INQUIRE ABOUT THIS VEHICLE
Mileage: 72,000 Miles
Engine: A20A1 2.0-Liter Engine
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission
Exterior color: Blade Silver Metallic (NH-96M)
Interior: Grey Cloth Interior
Original Honda Stereo
Lots of Recent Maintenance
At Glen Shelly Auto Brokers we are Old School Honda fanatics. When we saw this 1986 Honda Accord Hatchback with only 72,000 miles we had to have it. It is a California car that is completely rust-free. The first record on the Carfax shows an emissions test in July of 1990 with 28,950 miles in Palmdale, CA. In July of 1999 it moved to Santa Monica, where it consistently accumulated a fraction of the miles that most cars do. From 2012 on it lived at Honda of Santa Monica as a showroom novelty, even making an appearance on Bring a Trailer last year. In December, we purchased it and brought it to Colorado. Once it was here we set to work bringing it up to our standards. To get it into top notch condition we fixed more than a few vacuum leaks, ensured the altitude compensator on the carburetor was working correctly, replaced the clutch, clutch cable, timing belt, accessory belts, spark plugs and wires, distributor cab and rotor, oxygen sensor, and muffler. Then we went about replacing a period incorrect rear Honda Accord badge. Inside, a missing driver’s seat recline plastic handle finished the job. I have a set of OEM louvers on my radar that would complete the exterior.
Driving this car is stepping back into time. As the rest of the world lumbers along in modern, bloated infotainment-centric appliances that are festooned with safety nannies and riddled with stylish blind spots, the third generation (known as the 3geez) Honda Accord rewards its driver with an honest, lightweight, and visceral driving experience. Don’t get me wrong, modern cars are very good—perhaps too good, they just aren’t very fun. Rowing through the gears of this three-door hatchback (a rare form on today’s cross-over dominated roads) is infinitely more fun and I would argue better. Its peppy, toss-able, high-strung nature rewards its driver with smiles while delivering good fuel economy, drivability, and reliability not found in many classics.
The boxy lines and flip up headlights are quintessentially 1980’s. The front black bumper is crowned by graphite colored trim that blends into side marker lights. At front and center is the original blue plate California license tag. Thin window pillars frame a greenhouse with excellent visibility—visibility so good that Honda deemed only the driver’s side rearview mirror was necessary. The sloping rear hatch ends in a slightly upturned lip above concentric square JDM-style taillights. That hatch results in a drag coefficient (Cd) of only .31. Inside the angular theme continues with a deeply raked dashboard, downward angled steering wheel spokes, and a trapezoidal instrument cluster housing three analog gauges. Large satisfying-to-push buttons (my favorite one raises and lowers the headlights) are nestled above old school temperature sliders and the original analog AM / FM stereo. The clock is the only digital accessory onboard, a desirable option in its day.
Fire the A20A1 2.0-liter engine (with just a slight amount of gas) and it settles into an eager idle. After the automatic choke disengages the revs drop slightly, but the eagerness does not. There is something wonderful about a carbureted engine. Its like rich 35 mm Kodachrome film compared to the harsh accuracy of a digital camera. You learn to accept its slight abnormalities as part of the driving experience. I was tempted to replace the Keihin carburetor with a double barrel Weber, but that would go against the bone stock condition of this time capsule. On the road the Accord revs freely through its power band. I wouldn’t say it’s fast, but it’s not slow either. The shifter is tight and the clutch is telepathically mechanical. Throw it into a few turns and the narrow tires squeal under copious body roll, but it is light and there is no replacement for lightness—just ask Colin Chapman. The more you drive this car, the more you fall in love with it. It is from the era that defined Honda as the maker of small, fun, and reliable cars—an era I wish Honda had not strayed from.
We treated the Accord to a full service when we got it. To get it running correctly we trouble shot various vacuum leaks, replaced the oxygen sensor, and ensured the altitude compensator on the carburetor was working correctly. Then we gave it a full tune up by replacing the clutch, clutch cable, timing belt, accessory belts, spark plugs and wires, distributor cab and rotor, and flushing the coolant system. The oil had recently been changed before we got it. The last order of business was replacing the muffler. The idle is slightly higher than I would like, but it seems to run best there so I left it alone. The clutch, shifter, and brakes are spot on. There are no fluid or exhaust leaks. There are no driveline or wheel bearing vibrations. The suspension is compliant and quiet. The Goodyear Regatta Touring tires likely date back to the Clinton Administration (I believe the DOT date was the year 2000), but they are crack free, have descent tread, and grip well when pushed. This is a turn-key car that needs nothing, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive it across country.
Blade Silver Metallic is an excellent color; it is a modern hue and always looks clean, even when dirty. The condition of the paint and clear coat is exceptional. It’s too nice to be original. I would guess it was repainted when it was at Honda of Santa Monica, but I can’t be certain. It was a high quality paint job with minimal orange peel and overspray. There is absolutely no rust anywhere. The trim and black-work are in excellent condition, along with the windshield, side glass, and rear window. The flip up headlights work on command with either the headlight stalk or dashboard switch. The indicator and tail light lenses are clear and free of cracks. We replaced an incorrect rear Accord badge with a period correct Accord DX badge. Factory DX hubcaps are present and in great shape. There are small imperfections here and there, but I could find nothing glaring. Overall the exterior of this Accord is exceptional.
The story continues on the inside, it’s like setting foot back in time. The dashboard has no cracks or discoloration. All interior lighting, switches, and functions work, even the air conditioning. It has not been converted to R134, but I topped it off with R12 from my secret stash. The steering wheel and leather shifter and shift boot are factory fresh. The carpets have no stains or tears, although driver’s side floor rubber pad is missing. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The grey cloth seats are in great shape, except for an area of wear on the outside driver’s side bolster. The rear hatch shocks were soft so we replaced them. The driver’s seat recline handle was also missing, but we were able to source a missing one. Other than the driver’s seat bolster wear the only interior flaw is a missing rear hatch cover (I’ve been searching for one). Two sets of keys and the original owner’s manual are present.
We would like to find an owner who will appreciate and enjoy this Old School Honda for what it is: a rare pristine example of what made Honda great. It took a lot of buy this car and more to make it correct. We have thoroughly enjoyed having it and just want to cover our expenses and time, we have priced it accordingly. If you looking for a cheaper beater, you are wasting your time here—this accord deserves better than that.