Junkyard Classic: 1982 Honda Accord LX – I May Be The Only Person Who Ever Got Stung By An Accord

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.