At $14,500, Will This Pop-Top 2008 Honda Element Have You Flipping Your Lid?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Element comes with two things you don’t see on this model everyday—a five-speed stick and a pop-top sleeper. Will those funky features overcome its high miles, and perhaps even its price?

Back in the 1950s the all-electric house was claimed to be the future brought to the present. Offering electric cooking, electric heating, and even, in some cases an electric barbecue grille, these “Medallion Homes” were promoted by General Electric and Westinghouse as a way to sell their electric appliances.

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Unfortunately, that all-electric future proved an expensive one in which to live, and today most new homes feature a mix of utilities as a result. Time has yet to weigh in on whether a similar fate will befall our electric car future. For now however, electric cars are touted for offering lower operating costs than their traditional gasoline powered competitors.

That perhaps wasn’t enough to sway enough of you toward yesterday’s all-electric 2011 Think City. That small car had an equally small range, but considering its intended purpose, that shouldn’t have been a deal killer. The $5,495 price was however, and the car fell in a narrow 53 percent Crack Pipe loss.

That electric Think may have been named the City since that’s where it would shine, but what if what you really wanted was to get away from the urban sprawl and commune with nature? How would you make that happen?

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Well, one way might you might do so is with this 2008 Honda Element with an Ursa Minor ECamper pop-top sleeper. You’ve probably never seen one of these before, but the second story addition is pretty cool, and it doesn’t muck up the Honda all that much underneath it. According to its creator, the impetus for the design was an emulation of the traditional Volkswagen Westfalia, only in Honda Element form.

The pop-top features a fiberglass topper that clamps to a base on the roof and raises on hinges to provide enough room for two to sleep. Passthrough from the Element’s cabin is made possible by the existing factory sunroof opening above the load area. The bed is seven feet long and four feet wide, and with the top raised you get about six feet of ceiling height in the back so standing is not out of the question.

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With the ECamper closed, the Element is only six inches taller than stock. As most women will tell you, six inches isn’t even all that noticeable.

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That camping cap might be this Element’s most notable feature, but it has another one that you might appreciate almost as much. That’s the factory five speed stick that’s mated to the car’s 166 horsepower 2.4-litre four. A rare site in the Element, that manual transmission sends power to all four wheels via Honda’s Real-Time AWD.

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On the downside, the car does sport a ton of miles—209,000 to be exact. That being said, the seller claims those are mostly highway and that the car has been maintained with care its entire life.

In fact the only reason he’s putting the Element on the market is because he’s moving to Canada and he says that country doesn’t allow the import of “modified” cars.

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The next owner will have to keep it here and will be the Element’s fourth. Service records from all three prior owners will come with the car, and the ad claims it to be in excellent condition.

We might take issue with that as there are a couple of notable flaws obvious in the pics. Most notably, there’s a ding on the left-side back door, and paint is chipping on the front clip. The seller admits that a crack in the windshield will eventually demand its replacement too.

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Inside, things looks better. This is an EX so it’s fairly well kitted. Plus who doesn’t love the dude stacking in the background of the seat shot above?

The backseats in any Element are bad news when it comes to their use. They are uncomfortable when down and take up a lot of side space when folded up. Fortunately they can be removed entirely should you need to.

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The ECamper portion of the car seems to be in excellent shape, with no tears in the screen or any breaks in the cap. Ahead of the hole to gain access, there appears to be a ceiling-mounted TV screen so you can watch DVDs or something before turning in.

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The asking price for this unique Element is $14,500 and yes that does sound like a lot. The thing is, the market for these weird little Hondas is fairly robust. Add to that the Ecamper pop-up and maybe it’s not so crazy a price after all.

Well, that’s just what we’re here to see. What’s your take on this high-mileage Element camper and that $14,500 price? Does that make you think about getting away from it all? Or, does it make you just want to get away from this Honda?

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You decide!

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Sacramento, CA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Stu for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.