Let’s be honest, with its wonderful root beer-hued paint and boxy build, today’s Nice Price or No Dice Element looks a lot like a cute little UPS van. We’ll take a closer look and see what this brown can do for us.
Volkswagen is one of the world’s biggest automotive producers, with manufacturing plants in almost every corner of the globe and enough brands and models to keep even a polydactyl cat busy in their counting. That size and scope was perhaps the reason why many of you dismissed yesterday’s 1977 VW Hormiga, despite it being one of the puniest and rarest rides that Volkswagen has ever made. At $19,900, few of you were having anything to do with that rarity and chose to give the truck a 77 percent No Dice loss, something that’s all too familiar these days.
Hey, let’s pick on another car maker and consider the fact that Honda really hasn’t been letting its freak flag fly of late. What’s up with that? Consider its lineup here in the States. There’s the Civic line, which is fine, the Accord, which is fine, the Clarity and Insight which are both fine hybrids, and then four sizes of crossover wagon that are all… well, fine.
The only really whimsy to be found in the Japanese carmaker’s entire lineup is in the Ridgeline, a pickup with a sassy attitude and lots of fun hidden cubbies. It wasn’t always like this. At one time, Honda was making cars and trucks that weren’t just fine, they were also funky.
Today’s 2007 Honda Element SC is a fine example of that former funkiness. And not only that, but it’s a rare (there’s that word again) edition with a manual transmission and three pedals for the feet. That should make it not just funky, but also sort of fun to drive.
Honda based the Element on the same Civic-derived platform as the CR-V but gave the car its own distinctive style. In fact, with its boxy shape, suicide rear doors, and plastic fenders front and rear, the Element stood out boldly from all of Honda’s contemporary offerings. In regards to that last styling element on the Element, this wasn’t Honda’s first dalliance with plastic fenders. The tiny CRX had plastic front fenders all the way back in the Eighties. Only, in that case, Honda made them match the color of the rest of the car so you’d never know they were molded rather than stamped. In the case of the Element, Honda celebrated the fender’s composite composition by leaving them unabashedly unpainted on the early cars.
Later models such as this offered painted fenders, but they’re still the same dent-resistant plastic. Beginning in 2009, however, the Element’s fenders were redesigned and switched to steel, thus eliminating one of the car’s funkiest features.
This one has the plastic fenders, the suicide doors, and, being an SC edition, a few extra goodies. These include a slightly lowered suspension, projector headlamps, and a “Tribal Pattern” for the interior upholstery. Along with all that, this Element also has 208,000 miles on the clock.
Yes, that’s a big number when it comes to miles driven, but according to the seller, it’s none the worse for wear because of them, claiming:
Just had service done . . Oil change, new 02 sensors . . No leaks . . Just got smogged . . Its never been in any accidents and never modified . . Just got some new tires a couple months ago . . This is a rare model and combination . . Clutch grabs great and shifts thru gears with no issues . .
Oddly enough regarding that last bit, the ad also notes that a new clutch is right now going into the car.
Aesthetically, this funky little Honda seems to be in decent shape with just a few dings and warts noticeable in the pics. The interior looks a bit tired, and honestly, the seller could have scrubbed out the load area a bit better before taking the pictures since it looks like birds have spent the day shitting back there. That’s a fairly easy fix and could be negotiated prior to the sale if need be. The title, on the other hand, is clean.
As I noted at the outset, Honda doesn’t really make whimsical cars such as this anymore. In fact, it hasn’t for years. That has left a vacuum in the lineup as well as in the hearts of those who love for themselves a funky Honda fix. Because nature and dogs abhor a vacuum, the result has been a steady climb in Element prices over the past few years. This one asks $6,950 and it’s one of the best-kitted around, lacking only the AWD which, to be fair, wasn’t offered on the SC. Still, we have to decide if that’s a reasonable price or not.
What do you say, is $6,950 a fair price for this funky brown wagon? Or, for it to be a deal, would that price need to be more elemental?
H/T to Don R. for the hookup!
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