The original Honda Civic released in Australia in 1973 was the right car at the right time. Its fuel efficiency in an energy crisis, combined with state-of-the-art technical design, quality engineering and attractive styling, made it a global sales phenomenon. It also proved to be a robust and cheap class contender in touring car racing, competing at Bathurst with the V8 big guns for a fraction of the cost.
An article that appeared in Sports Car World in 1974 highlighted how easy and affordable it could be for a Honda Civic owner to turn their dream of competing at Bathurst and other endurance races into a reality. SCW claimed that for as little as $1000 you could race-prepare a Civic that could “compete on equal terms with the Class A front runners (the legal ones, anyway).”
The article attracted great interest and changed a widely held perception that touring car racing had become too expensive for all but works teams and wealthy privateers. The Honda Civic opened many eyes to the possibilities available - all they had to do was look towards the rear of the grid.
What the big-hearted little Honda lacked in physical size and engine capacity it more than made up for with its impressive reliability, agile sure-footed handling and spirited performance during four appearances on the Mountain from 1973 to 1976.
During that time the Civic competed in Class A for cars with engine capacities up to 1300cc. Even though these tiddlers were dismissed by some as little more than ‘mobile chicanes’ for faster cars, the annual clash for Class A honours at Bathurst was just as intense as any other class or outright battle.