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 First Generation Honda Civic CVCC Road Test

Honda Civic CVCC's run up 27,686 miles at Motor Speedway in 72-hour high-speed performance test.

At continuous full throttle, six 1975 Honda Civic CVCC's rolled up a total of 27,686 miles during a 3-day high speed performance test at Ontario Motor Speedway in California. Twenty-two professional drivers conducted the test under the supervision of Bob Bondurant—noted racing driver and operator of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. The six cars made 11,074 laps around the 2V2-mi\e oval, running day and night at an average speed of 84.2 miles per hour.

A Honda Civic CVCC 5-speed recorded the highest average speed of 87.1 miles an hour while rolling up 5,233.2 miles. Miles per gallon over the three-day period ranged from a high of 20.16 for the Honda Civic CVCC 5-speed to 15.89 miles per gallon for the 2-speed Hondamatic. Average miles per gallon for all six cars was a substantial 18.48. That was under all-out racing conditions. It should be noted that under more normal highway driving conditions in EPA lab tests, Hondas got from 28 to 42 mpg. 

Observing that the tests could be compared to three LeMans races in a row, Bob Bondurant reported that the cars were driven "absolutely flat out" with only four malfunctions— a broken speedometer drive gear and fuel pump in one car, lost radiator coolant in another and a fuel line stoppage in a third. Outside of a normal tune-up and the addition of roll bars, the cars were brand new, randomly selected and given no special attention prior to the test.

Pit stops averaged two to five minutes and were only to accommodate regular servicing, refuelling and change of drivers. Over the entire 72-hour period only one quart of oil was required for all six cars. But that's only part of the story. 

The high-speed performance test was concluded before more than 100 all-media press representatives gathered at the invitation of Honda for a National Press Test. Then, under Bondurant's personal supervision, five events were set up to allow the press to experience driving the 1975 Honda Civic CVCC's for themselves. First was a slalom test to show the Civic CVCC's handling capabilities. Second, a precision driving test on a course that tested both car and driver's quick response to lane changes, braking, and parking. Third, an economy run. Fourth, an acceleration "drag" test demonstrating the quickness of the car. And last, a demonstration ride at high speed over the Ontario Gran Prix racing course—with each member of the press driven by one of the professional drivers from the Bondurant School.

Bob Bondurant explains to the press how his team of professional drivers was instructed to put the accelerators to the floor, run the Hondas absolutely flat out during the high-speed performance test.

The cars were kept at full throttle on a 24-hour, 'round the clock schedule

These cars averaged 615 laps each around the Ontario oval during the performance test. Then they were driven by the press.

"All the drivers share my opinion that the entire test was a very pleasant experience. The car is fun to drive, roomy, comfortable and responsive. We are all much impressed," acknowledged Bob Bondurant.
Bobbie Cooper, SCCA sports car driver, was a member of the female team that took the Civic 2-speed Hondamatic around the speedway for 3,801.6 miles at an average speed of 80.2 miles per hour. Other members were Paula Murphy, drag racer; Judy Brown, slalom and autocross driver; and Diane Caunt, from the Bondurant School.

Throughout this winding course, the car took all the punishment I could give it, wrote Dick Applegate, Auto Editor of the San Diego Union.

Judy Brown commented, "We went around the track full out.. .without letting down at all and the car handled beautifully. We didn't have any problems with it at all."

George Moore of the Indianapolis Star, after additional tests in his own city, wrote, " is cat quick in traffic and easily fits into small holes when driving and parking in the downtown area."

Lined up at the "Christmas tree" for the drag test with Bob Bondurant driving the car on the right

Paula Murphy, drag race driver remarked, "I own a Honda. I've owned one since 1973, and I think it's probably one of the greatest little cars you can buy today."

The press with professional drivers on Ontario's Gran Prix road course for a really moving experience.

Steve Cook, Chief Instructor at the Bondurant school said, "I was favourably impressed with the Honda. I think with the increased price of fuel it's super practical."

The press gets a closer look at the CVCC engine








An aerial view of the precision driving course laid out by Bob Bondurant for the Honda Civic CVCC's.

Unleaded gasoline, furnished by Union 76, was used exclusively for all tests, although the CVCC engine also runs on low-lead or regular.

Ron Southern, from Bondurant's school observed, "The complete lack of exhaustion after that many hours in a car has a lot to say to me about how comfortable the thing's got to be."

The readers o] the Oregon Journal got this news from Rolla Crick. ' T watched one of the new five-speed Honda Civics get 54.6 miles per gallon at Ontario Motor Speedway when it was driven for the utmost economy..."

At day's end there was a panel of Honda executives to answer technical questions.

Bob Bondurant who set up the events was even surprised himself at what the Honda Civic CVCC could do.


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