Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday Extravaganza – Three Different Wagons on eBay; Desirable or Not?

Continuing on with the Wagon Wednesday Extravaganza, I thought I would mix it up a bit with these three different offerings. The Chevrolet Vega has long since past the “It’s just plain junk” phase (Well, at least for me it has) to the “It’s quirky and cute” phase but still hasn’t reached the “I gotta have it” phase within the car enthusiast community. But what about some relatively recent small wagons, like a 1979 Honda Civic CVCC Wagon, or even a 1993 Mitsubishi Expo?

As always I will start with the Detroit Offering. This is a 1976 Chevy Vega Estate Wagon, and the reason for the Estate moniker is the fact that it is slathered in a vinyl wood decal. This Vega has 68,000 miles, and the owner claims its the original paint. This car has A/C, Automatic, and has been re-awakened after an extended storage period.

Current bid is at $2,750 with an unmet reserve. There is a $5,000 buy-it-now price, which I think is a bit on the rich side, but what do you think? See the listing here.


This is a 1979 Honda Civic CVCC Wagon. When was the last time you ever saw one of these, and its in almost perfect shape. This car shows 102,000 miles on it, and the seller claims that the car is all original. However, that is not to say that there hasn’t been a lot of work done to this car, as the seller states that many new parts were installed including shocks, plugs, brakes, tie rod ends, wires, tires, and wheel bearings.

Current bid on this car is $2,550 with an unmet reserve. If the car doesn’t see this round, he is threatening to sell it at Hershey in October. So what do you think this unmolested Civic Wagon will sell for? See the listing here.


Our last wagon is the much maligned Mitsubishi Expo. These wagons are getting harder and harder to find, with parts becoming exceedingly rare. This is a 1993 model, with the 2.4L engine and an automatic. It has three rows of seats, which can double as a large bed. It looks like it has been properly maintained, with particular attention to passing California’s strict emission laws. It has its original paint, and, well there isn’t much more I can tell you.

The car shows almost 120,000 miles, and the opening bid is $2,900. Mitsubishi is really a dying brand here in the states, but could this car be a good buy for someone who needs a small wagon? See the listing here.

So, are any of these unusual wagons worthy of your money? I’m sure you have opinions….

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  1. Dave Avatar

    The Honda was rated at about 36 MPG with the manual tranny. Might be a great grocery getter if nothing else. I think it would be fun but not sure how much I'd pay.

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    Civic, without question. They have all but fallen off the face of the earth, and I could hang out with the Vtec kids on the weekend.

    1. IronBallsMcG Avatar


      1. B72 Avatar

        CVCC just kicked in!

  3. yellofury Avatar

    I would totally rock that CVCC but in matte black with some tasteful tuning

  4. Paul_y Avatar

    I love that Civic. It's adorable!

  5. dukeisduke Avatar

    The Civic? Definitely.
    The Vega? Definitely (hey, I've already owned two).
    The Sh-tsubishi? Crusherbait.

  6. tonyola Avatar

    The Civic wagon is nice but there's one thing everyone needs to be made aware of – the wagon used a solid rear axle with leaf springs instead of the independent coil spring setup used on other models. The ride and handling won't be as good as the non-wagon models. Simple and sturdy, yes, but less fun.
    I would be more attracted to the Mitsubishi if it was the shorter and cuter Expo LRV/Eagle Summit Wagon variation instead of the longer five-door. You can keep the Vega, thanks.
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/vehicle-pictures/1996/eagle/summit-wagon/92105051990215-260.jpg&quot; width=300>

    1. P161911 Avatar

      So the baby version got the sliding door, while the big one got four swinging doors?!?
      Looks like these were available with a variation of the Galant VR-4 drivetrain!

    2. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

      Yeah, uh, no thanks.
      My parents bought a new Expo LRV on impulse in the summer of '93, solely because my mom thought it was cute. And it certainly was cute, especially with its emerald green paint and silver lower cladding. Mom loved it, dad hated it, and, in my mind, it might as well have been a Pacer, because that thing was a complete embarassment in the middle school carpool lane.
      It wasn't a terrible car, beyond the fact it was incredibly slow (I think it had a 1.8L Mirage motor) and zero options. The rear hatch could swallow a lot of stuff, but the single sliding door was a nuisance, especially without power door locks. Oh, and it leaked/burned a fair amount of oil after 4 years/50,000 miles, when it was mercifully traded in early for a new Accord. These cars were pretty rare when they were new; The LRV was discontinued after '94 and the Colt Vista/Summit lasted through '95 and they didn't age well, like most Mitsu products of the era. But, in fairness, ours held up about as well as the Camry my folks also had at the time, and in spite of my dad's lackadaisical approach to maintenance, so the stupid thing may well still be slowly sputtering along somewhere in the Midwest. You couldn't pay me to drive it, though.

      1. chrystlubitshi Avatar

        man, that 1.8L engine would have been awesome… my summit coupe had a 1.5L 3 speed auto w/no overdrive. zero options (including no stereo and no glove box)…. i counted myself lucky it had a parking brake… it did, however allow me to do 60,000 miles with a purchase price & maintenance cost (other than fuel and oil changes) of $2000 combined… and 40k of those miles were re-imbursed at gov't. rate…. so i guess i cannot complain too much… hell.. i bought the damned thing twice.

  7. dukeisduke Avatar

    The Vega is as loaded as you can get – RPO L11 2-bbl engine, THM250 (ad says it's a 350, but I'm sure it's a 250, which is a downsized 350), PS, PB, A/C, Deluxe interior with the full gauges and the GT steering wheel and tilt column. Also a roof rack and the two-position seatback for the driver *and* passenger (my GT only had the driver's side one).

  8. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    the cvcc. YES.
    vega, sure
    expo… would have to be a manual 4wd variant to be desirable… though.. it does look to be in good condition… wonder how much i could find a thrashed body/good drivetrain fo–NO NO NO… chrystlubitshi, no. we are done with this madness.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Oh…we are just beginning…

  9. dukeisduke Avatar

    The Civic belongs in a museum. Too clean.

  10. skitter Avatar

    While I default to the H-pattern, three rows in something as small as the Mitsubishi could be literally full of win.

  11. Alff Avatar

    Add me to the list of Civic fans. The others, not so much.

  12. OA5599 Avatar

    Any wagon I'd consider would have to be capable of the following:
    1. Hauling plywood
    2. Towing a trailer
    3. Carrying at least six people and camping gear
    The Mitsu is the only remote possibility here, but I don't like the appearance, and my limited experience with 90's Mitsubishi engines scares me away from them.

  13. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    It seems I'm alone in wondering about the feasibility of turbocharging that 4G64.

    1. chrystlubitshi Avatar

      no, no you are not. and depending on the condition of the engine, it shouldn't be a problem… however, it should be just as easy (and cost effective) to find a "slightly used" drivetrain from one of the "sportier" cars of that year's line-up, rebuild it, and swap it in…

      1. Abe Avatar

        Galant VR4???

  14. oldcarjunkie Avatar

    The Vega is the looker of the bunch but aren't much with the poor stock engine. I like Civics of that generation … except the wagon. It is a fantastic survivor just not something I'd desire. The Mitsubishi has some odd ball character but still too common to be interesting.

  15. Jim-Bob Avatar

    The Mitsubishi looks too much like a minivan for my tastes and so I would want nothing to do with it unless it had a 4G63t swapped in it. The Vega was proof positive that sometimes RWD can be a liability. Too much of the floor is taken up by the trans tunnel as GM was dogged and determined to save costs and use the same transmissions they used in much larger cars. Thus the only way I would want a Vega is if I planned on an SBC swap. As for the Civic, what could I say? I want it bad! I've never worked on a stratified charge engine before and think it would be a fun opportunity to learn about a new-to-me technology. Plus, I really dig vintage Japanese cars as they get fuel economy that won't break me financially.

  16. humblejanitor Avatar

    I'd rock both the Civic and the Vega, though the Civic would be more valuable in this economy due to the decent as hell gas mileage. It gets more than my '97 Escort for sure!

  17. CptSevere Avatar

    Vegas never really interested me, and I've heard all kinds of scary stories about the heads warping and the like. No thanks. For some reason, the little Honda appeals to me, which is kind of funny because I've never been much of a fan of Honda cars. My Mom had a Civic of this vintage, once, and while it was mildly fun to drive, I didn't think much of it. This little wagon has more room, and will probably run forever. I like the fact that it has a straight rear axle, too.

  18. Thrashy Avatar

    When I was shopping for what ended up being my CRX, the family mechanic had a nearly identical '79 Civic wagon for sale on his lot. I fell in love with it almost immediately, but the mechanic felt it wasn't a good choice, since the CVCC's carbs are next to impossible to tune properly (one barrel has to run very rich, the other two have to be very lean, and they have to average out just so…) I wanted that little Civic so badly that it hurt, but at the time I had no mechanical experience and I had to be able to drive it every day, so I took his advice.
    But I only took it so far, because in the next breath he tried to sell me on a convertible LeBaron. Take away my joy if you must, but at least leave me my dignity!

    1. tonyola Avatar

      But I should think that a CRX was able to wash away any distress from being in proximity with a Lebaron.

  19. blueplate Avatar

    Since they're all wagons, they're all awesome. What was the size difference between a Civic and an Accord in this vintage? I remember the contemporary Accord being.. just as small.

  20. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    Definitely the Honda among these three. The Vega reminds me of a certain saying about lipstick and pigs. As for the Mitsu, knock a little off the price and maybe it's worth buying as a college student runabout, but that's it. Every older Mitsubishi I see around here burns oil. At 120K, if it's not already putting out blue smoke, it probably won't be much longer before it will be.

  21. facelvega Avatar

    The civic is ridiculously clean and a good runabout for what it is. I could imagine shelling out $2500 in this condition. $3-4k though? No.
    The vega is alright, technically a shooting brake, in decent shape and Brennan nailed it in saying that it has graduated up to quirky. But after 25 years of storage, expect $2k or endless shadetree hours of work over the next year. Maybe $1800 would lure me into it, knowing that once it is sorted and I'd tackled the rust I could move it for $4k here in Brooklyn in a heartbeat, thanks to the fake wood siding.
    The expo is one of those unloved cars you have on your permanent beater/parts runner list. I'd be more interested in a 4WD version that looked like hell but had all the mechanicals sorted for $800-1200. In my book, there's no point in getting a nice one of these, and for $3k there are just too many better deals on old Japanese wagons.

  22. coupeZ600 Avatar

    I was looking for f*cking weeks for a 1st gen Honda Wagon just like this when I finally gave up and paid waay too much for my AZ600 Coupe.
    While chicks really like the Coupe Z, this one would be far more practical as now I have a wife and two kids, and impressing girls is currently a way back-burner requirement for a vehicle.
    That being said, I'd be stoked if I could get this one for under $4,000, but I bet it'll go for a bunch more than that, especially at Hershey.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      It's probably not worth that much, I'll agree, but you guys would look good motoring around in that sweet little wagon. You've got to admit, it would look nice parked next to the Coupe Z.

  23. TurboBrick Avatar

    Now why would Mitsubishi build that thing instead of importing the Delica? Which BTW was THE perfect vehicle for a designated driver to haul a van full of jolly drunks on excursions into neighboring counties and even further away.
    4-cylinder Vega… aren't these the cars that made the Iron Duke seem like a huge upgrade?
    I'll take the Civic. Can I put an ironic Type-R badge in the back?

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Mitsubishi did import the Delica from the mid-'80s to 1990 as the Van or Wagon. It wasn't a big seller.
      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Mitsubishi-L300.jpg/800px-Mitsubishi-L300.jpg&quot; width=400>

      1. TurboBrick Avatar

        How can that be, with a clever name like that…. I presume these were also priced out of competition?

        1. tonyola Avatar

          Like the other Japanese vans of the '80s, the Delica was nothing more than a Japanese-market commercial delivery van brought over in a panic when Chrysler scooped everyone with their own smash-hit minivans. Long overhangs over a short wheelbase were more suited for tight Tokyo streets than long interstate trips and you had to practically take the interior apart to get at the engine. Toyota had decent sales of its van, but Nissan and Mitsu not so much. At least the Mitsu van didn't catch on fire like the Nissan vans.

      2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        I've seen one of these.
        Rotting in a parking lot.
        Doesn't say much for 'em, I guess.

  24. scoutdude Avatar

    Vega all the way, drop in a FI Buick V6 and OD auto and you'd have a heck of a cool sleeper that doesn't get too bad of MPG. If MPG was more of a concern a modern 4cyl 5sp would work well too.

  25. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    When I see unloved compacts, I think engine swaps. Pinto = SVO drivetrain, Pacer/Gremlin = either build I6 or 401, etc.
    The CVCC's just too clean and original to mess with. Let some collector pick it up and laugh at us all 20 years from now when it's worth 400,000 intergalactic RMB.
    So…the Vega and Expo.
    Expo? Oooof. Now I see how why it's hard for people to see beyond the lame mom-mobile status cars earn in their formative years. These were definitely among the least-cool vehicles you could be driving in the mid-90s. I'd assume various FWD or AWD 4G63 drivetrains would swap, which could be pretty cool, I guess.
    Vega? Well…not much good drops in with any grace. Sure, they sold a 305 V8 in some markets (good for like 9ho at the time), which means you could swap pretty much any smallblock or LS motor in. Sounds awesome, but by the time you get over the tight fit and massively crappy build quality, you've basically got a full ridiculous custom on your hands, which isn't really worth doing.

  26. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Instead of a V8, I would like to replace that Vega motor with a hotter four-banger, like a Quad-4 W41.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Keep it period correct, go with the Vega Cosworth motor.

  27. Mister X Avatar
    Mister X

    I’ve owned both a 1976 Chevy Vega Wagon and a 1979 Honda Civic Wagon.
    The Vega was a light tan/brown interior, 4 speed “Estate” wagon, and was a beauty, but sadly it was also a PIG … terrible engine, no torque, no power, and it handled like a wet noodle. With suitable suspension and and a much more powerful engine, the Vega could have been a neat car that lived up to it’s good looks, but merely installing a more powerful engine won’t make it handle, so nice as the Vega is, it will always be a pig, even if it’s a Fast Pig. I sold it to a woman friend and she drove it sedately around town and enjoyed it for more than 10 years.
    The blue 5 speed Honda wagon came to me with a dead engine from a drummer friend, I put a used Japanese engine in it and sold it to a guitarist/sound man buddy who drove it daily for years. These third gen Honda’s run forever if maintained properly, get great fuel mileage, have decent handling, and adequate power for a what’s basically a people mover.
    That comment above about the carburetor being difficult to “adjust” on the CVCC’s is Bunk, but they do have a tendency to burn through the exhaust manifold into the intake manifold, which definitely causes a problem, but is an easy fix. Admittedly, I’ve owned 6 Honda cars in the past, so I’m a bit fond of ’em.
    The Expo will always be a soccer mom mobile, not a chance.

  28. Chris Avatar

    I still have a 1994 Mitsubishi Expo (the last year they sold them to the public), the 1995's were sold to rental agencies first and came to the market after a year or two. I drove it for 10 years as my primary car and went looking for a replacement and found the Buick Rendezvous. After 17 years, the Expo still gets 28 miles to the gallon and was way ahead of its time with regard to 7 passenger vehicles. My daugher used it when she learned to drive, the visibility is second to none. The middle seats fold flat and have built in trays and cup holders, the front dash was flat allowing for practical use. I keep my eye out looking for one in better shape than mine (a fair amount of rust in Minnesota). Might have to check this one out.