15 Years Parked: 1989 Honda Accord Coupe

This 1989 Honda Accord is another survivor from the great state of Washington, where numerous vehicles otherwise extinct in other parts of the country seemingly survive without too many battle scars to show for it. In addition, it’s the rare and desirable combination of being a top-shelf LX-i coupe with the preferred manual transmission. Not a hugely valuable classic, but an emerging one. Find it here on craigslist for a minuscule $1,000 or best offer.

The Accord shows plenty of signs of wear, from the cosmetic coating that’s been stripped away around the window frames and the peeling paint on the hubcaps. The pinstripe, too, bears signs of a long-time stored outside. These are minor sins, really, especially for those of us who haven’t seen an Accord (or any Honda) of this generation on the road without copious amounts of rust tearing apart the wheel wells and fender areas where they meet the bumpers.

The interior is a bright spot, with its light-colored upholstery showing relatively modest signs of staining and other damage. The classic Honda cabin looks refreshingly airy given the era we live in with bulbous A-pillars and airbags hidden everywhere. The simple controls and likely-still-buttery shifter that made Hondas a benchmark make me long for the days of simple transportation and ample choices for cars that rewarded drivers in Honda’s lineup. The console looks particularly clean and damage-free.

Mileage is laughably low for a Honda of this era, and in classic Honda form, this thing started up with a fresh battery after not running for 15 years. I wish any of the heaps I’ve dragged out of a junkyard – many of which have been sitting for less than that – could say the same. Given the flat tires and tired cosmetics, it seems likely the Honda has been stored outdoors, but there’s still an awful lot of value here for the asking price, especially since it seems likely you could score it for less.


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  1. Miguel

    How is it an LX-i with no moonroof?

    Like 1
    • Mike H. Mike H.

      Moonroof was a rare option prior to the 4th Generation Accord. I’ve had a few of the 3rd Gen LX-i and none of them had a moonroof, though all of my 4th Gen cars (LX & EX) had one. Optional on the 4th Gen LX, standard on the 4th Gen EX.

      This car is a beauty and it has a lot of potential.

      Like 4
      • Miguel

        I started buying Accords in 1992. The EX had the moonroof, the LX did not and the DX had nothing, basically.

        I thought they had been doing that from before.

        Like 2
    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      I think it was standard on the limited edition SE-i, but not the other trim models.

      Like 5
      • autoscribe1974

        SE-i sedan, only. Any SE-i coupe with one had it dealer-installed.

        Like 1
    • Chris Dwy

      LX-i sedans had a moonroof, but no coupe or hatch came with a sunroof. Even the rare SE-i coupes were without a hole in the roof.

      Like 1
    • autoscribe1974

      The only standard-series Accord to get a factory-installed moonroof in the third generation was the LX-i sedan; the LX-i coupe and hatchback never got them. Same with SE-i (sedan only), as above. If I remember correctly, they thought the Accord coupe would cannibalize Prelude sales if it came with a factory-installed moonroof.

      Like 1
  2. Sam61

    I hate to say a great winter beater…how about daily driver? I remember shopping for an Accord sedan of this gen back in the day…all Accords at that time were $1200 above sticker and the dealers got it.

    Like 5
    • John B

      I’ve owned my ’89 lx-i for 15 years now, 233,000 miles and she is still running fine. Not much more than timing belts, fuel injectors and tune up items replaced. A bone-stock 5-speed car, it delivers almost 30mpg on most tanks. Keeper!

      Like 5
  3. SubGothius

    Huh, never knew this generation of Accord was even offered as a coupe, looks like it was only available for the final two model years, so must be somewhat rare.

    Like 2
  4. KevinR

    My family had 3 ’89 Accords, all bought new. An LXi sedan in light green, an LXi coupe in this color combination and a DX hatchback in red. The sedan was the only one with a moonroof.

    Like 2
  5. Speedo

    When my son turned 16 we went to the back lot of the local Honda dealer and found an ’88 Accord headed for the auto auctions. It was really owned by a little old lady who thought it would be too expensive to fix the AC. Initially he was quite upset with his “plain jane” first ride. He did find a set of Honda alloy rims to perk it up. When he graduated from high school we offered to help him get another car, one with air bags, etc. He absolutely refused, “No, it runs like a Swiss watch and gets 30 mpg!” We made the same offer four years later when he graduated from college. “No, it runs like a Swiss watch and gets 30 mpg”. At one point he was hit from behind by a women on her phone and the insurance totaled it, gave him more than he paid for it 8 years before. He cobbed on a used bumper cover and kept driving until the metal worms did it in, still running great at 200,000+ miles! Someone was still driving it two years after he sold it. Great cars!

    Like 12
    • John B

      Yours is a perfect story. As I said before, 200k plus on the engine with decent maintenance and the car will go on and on. I’ve had a number of proactive things done over the years on my ’89 from steering to brakes etc, and sometimes an off-ramp will provide evidence that this critter handles darn good! Most Escorts or Cavaliers are in the junkyard by now. Good car!

      Like 2
  6. sparkster

    Speedo, great story, incredibly smart son. he learned early in life that money in the bank is sometimes better than keeping up with the “jones”. But you didn’t finish your story ? What did he go out and buy after the Honda was totaled ? I bought my daughter a 2003 Corolla when she was 16, now approaching 23 and in college her Corolla has over 300,000 miles on it. She asked me the other day why her car never breaks down like all of her friends cars. FYI: she changes her own oil every 6000 miles. Castrol Syntec

    Like 2
    • SubGothius

      Sounds like he just kept driving it after the ins. co. totaled it out, took the money and ran with it until rust finally consumed it beyond viability.

  7. Eric

    Not even broken in yet.

    Like 1
  8. Speedo

    Thanks Sparkster, he really has turned out to be a frugal car owner!
    We kept the car after it was totaled and he kept driving it. He finally replaced it with a used 2008 Civic, “Runs like a Swiss watch, gets 30 mpg!” Funny story about the ’88. His first boss made him rent a car to pick up an important client as his car was not “respectable”.

    Like 2
  9. davew833

    The weak spot on these 3rd generation Accords is 5th gear, it tends to go out on these. Probably not a problem at this mileage, but buyer beware. It can be repaired without dropping the tranny.

    I still miss my ’89 SEi coupe I had a couple of years ago. The “Swiss watch” comparison is spot-on.

    Like 4
  10. carbuzzard Member

    This is a survivor and although a freshening would be good, and perhaps real Honda alloy wheels (keep the original steel wheels and hubcaps somewhere; take the crapola tires off so the wheels don’t take as much room), use it only as an occasional driver and a show where Japanese survivor cars are appreciated. These cars will only become rarer, and someday someone will really appreciate having an old Honda, just as first generation Civics are appreciated by those who appreciate automotive history.

    Like 2
  11. Bakyrdhero

    I remember going to the Honda dealer in 1988 with my aunt to pick up her brand new Accord LX sedan. At the time it was one of the nicest cars I had ridden In and I remember it feeling really high end. The flip up
    Lights still look cool today. I would daily drive this car. I love seeing lost classics like this on barn finds. I rarely see one of these in person in the northeast. The next two generations after this are Also rare to see around here.

    Like 3
  12. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. My brother and sister in law have one like this, except theirs is green with the same interior.

    Like 2
  13. Gary_S

    In 1988/1989 my lovely bride-to-be was an engineer at Honda in Marysville, OH and was working on a field problem (gasp, Honda had field problems?!?! – oops, yes). That problem required frequent measurements be taken on new car, so we set off on our banzai Christmas vacation road trip in an 89 Accord coupe fresh off the line. A couple of thousand miles later I remember being amazed to think that a week earlier this car was a big coil of steel waiting to be stamped into panels. Also learned on that trip that the secret Honda’s success was that, while doing absolutely nothing to excite, it also did nothing whatsoever to annoy.

    Like 1
  14. Moparman Member

    My ’89 LXi, no sunroof. First used car I ever bought w/ more than 100K. It had 149+ on it, now has well over 200+ on it. I did lose 5th gear and had to replace the transmission, but that was in 2001, LOL!! :-)

    For some reason, the site won’t let me post a picture?!

    Like 1
  15. Moparman Member

    Maybe it’ll post now???

    Like 1

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