Junkyard Find: 1983 Honda Accord LX Hatchback

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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.

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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.

  • Dukeisduke I still think the name Bzzzzzzzzzzt! would have been better.
  • Dukeisduke I subscribed to both Road & Track and Car and Driver for over 25 years, but it's been close to 20 years since I dropped both. I tried their digital versions with their reader software (can't remember the name now), but it wasn't the same. I let it lapse after a year.From what I've seen of R&T's print version, it's turned into more of a lifestyle thing like The Robb Report. I haven't seen an issue of C/D in a while.I enjoyed both magazines a lot when I was subscribing. R&T for the road tests (especially the April Fools road tests), used car reviews, historical articles, and columns like Peter Egan's Side Glances and Dennis Simanitis's Technical Correspondence. And C/D for the road tests and pithy commentary, and columns like Gordon Baxter's, and Jean Shepherd's (that goes way back to the early '70s).
  • Steve Biro It takes very clever or amusing content for me to sit through a video vehicle review. And most do not include that.Tim, you wrote :"Niche titles aren't dying because of a lack of interest from enthusiasts, but because of broader changes in the economics of media, at least in this author's opinion."You're right about the broader changes in economics. But the truth is that there IS a lack of interest from enthusiasts. Part of it is demographics. Young people coming up are generally not car and truck fans. That doesn't mean there are no young enthusiasts but the numbers are much smaller. And even those who consider themselves enthusiasts seem to have mixed feelings. Just take a look at Jalopnik.And then we come to the real problem: The vast majority of new vehicles coming out today are not interesting to enthusiasts, are not fun to drive and/or are just not affordable.You can argue that EVs are technically interesting and should create enthusiasm. But the truth is they are not fun to drive, don't work well enough yet for most people and are very expensive.EVs on the race track? Have you ever been to a Formula E race? Please.And even if we set EVs aside, the electronic nannies that are being forced on us pretty much preclude a satisfying driving experience in any brand-new vehicle, regardless of propulsion system. Sure, many consumers who view cars as transportation appliances may welcome this technology. But they are not enthusiasts. I don't know about you, but I and most car fans I know don't want smart phones on wheels.There is simply not that much of interest to write about. Car and Driver and Road & Track are dipping deeper into nostalgia and their archives as a result. R&T is big on sponsoring road trips for enthusiasts - which is a great idea. But only people with money to burn need apply.And then there is the problem of quality in automotive writing. As more experienced people are let go and more money is cut from publications, the quality and length of pieces keeps going down, leading to the inevitable self-fulfilling prophecy.Even the output on this site is sharply reduced from its peak. And the number of responses to posts seems a small fraction of what it used to be. This is my first comment since the site was recently relaunched. I don't expect to be making many in the future.Frankly Tim - and it gives me no pleasure to write this - but your post makes me feel as though the people running this site have run out of ideas and TTAC's days may be numbered.Cutbacks in automotive journalism are upsetting. But, until there is something exciting and fun to write about, they are going to continue. Perhaps automotive enthusiasm really was a 20th century phenomenon..
  • THX1136 I think that the good ole interwebs is at least partially to blame. When folks can get content for free, what is the motivation to pay to read? I'm guilty of this big time. Gotta pay to read!? Forget it! I'll go somewhere else or do without. And since a majority of folks have that portable PC disguised as a phone in their pocket, no need for print. The amount of info easily available is the other factor the web brings to bear. It's perhaps harder now to stand out. Standing out is necessary to continued success.In an industry I've been interested (and participated) in, the one magazine (Mix) I subscribed to has become a shadow of it's former self (200 pgs now down to 75). I like print for the reasons mentioned by another earlier. I can 'access' it in a non-linear fashion and it's easily portable for me. (Don't own a smarty pants phone and don't plan to at the moment.)I would agree with others: useful comparison reviews, unique content not easily available other places, occasional ringers (Baruth, Sajeev, et al) - it would be attractive to me anyway. I enjoy Corey, Matt and Murilee and hope they continue to contribute here.
  • Daniel J I wish auto journos would do more comparisons. They do some but many are just from notes from a previous review compared to a new review. I see where journos go out to a location and test drive and review a vehicle on location but that does absolutely nothing for me without any comparison to similar cars. I also wish more journos spent more time on seat comfort. I guess that doesn't matter much when many journos seem to be smaller folks where comfort isn't as important. Ergonomics are usually just glossed over unless there is something very specific about the ergonomics that tick the journo off. I honestly get more from most youtube reviews than I ever do about reviews written on a page.