50 Smiles Per Gallon: 1987 Honda CRX HF

051916 Barn Finds - 1987 Honda CRX HF - 1

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Even though gas prices are hovering around $2.00 a gallon in most parts of the US, these cars still have a big following. This 1987 Honda CRX HF is in Bethlehem, Georgia and is listed on eBay with a current bid of just over $500. It has a Buy It Now price of $2,500, which seems very reasonable to me.

051916 Barn Finds - 1987 Honda CRX HF - 2

A high-mileage champ parked next to a low-mileage champ. I’m a big fan of liking and owning anything and everything, MPG be danged. So, obviously I’m kidding on calling the Ford Expedition a low-mileage champ as if it’s a bad thing to own one. If I could come up with a use for one I’d own one in a heartbeat. I do much prefer smaller vehicles which naturally tend to get higher MPG and this is what the Honda CRX HF was made for, getting high mpg. This is the last year of the first-generation CRX and it’s probably the most sought-after body style.

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HF = high fuel economy and these cars are rated under the new EPA guidelines as getting 42 mpg city and 51 highway, and they’re a heck of a lot more fun to drive than any hybrid or most EVs, other than maybe a Tesla. The seller says that they’re currently getting around 35 mpg which isn’t bad considering that this car has 191,800+ miles on it and maybe because it looks like it may have bigger diameter wheels than factory original, or at least I think the factory original wheels would have been steelies with a cap in the center, but I could be wrong. The rims sure look good but they’ll need a bit of detailing. According to the seller, this car “has NO RUST on it at all, was undercoated when first purchased in 1987”. It’s a South Carolina car originally.

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The interior looks perfect and the seller says that it “has been completely replaced and I had fitted floor mats made for it.” I’m not sure why it was completely replaced, but whatever the reason it looks great. The dash has something going on with the material, but it looks like it was done very well. The exterior needs some help, paint-wise, but at least there’s no rust and a person could just use this as a commuter car which is what they were really made for anyway. The seller has replaced “the entire front end, powered coated the front hubs and brake calipers, new brakes, new front wheel bearings, four brand new tires and front wheel alignment.”

051916 Barn Finds - 1987 Honda CRX HF - 5

Those dang blue plug wires and aftermarket air filter! At least there isn’t an Interstate battery here, then it would have all the bases covered. But, those can be changed if a person (me) isn’t huge on blue plug wires and rectangular air filters. There is no mention as to if the original air filter assembly comes with the car or not but I’d try to find one, just because I like things original spec. This car looks like a winner to me with just enough tinkering to do with it to fill in the weekends and nice enough to drive right now, but not so perfect that you would worry about actually using it on a daily basis. Have any of you owned one of these first-generation CRX HFs?

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  1. Mike H. Mike H.

    The early HF’s had super light alloy wheels to aid in the fuel economy. I suspect that all of the deviations from stock are what is hurting this car’s fuel economy.

    Otherwise, it’s beautiful. I’d like to make it mine, but I’d likely tear the whole thing down and bring it back very close to how it left the factory. I love the vintage J-Tin, and early CRX’s are a winner in my book.

    Like 0
  2. JamestownMike

    I prefer the second gen CRX’s myself. Those seats are NOT original to the 87 CRX and swapped out of an 96-00 Honda Civic, most likely an EX model. I happen to own the last year of the second gen CRX, a 91 CRX HF with only 133k miles. Mine has factory steelies with small center caps. The later year 92-95 Civic VX hatchbacks and the 96-00 Civic HX coupes have the “super light alloy wheels” Mike H. is referring to. NONE of the CRX HF’s came with alloys, they were silver painted steelies with small center caps.

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    • Mike H. Mike H.

      You’re right, they were steel wheels. I was thinking of the HX wheels I had on my 97 years ago; I think they weighed about 10 lbs each.

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    • John K

      Yes, you are correct about the seats. I was about to note that.

      That being said, they do fit well and look good.

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    • Steve

      WRONG. The 1986-87 HF had 13″ aluminum wheels. It is listed on the window sticker for this car. I owned a brand new one back in late 1986. I’ve owned several since then. I’ve even scrapped several of the 13″ HF wheels and they are 100% aluminum.

      Like 1
  3. Van

    My brother had an 84 with the 1.3.
    Car got 55mpg on the highway.
    This is a better option than a Preous.

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  4. Dan h

    The HF’s had a unique charging system in that the ecu would activate the alternator only when a load (like headlights) was applied. So if you were to check the charging system with a dvm, it could read 12.6 volts, turn on the headlights and it would read 14 volts. This “fuel sipping” feature led to many misdiagnosis of failed alternators and shamed many professional mechanics, myself included!

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  5. Rick

    And I imagine that’s a Weber carb conversion judging by the air cleaner – that’s Weber specific. Would explain the lower fuel mileage, too.

    Like 1
  6. jim s

    have fun while you get great mpg. second car today that i would love to autocross. but if the stock parts for the motor do not come with the car that could be a issue for mpg and/or smog testing. great find.

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  7. Joe

    I own the 1984 white/blue CRX that Car&Driver had built by Racing Beat. It has 2 – 1800+cc Accord engines & 2 automatics. Was on their cover twice. 2,700 lbs., 6.2 to 60, 14.5 @ 95 in the qtr., and 147 top speed. Never modified. Only has 50K miles on it, and has Mugen body parts. Many small cars are quicker on acceleration but it will usually reel them in….ultimately. It launches instantly, with no wheel spin…even in the wet. The speedometer needle stops when it comes against the odometer reset push button at 122 mph but one can calculate it’s 147 mph top end. The car is beyond hilarious to drive and sounds like a freight train inside…at high speed. It is NOT for sale.

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  8. Joe

    PS: The car gets 11 MPG when you have room to keep your foot in it.

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  9. Patrick

    I had a 85 HF. great car and had a killer stereo system. 5 speed was great too!!!

    Like 0
  10. Paul

    The carb is a 32/36 Weber ( Any self respecting car guy should know a 2bbl Weber filter when he sees one). The seats are out of an ’03 Civic EX.

    Like 2

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