Tyler Ollerich has always identified himself as a Honda fan. Both of his parents drove the car when he was growing up, and Ollerich learned how to fix cars by working with his dad, a mechanic, on his Honda.
“I started out on Hondas and learned on them,” he says. “But the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies came out when I was in high school, and those honestly reeled me in, too.”
Two years ago, Ollerich found a sale listing for a 1981 Honda Civic station wagon that had been sitting in a barn in Kalona. For a car its age, it was in remarkably good shape. It only had 90,000 miles on it, and its exterior was virtually untouched by rust, dings or dents. However, when it came to the car’s performance, Ollerich found that he had some work to do.
“It barely ran or drove when I got it,” he says. “I had to put in a new ignition, clutch and transmission. After that I drove it for 400 miles, and then the gasket blew. I had to take it apart and put it back together all over again.”
This winter, Ollerich’s car is getting a new engine put into it, and he hopes to have it ready to hit the road by the time the weather warms up. He has taken it to the Ice Cream Cruise car show in Omaha, Neb., every year in the summertime, and he plans to take it again in 2014. He also has plans to add to the car with aftermarket parts for the interior, a new Honda stock color paint job, and, eventually, a modern Honda fuel injection engine.
You don’t see many Hondas like Ollerich’s on the road, both for its age and the relative scarcity of the model. He says that’s exactly how he likes it.
“I love the nostalgic feel of the car,” he says. “It’s got no power steering, power brakes or power windows. It takes you back to a simpler time. You can feel every bump in the road when you drive it. Some people wouldn’t like that, but I love it.”
Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of What’s In Your Garage?