Sedans & Coupes

Why Did This Honda Civic Si Sell for $50,000?

Many Japanese cars and SUVs from the 90s and 00s are rising in value as the collector market shifts. And Honda’s cars are no exception. However, it’s not only cars like the S2000, Integra Type R, and NSX that are appreciating. Before the Civic Type R, the hottest Honda Civic in the US was the Civic Si. And recently on Bring a Trailer, a 2000 Honda Civic Si sold for $50,000. But is it worth that sticker price?

The EM1 Honda Civic Si: specs and driving impressions

The 1999 EM1-gen Honda Civic Si wasn’t the first Si sold in the US. The trim was available on the Civic and CRX in the late 80s and early 90s. However, as Jalopnik explains, the EM1-gen Civic Si is arguably more special than its predecessors.

The 1.6-liter engine found in the 2000 Honda Civic Si
2000 Honda Civic Si engine bay | Bring a Trailer

All Civic Si models received a bit of extra power over the base versions. However, for the EM1-gen, that ‘bit’ was slightly more dramatic. In 1999, the most powerful base Civic came with a 105-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder. The contemporary Civic Si, meanwhile, used a 1.6-liter four-cylinder rated at 160 hp and 110 lb-ft.

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With a 7.2-second 0-60 time, Bring a Trailer reports, it’s not exactly fast. Even though it only weighs about 2600 pounds, Motor Trend reports. But the engine redlines at 8000 RPM and the 5-speed manual is a delight to shift, Hagerty reports. The clutch is also very light and easy to modulate. But it’s in the corners where the EM1 Honda Civic Si really shines.

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Like the base model, the Civic Si has 4-wheel independent suspension. The springs, anti-roll bars, and struts, though, are stiffer. There’s also a front strut-tower brace to further improve handling and 4-wheel disc brakes. With the lack of weight and tons of steering feel, it’s simply a fun car to drive, even around town.

But is it really worth spending $50,000 on what is still a 20-year-old car?

What made this 2000 Honda Civic Si so expensive?

Blue 2000 Honda Civic Si coupe parked in front of a hedge
2000 Honda Civic Si coupe | Bring a Trailer

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$50,000 is a lot of money for an EM1 Honda Civic Si. Previously, BaT’s most-expensive EM1 was a 1999 model sold in 2018 for $24,027. Other examples have sold for closer to $10,000. But there are a few reasons why this particular 2000 model sold for so much.  

Firstly, the EM1 Civic Si was only sold in 1999 and 2000. On top of that, it’s a coupe; coupe models are rarer than the sedan versions. But the biggest factor behind the high sticker price is the pristine condition.

Black-and-grey interior of the 2000 Honda Civic Si
2000 Honda Civic Si interior | Bring a Trailer

This 2000 Honda Civic Si hasn’t really been modified. There are some minor mods, Automobile reports, like the stereo and lower tie-rod brace. However, they’re period-correct and easy to remove. Plus, not only is it not rusted or damaged, it only has about 5600 miles on the clock. The Civic Si is still a popular tuner car. To find one, especially an older one, in this condition is getting more and more difficult.

Was it worth it?

1971 Datsun 240Z
1971 Datsun 240Z | Bring a Trailer

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This Civic Si is several decades newer than the $300,000 Datsun 240Z that also sold on BaT. And, obviously, it’s noticeably cheaper. Still, for $50k, you could buy a new Honda Civic Type R and have money left over for driving lessons. And the Type R is faster, with more safety features, and still handles well.

But, as was the case with the 240Z, this EM1 wasn’t a ‘logical’ purchase. Although the Si trim was available before 1999, the EM1 arguably helped start the modern tuner scene. It was featured in Fast and Furious, and magazines like Super Street Online. The Civic Si and Integra Type R are the reason “VTEC kicked in, yo!” is a meme. In many ways, it’s an automotive icon.

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Plenty of people, myself included, have strong emotional connections to Japanese cars of the 90s and early 2000s. And as this car shows, there are some willing to pay a great deal to satisfy those emotional desires.

True, a 20-year-old car with so few miles will likely need some repair work. And I personally wouldn’t pay $50,000 for a 2000 Si. It’s not my dream car. But for the winning bidder, it’s likely a car they’ve fantasized about since they were in high school. And $50,000 to fulfill a fantasy held onto for so long is, all things considered, a pretty good deal.

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