This is the 1999 Civic Si in Honda’s collection. The one that was sold looks just like it, but you’ll have to check out Bring A Trailer’s site to see what somebody just paid $24,000 for.
Photo: Andrew P. Collins

We’ve been talking about classic Hondas a lot lately and watching prices on the 1999 (and 2000) Honda Civic Si EM1 creep up steadily, but I think this might be the first to hit the MSRP of a brand new one. We poor folk better start looking at Camrys because old Civics want to go the way of air-cooled Porsches and become heartbreakingly expensive.

Make no mistake, this 12,000-mile 1999 EBP (Electron Blue Pearl) EM1 that Bring A Trailer just sold for $24,027 was a nice and cool car. Well, the engine bay’s a little dingy for that much money but having the original dealership paperwork is fun.

Speaking of fun, the car is fun to drive. As long as you can derive a lot of enjoyment from the intangible coolness of rarity and nostalgia. Yes, pre-electronic power steering feels beautifully weighted and the lack of sound deadening makes the EM1 Civic Si’s modest pace feel dramatic but as I discovered driving one of these and a brand new Civic Si coupe back-to-back: the new one is so obviously an objectively superior car that even a hardcore purist would have a hard time defending the old one as more thrilling.

But! Love for the past, and anything that can recapture what it felt like, is a hell of a drug. I know I’m hooked on it, that’s why I keep dumping time and money into a 40-year-old International Scout when a newer Jeep Wrangler would kick its butt in every way.

I guess what I’m saying is that there’s no wrong answer in the debate between “pure and slow” and “modern and fast” but if you go with the classic, just make sure you know what you’re paying for because more noise and vibration doesn’t always mean a more thrilling ride.

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That said, I’m pretty sure we’re heading for an era in which any pre-electronic power steering car with three pedals and a limited slip differential or rear-wheel drive will be collectible. So yeah–Start taking care of those fourth-generation Camaros and BMW E36s now.