Junkyard Classic: 1993 Honda Accord EX Wagon – American All-Star

During Honda’s fourth generation of Accord, they finally released a wagon version.  Built exclusively in Ohio and from there exported back to Japan as well as to Europe (along with the coupe), Honda built on the strengths of the Accord sedan and delivered a wagon that was simply superlative.  Today we get to see one that is supposedly too worn out due to an unknown reason to continue on its way and thus ended up here.

But that doesn’t mean it’s obviously a total piece of crap.  No, I defy you to definitively find the reason that it isn’t still on the road.  There simply isn’t anything that looks completely worn out even though this has 26 years and a lot of miles on it along with some commensurate wear.  Let’s dig a little deeper into this top of the line EX model.

The body itself isn’t anything particularly different than the sedan which was introduced a year before the wagon debuted as a 1991 model.  If you asked someone to draw a picture of an Accord sedan and then re-draw it as a wagon, they’d basically only have to take the one angled line that defined the rear window and trunklid and invert it to continue the roof and then drop down after a D-pillar.  Presented here in Cashmere Metallic, this color with a very pale gold hue to it was one of the more popular colors during the run, or at least it seemed that way to me as this generation Accord was all over the place upon my graduation from college in California during this model’s run.

There are a few little scuffs, a minor hint of rust (especially on the other front fender in the first picture where it is very slightly crumpled) and some sun-scorching of the paint on the hood.  But overall the body has held up well, the black rubber bits still look black and rubbery, the headlights which I believe where the first clear-lens plastic lights still look quite clear and if you saw this in your nearest shopping center you wouldn’t give it a second glance.

Here’s the first shot of the inside and it’s clearly hallowed ground as I can see the Jesus-rays streaming from the heavens above through the front window.  This interior still looks modern and fresh to me.  The color of the upholstery is a burgundy and the softness of the velour must be felt to be believed.  I generally try to avoid touching many of these cars but in this case I ran my hand over the material (just the bolster, I’m not insane!) and briefly thought that if it were socially acceptable I might want to drape myself in a swath of it, it’s just so rich and soft..

Note that there is no large center console between the seats but the driver’s seat does get a fold down armrest.  My old Audi of the same era had one too, I didn’t really think about that these don’t really exist as often anymore in regular cars, most everything has the shared console bin lid now.

The driver’s door panel exhibits the most minor hints of wear.  Lots more soft velour, some soft touch plastics, a window and mirror control panel that falls right to hand; by the 1990’s most manufacturers (but not all) had figured out basic ergonomics and further progress in that regard was increasingly more minute than before and sometimes backwards.

Someone took the radio, but this (to me) just looks so much better than what was available in the domestic competition of the time.  Many of them have caught up by now but this aesthetically was top-notch at the time.  A colored dashboard with matte black insert section, HVAC controls that fall right to hand with a couple of large knobs and a few self-explanatory buttons and a low cowl.  The buttons and knobs had JUST the right amount of feel and resistance and the materials all matched and complemented each other superbly.

This generation was the first Accord to get a driver’s side airbag starting in 1992 for the sedans and coupes but the wagon got it from the beginning in 1991, replacing the dual motorized belts – once the driver got an airbag the passenger continued with a normal belt again until the next generation.

The shiftknob is somewhat worn, but no doubt the shift quality in the 5-speed remained as buttery as ever until the end.  Really, as nice as the 4-speed automatic equipped ones are as well, the manual is really what separated this wagon (and the Accord in general) from everything else in the class, it wasn’t just a hauler, it was a driver’s hauler.  Being a manual it’s doubtful this is what caused the final problem, at least mechanically speaking.

Lest I forget, here’s the back seat area.  Plush is the word.  To today’s eyes, this perhaps looks a little snug, but remember that this Accord isn’t larger than today’s Civic.  But compared to a current Civic based CR-V it’s no surprise why CUV’s are so popular now, more legrom than this and more headroom to boot.

Honda’s instrument panels have generally been paragons of clarity and this one is no exception, everything is presented in a clear, easy to read font and layout with all of the most important information readily and clearly available.  The angle of the shot isn’t great but we can finally tell that this car travelled a total of 246,896 miles, so a little under 10,000 per year overall.

Here’s the heart of our little friend, a 2.2l inline four.  Honda didn’t go to a six until well into the next generation and really only to counter or win over some people that refused to consider a four, no matter how good that four really was.  And this one was a gem.  Super smooth, happy to rev or just loaf along, by 1993 in the EX trim level in the wagon this was producing 140hp and returning between 22 and 28 city/highway using the scale of the day.

The story this car is telling is that it was maintained and done so at a conscientious shop, I can’t recall the last time I saw a sticker under a hood detailing when a timing belt was replaced.  In this case it was about three years and 25,000 miles ago so it does show that the car was used fairly regularly during its lifetime and likely fully expected to come back at just over 300k miles for the next belt.  Judging by the sticker, the tech had it correct, the interval on this Honda would have been every 90,000 miles, but it looks like that was stretched to a bit longer than recommended at either this change or the prior one.

This is as American as anything on our roads and probably more than most.  Nobody needs reminding that Accords have been built here for close to forty (!) years now.

A kittle more rust around the rear arch, a typical trouble spot.  And someone took the power antenna.  ABS also became standard on this generation Accord (but only the EX trim) for the 1992 model year.

The cargo area is roomy and designed with a low liftover height, in fact it goes out of its way to be as low as possible with the cut down into the bumper itself.  Upholstered side panels and storage space below along with a standard retractable cargo cover helps to make it obvious as to why this was a popular car that brought dealers top dollar.

So what brought you here in the end, little wagon?  The car looks like it’s trying to express itself but can’t find the words.  It could always be emissions related, I suppose.  Or perhaps the usual guess that nobody wanted an old car with a manual transmission anymore.  Either way it’s a shame, as it looks to have plenty of life left besides some minor cosmetics.

Related Reading:

Paul found a more basic 1991 Wagon version for sale in Eugene

Brendan discusses a 1992 EX Sedan in the same color

Perry ponders the early years of this generation of Accord