Junkyard Find: 1983 Honda Accord LX Hatchback

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 1983 honda accord lx hatchback

To me, the resemblance between the ’83 Subaru Leone hatch and the ’83 Honda Accord hatch has always seemed pretty obvious, and I was reminded of this when I found one rusty silver example of each at a Denver self-service yard.

Granted, the snout of the Subaru doesn’t look very Honda-like, but it looks clear to me Subaru was trying to steal a few Accord sales with their GL/DL front-wheel-drive hatchback. When it came down to it, the only customer-stealing Subaru was doing at that time was from makers of four-wheel-drive Detroit (and Kenosha) vehicles; the 2WD Subies just didn’t sell.

Honda, however, sold all the Accords they could build. I’ve never been much of an Accord fan (I think the Civic was the perfect expression of what Soichiro Honda had in mind when he started building cars, and the Accord has never been anywhere near as fun to drive as its smaller cousin), but I must admit that this is the car that made Honda into a major player in the North American marketplace. Having owned, I don’t know, a dozen Civics and only one Accord, however, I’m biased.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these cars that didn’t show red in all the service-interval indicators. The low odometer figure and sun-bleached interior suggests that this car sat for a long, long time before heading to The Crusher’s waiting room.

By present-day standards (we’re spoiled), the second-gen Accord wasn’t particularly reliable; back in the Late Malaise Era, however, a car that could go several years between problems was nearly unheard of. These cars tended to blow head gaskets if you overheated them in the slightest, the interference design meant that you had to stay on top of timing-belt changes, and people from rusty parts of the country tell me they turned into red stains on the pavement in a hurry (as a Californian-turned-Coloradan, I do not know from rust). Remember that the second-gen Accord was competing with the likes of the Chevy Citation and Ford Tempo, however, and the Accord-worship of the mid-80s makes a lot of sense.

You don’t see many of these cars these days, though the third-gen Accords are still quite commonplace. I hope a few low-mile examples are still hiding in garages around the country.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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  • Davew833 Davew833 on Nov 02, 2012

    I had a half a dozen '82 and '83 Accord hatchbacks and sedans- a couple of the light blue metallic, a couple gray ones, and a brown one- plus an '84 accord sedan and an '85 hatchback. I always liked the styling of the '82s and '83s and I think it's aged well, though roadworthy examples are few and far between. The last one I bought around 10 years ago was a pretty clean '83 Accord sedan I picked up from an auction "for parts" $125 because they didn't have the key. I slipped the lock cylinder out of the trunk, took it to a locksmith, got a key made, and drove it home that day- it ran great! Gave it to my sister and she drove it for a couple of years after that.

  • Bultaco Bultaco on Jan 28, 2019

    My mom had an ‘80 Accord hatchback. Basic, slightly larger and more powerful Civic. Then my friend’s dad got a new ‘82 Accord hatch much like this ‘83. That car was light years ahead of my mom’s ‘80. The quality, fit and finish, style, and logical layout of everything made it clear to my 19 year old self that Detroit would never catch up. This was when GM was slinging horrendous X-body Citations and the like, which had pushrod engines, poorly integrated emission controls, and really cheap, ugly interiors. Once a fed-up, lifelong Chevy or Ford customer drove one of those Accords, he or she never went back. And Detroit continued making abject crapcans for a good 10 years after that, and by the time they improved, the damage was done.

  • Sobro My guess is it's just a plain scam. Very few pictures? CheckPrice too good to be true? CheckEnough "real car" info to convince the gullible it's a real car? CheckWeird story as to its provenance and location? Check
  • Analoggrotto So when the toyota 2ZZ engine is mounted in the Fwd Celica GT-S the YAMAHA casting on the head is prominent but it becomes hidden in the MR configuration on the Lotus cars. You have to pull out the passenger's side rear fender liner to see it.
  • JLGOLDEN It's really cute, and I'm sure the EV driving experience is a delight for those who give it a whirl. I hope this is enough to keep FIAT on the North American map! But, I fear dealers won't move enough units to justify investments in FIAT parts/service training for the long haul.
  • JLGOLDEN After most of these cars left their duty in rental fleets, they went on to lives with multiple changes of ownership and visits down the auction lane. Can Ford find the current owners and get these things repaired?
  • Abraham I rented a Kona EV - or tried to. I got in, turned it on and the battery had not been charged, displaying only about 25% state of charge and remaining range of 72 miles. It was driving ran outside and I was deciding if I wanted to keep it and find a charger or give up and get a regular vehicle. After about 3 minutes the displayed range dropped to 67 miles, then two minutes later dropped again to 64 miles, all without moving an inch with nothing turned on except the ignition. So the true remaining range was a complete crap shoot. I gave up and got a crappy Buick Encore with “unlimited” range instead.