The Beater - Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org
Off-Topic Discussion of anything that doesn't fit anywhere else. If it's related to motorcycles in any way, DO NOT post it here. Post it in General Discussion or a more specific forum.

User Tag List

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 05-26-2005, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
 
Baketech's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-10-2002
Location: Hoosierland, USA
Posts: 11,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 42
                   
The Beater

Dredged up this old article from the archives...although it's 20 years old, I think the sentiment surrounding "the beater" is timeless...

Quote:
April 1986 Road & Pothole

Hondas are Forever
-or-
Zen, and The Art of
Four-Banger Repair
by
xxxxxxxxxxx – Staff Writer

For the past few years this column has kept you at the forefront of sport scar technology and style. Within these pages I have reviewed a wide spectrum of sporting tackle, but his month I have trumped those articles with the chronicle of a car so unique, it has never been considered by other publications… (a silence from the crowd) What could be so different as to warrant all of this drivel; a factory prototype Ferrari, an autobahn test of a Countach S? Hardly. The engineering gem to grace these glossies is a well used, much abused, 1977 Honda Civic. This high mileage (approximately 15,000 miles since the odometer was snuffed at 105K) grocery getter became my prized possession over a year ago for the non-suggested dealer list price of 800 sawbucks and a handshake.

To make it clear, I originally purchased the Honda as alternate transportation. If you have ever tried to nurse a cold-blooded Porsche to the Quik Trip on streets assaulted by an Indiana snowstorm, then I am sure you can relate. To my surprise, as I drove the beater home, I began to feel at home right away. Of course I was humbled when a “real” car passed by, but I just offered a smug, OPEC defiant grin and putted on in a cloud of noxious smoke. The smoking definitely was a drawback, but as luck would have it, this circumstance led to my first exposure to Honda engineering.

The smokescreen the beater let out was enough to make James Bond proud, but no matter how many buttons I pushed, it would not stop. Four trips to the parts store and 200 dollars later, I began to rebuild my “cheap” transportation. Well, as it turned out, the smokescreen was a good idea because one of the previous owners had removed all of the emissions equipment. I am sure that federal inspectors would have had a tough time getting a plate number when they could barely see thru the fog. Anyway, I began thrashing the motor. The greasier I got, the more respect I found for the car’s design. Engine maintenance is a breeze due to some exceptional foresight by the designers. All parts on the car appear to have been designed with a Japanese pen, gut seemingly on German paper. Sure, the European flair for style was missing, but instead, function received that spare slice of attention. I wrenched on, occasionally stopping to admire a cleverly crafted component as time and beer breaks allowed. After a grungy weekend, the beater and I emerged from the garage with a smokeless squirt of Honda power.

Wow! It never ceases to amaze me that a heartless piece of alloy can be so appreciative of a little T.L.C. The “new” Honda ran like a top. While I once reserved the time spent in the Honda for the lowliest of trips, I can now stride past the Porsche with ease, and eagerly hop into that little beater. The Civic is an errand car in every sense. It negotiates traffic like a motorcycle and saves fuel like one too. The power of the 2-valve engine is by no means impressive, but it can put the suspension through it’s paces. Designed as the ultimate city-car, it hits the mark with a solid, yet satisfying thunk.

The beater’s four-wheel independent suspension won’t embarrass any Testarossas, but it can pussy-foot around any pothole maze the mean city streets can offer. Even after over one hundred thousand miles on the stock bushings and struts, the car is nimble and quick on it’s balding Michelins. I have experienced some of the inherent steering glitches of a front-wheel drive car. This is not as annoying, however, as the turbo lag on my 944 that cost tenfold more than the Honda. Overall, the suspension of the car is sedate, but fitting. After all, how many parking lot grand prix does a guy enter?

In the miscellaneous column, the beater comes through with excellent marks. The paint was probably excellent once, but now it just keeps the car recognizable in a crowd. The interior amenities are subtle and to the point. A place for everything, and everything in it’s place. The air conditioner works great, although the condensate drips on your passenger’s left instep. The A/C (aka turbo boost) button is easily accessible by the pilot. This is a good thing, as that extra bit of power comes in handy during a passing situation. The seats are remarkably comfortable on long trips. Did I say long trips? Naturally, I have taken the beater on a road trip, to test it’s roadworthiness of course. After all, it is my “alternate” transportation…right? Well okay, maybe I have “alternated” quite a bit recently, but that is beside the point. It’s not as if I really enjoy driving the wretched hulk all of the time, but I force myself anyway.

The other day I started to fix a dent left by an errant 9-iron shot on the beater’s flank, but stopped myself short. I guess there is no need to get carried away. After all, the dimpled dent was displayed much like a badge of honor on the little Honda’s fender. I pondered it a bit, then tried to imagine the same dent adorning the treasured Porsche. I can imagine how it would desecrate the car’s style and image. Then it hit me….the Beater had more style and panache than the 944 could ever muster! The Honda could get me there when others failed. It could dodge the potholes and hold it’s face high when I missed. But most of all, the Beater had character. The car is a friend now, a brother in arms. I haven’t fixed the Titleist autograph yet, but I do wax over it once in awhile to ward off the inevitable rust.

I drive the Porsche on snowy days now, to give the Beater a break, much like one would save an old nag from the glue factory. I’ll probably use the 944 as my alternate transportation now, at least until I hit another wild slice and come to terms with it’s soul.

© 1986 DD
Here's an actual pic of the car...

Sith Apprentice
CBR929 - VFR800 - VFR800
"There is a grey blur, and a green blur. I try to stay on the grey one..." - Joey Dunlop

Last edited by Baketech; 05-30-2005 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Added Link to Pic
Baketech is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 Old 05-26-2005, 1:00 PM
 
Join Date: 11-08-2001
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 0
             
Re: The Beater

Pete is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 05-26-2005, 1:29 PM
 
phobiaphobe's Avatar
 
Join Date: 05-23-2004
Location: Omnipresent
Age: 37
Posts: 11,499
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 43
                     
Send a message via MSN to phobiaphobe
Re: The Beater

There's a well-loved 1980 Toyota Tercel in my family like that. My stepfather bought it new in '79, drove it until about 1991. It sat parked for 2 years until my older sister turned 16 and it became her first car. After sitting so long with fuel in the tank, the fuel system became clogged with rust and that caused the majority of any problems it's ever had. I drove it for about a year, and now my younger brother is using it when he doesn't want to pay for gas in his old 4x4. Still runs like a top with well over 300000 Km's on it. Leaks a bit of oil, but doesn't burn any unless you start pushing 70mph. Had a new rad put in last year as the old one had corroded to the point of clogging.

Brilliant engineering, so easy to work on, almost like an industrial motor. Absolutely refuses to die.

And then there's this asshole...
phobiaphobe is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 11 Old 05-26-2005, 1:35 PM Thread Starter
 
Baketech's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-10-2002
Location: Hoosierland, USA
Posts: 11,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 42
                   
Re: The Beater

This Civic went 350K before it basically broke in two flying over a railroad crossing...

Sith Apprentice
CBR929 - VFR800 - VFR800
"There is a grey blur, and a green blur. I try to stay on the grey one..." - Joey Dunlop
Baketech is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 05-26-2005, 1:44 PM
 
Join Date: 03-12-2004
Posts: 2,057
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 0
       
Re: The Beater

I still miss my 76 CVCC. I wish I had never sold it. I am sure that it would still be runnong to this day.
colryn is offline  
post #6 of 11 Old 05-26-2005, 10:24 PM
 
Join Date: 08-28-2001
Posts: 3,203
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 0
       
Re: The Beater

Yup, my beater was an 83 toyota pickup, 4 banger carbed 22r motor. Bought it for $2300 at 167k on the odo. Sold it at 286k for $1400 and it still ran great.
G-Force Junkie is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 06-01-2005, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
 
Baketech's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-10-2002
Location: Hoosierland, USA
Posts: 11,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 42
                   
Re: The Beater

I am almost embarrassed to admit that I replaced the one in the story with a CRX....kind of a girlie car, but it kicked ass...

Sith Apprentice
CBR929 - VFR800 - VFR800
"There is a grey blur, and a green blur. I try to stay on the grey one..." - Joey Dunlop
Baketech is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 06-01-2005, 11:44 AM
 
Kuss929's Avatar
 
Join Date: 09-11-2003
Location: Burlington, On.
Age: 44
Posts: 900
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 18
   
Re: The Beater

My beater was an 83 Vette!!!


Chevette. 3 speed manual with AM single speaker radio. No heat (or very little, whatever heat wafted in through the vents off the motor)
0-60 was 56 sec. when I first got it.
Just before it was gone I timed it again. 0-60 20 min. I pinned it out of my drive way and had it floored all the way to my hockey game. It finally hit the mark 4 blocks before I had to shut her down and break for the parking lot.
It also backfired at will with 3 quick jabs of the throttle.
Great on gas and it did its job. One of the greatest pizza delivery vehicles around. People could not help but notice what you were driving and give you a nice tip.
Just before it left I took the emblem out of the steering wheel and added a chain to it. Just last week going through a box I found the chain with that marvel of engineering emblem hanging from it.
I owned a Vette.

There are some who call me ............................Tim
Kuss929 is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 06-02-2005, 7:34 AM Thread Starter
 
Baketech's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-10-2002
Location: Hoosierland, USA
Posts: 11,098
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 42
                   
Re: The Beater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuss929
I owned a Vette.
LOL Kuss, you are cracking me up....

Sith Apprentice
CBR929 - VFR800 - VFR800
"There is a grey blur, and a green blur. I try to stay on the grey one..." - Joey Dunlop
Baketech is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 02-20-2006, 11:25 AM
 
phobiaphobe's Avatar
 
Join Date: 05-23-2004
Location: Omnipresent
Age: 37
Posts: 11,499
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 43
                     
Send a message via MSN to phobiaphobe
Re: The Beater

Requiem for a Beater

The car referred to in post 3 has finally been "euthanized". For the last few years it has basically been kept in the family as a spare car. My sister would drive it when she'd come home from Japan during holidays and my brother would drive it when he needed to make a highway trip without using his 9MPG Chev truck. George, who bought it new, would drive it every now and then for pure sentimental value. He'd also find every possible opportunity to lift the hood and do some "routine maintenance". The quality of thought put into that little car actually made it enjoyable to take apart and put back together. When he and my mother would go on vacation, they'd take the Tercel to the airport (rather than their Intrigue) and leave it in the cold for weeks at a time.

A few weeks ago one of the control arms broke; the coil spring just punched right through it. George did a little research and discovered that there was a very old service bulletin / recall for that very problem. He contacted Toyota and found that they would still honour the recall and fix the car.

I recieved this update today:

Quote:
Friday February 17

The fate of the Toyota Tercel
The last that you may have heard was that Toyota Canada authorized a warantee repair on the Tercel rear suspension. And the Tercel was delivered to Gateway Toyota on the 3rd of February.
I recieved a call Tuesday from Gateway with the following news:
With all the parts in, and the Toyota in the service bay, once the two rear shock columns were pulled apart, they found that the top of the shock column supports (structural within the body) simply came apart. The warrantee repair covered the lower suspension a-frame 3-point control arms - and with these parts in place - Toyota could not put the car back together; simply because there was no top shock column support left.
Attempts to put in place a top support plate failed, as the more they took apart, the more that stress crack and corrosion related rust they found; in the end they were pulling out stamped metal that left the factory 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick, that has swelled with rust as much as 1/2 inch - under the paint and under the corrosion wax, there was little left. I always wondered where the rust streaks came from in the truck after running in wet conditions.
Toyota then called - explained the situation - and asked if they could suspend the repair. It was at that point that I called Carmen and asked her what she wanted to do next: The Kidney Car Foundation was her answer.
I ran to Edmonton Wednesday morning to sign over the registration to the Kidney Car Foundation and also signed the Warantee Repair Service Order, - a $0.0 bill to me - , and noted that the repair had cost Toyota $671.00 in materials.
The last that I saw the 1980 Tercel was 11:00 AM yesterday in the lot at Gateway Toyota, parked between two 2006 black Toyota Corolla's, with license plates removed, in -29 C temperature, 60 kph winds, partially covered with blowing snow - waiting for a tow truck. 348,000 km, 26 years.
As requested, Gateway Toyota removed the licence plates, insurance and registration papers, Sony CD Deck and Speakers, and gearshift knob. All that remains of the Tercel now sets on the garage workbench in a box.
George
We're all going to miss this little beater.

And then there's this asshole...

Last edited by phobiaphobe; 02-20-2006 at 11:36 AM.
phobiaphobe is offline  
post #11 of 11 Old 02-20-2006, 12:34 PM
 
Join Date: 08-01-2001
Posts: 14,390
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Reputation Power: 0
                 
Re: The Beater

Awesome.

Over Christmas a buddy and I took out their 87 ex-CHP Mustang to see how it was running as it waited for his brother to return from overseas. We used to have fun beating this car in HS.

It has over 300k miles (not KMs!) on the original motor, but the tranny has needed synchros twice. And it runs great!

It's sentimental to their family at this point.



luvtolean is offline  
Reply

  Lower Navigation
Go Back   Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org > Other > Off-Topic

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Honda Motorcycles - FireBlades.org forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
A valid e-mail address is REQUIRED. You will not have access to any site features until you activate your account using the activation e-mail that is sent to this address.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
oh phew...an RC beater showmethebombs Honda RC51 7 07-15-2004 7:06 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome