Junkyard Find: 1993 Acura Vigor

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1993 acura vigor

Remember the Vigor? Probably not. Nobody remembers the Vigor. This car dates from about the time that Honda really got serious about its decline from former untouchable greatness, which may or may not have had something to do with the death of founder Soichiro Honda in 1991.

There was the Del Sol, which replaced the much-beloved-by-young-men CRX in 1992. Goodbye to that entire demographic chunk of car buyers, possibly forever! There was the Civic, which started getting bigger and fatter in every model year starting in 1996. There was the lack of a real minivan, which Honda remedied by slapping Honda Passport badges on an Isuzu product. There was the entire Acura line, which lacked both rear-wheel-drive and a V8 engine and got beat like a cheap gong by Infiniti and Lexus in the showrooms. There was the debilitating series of dealer-kickback lawsuits, over longstanding abuses going back to the 1970s, that threatened to plunge Honda America into a lawyer-populated Lake of Fire for eternity (more on that later). And, of course, there was the Vigor.

The Vigor sold in North America was actually a pretty good car, with a powerful inline-five engine, all manner of luxury touches, and top-notch Honda build quality. The only problem was that nobody had any reason to buy one.

You rarely see Vigors anywhere these days, on the street or pending consumption by The Crusher. I found this much-battered example a couple weeks back in a Northern California self-service junkyard.

Honda never stopped making good cars, but the North American stumbles of the early 1990s haunt the company to this day. It’s a good thing that Honda motorcycles and scooters (as I saw demonstrated with dramatic effect during my recent trip to Vietnam) have remained such a gigantic cash cow for the company.

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  • Lunashine Lunashine on May 19, 2013

    Those of you who have never owned an Acura Vigor, may think it... some forgotten odd ball of the classic Honda/Acura years. Those of you who have had the pleasure of piloting a Vigor, and preferably a 5-speed/manual, will sing a very different and almost invariably happy tune! The Vigor is much like a European Super Touring Accord of its era, and its meaty 2.5l pumps out more power and torque than many of its V-tech cousins. The longitudinal mounting of the the big straight 5 cylinder, is proof of the Vigor's racing heritage... and the gear box is very close ratio, so much so that the big girl can wrap out fifth gear, and as a result, see the dark side of 140mph. Further exploration will reveal to the Honda/Acura novice, that the Vigor is very well constructed, if not, "overbuilt," performance sedan, and therefore a bit heavy on the scale. They are however, quite nimble in the handling department, thanks to a very firm factory double-wishbone suspension(which includes rear sway bars) and nearly 50/50 weight distribution. Honestly, if you can put one on a diet, and shed a couple hundred pounds, the Vigor's 180hp and 180pds torque will dispatch many competitors, street and track. Now, that said, if you can find Vigor that isn't entirely consumed by rust, and she's a manual, this car makes for one very willing and capable partner. (Heck, it might be worth putting some money back into one of these classic greats!) In good condition, the Vigor is beautiful to look at, and displays a styling that Honda/Acura may have lost forever. Ssssshhh. Don't tell anyone. The Vigor is good-looking, strong, and hard to find. JAM

  • Ackvig Ackvig on Jul 12, 2013

    ^^^^^ THIS. Lunashine, Elcalculo, Rpn453, thank you for the TRUTH. The comments above yours are... misinformed, at best. And I don't necessarily blame those folks, because the Vigor has been so maligned through all these years, that this mis-information has become "fact". Those first critical reviews from 1992 are about the only literature easily found on an internet search, so they have become "fact". The true owners of these cars all collectively have that "best kept secret", "secret weapon" knowledge that we are doomed to die with, knowing that the world at large we never know what really happened. Ackvig, of the Yahoo Acura Vigor and Legend club 300,000K+ 1993 Vigor GS 5sp 1992 Legend LS

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.