Future Classic: 1985 Honda Accord

UPDATE 9/3/2019 – With a $1k price drop, this Honda is looking quite tempting! The seller has relisted it here on eBay with a $4,300 asking this time around.

FROM 8/26/2019 – If the original Civic didn’t signal to the world that Honda was determined to be a serious player in the automotive industry, then the Accord definitely shouted those ambitions from the roof-top. When the first Accord appeared on the market in 1976, the motoring world simply had no choice but to realize that the company which had less than a decade earlier been the producer of quirky little Kei cars, was now ready to set a new benchmark for others to follow. Today, the Accord remains a strong seller in the new car market, but most of those earlier versions have been lost to the ravages of time. This 1985 Accord has not only survived, but it has done so exceptionally well. It is located in Minot, North Dakota, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set the BIN on the Honda at $4,300, but the option is available to make an offer.

When you look at cars that rolled of various production lines during the mid-1980s, the vast majority of them haven’t aged well from a styling perspective. The Accord is a bit of an exception to that general rule, and they still look quite crisp today. This one, finished in Champagne Beige Metallic paint, is really in quite exceptional condition. It appears to be free of any rust issues, while the panels look lovely and straight. One issue that plagued the Accord, and it was a common story across so many cars from this era, was the external plastic trim was prone to some pretty horrendous deterioration. This car seems to have avoided that fate, with the majority of the plastic-looking fresh and clean.

One aspect of the Accord that set the benchmark for other manufacturers to follow was the quality of the fit and finish of the interior trim. This Accord doesn’t disappoint in this area, and in general terms, it is actually hard to believe that we are looking at the original interior that is 34-years-old. The only real flaw that I can spot is some creasing of the upholstery on the seats, especially the outer edges of the driver’s seat. This is about the most common flaw that you are ever likely to find inside an Accord of this era, and while it could be rectified, my own personal approach would be to fit a set of really good aftermarket seat-covers to the front seats to hide this issue. Otherwise, the rest of the interior is in pretty remarkable condition. The only disappointing thing for me is to see the T-Shifter poking out of the floor. I would much rather see a 5-speed transmission fitted to an Accord. However, this is a 4-speed unit, which was a quantum leap forward over the previous Hondamatic transmission. Otherwise, you also get a radio/cassette player, ice-cold air conditioning, and cruise control.

Another aspect of almost any Honda motor vehicle that is often praised is the engine, and the one in the Accord is no exception. This one is the 1,830cc 4-cylinder engine, which sends its modest 86hp through the automatic transmission to the front wheels. This version wears a carburetor, but a fuel-injected version was also available in some models in 1985. Like so many smaller Japanese engines of this era, the engine in an Accord produces the lion’s share of its power and torque at around the 3,000rpm mark, and while that might sound a bit “peaky,” it actually means that the engine is at its best in top gear at around the 60mph mark. That’s no bad thing when you need to overtake another car on a highway. The owner says that the Accord runs and drives flawlessly, and the power steering should not only make driving a breeze but reduce the torque-steer that can be present in some front-wheel-drive vehicles.

I guess that it would be fair to say that at this point in time, the 1985 Honda Accord hasn’t really reached cult status amongst classic car enthusiasts. However, it is fast being recognized as a game-changer in the automotive industry. It brought new standards of fit, finish, and refinement to the small-to-medium car sector, and it really did force other manufacturers to look long and hard at quality issues. Like so many of its contemporaries, the vast majority of these Accords have long since disappeared from our roads. This one is one of the nicest examples that I have seen for a very long time, and while it is priced above what you might expect to pay for a 1985 model on average, the car’s overall condition would seem to justify this. It is now 34-years-old, and if it remains as well cared for as it seems to have been up to this point in its life, I can see no reason why it can’t still look this good in another 34-years.

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Comments

  1. Oregon_Guy78 Member

    I was a teenager in the 80’s and these were a huge step above anything from Ford or Chevy. My older brother bought one and I drove it a few times, my parents had a Chevy Citation and a Monte Carlo at the time. I remember how modern and we’ll put together the Accord felt in comparison.

    8
    • djkenny

      A generic middle of the road Accord with carb. Almost 100k miles and an automatic (meaning less long lasting).

      Thus is the kind of car you just keep in the family or give to a friend because it has no resale but should serve someone with a need to get around.

      No one in their right mind would pay over $1800.

      I Sold an automatic 1986 Civic DX my gramps owned since grand new tower behind the motirhome with 60k on the clock, with only 30-40k on the actual engine.

      $3300. And that’s after a year of advertising for That.

      Had it been an Si, or at least a Stick? Likely I would have heald onto it.

  2. Winnipegcarnut Member

    If the wear on the edge of the driver’s seat is like on my 1986 Prelude I had a couple years ago it is not the fabric that is the issue. My issue was that the bolster foam had finally started to break down after 30 years and the seat frame was rubbing against the fabric from below. Inserting new foam along the seat edge solves the problem and the creases are less noticeable.

    3
  3. CapNemo CapNemo Member

    Not fast, not fun, not handsome, but would probably suffice as a back and forth to work car to save the miles from accumulating on your good car.

    15
  4. RedBaran

    Future classic…??? If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell to you…

    Nice car? Yes. But future classic…? Not so much…

    11
    • Ken Wittick

      Not a barn find ,not a classic….it’s a used car…..why is it on this site ?

      • Mrl Member

        Its 35 years old, by definition that makes it a classic.

  5. normadesmond

    A cab hit my ’85 in ’95 and the insurance company totaled it. I finagled to keep it, had someone mickey mouse the front back onto the car and drove it for three more years. I only said goodbye when I heard a loud boom which signaled the end of the a/c. The guy who bought it, for $500 said he was driving to Texas. I bet it’s still going.

    • CapNemo CapNemo Member

      Well, if he hasn’t made it to Texas by now, he’s probably never gonna get there! Ha! Oh delicious beer!!

      6
  6. CCFisher

    Beyond setting the bar for fit and finish, this car proved that American workers could build cars to a very high standard, provided the cars were designed to be built well from the start.

    7
    • Ralph

      And when they weren’t high or drunk or both or not there at all or not throwing bolts down into the body to create rattles or throwing their empty beer cans under the carpeting…….all those help too.

      5
      • CCFisher

        Honda’s plants were and are non-union. Workers couldn’t behave badly and turn to the union for undeserved protection

  7. Ronald

    I owned 5 or 6 84-85 Accords back when they were not very old purchasing them wrecked and repairing them, They were very good cars, This is a nice looking car, The only concern about them today would be the carburetor, After they get a lot of mileage on them or have been sitting the small idle jets get plugged up with junk and make them run poorly, I think they had 3 barrel carburetors and were kind of tricky back then. LXI had fuel injection.

    1
  8. Keith

    91k miles and carbureted? Naaaaaaaaaah You can get a newer econo box with fuel injection and built just as good for the same price.

    4
  9. sir mike

    Future classic…NO….NEVER….nice daily driver…YES

    6
    • George Mattar

      I have owned 45 cars in my 63 years. Of those, I bought only one new car. It was a burgundy 1985 Honda Accord LX. Had a 3 bbl carb. Owned it 3 years. Never a problem. Sold it for $7,800. Needed a bigger car as our second daughter was born in 87. One of the best cars ever made. America can never build a good small car. Never will. Sad. Our son in law just sold his 2001 Accord with 220,000 miles for $1,200. Paid $5,000 8 years ago and put nearly 100,000 miles on it. Very little mechanical trouble. Biggest problem was the front subframe rusted to the point the car would not pass Pennsylvania State inspection.

      2
  10. Bo

    Love old Japanese cars. I think it’s already a classic.

    8
  11. davew833

    The ’85 Accord SEi came with leather interior,fuel injection and alloy wheels standard. That would be the ’85 Accord to have. FI gave this engine another 20 horsepower, IIRC. I bought one of these for my mom in 1992 with 66k miles on it. It was a great car for about 6 years until the transmission began to act up.

    • Miguel Member

      Every odd year the Accord had an SE model. I bought the 1993 model.

      It is too bad they stopped doing that.

  12. bikefixr

    Future Classic? Not a chance. And it has 91,800 miles on it. Seals. Gaskets. Rubber and foam, water pump and alternator..it will nickle and dime someone. $1500 on a good day. Old does not always equate to better, more desirable or valuable.

    3
  13. David F

    I well remember my new 1980 Accord, silver with a red interior and a 5 speed. It would often stick in reverse and also it would sometimes quit when deaccelerating from freeway speed down a freeway ramp. I gave up after a few months and too many trips to the dealer with no resolution. Funny, I traded in a 1979 Civic for it that was also a lemon. In rust country the Accords rusted out around the back glass. The trade magazines had numerous articles about this with cautionary tales about replacing the glass. They were nice cars, but far from perfect.

    1
  14. GeneB

    Why is this car even on here? The aftermarket Weber carb is the most interesting part. What a boring Asian 4-door grocery getter and family commuter. Most have decent interiors because the owners swathed the seats and package decks in layers of bed sheets and blankets.
    Waste of rare and classic car space!

    3
  15. bdh Member

    Sure a lot of hate on here from several folks. I would venture to guess you’ll see way fewer cars like this at any kind of old car show than you will see of the kind of cars GeneB and others apparently like. To me the fun of the collector car hobby is finding unique, unusual, and uncommon vehciles that have been preserved. The fact that this was just a standard transportation appliance when new, yet has been preserved gives it attractiveness.

    6
    • Rod

      I agree totally with U, I too like the rarer cars (I own several Opels) I grew up in Ireland +personally prefer European + Japanese cars, if everyone liked the same cars the world would be a very boring place

      3
  16. KKW

    At least the headline doesn’t say, future American classic. I’m just glad I grew up an American boy in an American family. Come on people, this isn’t barn finds, this is cr@p you find in the classified ads, or down at dandy don’s used car lot on the south side of town. I wanna see CLASSICS. AMERICAN CLASSICS.

    2
    • Howebrad460 Member

      Yes, we need to see more Chevelles, Camaros, Mustangs. Definitely need to see more of the same old “classics”

      2
      • Ronald

        I was thinking the same thing. How many more barn find corvettes are out there to add to that list, it’s really easy to not click on cars I do not care for instead of taking time to trash them

        1
  17. Mark

    Honda makes a good car……but let’s not confuse being a “survivor” with becoming a “classic”. Yes, rarity and demand comes into play in both cases, but the two are world’s apart. Would love to own a 71-73 Vega but understand that a survivor would cost fairly good money……doesn’t mean it will go down in history as one of the classics of the automobile world.

    1
    • Ronald

      lol I wish you would have had the ’72 Vega GT that I had instead of me, Purchased at 35000 miles using 1 quart of oil every 100 miles, by 70k 1 qt every 25 miles, the result of aluminum cylinders bores. It was common to take the block to a machine shop to get steel sleeves installed in the block. I purchased a wrecked Vega to get a Jasper re manufactured engine already installed and put it in my car. After a few miles the head gasket started leaking so I pulled it apart one more time and one of the long head bolts pulled out a helicoil with it doubt from the original bolt seizing in the block. It was a nice looking car but after all this and it rusted the cowl out at the base of the windshield where the aluminum trim caused electrolysis I had had enough GM small cars. Also it had a/c and if you turned it on going down the road it would suck the life out of any power you had. My first Honda was a rusty ’79 Civic that I purchased for 500.00 dollars and I ran the wheels off of it, No burning oil, a/c worked great, great gas mileage with reliability, 35 years later I still have a Honda in the driveway and will to I die. Maybe that Vega taught me a valuable lesson after all.

      2
  18. GeneB

    I’m not a stickler for ‘American’ or perhaps even classic; but things I look for are old, like me, rare, unlike me, found in a ‘barn’ or ‘field’, or driveway; ‘interesting’ certainly; memory evoking, etc., but this plain jane foreign family sedan and this website just don’t seem to meld.
    You can find these on CL and the corner lots in National City, all day long; with yes, perhaps badly faded exterior plastic.
    Not trying to make enemies just voicing my opinion. I hope a Barn Find reader falls in love and buys it for his daughter entering college, although an ’85 Volvo ‘anything’ would be safer but not as economical.

    1
  19. Louis Q Chen

    This “survivor” is amazingly well kept especially in snow, ice, salt, chemicals of the “wicked” North! Personally this was one of my fav. 4-dr. that Honda made. The design was well balanced with a three box configuration. As I recalled the ride and handling was good. The SE would be more desirable though. Too bad the location is too far for me to take a gander. I like the color though.

    1
  20. Bob C.

    The Accord was like the ultimate yuppie car (along with the VW Jetta) of the 80s. I personally liked the 86 to 89 generation better. At least the tin didn’t get this one.

  21. Fredayday

    I had one of these with a carburetor and it was the absolute worst car EVER! Tried to have the carb tuned at the dealer and even they said “these carburetors didn’t work right from the factory..” I junked it and moved on with my life. Horrible cars

    1
  22. GeneB

    I had 2 buddies with carb Hondas, in shop more than on road. My 84 Honda broke a timing belt at 75k and left me stranded for a week…on my honeymoon. Enjoy your Hondas, but I’ll never go there again.

    2
    • fredayday

      SAME! I made the mistake and had my sister buy my nieces new accords in 96 and 97….absolute NIGHTMARES! They moved on to Toyota and Nissan but will NEVER let me live down recommending them even after having had a bad experience myself. Trash

  23. TheStuderodder

    asian cars with carburetors are worthless… fuel injection was a game changer. their engineers relate well to electronics.

    1
  24. JimmyJ

    Hey Geneb last tbelt I broke in a Honda I fixed on the side of the road it sure didn’t take a week!
    I like American cars and also I believe it’s fine to hate Japanese cars but to call them ‘junk’ just proves how truly uninformed you actually are

    2
  25. GeneB

    Hey, JimmyJ…please read my comments. It WAS NOT I that called Hondas ‘junk’. I just said Ill never own another, but others here HAVE used the term junk. A vast majority of Honda owners love them and even pick fights on the internet to defend them.
    I have owned over 300 hundred cars in my life, and restored a few classics to near 100 point accuracy. “uninformed” would be inaccurate.
    For the complete story, my Honda was an interference engine (if you even know what that means yet) and as such the valves all went crashing into the pistons, bending horribly, usually destroying the head, and/or pistons. The mechanic did not know this (at the time) and told me to return the next day for my car. I spent the honeymoon night in a small cockroach infested room on the Gold Coast. The next day at noon, I walked (one mile walk, only garage for 50 miles) into the garage and the mech asked me if the valve tappets had been noisy, because they were all off by over 40 thou. I told him it ran fine right up until the moment of failure. He made a phone call, and then told me that it was in fact an interference engine and that the valves were obviously trashed. He said he would have a used head sent up from LA, come back tomorrow at 3 for your car. Back to the fleabag for my 2nd night of honeymoon. Next day 3pm, he tells me the head they sent looked as if it had been dropped from an airplane; he recommended trying to build one from mine and that one to fix the car. Come back tomorrow after I pull it apart and I’ll let you know if this is possible. Fleabag night of honeymoon #3. Well, I’m going to need to order you new valves etc, it will be a week to have you car ready. At that point it was another day to get to LA, spent honeymoon night #4 on the floor at the Union Station in downtown LA., to catch a train to San Diego the next morning. Ever been there? Scary! My poor bride had never previously experienced anything like this. This was a 1984 1/2 Civic with the engine just designed for the 1985 model year and beyond. Am I “uninformed’? Good luck in your journey.

  26. JimmyJ

    I apologize that was for fredayday and he used the word ‘trash’
    BTW I do know what an interference engine is, just as I know a timing belt is a wear item and should be changed before failure ,especially on an interference engine!

    1
    • Fredayday

      I said what I said and meant it. I’ve owned over 15 Honda’s and currently have a bought from NEW 06 TL sitting in my driveway on its 3rd transmission and that transmission also is slipping. Btw all the replacements came from Hendrick Acura. I stand by my statement. Never again.

  27. GeneB

    Car was 4 yrs old with 75 k miles, I wrote. Was I negligent? Perhaps. “ wont be fooled again”

  28. irocrobb

    I have only bought one new car in my life. It was a 1984 Accord LX,blue in color. No options just floor mats. The 5 speed manual transmission and engine worked just perfect. Very comfortable and reliable and great on fuel. The only thing I should mention is, the chrome mouldings on the leading edges always seem to discolor . I found I had to keep them clean. \If this one was a 5 speed and closer to me I might jump on it.

  29. xrotaryguy

    There are TONS of these things still on the road here in LA.

    But even at 90k miles, it’ll never be worth anything. A Civic Si, yes. A base model Accord, never.

    Buy it, drive it till it dies, fix it, and drive it some more. Don’t save it for posterity.

  30. Car Nut

    I had this exact car but in a 5 speed. Man that car would not die! Ran like no other car I’ve ever had before. Piled all of my buddies in it and we thought we were the S*%T!!! had so many fun memories with mine.

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