 now or $663.54 then, nearly double.

Maymar
Maymar
2 months ago

There was a Canadian company that tried selling a kit car based on the first gen Civic, and part of their logic was that there was such a healthy supply of rusted out sub-10yo cars, there’d be plenty of donors available.

https://1stgencivic.com/1stgenofdurham/1stgeneration_civic/photos/what_isspexelf_27.jpg
https://1stgencivic.com/1stgenofdurham/1stgeneration_civic/photos/what_isspexelf_28.jpg

Jmfecon
Jmfecon
2 months ago

“Back in the day, you’d clamber out the back of a tiny three-door Civic, losing some dignity in the process.”

Disagree.

There is no bigger attack to dignity than riding a packed train/subway/bus in a dense metropolitan area. This is the closest to a sardine can that anyone can experience.

The tiny 1st gen Civic could never beat that.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago
Reply to  Jmfecon

There is no bigger attack to dignity than riding a packed train/subway/bus in a dense metropolitan area”

Not true… I can think of two… first, riding in an OLD packed train/subway/bus… the really old ones that didn’t have A/C that I remember riding when I was young

And second… try riding a bicycle on rural or suburban roads with zero accomodation for cyclists or even pedestrians.

Jmfecon
Jmfecon
2 months ago

Well, agreed. Could also add walk at the should of a big avenue. During rain. With lots of puddles.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago
Reply to  Jmfecon

Or walking in the winter and a car deliberately drives closer to you to spray you with slush!

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago

Came here for the car stories and got a Civics lesson. Probably my age, but I’d rather have a new ‘73 than the 2024 and all if its refinement. Those originals were a hoot to buzz around in. I was a lot more flexible and lighter then, too, so that might make a big difference as to whether I’d really enjoy the ‘73 experience today.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
2 months ago

Am I the only person who thinks the original Civic is so beautiful it could bring a tear to your eye? Like, if I was a multimillionaire, it’s the car I would do a $300k restomod on and it would be my DD

Imagine it with a fully built N/a K20, gleaming green paint, bronze wheels/chrome, brown tartan fabric interior with walnut accents… my god

Isis
Isis
2 months ago

The original Accord Hatchbacks were really nice cars too.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Isis

Also the original Prelude, they could get pretty luxurious (apparently there was even an Executive model sold in some countries that was upholstered with the same leather Jaguar used). They were kind of a cross between an affordable sports coupe and an American personal luxury car and walked the line really well

Isis
Isis
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Excellent point. One of these with new leather seat covers and a K20-6spd swap would be a droolworthy restomod.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

The OG prelude in copper was chefs kiss.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago

Am I the only person who thinks the original Civic is so beautiful it could bring a tear to your eye?”

In the rust belt, a more likely cause for tears would be how fast those 1st gen Civics would rust away.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
2 months ago

Honda needs to sell the Fit and Brio over here

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Forget that, I want an N-One, that’s what a small car should be. Beautifully designed, $12,300 base price, up to 66mpg, seats 5, and cruises fine at sustained highway speeds. It’s exactly the right car for our inflation-wracked, high interest rate economy with lingering oil price fears. Also it passed JNCAP crash tests. Would it be the absolute safest new car on the road? No. Would it be safe enough, and safer than the typical US market small car of 15-20 years ago? Yes.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago

“…or you could choose the oddball two-speed Hondamatic semi-auto if you were so inclined.”

I did just choose that, under its alternative name of Triomatic:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/53616708687_91deca9267_c.jpg

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I had a 2 speed Hondamatic in a CM450 motorcycle I rode in college, was a nice, easy commuter bike, and the torque converter made this weird, kind of high pitched whining noise like a turbine, which gave it some unique character, I guess.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Mine is the two-speed Hondamatic H2 with a third forward position called “overdrive” which is really just second with the torque converter manually locked. Selecting it causes a light to illuminate on the dash to remind the driver to shift out of it to free the converter before coming to a stop. No weird noises, though. Yet.

Over the course of the last two days I’ve gotten the car registered and insured, which is to say after some initial confusion “Triumph Acclaim” is now an entry in both the state’s and the company’s databases. I hope to take it for a significant drive this evening to see how it does.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I had wondered whether anyone had imported an Acclaim and why it seemed to be taking so long for one to turn up over here, glad you got one.

Now, of I could just find myself a Rover 827 coupe somewhere

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

The guy in the UK who sold me this one also put me in touch with the US Keeper of All Acclaim Knowledge who is aware of five others over here, including his own. Those five are all on the East Coast and all have the Honda five-speed manual, which I’m told is an excellent transmission. This may help to explain the difference in surviving numbers as I had to look quite a while to find a nice example with the Triomatic/Hondamatic.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

That is surprising, I’d have figured Americans would go for the semiauto, most Rover 400s that have been imported are automatics, and there’s maybe a dozen or so of them.

(though the only one in the country that’s for sale currently is a 5spd)

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Just the reverse, so to speak. The US Keeper of All Acclaim Knowledge was, ah, puzzled by my choice when I told him. He was polite about it, though.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
2 months ago

We’ve come a long way, and any modern(ish) car will likely save your life in an accident that a 73 civic would not. As charming as the 73 is, only muppets should operate them on highways.
And REAL trucks can fit one in their bed.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Yeah this is the scary part about old cars. I think I’d stay off of anything with a speed limit higher than 45.

Donald Petersen
Donald Petersen
2 months ago

Weirdly, the fastest I’ve ever driven was 115 in a ’78 Accord hatchback with no hood. (This would have been circa 1993, so it was fifteen years old then, with ~135,000 miles on a fairly tired but still dependable engine.) Since then I’ve driven plenty of things that would have been better equipped (and lots safer) for that speed, from a ’95 Firebird to a 2011 LS460, but for whatever reason, that POS Honda still holds my personal record. Even without the hood, I was surprised at how steady it felt.

Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Yep, I’ve got a 1972 Super Beetle with the largest, most powerful engine they fitted in a Beetle (1600cc, ~50hp). It can cruise at 70 and will do 85 flat out, but I rarely take it on the highway. 0-60 is 18 seconds so merging can be a challenge. Plus, you can feel large trucks before they pass you, just from the air they’re displacing. I’ve had the whole car shift in its lane when being overtaken before. And four wheel, non-power drum brakes aren’t exactly confidence inspiring. Yeah, I know people daily drove them all over the world for decades (and still do) but it’s just not a good car for American highways any more. I used to drive it on the highway more than I do now, but I got tired of how anxiety inducing that could sometimes be.

So, it’s my in town car. I usually keep it under 45-55mph and only hit the highway if it’s an stretch that has little traffic. Around town, the power is perfectly adequate and I always leave plenty of room in front of me in case of sudden stops, since anything modern has a better stopping distance.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago

Convert the price of a 2024 Civic to 1973 dollars.
Then look at what sold in the US for that dollar amount in 1973
And you end up with something close to an Oldsmobile Cutlass.

Imagine if there were but a handful of cars sold in in 1973 that were cheaper than an Oldsmobile Cutlass.
No Novas or Pintos.
And few actual cars of any type. No Darts or Torinos. No Galaxies, much less LTDs. Maybe just a Cadillac DeVille
But a lot of Camaros and Mustangs – and F250 Supercab Pickups, Blazers and Dodge Pickups
That’s the problem we have today.

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

And none of the colors from back then.

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago

This article is missing a big variable, namely quality.

I realize a 1973 Civic was likely to outlast its domestic competition of the time (provided you didn’t live anywhere that salted the roads), but you can reasonably expect a 2024 Civic (or a Mirage for that matter) to go 20 years and 200,000 miles with minimal effort.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that you’d better budget buying two 1973 models to last as long as a 2024. Even without factoring power, equipment, or comfort, the new model is clearly a better investment.

Aaron
Aaron
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that you’d better budget buying two 1973 models to last as long as a 2024.

Excellent point. So many people say “they don’t make ’em like they used to” as if it were a bad thing. Even the worst built cars of today make the average car from 40 years ago look like garbage. There was a time when the average middle class family got a new car ever 2-5 years because they HAD to.

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

And if the rebuttal is that many people still trade cars every few years, well a 2019 Civic is still worth something like 66-75% of its MSRP or more.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

2019 Civic owner here, can gladly confirm!

Aaron
Aaron
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

In the 1950s, teenagers were snapping up 5 year old cars because that’s what was cheap and disposable. In the 2020s, teenagers are lucky to be able to get a car that isn’t eligible for antique plates.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Maybe the average car from 40 years ago, but the best vehicles from 40ish years ago are massively more durable and longer lasting that anything in 2024. A 1984 f250 diesel will consistently last longer than a 2024 f250 diesel(ditto for the gas engines too). A 1984 Jeep is a massively higher quality machine than a 2024 Jeep.

Aaron
Aaron
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Of course, I also did my math wrong and forgot that the 70s are now 50 years ago… Based on most accounts, the 80s is when this started to shift. Up until that point, most cars were pretty much considered done for by the time they passed 100k miles, so much so that 5 digit odometers were the norm.

Focusing on the ‘best’ of any given era and comparing that against the current average is a bit of a survivorship bias, too.. especially when you can’t say how well a car built this year will be operating 40 years into the future. It also depends on how you determine quality.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

There is definitely a large element of survivorship bias here.

Also, on the subject of “60s and 70s cars used to be done at 100k miles”, again, survivorship bias, but my 1974 Jeep j10 is at 130k miles and going strong. I have no reason to believe that it will have any shorter a lifespan than my 1995 XJ that’s at 230k and counting with basically the same engine.

Basically, I am very much in the camp of “they just don’t build them like they used to”. Especially with certain brands of vehicles like Jeep, my old jeeps are considerably longer lasting, better performing, and more durable than new Jeeps. But I acknowledge that survivorship bias is very present, and that a lot of new cars hold up surprisingly well considering how complicated and cheesy they often are.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

“A 1984 f250 diesel will consistently last longer than a 2024 f250 diesel”

Yeah but the diesel in that ’84 F150 was so noisy and gutless that it would make you wish it would die.

Those old diesels sucked ass in every other way… especially emissions/pollution.

And I’m old enough to speak from 1st hand experience and observation on this.

And as a person with asthma, if you gave me that old ’84 F250 diesel, I would have it crushed for air quality/pollution reasons alone.

Last edited 2 months ago by Manwich Sandwich
Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

They’re not that gutless, they’re slightly faster than my daily. They’re also not that’s loud, they’re a little quieter than the later 7.3 Powerstrokes.

I’m also old enough to speak from 1st hand experience and observation……. This year. I’m 20 years old. Because those good ol IDIs are still going 40 years later.

As another asthmatic, the pollution is really not an issue unless you get a lot of them in one place and really wring them out. They burn pretty clean under normal conditions, although not as clean as a turbodiesel.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

They’re not that gutless”

Oh yes they are. I’ve rented trucks with that engine… they absolutely are. Note that I’m 50 years old and have driven a variety of vehicles over the 34 years I’ve been driving.

the pollution is really not an issue”

Oh yes it is. I personally can smell and taste it if I’m downwind from just one of these old diesels.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

I’m telling you, I’ve driven several IDI pickups, they’re a little faster than pickups with the 300 six. 0-60 is under 15 seconds, and they keep up with traffic fine. This is for a pickup, obviously U-Haul trucks with 160-170hp are gutless.

If you think 15 seconds 0-60 is miserably slow, and you’re 50 years old, you must have been very lucky and only ever driven fast cars. This was average 40 years ago.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

they’re a little faster than pickups with the 300 six”

That’s a very low bar you’re setting there… LOL

” you must have been very lucky and only ever driven fast cars.”

Not at all. I have driven other painfully slow cars… such as a 1L 4cyl vw Polo… 0-60 in 20.5 seconds. Also drove automatic Chevettes which felt (and probably were) even slower.

And I know a 15 second 0-60 was very common in the malaise era.

Just because it was common for the era doesn’t change my opinion that these old diesels suck ass.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

I like them because they’re a little faster than a 300 six, but with 50% better fuel economy, immense torque, and insane longevity and durability. Plus they sound really cool. I don’t understand what’s not to like. In general, I would not describe it as “sucking ass”.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

I think about “they don’t make em like they used to” every time it rains and some jackoff thought it would be awful neat to plumb all the gutters down underground beside the foundation of the house, or put a flat, gravel, asphalt, rubber, insulated roof over an unenclosed carport.

I certainly trust Honda’s engineers much more than that, but there’s a certain bullshitty quality to anyone trying to handwave away all modern issues as if it were something that would have simply, obviously been done better in the past.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Agree 100%. I was a few years shy of driving in 1973, but I remember that Pop *refused* to keep a car past 60k because “that’s when cars start to get expensive”. Nowadays, buying a used car with 60k on the clock is “low mileage”.

MEK
MEK
2 months ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

In my price range, 100k is low mileage.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
2 months ago
Reply to  MEK

If Aaliyah was still around, she’d say mileage ain’t nothin’ but a number. Actually, cars were already that good even before she died. 90s Japanese cars are the best cars ever made 🙂

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

The XV10 Camry and the first LS agree with you.

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Yeah, you could watch these rot away. Many of these were gone by the ’80s in the Northeast.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

These comments are interesting because they don’t match my family’s ownership experience at all.

As a reference point, I reached driving age in 1973 and during my youth we owned two VWs (Beetle and Bus), a Dodge Coronet, a Plymouth Satellite wagon, a Plymouth Horizon and a Ford Fairmont. Nothing particularly exciting. All of these cars lasted us at least eight years and were still running fine when traded or sold.

As an adult, I’ve logged over 30 years on three separate vehicles, none built after 1988. While there’s no question that advances in metals and plastics, engines and fuel systems, and suspensions and brakes are better today, I’m not certain the quantitative gains in longevity or reliability are as great as many seem to think.

Most of the differences I note are found in efficiencies, comfort and safety. Important, yes, but bearing little impact on how long a vehicle can last.

In contrast to some of the assumptions found here, I tend to believe contemporary cars will have a shorter service life overall because the complex systems employed to achieve whatever gains are claimed also result in excess maintenance cost and fragility. Time will tell.

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

none built after 1988

With respect, I’m not sure your perspective is the most up to date on this.

Facts and statistics are not really on your side.

The average age of a vehicle in 1969 was 5.1 years. Since then, it has steadily increased and is now between 11 and 13 years depending on source.

https://www.bts.gov/content/average-age-automobiles-and-trucks-operation-united-states

Americans drive more than ever now, up to ~13,000 miles per year. In 1970 that was more like 10,000 miles.

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/summary95/vm201a.pdf

This is a simplification, but one can imagine the “average” vehicle in 1970 having ~50,000 miles on the odometer (5 years old x 10k/yr) vs the “average” vehicle now being closer to 150,000 (13k/yr x 12 years old). Whatever the actual numbers are, it’s abundantly clear that cars last longer than ever now.

To put it even more bluntly, basically no one in 1970 was daily driving a 1950 Ford or Chevy with 200,000 miles on it, but a 2004 Civic, Camry, Tahoe, F150, etc with 200K on it is so normal as to be unremarkable today.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Perhaps my family experience is atypical of the period, but the 10k annual mileage you cite isn’t even half of what we logged on a car every year and I know we never parted with a car with less than 150k on the odometer. This was also in the Northeast where winter salt did not enhance auto survival rates.

You are also ignoring a huge economic factor. Through the early 90s, real wages grew every year compared to the year before, despite two inflationary periods. This resulted in upward mobility and more disposable income which would make it more likely that people would replace cars sooner, not from need, but desire. The build quality and sophistication of cars in the 60s-80s does not match contemporary standards, but my own experiences belie the assertion that cars were more frequently replaced then only because it was mechanically or structurally necessary.

Since the late 90s, real income has been in steady decline versus inflation reducing buying power and forcing owners to hold on to ever more expensive cars longer (though leasing skews these numbers) which accounts for a lot of the longer contemporary ownership numbers you mention. That’s not true for everyone, but generally speaking, people have made less and paid more for over two decades.

Again, I concede that cars are better today (but more expensive to purchase, insure and maintain). However, I don’t think that is a complete explanation for why people hold on to them longer.

I submit that if real income had kept pace with prices, such that discretionary spending levels had remained even with inflation, the buying habits of Americans would have stayed nearly the same as previous decades, regardless of how much better the cars are now. Accepting that new cars are better, that would just mean more, better cars available in the secondary market.

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Since the late 90s, real income has been in steady decline versus inflation

This just isn’t right. Real wages are much higher than in the 1990s and are at basically record highs.

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LES1252881600Q

It’s unfortunate that so many people seem to have such a vested interest in believing we live in a bad economy.

I submit that if real income had kept pace with prices, such that discretionary spending levels had remained even with inflation, the buying habits of Americans would have stayed nearly the same as previous decades

Americans are far wealthier now than they ever have been, and are wealthier than any large country has ever been in the history of the world. The very fact that tens of millions of us can afford new cars that average $50,000 should make that obvious.

Last edited 2 months ago by V10omous
Donald Petersen
Donald Petersen
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I was thinking about what you wrote when I read this article from Salon today. The TL;DR is that though discretionary spending is huge today, a large driver of that is that discretionary items are cheaper than ever: things like TVs, computers, new clothes, and yes, even new cars… “discretionary” meaning “things I wanna buy but don’t really NEED to buy immediately.” But this “good economy” that you tout is built upon some painful realities, among them that actual necessities (specifically housing, health care, fuel, food, and child care, among other things that you can’t really put off until next year) have gotten astronomically more expensive in the past 30 years. Alongside that, I can’t help but think back to my family in the 1980s. We bought a new, loaded ’86 Taurus LX for around $14K, but our mortgage payment was quite manageable. Maybe $600 a month for an 1100 sq ft 3-bedroom postwar tract home outside San Diego that my parents bought for $86K in 1980. Gasoline in our area was 67¢ a gallon just before the Exxon Valdez crashed in ’89. Anyway, according to the Consumer Price Index, that $14,000 Ford would go for $39,640 today, which sounds about right for a well-optioned sedan (if such a thing were made anymore), but the $40K annual paycheck my dad made back then was much better able to handle the $600 mortgage payment (which would be adjusted to a mere $1,700 today according to inflation… too bad the current valuation of that home on Zillow would necessitate a monthly payment of over $5,400!). Honestly, I have no idea how all the rest of y’all are affording your $50,000 rides, but my newest car is thirteen years old, and I’m a TV producer who barely clears six figures in a halfway decent year. Your declaration about us living in a nation that is “wealthier than any large country has ever been in the history of the world” sure elides some inconvenient facts about where that wealth is concentrated, and what people are obliged to spend their fat paychecks on.

Space
Space
1 month ago

I’m with you there, people keep saying wages are higher than ever but I’m not buying it. looking at the two jobs in my family wages have gone up 0% and 10% in the last 4 years. This is nowhere near keeping up with so called “core inflation”.
I think the true inflation numbers are slightly higher if you factor in food and housing.
And my daily is eligible for classic plates next year, no way I could afford a new anything.

Donald Petersen
Donald Petersen
1 month ago
Reply to  Space

Yeah, if inflation is just measuring the prices of everything, including technology and luxuries, then it doesn’t look so bad. But *necessities* are through the roof, specifically housing, health care, food, and fuel. If you’re barely making ends meet, you’re lucky to be able to afford those four things, and you’re probably not left with enough to afford the dirt cheap flatscreen TVs, fast-fashion clothes, and all the other disposable consumerist trash that fills our houses and landfills and fools economic reporters into telling us that the economy’s never been stronger.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

^^THIS is a great take

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

The lifespan of a vehicle is not the only factor in how long it stays on the road. In fact, I wouldn’t even say it’s the biggest factor. A majority of cars leave the road for reasons other than catastrophic mechanical failure, and I would guess that this has been the case for quite some time.

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

If you have data disproving anything I’ve shown and argued here, by all means let’s see it.

Otherwise it’s just vibes and anecdotes.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

To put it even more bluntly, basically no one in 1970 was daily driving a 1950 Ford or Chevy with 200,000 miles on it, but a 2004 Civic, Camry, Tahoe, F150, etc with 200K on it is so normal as to be unremarkable today.

My favorite (if somewhat tangential) example of this concept is the movie “License to Drive”. Grandpa’s prized 1972 Cadillac was 16 years old when that movie was made (1988) and it seemed like a dinosaur even then. Nowadays a 16-year old Caddy doesn’t hardly catch a glance as they are still commonplace. Plus, Cadillac built roughly 100,000 fewer cars in 2008 than they did in 1972.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
2 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Here in sunny California with just a little effort you can get even a 70’s 1st gen Japanese crap can to last damn well forever:

https://slo.craigslist.org/cto/d/morro-bay-1975-honda-civic-cvcc/7734072120.html

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/d/represa-1st-generation-civic-restored/7731492222.html

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/d/carmichael-honda-civic-1978-cvcc-classic/7727089140.html

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/ctd/d/toluca-lake-1977-honda-accord-cvcc/7727312313.html

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/d/west-sacramento-vintage-honda-accord/7724687084.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/d/concord-1968-toyota-corona-door/7734105591.html

https://santabarbara.craigslist.org/cto/d/santa-barbara-1972-toyota-corona-deluxe/7728504785.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/d/tracy-1976-toyota-corolla-te31-coupe/7727306586.html

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/cto/d/woodland-hills-1979-mazda-rx7-speed/7731919201.html

https://slo.craigslist.org/cto/d/arroyo-grande-1979-subaru-dl/7725980630.html

https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/cto/d/san-jacinto-datsun-wagon-510-nissan/7733387202.html

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/d/pacoima-1977-datsun-280z-5speed-c-owner/7733762549.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/cto/d/san-jose-1966-datsun-1600-fairlady/7724363600.html

That’s a short list

You can even find more rain soluble Italian cars in quite good shape:

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/cto/d/torrance-1971-fiat-850-spider/7724883144.html

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/d/west-sacramento-1969-fiat-850-sedan/7734157471.html

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/d/pasadena-1969-fiat-spider/7730534561.html

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/cto/d/glendale-1960-fiat-1200-cabriolet/7729058434.html

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/cto/d/glendale-1979-alfa-romeo-alfetta-gtv/7728930042.html

https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/cto/d/huntington-beach-1971-alfa-romeo-spider/7729570420.html

(Some hella crack pipe pricing though)

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
2 months ago

4years ago, a better comparison would have been a Fit, but Honda decided to quit selling them in the US. I’ve been keeping an eye on 2019-2020 CPO Fits, but since they’re so desirable, a CPO Fit with 40k miles sells for more than it was new at MSRP.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

Yeah, Honda’s nameplates have all sized up over the years, the Civic was a subcompact in the ’70s, but is a compact now, the Accord started as a compact, but is an intermediate now (and was briefly a full-size from 2008-2012).

The current Civic fills the same space in the market held by early Accords, the Fit was the successor to the original Civic

Frank Wrench
Frank Wrench
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

They certainly have. My 94 Accord feels small by today’s standards. I just checked and compared to the 2024 Civic it’s the same length but 1″ narrower and 1″ lower.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank Wrench

The 8th gen was less than 4 inches shorter than a Chrysler 300 (like 3.7)

EXL500
EXL500
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

I own a Fit, and I price them in case I need a replacement. They are indeed pricey.

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