Alright, I didn’t actually get stung by the car itself, I was stung by one of the wasps that were building a nest inside the passenger door and that I pissed off royally when I opened it to try to take an interior photo from that side. They immediately attacked and one of them stung me while I was dancing away like a little girl. I may have shrieked like one too. I henceforth lost all enthusiasm for this Accord but luckily that was the last photo I wanted to take so I just licked my wound and pondered how long (decades?) it had been since my last sting.
But enough about me and back to the Accord! I was excited to note that this was a 1982, the first year of this generation and the last year that US versions were built in Japan; from the 1983 model year on, U.S. market Accords were built in Marysville, Ohio. Well, at least the sedan was, the hatchback may have come from Japan for a while longer.
Building on the success of the first-generation, the second was improved in virtually every way. Sporting sleeker, more modern styling, it looked good, thoroughly contemporary, and gave final notice that Japanese design had matured beyond often derivative or sometimes bizarre styling. The interiors were also very well designed and comprehensively equipped as standard with minimal options. And the materials used were top-notch.
As a result there were lines out the door at Honda dealers, if you were lucky you paid sticker, many if not most people paid more than that. Stories abound of buyers taking whatever color came on the truck, otherwise the car was sold to someone else without issue and to the back of the line you went. And all the same stories note that the buyer was extremely happy.
This buyer certainly appeared to be so. I’m guessing this is a one-owner car. Check out the stock Honda radio blanking plate. It’s doubtful that would still be there if there was ever a second owner along the way. And they got the A/C which was a dealer installed option on Hondas of the day. The dealer tag on the back does say Empire Olds Denver, but Empire was also a Honda dealer. However I’m not sure when they added Honda to the Olds franchise but it was a prescient move.
I love the red interior of this car and the corduroy-ish seat fabric looked good, felt good, and wore extremely well.
This one is a 5-speed as proudly denoted on the rear. That backed up the carry-over 1751cc Honda CVCC four that was still carbureted. Honda would actually have carbs on at least some of their Accords into the late ’80’s, somewhat surprisingly.
There’s that little peach of an engine. Slightly enlarged for the 1984 mid-cycle refresh, but back in ’82 still as willing and happy to rev smoothly as ever. Compared to the rough and not so ready rumble of a Citation or Cavalier, this was a large part of the reason for Honda’s success. Well, that and reliability and a company that sold an overall quality product. People did and will pay for quality.
The vacuum diagram underhood is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps that’s what did this one in, it’s possible it just couldn’t pass the emissions checks here on the Front Range.
This one still has the flippable cargo cover and the little tool kit. Oh, and a Carquest Carburetor repair kit. Hmm. Still, that cargo cover, the mat, the flip forward seats, all standard. Except the carb repair kit; that repair would have been included in the standard 24month, 24,000 mile powertrain warranty or perhaps longer (but sadly not 37 years) since that was likely covered under an emissions warranty.
Other that that it looks in remarkably good condition, the exterior fender damage could very well (most likely) have happened here in the yard.
Here’s why, only 94,365 miles on this one. That’s about 2,500 miles per year or 49 a week. Wow. This one still has the federally mandated 85mph maximum speedometer, the mandate for which ended in late 1981.
For as small a company (relatively) as Honda was back then, that they could put something together that was this good is quite a remarkable achievement. It is something that took dedication, commitment and a long-term vision not just from management but the whole workforce. And then a year later they proved that they could successfully build the same car in the United States using the same labor force that was derided for putting together poor quality vehicles and demonstrating that it is not in fact as much to do with who is putting something together and more about what is being put together.
Honda’s first generation of Accord certainly put the world on notice. But this second generation changed the game completely. More refinement, even more value, a completely modern package, and a car that people were proud to own for decades.
And then they just kept at it, changing and improving the package and leaving the domestic manufacturers off balance and at least two steps behind. As we all know, today the Accord is still being made and sold by the hundreds of thousands every year. The sedan market is softer than it one was but the erstwhile competition is ceding the market to Honda and a few others, who will divide the market amongst themselves and likely still make a tidy profit while providing a quality product at a fair price, even if the overall volume is less than it once was.
This. This is what I simply hate about *you people* out west. *You people* who would junk this car. GAAAAAAAA! Can I buy it? Like now? I would drive this. A big old spool of vacuum line and a day in the driveway and this would probably be better than anything anyone could buy for $3k. Every one that ever spent time out here rusted to pieces. I might want to run it through Canada first for a Krown oil spray treatment.
And you described the buying experience for my Honda Fit in the summer and fall of 2006. They were new to the US and hot, hot, hot. We were choosy on color and had to wait from July until late November for our car to make the voyage from Japan to our dealer in Indianapolis. I was thrilled that I only had to pay full sticker price.
You want this rust bucket? Hahahaha! 😀
Can I have the information of the junkyard where this is at because I have a 1983 Honda Accord and I need the hatchback. Please and thank you
I remember in the Thunderbird and Cougar forum a Southern California member sent his fairly nice bird to the junkyard for a lower mile one. Asked why not put it in the classifieds his response was “you wouldn’t want it, the body was probably worn out with those miles”. Us midwesterners were quite unaware a body can wear out without any rust or collision damage
When was this car shot? The hatchback has always been my favorite particularly the first two generations although the second is preferred. This car picture here is a very restorable car. Why someone gave up on this car at 94,000 miles is beyond me as I would have it back on the road if I could get my hands on it.
July 7th in Denver.
Ugh! A little PDR and you are good to go as that paint is in great shape as it is. When one jokes that will buff out one wouldn’t be wrong for this car.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy? I wouldn’t want that in a car 🙂
Or Physician’s Desk Reference along with Paintless Dent Removal
Probably the original timing belt broke off and damaged the engine and cost of repair was more than the car’s value.
Or likely the previous owner passed away and his heirs just weren’t interested in keeping an old car around, regardless of mileage.
I was ‘stung’ by this generation Accord sedan (a new ’85). It was a nice car until the front brake rotors warped at 10k miles and the dealership wouldn’t warranty them since it was a ‘wear’ item. To hell with buying and having brake rotors replaced every 10k miles.
I had the work done and promptly traded it off, and have never bought another Honda product since. And, from what I’ve read, Honda brake longevity, to this day, is still nothing to write home about.
Is this old enough to have the “non-removable” brake rotors?
I agree w/ JP, this car appears to be in great shape bodywise, too bad we don’t know what cirsumstances got it here. It’s simply amazing how GOOD a set of trim rings and a chrome cap and lug nuts could make a set of steelies look! Alas, today we get hideous, unimaginative plastic wheel covers!! 🙂
“The dealer tag on the back does say Empire Olds Denver,”
My folks bought a Civic from Empire right around this time- In the same color as well! Empire Oldsmobile-Honda was a traditional family owned business, located on Colfax Boulevard near Monaco Boulevard. They were very well respected at the time, and did NOT include an outrageous Honda markup (If they had, Dad would never have bought one).
Initially, the Honda store was located in a smaller building a block or two from the main Oldsmobile store, but over time the Honda business became their main focus. The Honda business was later sold and relocated to the south end of town- I believe it’s now Kuni Honda on Arapahoe.
These were terrific little cars and Honda’s ability to keep its products attractive in the market has been admirable. That first generation Civic was a warning shot ten years earlier, but Detroit was too busy Broughmancing profits out of denuded muscle cars. By this year, Honda was the brand to want in your driveway. Toyota was big, but its first cars were tinny, Datsun was big, but its first cars looked like space aliens, but Honda had a great image from 1972 on.
“We keep it simple” was the perfect marketing pitch for a brand known for small cars. The troubling times of the early 1980s seemed insurmountable, so the idea of solving your new car problem of bloated Detroit iron with a simple solution was incredibly effective. Honda didn’t jam you into a narrow interior like earlier Japanese rides either. Their design was airy and horizontal. Every auto control at the perfect location. Honda copied what Detroit did well with their interiors, but then packaged that interior in an exterior without wasted styling elements.
Detroit was selling Rococo schmaltz, Datsun was selling Googie toy cars, but Honda made it simple with cars Mies van der Rohe would have driven.
A very good car.
Too bad it wasn’t American.
OK, I’ll bite…
Protected by W.A.S.P. (Wasp Activated Security Protection)
Sounds like an effective deterrent, but I hear they haven’t gotten the bugs worked out yet. 😉
Tearing off a rotted porch, I unknowingly stuck my hand right into a wasp nest. I was stung repeatedly with military precision. There’s a yelping sound that a dog makes when it gets stung. We make that sound too.
I’ve had this pic for years, never had a reason to post it before.
Bees are cool and appreciated, I even petted a bumblebee on it’s thorax once while it was especially interested in some clover. I loathe wasps, hornets and yellowjackets with a passion. Been stung more times than I can count. I once ran over a jacketnest with my lawnmower and they started boiling out. I ran like mad and didn’t get stung. They swarmed and buzzed around my mower as it sat there still running til it ran dry. I gave the nest a viking funeral that night with a little fuel, some used oil and a match.
I had a similar incident with a lawnmower back in the 1970s, ran over a ground yellow jacket nest in the back yard. They took up residence sometime in the middle of summer in the back yard, but didn’t seem to bother mom’s dogs. I’m allergic to jacket venom (go into anaphylactic shock) so as soon they were buzzing my face I was running back into the house. I remember I had at least one stuck on my jeans trying to fly away (the stinger is barbed if I recall, so it got hung). I went back out in some extra clothes, winter jacket, oven mitts and a paper mache mask over my head I made years ago to turn off the mover (they didn’t have dead man bars back then) and quickly figure where the nest was. I used binoculars later to confirm the location, and that night I took a movie lamp on an extension cord to find the entrance (still remember seeing a sentry jacket there) and stuck the nozzle of a gas can in with at least 1/2 gallon of regular unleaded. I made the mistake of telling mom what I wanted to do, so wasn’t allowed to light it up. Next morning there was a square yard of dead grass, and no more jackets. If they didn’t drown they were asphyxiated from the fumes. I finished the lawn later that day.
IIIRC the hatchbacks were still built in Japan for some time after the sedans moved to the US.
I had a ’86 as a winter beater, over 300,000 km on it and still running fine. Bought if for $200, put a can of something through it to seal the rings and stop the smoke, ran it for another 20K until the rear bumper fell off due to the rusties and I found something nicer.
This just seems like such an utter waste.
Hmmmm. All I remember about the them was how quickly the rust set in on them here in Minnesota and carburetor issues. It did succeed in getting Honda into the “larger car” market though.
I had an ’83 hatch, in the same light blue as the ad above. Can confirm they were built in Hiroshima, because it was too new to ship to Japan when I was stationed there in the early 90s. It couldn’t go home.
Nice find, well explained, and a nice car as well.
And a very red interior!
Well done, enjoyed reading this article and looking at the photos. Walk down memory lane for a kid who grew up in the 80’s. Learned to drive stick on an 85 Prelude – still one of my favorite cars to this day. So beautifully simple inside and out, and so fun to drive.
For a junked car, it looks remarkably good!
I thought these had, bigger more powerful motors than the original Accord, which addressed what was probably the biggest complaint about the original–such a great car could use a little more power.
Not that this was a speed demon..
Those old Hondas are prized here and very rare especially in that condition, it wouldnt have landed in a wrecking yard yet in NZ, young guys think these cars are wonderful, they were quite good but rusted like mad right from new like the 83 Civic I owned we missed out on the plumbers nightmare emission system having just a normal carb to deal with, Hard wearing interiors are a Japanese hallmark and often out last the rest of the car, Ive owned several Japanese makes that according to the odometer were on their return trip from the moon but the interiors were still in nice order, nice find.
Reminds me of the old bench seat you used to see out on the front veranda!
The radio blanking plate I find interesting. I remember a vintage Car & Driver review of the first generation Accord posted here to CC several months ago that raved about how the radio was standard equipment. Did Honda reverse that decision with the second generation? Or was the radio “standard” as in included in the base price, but with a “delete” option for the real cheapskates?
And regarding people paying above sticker price, I had always understood that the “voluntary” import quotas the Japanese car makers agreed to in the 1980s had a lot to do with that. Scarcity driving up the price and all that.
I bought a Civic in the ’80’s. At that time AC and the radio were dealer options. That way you could choose your radio at the dealer. The dealer would install the radio and AC.
Yeah, I distinctly recall a display in the ’80’s Honda showrooms with about four different options for radios you could choose to purchase and have them install.
A/C was standard in the LX trim. The radio was an option on all models. The speaker wiring was there, but no speakers or head unit. We had a JetSound with two pairs of 6″ speakers in ours. I inherited this car in high school but then in college wanted to get laid more so got a GTI. It worked.
And I forgot to mention, I was a little surprised to see that this car had a six digit odometer in 1982. Honda was obviously confident in the quality of their cars. Now I’m wondering what the first car was to use a six digit odometer. My dad’s old 1979 Corolla, from only three years before this car, still only had five digits (and it definitely could have used the sixth).
A friend of mine bought a new 1980 Accord LX…no radio….He bought a very nice Alpine AM/FM cassette
My 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco has a 6 digit odometer…Reads a bit over 104,000 miles now
Very sad to see. If I owned it, I may have reached out to some local Honda dealers to see if they were interested in having it as a nice way to accessorize a dealership, with this parked in a showroom corner.
I wanted one of these SO badly … all the goodness of the previous generations Accord with crisper styling. But the dealer experience went SO badly … not just markup but all kinds of crap on the paint and upholstery, and just outright rudeness from the salesperson and the sales manager, at the dealership in San Jose. So I set by expectations more firmly within my budget, and bought a Civic DX 5 speed hatch in December of ‘81 at a different dealership, for list price plus a Honda dealer-installed AM/FM/ cassette deck. They even gave me a loaner A/G Body Cutlass for a day while they installed the stereo. No A/C, same color in and out, as this junkyard gem (my Civic, not the Cutlass).
The comment kept disappearing so I’ve been trying a million times…getting very frustrated!
The emission control spaghetti is what motivated me into dumping my 1982 Buick Skylark for other car.
A small fuel leak from the carburettor caused brief fire in the engine bay. The spaghetti melted so I had to replace the vacuum tubes. It must be easy to do that: measuring the tubes twice, cutting them, plugging one end into the receptacles and so forth? Nope, the most esteemed Hayes repair manual omitted the diagram like in the photo above. I spent a several weeks looking for similar X-cars with same 2.8-litre V6 engines at several sales centres. I took several photos and made the diagram myself.
After successfully plugging th tubes in the correct receptacles and getting the car run, I discovered to my horror how thirsty the car became: about 6-10 mpg (city), necessiating fill-up every two-three days. We gave up figuring where the issue came from and put out “For Sale” sign.
A guy quickly bought it and disappeared. Three months later, I got a curious letter from US Customs, asking whether this Buick was in my possession or not. I found out that this guy used my former car for smuggling the migrants over US-Mexican border. I guess he didn’t go far with the car’s terrible fuel consumption…
I’ve seen worse looking Hondas from that era still on the road, this is a jewel in disguise, despite that vacuum diagram! It needs a rescue and rejuvination.
It was this car’s predecessor, a 1978 Accord LX, that made me think, “I have to have one of those!” Back story: a choir member where I was organist bought a brand-new 1978 Accord LX, and sold me his 1970 Torino Brougham. Now, that Torino was the nicest car I had ever had up to that point. It was not a piece of junk, and Joe had maintained it well. When I got to drive his Accord a bit, though, I understood the attraction. It was zippy, snappy, comfortable, solidly built, nicely trimmed, superbly finished. It was an organic whole such as I had never seen a Japanese car to be. In a few years, it was time for the Torino to go to someone who maybe could sort out some of its aging issues, and I got myself a used base model ’77 Accord. It wasn’t perfect (some oil burning issues surfaced), and at one point I had to put in a front axle assembly from a Prelude (unbeknownst to me, a CV boot had torn), but it sure was fun to drive.
A coworker who was 6’5″ tall with size 16.5 shoes, and really didn’t fit inside his Accord just loved it, at first. At 6’1″ back then (5’11 now), I didn’t fit all that well so I don’t know how he tolerated it at all. It looked just like the one in the pics above, same colors inside and out. As long as the warranty was in force, it had no issues, but at about the two year point, all those rubber vacuum lines began to rot and crack and the formerly smooth engine began to run pretty badly. The dealer charged a lot of money to replace all those hoses. It seemed to finally dawn on him that he was never really comfortable in it, and we played a game at work where we predicted what it would be replaced with. I guessed a full sized pickup and was right. One day, the Accord was gone, and a Chevy K10 pickup, maroon and white, replaced it. I kept in contact with his brother in law, who was a friend of mine and he kept that pickup for 15 years and his kid learned to drive in it. Today, he’s driving an F150. His wife had a Yukon last time I heard. I knew quite a few people who owned Accords from this period and I have to admit, I just don’t get the appeal of them at all, and still don’t.
I am really surprised that car is there in that condition. Maybe I could see that with an automatic, but a 5 speed??? I think Honda should have put “We make it simple” on the bottom of the vacuum hose diagram. 🙂