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Not Done with Honda Yet!

Recently, a Danish acquaintance with whom I share our passion for classic cars, commented on how pleased he was with no longer having to put up with being constantly flooded with appraisal for the Honda Civic. Only, I can’t possibly guarantee that this will last.

Despite having sold my Rover SD1, he seemed quite pleased that my garage now includes a Jaguar XJ12 and not least my Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC (I happen to know that he is especially fond of German classics himself). He remarked:

“It’s a pleasure that you’ve moved upmarket, so that we no longer have to endure attempts of being persuaded of the qualities of Daihatsu Charades, Honda Civics and – even worse – series 2 FIAT Ritmos.”

And truth be told, I too am quite pleased with the current content of my garage. I’ve been driving the XJ12 a fair bit this spring, and it never fails to please. In the meantime, I’ve also committed to spending both time and not least money on hopefully finally getting my SLC to start and drive right. I originally purchased the car as a – more or less – drivable project, and there have been a few challenges along the way. But it’s just such a fabulous car and despite those small hiccups, I’m still very much in love with this sleek and stylish German coupé.

I am still thrilled with my SLC ownership, which I almost feel like I’ve been waiting for ever since its introduction in 1971.

But with our International Editor’s recent report from the Classic Car Spectacular at Tatton Park in the north of England, I was both inspired and drawn into deep considerations about my future garage when I read about those two beautifully presented first generation Honda Preludes. Even more so, when I read about both owners also owning first generation Civics too. The thing is, whether it’s an early Civic, Prelude or even a first generation Accord, I simply have a profound weakness for Hondas. Thus far, I have owned four of them – three Civics from various generations and not least a first generation Honda Legend Coupé, which even the most sceptically minded will surely have to admit is something rather special.

I have – thus far – never owned a first generation Civic.

From an engineering perspective, I feel there are many Honda’s which are quite special. As an added bonus, Honda always managed to build quality into the products too, so a Honda isn’t just some exaggerated high-tech showcase, but in fact a real and proper car which does what it says on the packaging and even does it well. Amazingly, this even applies when it’s just one of their economy family cars.

And for me, that’s the attraction which keeps me coming back for more. Whether it’s the NSX, which is still one of the most accomplished cars I have even had the privilege of driving. Or a third generation Civic 1.5i GT which I haven’t owned yet, but really want to. Or the third generation Civic which I have owned – namely the chiselled CRX 1.6-16 from 1986. Yes, I actually really regret selling that one…

This is another Civic which I would love to find in unmolested condition: a third generation in the sporting GT-version.

OK, so the Honda I dream most of owning (besides the NSX) is perhaps not surprisingly the charming little S800. I imagine it would even win the hearts of most of our readers and quickly attain approval in any ViaRETRO garage. However, they’ve become quite sought after and now cost as much – if not more – than an Alpine Renault A310. This time around, I elected to opt for one of those instead.

The properly classic and iconic Honda, which is of course the one I would want the very most. However, faced with this hypothetical choice, I’m struggling to determine whether it should be the coupé or the roadster.

But until there is financial space for a S800 as well, it’s not unlikely that another Civic will find its way into my garage. It could be the second generation CRX, which is a shapely and very compact coupé which I’ve always found much more interesting than the many GTi’s of the same era. While prices have certainly moved up in recent years, the CRX can still be found for very reasonable money, it’s an excellent and involving drive, pretty fast too, and as an added bonus it even manages to be reasonably frugal on fuel as well.

Don’t be too surprised if you find yourself reading about the ViaRETRO CRX in the not too distant future. It could happen. But which reactions would I get? Surely I can’t be the only one to value Hondas exceptional engineering skills and their approach to building cars?

I’ve never seen a yellow CRX in the flesh, but I would sorely like to own one.


6 Responses

  1. yrhmblhst

    “Surely I can’t be the only one to value Hondas”

    Surely you can be…

  2. Tony Wawryk

    I’m not as anti-Honda – or indeed Japanese classics in general – as our friend @yrhmblhst; for example, I can see the appeal of an S600 or S800, and I wouldn’t reject a Celica 1600ST (although I have a long list of classics I’d actually buy ahead of one), but I have to say that in general I find Japanese cars pretty soulless, and the CRX does very little for me, even though I’m sure it’s perfectly competent.

  3. Anders Bilidt

    Well, I fall in a very different camp from that of @yrhmblhst and @tony-wawryk, so I’m with you 100% on this one Claus. For starters, there are so many fabulous classics from the Land of the Rising Sun which I would love to try owning at some point – Isuzus, Toyotas, Datsuns, you name it… But furthermore, I was basically brought up on BMWs and Hondas, so I especially hold Honda in very high regard. My father had several during my childhood, among others a gold metallic first generation Civic Hondamatic for my mother to drive. However, I especially recall a top-of-the-range first generation Accord EX-L with the new CVCC engine. What a car that was! Looked excellent in dark green and on factory alloys. Inside was even better though as everything was colour-coded in dark green: velour seats, carpets, dashboard and even dark green seat belts. It was super cool…

  4. Anders Bilidt

    Yet, I must confess that I have thus far only owned one Honda myself: a third generation ’87 Honda Civic 1.5i GT. Though this is going back some time to the mid-nineties, so it was well before it became a youngtimer. Was an excellent little car though. Light and agile with a gem of an engine!
    Since that I’ve come close to buying a first generation Civic on a couple of occasions and I even bid on a S800 Coupé on German eBay some years back. But even so, owning a classic Honda has so far eluded me. I really must set that right at some point…

  5. Dave Leadbetter

    I’ve spent a few days with a first generation CRX, so you’ll get no complaints from me should you take the plunge…


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