Why I Bought A Weird Honda Very Few Americans Have Actually Ever Seen

Illustration for article titled Why I Bought A Weird Honda Very Few Americans Have Actually Ever Seen

Recently, I was presented with the opportunity to acquire a car that I had never seen before. Granted, many enthusiasts buy cars sight unseen, but what I mean here is I had literally never seen a single one in my entire life. I had no choice to go check one out first because there’s most likely a single-digit number in the U.S., and the closest one I was aware of was the one I was about to go buy, leaving me with few options other than to just go pick it up.

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Illustration for article titled Why I Bought A Weird Honda Very Few Americans Have Actually Ever Seen

This is a 1986 Honda Accord Aerodeck 2.0Si. It was a Europe/Asia/Australia only version (so basically, everyone but the US, of course) of the third generation Accord, and is functionally very similar to the ones sold in the US. It has a four speed automatic mated to a B20A motor (non-VTEC, completely unrelated to the B series VTEC motors in the later Integra). It does 0-60 in Yes, and the quarter mile at Good God Merging With A Short Ramp Just Became So Much Harder.

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Illustration for article titled Why I Bought A Weird Honda Very Few Americans Have Actually Ever Seen

Granted, these are not entirely unheard-of cars. Our own Max Finkel has covered the story on this model well before, and one has shown up in Nice Price or Crack Pipe eight years ago. The one in Nice Price or Crack Pipe hadn’t even gotten US plates yet, and a quick survey of the internet shows that there is currently only one for sale in America right now, from Duncan Imports. Still though, it’s hard to justify it as something altogether special. It’s a Honda Accord with an inconveniently located steering wheel. Anyone who ever tells you driving RHD is fun is either the biggest extrovert on Earth or simply has never once thought of passing in a dashed yellow.

As an introvert, being asked by every person at every gas station if my car is legal or British is a bit outside of my comfort zone (in order, yes it’s legal, no it’s from Okinawa, Japan), and I recently realized while trapped behind a semi going 20 under the limit on a two-lane country road that without a spotter riding shotgun, you simply cannot attempt to pass anyone.

This is the official car of the double solid yellow line.

Illustration for article titled Why I Bought A Weird Honda Very Few Americans Have Actually Ever Seen
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So yes, it’s not a slam dunk of a car for everyone. It helps for me, specifically, that this example has been modded to more or less my taste (I have done only a handful of fluid changes and such yet - I’ve only had it for two weeks, so you see it how I got it, minus some stickers). Work Equip 03 wheels with ridiculously deep lip, extremely rad-era custom stereo setup, high quality suspension set so low the rear tire tucks into the fender while traversing bumps on the highway, and a clean stock body is basically the shakotan way, and it’s what I would have ended up doing even if I’d started with a bone stock example to begin work with.

This is probably a complete turnoff to those of you who would rather prefer to see a mint condition example preserved as a time capsule, and honestly, I respect that. It would probably make more sense for a car this unique to be kept as a pristine, original car. The problem is that every time I’ve tried to own a car and not modify it, I realize that it no longer interests me, because the car does not reflect me. There is no personal representation in it, and I feel like a glorified custodian of a rolling history piece, instead of an owner changing their car in their image.

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Illustration for article titled Why I Bought A Weird Honda Very Few Americans Have Actually Ever Seen

But even more than the mods on this car (because I already have more planned, and it’s only been two weeks of ownership), this thing is basically perfect for me.I get to satisfy my nearly unquenchable thirst to own something stupidly weird, and I can actually afford to do so. I get to look out into my driveway and see a specific model that I will probably only ever witness in person because I own one, and yet I already have bought a parts car for a manual transmission swap for cheap, with no difficulty finding one.

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Working on the engine or suspension or transmission is the same as working on any other 80's Honda, which is to say: pretty easy. I already own a 1988 Honda Prelude 2.0Si, so I have spare parts sitting around that I can now use on either in a lot of cases, because they’re so similar under the surface. I get to enjoy the spoils of rarity without the excruciating struggles of keeping a rare drivetrain alive.

Illustration for article titled Why I Bought A Weird Honda Very Few Americans Have Actually Ever Seen
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The final thing that drove me to it, and that I admit I really enjoy, is that it’s not a flex. Ultimately, it’s an old Honda in pretty good shape, but it’s still just an Accord. The intent with a car like this can never really be anything but fun cruising around, listening to music, and rolling down the highway, and that’s all I wanted a vehicle for. To a select few who are really plugged into the weird car community, it is an exceptionally rare sight to see, and I will be happy to share it with anyone who knows about what it is! The majority will not, and that’s honestly fine with me.

slammed hondas are good. sometimes weekend writer for Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

I love the low, lean look of 80s Japanese cars. Compared to the bloated stuff we have nowadays I look at the short height of the engine bay and go, “How’d they fit an engine in there?”

Glad to see you’re giving it a little more enjoyment with the manual swap.

Looks like it’d be a perfect fit at Radwood.