Showroom Novelty: 1986 Honda Accord

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Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

This 1986 Honda Accord here on eBay is not particularly special – well, not to you, perhaps. My first car was a sedan version of this example, and it was a hand-me-down from my mother. She took fastidious care of her car, which I imagine would look pretty similar to this creampuff on eBay; that is, had my friend that I sold it to not totaled it a short time later! Thankfully, this car has escaped a similar fate. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jim S. for the find. 

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With only 70,000 original miles, this base model hatchback Accord has many, many miles left to give. Even better is that it’s a 5-speed manual model, as the automatics had a decency to begin slipping the older they got. The 2.0L four-cylinder is a simple motor to work on and very efficient, not to mention quiet. Though not powerful, the manual transmission should liven things up a little bit while also providing that buttery smooth shifting experience that Honda is famous for. Several typical maintenance items have been proactively addressed, from a new clutch to replacing the timing belt. The tires may have plenty of tread but are too old for my comfort level.

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I’ve always found the interiors in this generation Accord (and its corporate twin, the Integra) to be impressively-driver focused despite being positioned as an entry-level economy car. This is a DX mind you, the lowest priced model you could buy, but that interior looks anything but cheap. From the shift knob to the head unit, this early Accord hatchback remains in excellent, preserved condition. In fact, I can’t remember the last time  I saw one with its OEM AM/FM radio still attached. The seller remarks that a Honda dealer in Santa Monica kept the Accord in their showroom in an effort to drive foot traffic before he acquired it.

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And of course, my favorite feature: the pop-up headlights. My car has these, and I eventually found the manual open / close switch so I could leave the lights off the but flaps up whenever I liked. For some reason, I thought this was the coolest feature the car had to offer! Taken as a whole, this Accord’s low mileage and preserved condition put it in a class all of its own, but the distance between the Buy-It-Now price and what people are actually bidding reveals quite a gulf at the moment. While I may think this Honda is worth every last penny, it’s still going to take a special buyer to step up to the plate at that price.

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Comments

  1. DarylK

    I think I’d rather have the Piper Arrow in the back of the hangar.




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  2. grenade

    $7300 Buy it now? That’s a bit much. The car itself is sort of an old ladies car, really. Or a mid college commuter, but a “cool car” it isn’t. What it is however, is a beautifully preserved example with tons of life left in it. That alone counts for something, so maybe it is a little bit “cool”. I like it but could never see that number as an accurate value. Maybe someone else can.




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  3. The Walrus

    If it had 7000 miles, its worth the asking. With 70K+, probably not. Why would you, if you were marketing this car as a low mileage survivor ever replace anything with ‘period incorrect’ items? Anyone looking at the car can see it. Looks totally out of place. Either leave it off or find an original. Why replace it with another incorrect item? That Accord on the rear should be tall and laced with black in an entirely different script. Half assed things that are visible make me queezy about the whole deal. Yuck.




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  4. Nighttrainx03

    Maybe a anther ten years from know, but I don’t think these old econo box cars are worth that yet. Being a car dealer for 30+ years I have had a bunch of these and found them to be decent cars but nothing special. I would think the 45 to 5 range is more what I think it might be worth, but as always just my opinion. But one thing for sure you always got to love an old well preserved car.




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  5. Todd Zuercher

    I remember that plane/background with other cars from this seller (shown on BaT). I really liked this generation of Honda and even more after they added fuel injection a year or two later.




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  6. grant

    Overpriced for sure. We’ll preserved or not, it’s an old used Honda. With that said I have a strange attachment to it, my best friend had an identical dx in high school. Lots of good memories. For around 4k, this would make a great commuter or kids first car.




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  7. Mimo

    I thought The Integra was based on the civic,.




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    • Mike H. Member

      Yes and no? The first generation of Integra was a derivative of this very car, but most often seen with (5) doors here in the US. The primary difference between the Accord and Integra between 1985-1989 is that the Integra came with a twin-cam engine (the engine was the vehicle’s most publicized feature), 4-wheel disc brakes, and all power options. Mechanically, the Integra and Civic were very similar, and with the second generation of Integra they were much more closely related to the Civic, and the Legend became the approximate “twin” to the 4th generation Accord.




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    • Blyndgesser

      The first gen Integra was based on the Civic, not the Accord.




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  8. Mike H. Member

    There will always be naysayers, and I’ve found that many of the Barn Finds followers feel that there is little value in 1970’s and 1980’s vintage J-Tin. I, however, am always on the lookout for clean, low mileage examples of cars just like this one. Is $7300 more than this car is worth? No, not really. The price is fair for what it is, and the values of these cars are actually on the climb. A higher trim level here would be more attractive, but these were excellent driver’s cars and surprisingly sporty for econo-boxes of the day. If it were closer to me I’d be looking seriously at it, and if it were a later (1989-ish) SE-i with fuel injection it would already be on its way to my location.

    Or if it were the Aerodeck, in this trim and cleanliness, I’d probably already be driving it.




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  9. Dan10

    I had a 1989 Accord DX sedan with the same running gear. Had been parked for 2 years due to an alternator failure. Service tech told the owner that the half shaft needed to come out to change the alternator. Not true and I got it in similar condition to this for $225 in 2000. Put another 100,000 miles on it. One of my favorite “beaters”.




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  10. Joe

    I have one of these (mine’s an ’88 DX hatchback) as my “modern reliable” car. It’s an excellent car; one of Honda’s finest offerings in my opinion. Much smaller than the modern Civic, gets 36-40 mpg at 70mph, can carry a 4×8 sheet of plywood or a twin mattress in the back (with the hatch slightly open). With 98hp in the DX it’s no performance car, but it’s nearly as light as an early Miata so it’s a blast to drive. It’s the classic “low speed, low grip, low risk, high fun” formula. The engine sounds lovely above 4000RPM and the 5-speed is deliciously smooth-shifting. The suspension is soft and comfortable, but the light weight and double wishbone suspension at all four corners make it surprisingly grippy, predictable, and responsive. It’s great fun to embarrass timidly driven modern performance cars on twisty mountain roads. The speed-sensitive power rack and pinion is also very accurate and perfectly weighted. It has reasonable ground clearance, and I’ve done some fairly adventurous off-roading in mine.

    Mine has just over 200k miles and is starting to show its age with failing rubber parts. Most of the non-LX-i cars are gone now, crushed thanks to their complex and temperamental feedback carburetor fuel systems. The dwindling number of these cars that I see are usually very high mileage fuel-injected models that have been subjected to lots of neglect and abuse. Soon there will be none left but a lucky few like this one.




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  11. Jeffrey Duddles

    We still drive the 86 four door that my wife brought brand new (I started driving it in 91). We are at 196K and still rolling strong. Ours isn’t as clean as this one, but I’d get in and drive it across the state without hesitation.




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  12. JHBell

    My ’89 Lx-i 2 door sedan has 215,000 miles and runs like a clock. Zero rust anywhere. I’ve had ten-foot 2x4s in it with the trunk closed and windows up. At 16k new, it was expensive but I still love it. My favorite repair shop has been trying to buy it from me for at least five years. The Accord in this posting is worth getting and keeping, but a little less cash outlay would help me like it more!




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  13. Will Bloombergh

    I had one of these from ’89-’99. It was Great. Like driving in a dream. Effortless.
    It would glide along at 85 mph no problem. Got very good gas mileage. I told people if you drank enough, it looked like a DeLorean. A man told me IF he drank enough, his wife looked like Cheryl Tiegs. IF I was rich enough to have a car collection, I would buy it. Sadly, in a world of trucks, minivans & SUVs, backing out of a parking space was like being in the Grand Canyon. Walls of steel. I’m a bit heavier than 20 years ago. The driver’s seat bolster wore out on mine. Fabric was too thin. You could lift up the bifold rear shelf from the back seat to get to the cargo area. I liked the pop up headlights button. It would freak out pedestrians walking in front of the car. Definitly a Cool car. I had a 17′ sea kayak on a Thule rack on the roof and called it my SCUD Missile of Love. The ’86 VW Scirrocco looked similar. The LX-i with fuel injection had 22 more horses. Now I have a Mazda Tribute which is the poor man’s Lexus RX




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  14. Mitch

    MY OLD CAR! I had that exact car in college. My parents bought it new and let me take it when it was three years old. I drove it over 100,000 miles without a single issue and regrettably traded it for a 1994 EX-L couple. That was also a fantastic car but nothing like the old DX (for Don’t have Xtras; had to love those road trips on 90 degree days in the summer with no a/c and no cruise control). What a great car! I wish I had stumbled across this earlier. I would have bought it in a heartbeat, proving that this car is not overpriced but it is worth whatever someone is willing to pay.




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