Down the Hatch

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Aug 12, 2016 | Honda | Posted in Features | From the June 2016 issue | Never miss an article

We can hear the head scratching already: “That’s a funny-looking Civic.”

That’s because it’s not a Civic.

It’s a Honda City, the brand’s other popular small car, although it never officially came stateside.

Honda debuted the standard City in late 1981 and, as the manufacturer has been known to do, released a performance version soon after: the Honda City Turbo. The 1984 example shown here is part of the Lane Motor Museum collection.

This version of the City delivered on the “Turbo” part of its model designation with a turbocharged and intercooled 1231cc inline-four that produced about 100 horsepower. It was practical, too, with seating for four adults.

A dealer-optional 50cc scooter was designed to fit perfectly in the hatch. Once you found a parking spot for your car–a challenging proposition in Tokyo–you could then scoot to work.

Now that the ’80s JDM classics have celebrated their 25th birthdays, they’re cleared to legally enter the U.S. Based on our research, about 10 grand buys a clean City Turbo. If you want to see the Lane specimen in the flesh, the facility is open Thursday through Monday. You can learn more about this quirky Nashville museum at

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