Pimped Civic and the TriFive Chevy: I took this picture a few years ago in Reno during Hot August Nights classic car festival while stopping to enjoy an ice cream at the DQ under the buzz of the neon while embracing remnant solar heat from the asphalt. Collectively these two marquee cars from Honda and GM represent a goodly portion of the aftermarket enthusiasm of their eras.
As long as cars existed there have been aftermarket vendors for all needs automotive real and perceived, utilitarian and vain. Shortly after Ford’s first Model T “Flivver” rolled off the line at Piquette their owners were “rodding” and “tuning” them in the perpetual quest for better performance.
For one surreal week its like Doc Browns Flux Capacitor went haywire and brought all the cars of the 50s and 60s to Reno. While all makes can be found representatives of the high water mark of the General can be found en masse; TriFives and Pony Cars become as common as Civics and Corollas on the street.
While separated by half a century and radically different spec sheets they are something of kindred spirits in the roles they played in the car culture of their respective eras. They are both practical midsize family cars with optional hot engines that had a strong influence on the direction market. Both were enthusiastically embraced by the enthusiasts of their day. The SBC dethroned the Ford flathead as the hot rodders engine of choice and supports an entire aftermarket ecosystem.
The Vtec Civics and Integras brought us into our current era of the 100+bhp/L daily driven 4 banger. While they are truly a century beyond the Model T in terms of refinement this quartet of cars very much expresses the soul of the T as a car for the everyman, embraced, modified and enjoyed by its owners.