Retro Rewind: Seventies Commercial for Honda Civic is One Crazy Caper

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Awesome ad showcases virtues of the ’76 Civic and it’s ultra-efficient CVCC engine.

This classic Japanese commercial for the 1976 Honda Civic promoted the powerful-yet-efficient CVCC engine with the help of a disgruntled gas station owner. Although the car has changed a great deal over the course of the past five decades, this commercial shows how the advertising focus of one of the world’s most popular models has remained somewhat consistent for nearly a half-century.

We should point out that with this being a Japanese commercial, all of the narration is in Japanese, so we don’t know what is being said. However, you can get the gist of this classic commercial from the Mach Cherub YouTube channel regardless of your native language.

1976 Honda Civic CVCC

What is CVCC?

If you have never heard of the Honda Civic CVCC engine, that abbreviation stands for Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion and it was a unique engine design that was introduced to the popular compact car in 1975. The Honda CVCC engine featured a cylinder head design that led to cleaner, more efficient combustion and as a result, there was no need to run catalytic convertors.

Since there were no catalytic convertors, there was no need to run unleaded fuel, so as fuel shortages swept across the United States in the 1970s, the CVCC-equipped Civic was a popular option. Being able to run leaded fuel meant that CVCC owners didn’t need to wait in lines for unleaded gasoline like the vast majority of drivers at that time.

1976 Honda Civic Brochure

Of course, in addition to offering lower emission levels, the Civic CVCC offered 53 horsepower, which made it one of the more powerful engines from Honda at that time. Of course, this unique engine also offered excellent fuel economy numbers, which was the focus of the commercial above. There is tons more information in the official 1976 Honda Civic brochure that you can check out here.

No Need for Fuel

In the commercial above, a gas station owner eagerly waits at the pump for customers. Each time a car nears, he gets excited, but every car that drives past is powered by a super-efficient CVCC engine, so they don’t need gas. As the shop owner sees this, he angrily yells “Civic” at each passerby.

Angry Gas Station Owner and Civic

Finally, one motorist does pull into the gas station, but he also has a CVCC Civic and he is only there to use the pay phone.

Even 42 years ago, Honda Civic owners were dodging the gas pumps with unique engine technology, gotta love it.

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A lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years, Patrick Rall is highly experienced in the automotive world. He has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now auto journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

“Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500,” says Rall. “He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car: a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16. Meanwhile, I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

“Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group,” adds Rall. “While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

“Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

“My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

“Being based on Detroit, I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.”

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