Junkyard Find: 1996 Honda Passport

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Some examples of badge engineering are ridiculous yet wonderful, others made a lot of sense for both companies… and some just make you clutch your head in dismay. The Honda Passport is the clutch-your-head type.

Honda could do no wrong in North America from the mid-1970s through the early 1990s, but then came the big missteps. There was the Accord wagon (which flopped), and then the CRX became the Del Sol (which drove away the young male buyers who loved the CRX), and then there were all those slow-selling Acuras. Then Detroit started getting rich from minivans and SUVs, and Honda didn’t have either type (the Wagovan and the original Odyssey were too small for Americans to take seriously and thus don’t count). What to do?

What Honda did was make a deal with Isuzu to slap Honda badges on the Isuzu Rodeo. For the first time, Honda buyers would be purchasing a General Motors product.

The Passport wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t likely to run for as many trouble-free miles as an Accord. Fortunately for Honda, the company will always have a good source of revenue in Asia. I had forgotten about the Passport until I saw this one in a Denver self-service yard.






Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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