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1985 Honda CRX Si: Here Today…


How much longer are classic pocket rockets like the GTI and the Honda CRX going to remain easily attainable for project car junkies? You can pick up decent versions of each, like this first-generation CRX here on eBay, for under $5,000 – but as supply dwindles further, that number is likely to go up. 


The early CRXs were light, simple driver’s cars. Equipped with a easy-to-grip 3-spoke steering wheel and cloth sort seats, the interiors were the essence of driver-centric purity. Today, that same interior would have a rear-view camera monitor jammed in the dash and about 3 times the number of buttons for HVAC controls, so early Japanese sports cars like these are a step back in time in the best way possible.


The humble inline-four may not seem exciting, but when you consider this little hatchback weighs under 2,000 lbs., you can see why modest power numbers have little bearing on such a light car. 108 bhp was more than enough for the CRX Si to claim the hearts of autocrossers everywhere, but the later models are still more desirable thanks to their independent suspension front and rear. This first-generation CRX makes do with a torsion bar front end.


This particular car is quite honest, and it’s an unmodified example of a hot hatch that is frequently hacked apart. Though it will likely need new paint in the future, the seller has tackled the timing belt and other basic tune-up tasks in the not-too-distant past. The period-correct American Racing wheels look great, but I’d need some OEM Mugen “Clutch” wheels to give it some added style while keeping it all in the family. For $3,988, I think you’ll have a hard time repeating this deal in the future. What do you think?


  1. chris

    Oh, I loved my ’86, but you will never stop the tinworm’s forward march on these things, particularly around the rear fender arches.

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  2. Eric

    What your not gonna compare this to the Prius??

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    • Jeff Staff

      Nah….the CRX was never intended that way, and there’s no hybrid out there that has anything resembling sporting intentions that you can buy for under $20K.

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  3. Jason Houston

    Sorry, I’ll let these just quietly dwindle. Ugly car. For $4 grand? There are a thousand better, more desirable choices. It’s what Bob McCullagh called “a big nothin’ car”.

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  4. RayT Member

    Neat little car. Great handling, good performance and attractive to boot! Doesn’t seem to need much, and the price is certainly right.

    Though it’s hardly necessary, I’d be tempted to play around with this a bit. Back in the late ’80s, I spent a few days in Germany with a Euro-market CRX that came from the factory with a slightly warmed-over Acura Integra twincam under the hood. That was a memorable car, excellent for the Autobahn, and I wouldn’t mind recreating it. The Honda rep told me it was a bolt-in job.

    Not that there would be any serious downside to keeping it stock….

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    • Jeff Staff

      I’ve always wanted to drive one of those. It’s a great car, but a small bump in power never hurt.

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  5. Jim

    These cars are proof of the old adage … “there is literally and ass for every seat.”

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  6. jim s

    great aftermarket support for hondas. yes it was/still is a good autocross car. need to do a PI on the rust then make a offer. nice fun little pocket rocket and find.

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  7. grant

    This is pretty much all the money for a stock, driver crx.

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  8. MiniGuy

    I like this one on eBay:

    Right-hand drive (RHD) Japanese-market CRX and factory VTEC…and a rear seat…


    But lose the coffee-can exhaust…

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  9. Mike S

    Just out of curiosity if you could have just one, would you take the Honda CRX or a Toyota FX16?

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    • Jeff Staff

      Fair question, Mike. I have never driven an FX16 but I do love the seats they came with! I actually dig the proportions of the Toyota more than the CRX….but I am guessing I would come away thinking the Honda is a better driver’s car, if for no other reason than you can’t touch their buttery shifter.

      I would still love to flog both around a course to find out which I liked better!

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    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      How about a Nissan Pulsar GTI-R instead? No uglier than FX16 and goes like stink.

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  10. 64 bonneville

    I had an 86 CRX Si for about 12 years. It is true about the rust on the back wheel arches, however much of the car is plastic. Notably both front fenders, and the “spats” or side molding, along with front nose piece and back bumper. If you are going to keep one any length of time, and not able to keep it garaged or covered if outside, learn how to use a plasma cutter, for repairs. the rear quarters are a double sheet of metal, so when the rust shows up on the wheel wells, it has already rotted out the inner wheel well. Here in the Tulsa area, most are rodding the 87-90 models with Accura fours of with some modification, the V-6 Accura engine. typically they are adding a turbo and in some cases, NOx to get them moving. The main problem with these first generation CRX Si is the fuel injection programming. It sits in a box under the passenger seat, and being somewhat primitive compared to what is available now, are not up to the vibration or interior heat generated in the summer when the car is closed up. On the bottom side there is a series of lights for diagnosing the FI, but just try to find a manual to read what they mean. Hence the engine swaps with the Accura. As far as a track car, at 1950 # wet, without driver, they are a hoot and holler to go around the curves using the stock suspension. cheapest way to beef up the front suspension is to go with a heavy duty strut, which supports the front wheels, and change over to disc brakes on the back axel. drive it to the track, have fun, drive it home and still get 30MPG.

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  11. John K

    Lots of unique bits on an ’85 Si. Lights and valence; lower panels; rear spoiler; interior bits; 140mph speedometer; “iron cross” wheels (these aftermarket ones just don’t work); and a few other bits. Check carefully for cracked front fenders and lower ABS body covers. Exterior ABS plastic bits are long out production and they become brittle when sitting outdoors for many years – – so don’t think a trip to the junkyard will solve it. It’s a fair price for one of these in this condition, provided the rust in the rear isn’t beyond the fenders. A good one with only 25K on the clock sold for more than $12K on ebay a few years ago. Others in better condition in the 100K range should pull between $6K and $7K. Prices aren’t going to go down on these. I’d take a look t it if I lived closer.

    I raced one of these way back in the day. They are fun as heck. Real momentum cars: it remains the only FWD car I could comfortably set into a 4-wheel drift through the fast sweepers.

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  12. Tony F

    Most people don’t think of lightness as a weapon, but it is. My 1991 CRX which I got last year is the quickest of all the cars I’ve had. It’s the Si version so it’s meant to be fast, not fuel efficient, but because of its light weight, it’s just happens to be both at the same time. The previous owner swapped in a ZC engine, it’s more powerful and only cars in Japan had them, so if you see my CRX on the road, it’s going to have slightly more horsepower than what you’d expect. But then again a slight increase in horsepower makes a bigger difference than usual because of the car’s light weight. Plus I’ve got Acura rims on them, and that makes it even quicker because they’re lighter than the stock CRX rims.

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