This ’81 Civic 5-door was found in Amsterdam by Corey Behrens, and its condition is remarkable. Even more so when it turns out it’s a Hondamatic equipped one; Honda’s unique semi-automatic transmission.
The Hondamatic chapter has already been covered at CC a while back. The short scoop is, upcoming Honda knew it needed a self-shifting unit to lure more urban buyers into its fold. Due to previous patents, using planetary gears was not an option. Brief talks to get Borg Wagner involved quickly stalled, and Honda decided to go about it alone.
Honda’s new semi-automatic featured gears on parallel axes, with each having a dedicated clutch, hydraulically controlled. Shifting was achieved by sliding the gear selector, from first to second (more details in the link further below). The original Hondamatic ceased production in 1988, though the name remained alive in company print for full automatics.
The 5-door Civic hatchback was never offered in the US, though a nifty wagon was. It was the featured star on our dedicated Hondamatic post.