By on January 15, 2010

adulterated but not ruined

This was supposed to turn out differently; not this CR-X, my week and this post that is. I was going to bookend the week that started out with my rant about the ugly new CR-Z with a CC featuring a pristine gen1 CR-X I had in the can. Poof! That whole folder is gone, along with ten other cars. Ouch. But I had this silver spray-painted CR-X art-car in the making as an Outtake. But you know what? It’s impossible to uglify a CRX that easily. These kids are going to have to work a lot harder before they can obliterate the clean, slick lines of one of the most iconic and loved Hondas ever. So I’m going to spend my afternoon getting a new computer set up and transferring files, and try to remember where I last saw that unblemished CR-X.

a new grille

CC 44 049 800

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25 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Why It’s Impossible To Completely Uglify A 1985 Honda Civc CR-X...”


  • avatar
    mikey

     I thought it was the scarecrow that had no brain….With a ride like that the tinman wasn’t  the brightest crayon in the box either.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    I hunted high and low to find one of these in good condition several years ago, only to find out that a good one will go for over 5k on ebay.  A friend of mine had one new in ’86 we drove it to Canada at 100mph all day through northen Minnisota and still got waaay over 30mpg.  Great autocrosser too.

    • 0 avatar
      majo8

      I searched for a nice stock CRX all summer ( that wasn’t more than a 600 mile drive from Ohio ) and came up empty.  Almost all were either modified, had rust above the rear wheel wells, or were parts cars.
       
      Ended up buying a 06 Civic EX coupe with 13,400 miles……….

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    Seriously, what’s the point of this modification?

  • avatar
    JMII

    My brother had a CR-X Si, while I had the Civic Hatchback S 1500 which was just a bigger version of the same car (basically) minus the injected engine (down 10HP maybe).
    I can’t say enough good things about these cars: nimble, tight, quick, excellent mileage, impossible to kill, slick shifting, nice looking, lots of useable interior space, no blind spots, wrap around dash… they were simply BRILLIANT in all phases. The only weak spot was torque, turning on the A/C was like driving with the e-brake half up ;) but what do except from a vehicle with around 97HP. Mine was running perfectly fine after 160K miles. To this day I still wish I had that car, I should have NEVER sold it!

    • 0 avatar
      aamj50

      My delivery car is an ’84 Civic 1500 DX. Agree with everything you say, especially the torque issue. If I have my lights on and the delivery sign lit up and the heater fan on the car won’t idle due to the load.
      Still, it’s a fantastic car and I will drive it until it rusts in half. Which should be about next fall. That’s the other reason you don’t see them around.

  • avatar
    Raingler

    A blue ’84 CR-X was my first car. I would race that thing around all over the place, and clip along at 120km/h on dirt roads with a storm of dust as my wake. I felt like a real rally driver. I loved revving the little engine and working the 5-speed. I recall one day I was fueling up when gas was $1.20 a litre and this guy filling up his big Chevy van randomly commented to me about the price of fuel. My reply was “Well, it sure doesn’t bother me.” I could go 100kms with roughly $8.00. Since then I lost my way. I bought a ’88 4Runner for a steel and it’s been nothing but SUVs since. Currently on a ’07 Wrangler, and yes I’m ticked that there is no diesel coming.

  • avatar
    twotone

    It’s amazing that a 25 year old Honda CRX HF gets better gas mileage than today’s hybrids and other “leading edge” technology.
    Twotone
     

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    The Gen 1 CRX was unquestionably a sweet ride, but I was always partial to the cleaner, more flowing lines of the Gen 2.  Which I guess explains why I ended up owning a beautiful, black ’91 Si.  And confess to never liking the four-holer wheels that this CC is sporting, but that’s what the Tire Rack and its ilk are for.

  • avatar

    Yup, still a good looking car.  And Robocop’s Taurus is somewhat jealous.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    Is this owned by one of the Silver Mimes you see in the city?
    http://rainbowpopsicle.deviantart.com/art/silver-mime-132292148

  • avatar
    mrog71

    My first car was a 1989 CR-X Si.  I had it for 6 years and wish I never would have sold it.  It got well over 40 mpg and was fun to drive. 

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    A guy in our home town had a brand new red CR-X Si.  I walked past it every day on my paper route and lusted after it.  The smoky grey plastic window below the rear lip absolutely fascinated me.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Oh, it’s definitely possible to completely uglify one–that owner certainly did!

  • avatar
    carnick

    I’ve owned two CRX’s, a 1984 I bought slightly used in 1986, and then as a result of being so totally in love with it, bought a new Gen 2 1988 SI (in red, of course). The 1984 was the 1.3 economy engine, but no matter how I drove it, always got mileage in the 40′s and was still entertaining to drive.

    The 1988 was an absolute gem, one of the best cars I have ever owned. A complete blast to drive, it was an intuitive extension of the driver. It was your partner, directly hard wired into your central nervous system. Yet, it was practical (as much as a 2-seater can be), with tons of storage space under the hatchback, great winter traction, reliable, always got mileage in the low to high 30′s, and was inexpensive. Most of all, it had that elusive character and personality I always rant about, that was common in the 60′s and 70′s cars, was waning by the 80′s, and is almost non-existant today.

    It was just so satisfying in every way, I think it was the perfect car… I miss it, and would buy something like it in a heartbeat – except nothing close is available in the U.S. today (I sold it to buy a 1991 Miata, not a bad move but I wish I could have afforded both back then). While the Civic Si and maybe Scion tC might supposedly be the closest in specs, I’ve driven the Si and tC, and they’re no CRX-Si (and the Golf GTi is just too plain looking). It’s such a shame that no car made today (at least that’s sold in the U.S., in Europe hot hatches still live) can come close to it’s combination of fun, performance, mileage, practicality, and character. Weight seems to be a primary culprit – the CR-Z is about 40% heavier than the CRX. While some of it is mandated by safety regs, is all that padding, insulation, and power everything really needed? I don’t remember minding to wind the windows or set the seats manually back then. I also don’t recall feeling “unsafe” with 1988-era safety regulations, and would gladly trade 800 lbs of weight and go back to the old standards in exchange for the performance and mileage.

    Oh well… we can’t go back, but it still frustrates me that with all the hot hatches on the streets of Europe, the manufacturers still don’t think Americans will buy them. How about the Escort RS , or any one of a number of Renaults, Peugots, Citroens, Vauxhauls, etc. that are the modern spiritual successors of the CRX-Si?

    • 0 avatar
      hurls

      Similar boat to carnick here:  my wife  had an 89 CRX and a 90 Miata (our first new cars for both of us!)… when the time to get a car with an extra set of seats, we got rid of the CRX.
      The Miata’s still in the driveway, which I can’t really complain about, but there are many moments when I wish the CRX was still there instead (or next to it!)

  • avatar
    Fugue

    Paul – I saw this exact CRX while driving up 13th. Quite the paint job…

  • avatar

    The CRX-si came out when I was in college and I was captivated. I wanted one SO bad I could taste it. I stopped by a Honda dealer and the salesman was such a complete and utter dick. He basically shooed me away from the car and chased me off the lot with complete indifference bordering on hostility.
     
    I’ve never set foot on a Honda lot since.
     

  • avatar
    dcardno

    Okay – if we’re telling Civic stories….
    In mid-1989 I changed jobs, and my wife and I could no longer share a commute so it was time to go car shopping.  I absolutely fell in love with the CRX, but there was one snag: my wife was pregnant with our first child – and there was little to zero space for a baby seat.  The saleguy tried to bluff his way through her question about the hard-point attachment for a seat in the back, but she was not convinced and that meant that I was not going to get a CRX.
    I was still pretty keen on Hondas, as a couple of friends had had very good experiences with them, and eventually bought the ’89 Civic Si – I rationalized that it was essentially the h-back version of the CRX.  It was a fabulous car – lots of storage, an absolute blast to drive, great mileage, and easy to keep on the road.  The car is still in the family – I passed it on to that first child who caused me to miss out on the CRX; last August it passed its 20-year on the road mark.  The body is pretty trashed – rust has come and gone right through, but it sure doesn’t owe our family anything!
    PS – Chuck Goolsbee; around that time Honda salesdinks were just horrible.  They very much had a view that their product was so great that they could move everything in the showroom at full list; if you didn’t buy (and right frickin NOW!) there would be another eager customer as soon as they blew you off.  They subsequently lost our business on an Odyssey because of that attitude

  • avatar
    Civarlo

    Yet more evidence that an unmolested and unmutilated CRX is nearly impossible to find. Can’t people just leave well enough alone?

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    This is probably the pinnacle of Civic styling in every body style: the taillights are right, the front is “right”, profile is just right. The 2nd Gen tried to modify all that by squashing it down in all the correct places for aerodynamics I suppose, but ruined the look.

    What ? No hand ringing about safety and crash test results? No “death trap” back seat commenting ?

    I know: some cars you just want to take the so called “risk” with. Again. Still.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    My wife had one of these, a black ’85, which she had much fun driving. It was simple, and cheap to run. They were prone to rust though, at least in our part of the country, which led to its ultimate demise. No complaints, though – it had over 100K on it when she bought it, and lasted her another five years or so after that, til she upgraded to a Saab Turbo.

    I am starting to think that you guys are mining my family history for your posts.  In the last couple of weeks, you’ve covered this one, my dad’s ’59 Olds Super 88, and two of my personal cars, an ’84 Chrysler Laser Turbo and an ’89 Toyota Supra Turbo! Keep ‘em coming!


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