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V.I.S.I.T. – First Generation Honda Accord LX

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Not quite what you picture when someone says Honda Accord, is it? Don’t worry, this isn’t what I picture either, and I don’t even know what the modern Accord looks like anymore now that I think about it. Before the Accord became the Accord that we all know and love (uhh, right?), the Honda Accord looked like this. And it looked great, I have to admit. This first-gen Accord LX hails from a time when Japanese cars were built in Japan, and from a time when V8s were belching out facepalmingly embarrassing horsepower figures.

Made between 1976 and 1981, the Sayama-built Accord hatchbacks and sedans were offered with 1.6 and 1.8 engines, and rode on a stretched Civic platform. The LX trim offered a few more creature comforts than the base model, specifically in the form of A/C and power steering as standard equipment. By all accounts of the time this was quite a nimble, popular car, though the tin worm seems to have claimed most of these on both coasts.

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Rust was definitely an issue with Civics and Accords from this time, so it’s quite unusual to find a Honda from the late 70s in the Northeast, and not in, say, Alameda. Given this car’s condition, and this being Connecticut, I wouldn’t rule out a lengthy storage period followed by a recommissioning sometime within the last decade. By the way, wouldn’t you have loved to own stock in the company that manufactured those DOT side markers?

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Well kept US-market classic Japanese cars are starting to appear at the more serious auctions, but values are still pretty hard to pin down. For instance, in 2011 I observed an impressive 1979 Honda CVCC Wagon with just over 100K on the clock as it went across the block at Bonhams Fairfield County Concours that was estimated to bring between $15-20K. As I recall Rupert Banner passed over this lot when no bids from the room or the phones were forthcoming, but the estimate was quite well founded in many peoples’ judgments, even given the car’s mileage. Perhaps this was just the wrong venue, on the wrong coast, as something like this has to be in front of the right crowd.

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Sometimes their hammer prices surprise, and sometimes they disappoint, but there is no denying that Japanese classics are gaining greater and greater recognition in the US collector community.

Which North American-market Japanese cars from the 1970s do you think will start emerging as classics?

Currently there are "20 comments" on this Article:

  1. MVEilenstein says:

    "I don’t even know what the modern Accord looks like anymore"

    Fat, wide, soft, shapeless, slow.

    Like most American sedans now.

  2. MVEilenstein says:

    My neighbor had one of these for a long time when I was kid. It was gold/green. He used to pull it behind his RV when they traveled.

    • Devin says:

      I'm going to be so bold as to say 2000 was the last good looking one on that chart.

      • danleym says:

        They stopped looking good long before that, imho. Like, the 82 model.

        • Devin says:

          1986 has pop up headlights, you are mistaken.

          Apart from your ignoring the best of the Accords, I actually find the '90s Accords have a certain plain but handsome thing going on. Not going to tighten the trousers, but they look good. Then in 2003 the features get all weird and in 2008 it turns into a mess.

          • IlkkaH87 says:

            I agree with you. The 1990 one in the picture is the best looking in my opinion. It has a clean cut look that the others can't beat. Simple, no bs style.

            • jeepjunkie says:

              I agree…one of the best cars I have ever owned was a 1990 EX Sedan….had that car until 2010…sold it in 2010 for over $5000….nothing wrong with it, just got tired of seeing the same car in the driveway every day….in 94 the body style went crappy…today it looks like either a Fusion or a 5 Series…or a cop out for middle aged America…..

      • S Walton says:

        Almost agree–I think 2003.

    • mikltaz says:

      And all of these are to the same scale

    • BobWellington says:

      At least the 2013 looks better than the 2012.

  3. Slow_Joe_Crow says:

    I immediately recognize the OG Accord since my parents had a 77 in Gold with the accessory nerf bars. I learned to drive stick on that car so I have fond memories of it, although it rusted badly.
    As far as cars likely to become classics, I lean towards cars that were some combination of significant and good. The Datsun 510 for sure, the Calty designed 2nd generation Celica, the Civic and the Accord are all worthy. I think the Datsun F10 might develop a cult following for its sheer wackiness, and any rotary Mazda for performance and technical interest. Other than that, Z cars are already classics, Subarus are significant, and maybe the Plymouth Arrow for its rally history.

  4. joedunlap says:

    Ah yes, the famous 1sat gen Accord. Came with a bonus factory installed blown head gasket. Kept my kids in baby shoes for a few years. Fond memories…….:-)

  5. Alcology says:

    Really nice color!

  6. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat says:

    A good friend of mine's father inexplicably had one of these for a few months in the mid-80's.

    To say it was the polar opposite of the '73 Mark IV said friend DD'd at the time, is a bit of an understatement.

    I believe the automagic trans in these was also a two-speed, low & high. I do remember it didn't feel 'right'.

  7. dukeisduke says:

    I was in high school when the Accord first came out, and I can remember people paying $5000 for $3500 Accords, and a friend whose dad gave money "under the table" to get on a waiting list to buy one.

  8. MP69 says:

    My father had a "second generation" 1982 Accord he bought new. This was when Japanese cars were first starting to be styled decent rather than look like cheap tin cans. The 82 Accord turned the tides for Honda with extreme mechanical reliability that they didn't have in their earlier cars. It was still sort of a rust bucket though, with many fender perforations after only 5 years of use.

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