By on May 21, 2015

1988 Honda CRX

I needed a car. Any car. My dad and I were limping my dying ’85 Nissan Maxima around town to multiple car dealers, looking for an appropriate replacement. I was 19, I think, and since I commuted thirty miles a day to college (when I went to class) I needed reliable, efficient transport.

A second-generation CRX, much like this one, caught my eye and we climbed in. One problem arose, however, as both my dad and I were well north of 300 pounds each, and the stock springs were sagging a bit. Oh, and the streets near the dealer had rough, rutted cobblestones. We were lucky to return with an intact exhaust, and I reluctantly moved on to a roomier Accord coupe.

This 1988 Honda CRX Si looks nearly showroom fresh, especially to a guy from the salt-encrusted Midwest – those rear wheel wells would be perforated up here. Black on black looks quite good, though the supposedly-cursed Y-49 Barbados Yellow is my preferred shade. Most of these have seen the darkest aisles of Pep Boys, so an unmodified car is refreshing.

$6,800 seems steep for a twenty-seven year old Honda, but the CRX is a truly special car, and we may see the really good ones fetch serious money someday soon.

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29 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: 1988 Honda CRX Si...”

  • avatar

    Dang, I sold mine, a yellow (I know, I know)’89 CR-X Si in 1996 for $3000.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not quite as bad as it sounds…
      $3k in 1996 is ~$4500 in 2014.

      • 0 avatar

        Sheesh. 50% inflation in 19 years! $3,000 in 1896 was the same as $3644 in 1915. I wonder why they say inflation is under control?

        Update: $3,000 in 1946 was worth $4,846 in 1965,
        $3,000 in 1956 was worth $5,938 in 1975,
        $3,000 in 1966 was worth $9,971 in 1985.
        I guess we’re doing better.

    • 0 avatar

      Sold my 1991 CRX Si “Special Edition” a few years back – (250 Canadian versions only) what a great bulletproof car! a deal at $6500.
      Factory CD, AC, Vogue Silver with factory wing, rare as it was unmolested and fully stock except the KandN filter, I didn’t change a thing.
      It now resides in the east coast of Canada and is in mint condition as the new owner gave it a full restoration, prices of these SE’s is anyone’s guess…
      I’d like a factory VTEC version with the leather (Integra type I believe) seats and 160hp stock..

      • 0 avatar

        Here it is – when I owned it and the new owner.
        He added JDM rear seats, JDM arm rest and power windows etc I believe…
        Oh. and swapped in the 130 hp Dohc motor but kept the original of course.

  • avatar

    Most cars of that era don’t do much for me but I would dearly love to have a mint CRX Si. Please come back, old Honda, Motor Co., I miss you. :(

  • avatar

    I wonder if Honda could pull off the same thing Mazda did with the new Miata and produce a modern CRX that is within 50 pounds of the original curb weight while meeting all safety standards and offering all the expected equipment in today’s market?

    • 0 avatar

      Short answer: no. Do you realize how light those cars were? Every time the Insurance Institute comes up with a new crash test, it takes 200+ lbs. of extra mass to meet the new standard. A 2,000 lb. car is impossible today, but that’s not so bad: in the old days, if you hit something solid at a moderate speed, you died.

  • avatar

    California be like “Rust? Oh, you mean like that brown tinge that gathers in my tailpipe?”

    No California. This.

  • avatar

    $6,800? As crazy as it sounds, that may be a bit light. I sold a VERY similar (no rust/bone stock), slightly less desirable 89 CRX Si 3 years ago for $6,000. Being rust free is a BIG deal on these cars.

  • avatar

    I think it is a market-correct price given how rare these cars are in an intact condition as well as the emotional appeal of the CRX.

  • avatar

    My buddy bought one of these for $50 in the 90’s. That car was an ’83 I think. It wouldn’t start and the owner was frustrated with it I think. Buddy bought it, tuned it up and drove it for three years. Sold it to me for $150 and I drove it for 18 months more before a coworker needed a car really bad and wanted to trade me his car for my car. His car was a ’91 Hyundai Excel. Fixed his car for $15 (torque converter flexplate was broken) and I drove that car for a few months until I could sell it for $900 or so. We were stationed in VA during all this.

    Met a girl a few years later in college in another state ~12 hours away by car who was telling me about her cousin who was also in the Navy. Turned out HE was the same guy that traded cars with me… Small world.

    Loved my CR-V. Did alot of long distance trips in it. Knew I was the smallest flea on the road so I was always careful. Car was comfortable and fun to drive. Drove like a little go-cart with skinny tires and a 1.3L four cylinder. On the interstate I did not dwell beside tractor trailers. One wobbly driver late one night was wandering all over the road – probably a sleepy truck driver – and I slowed down enough to get the distance to pass him at 80-90 mph – whatever the top end speed of that little Honda was.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    I got a 1988 CRX Si new back in the day – everyone who knew me called it the silver bullet both because of its size and the way that I drove it.

    I can honestly say that of all of the cars that I have ever owned or driven, this is the only one that I would give my right eye-tooth to own again. Truly an epic car that belied the humble nature of its parts.

    If this was silver I think I might have to convince the wife that now is time for an early birthday present.

  • avatar

    LOL. Sorry that’s too high.


  • avatar

    Actually, for an unmolested Si, that doesn’t seem half-bad. I continue to look out of the corner of my eye for one as my sister’s first brand new car was a 1989 Si. Being the great sis she is, she often let me keep the car at college while she used my old Mazda pick up for the spring softball season. And I actually put the first 50 or so miles on it as the deal was made at a dealership north of Nashville but the car was sitting in Nashville. Oh, to be a 19 year old male having just been handed the keys to a shiny, new Si. My sister and I both severely miss that ride. She sold it numerous years later and traded up to a Prelude Si. It wasn’t even close to the same magic as the CRX was. I suspect truly unmolested (and relatively rust free) variants will only go up in price as they become harder and harder to find.

  • avatar

    I think this car is an example of the most recent peak in automotive design and manufacturing – the period from roughly 1986 to 1996. When small cars were small and fuel-efficient, even the sporty variants. When they didn’t look like they were styled by 9 year olds with a Transformers obsession. When people didn’t think they need 350 HP to merge onto a freeway.

    To me, there have been two recent peaks: the first one in the mid to late 60s when cars looked good and before the first gas crisis and the introduction of analog mechanical emission controls; and the mid-late 80s to mid-late 90s, when computer controls had been applied to engine control, but had not polluted everything else on the car (I’m looking at you, unnecessary touchscreens!).

    • 0 avatar

      Well stated and I agree with your comments – this isn’t just token sentimentalism as I’ve heard some say but passion and that is what is in real drivers and the cars they own, three pedals, real engine noise, simplicity, character…on and on.
      I also owned a 1967 Mustang (289, factory GT) fastback, not fast but thrills and real presence abound in that car, the entire 60’s car era had something about it. The style of that 67′ was cool (not just because of Steve), it had mystic, something that’s not been captured in the techno laden appliances of the last 20 years…we’ve lost something and seem headed toward a world of mush.

  • avatar

    This thing is a collectors item. It’s a smart buy. Buy it, restore it, sit on it. My generation is super nostalgic about these cars and the few of us with the means are already paying big $$$ for them. ITRs are trading hands for cheap NSX money.

  • avatar

    right now in my garage sits a 1989 Civic Si, which is the same car but with a back seat. i really do not want to get rid of it but I guess I’m going to have to (i want a different rare honda eventually)

    what I love about it is that it’s a rare find for a few reasons. no rust. white (most seem to be red or black, have never been able to find numbers). it’s an 89, which is the first year for the hatchback and they made a lot of changes for the ’90 versions including added weight, and they moved the seatbelts to the doors instead of the B pillar. but the cool thing, at least to me, is that it was made in Japan. during the ’89 model year, they switched production of these over to Canada (for NA-destined models at least). and it was done somewhat early in the run so there aren’t very many JHM-vin copies out there. when they did that, they used different steel or stamping for the unibody (again, very tough to find accurate info), resulting in a slightly lighter curb weight. i’ve heard it’s around 75lbs difference.

    it’s refreshing to jump in and drive it around after driving modern cars. it’s light, has manual steering, and despite having about 100hp it never feels slow.

    can you tell I’m a Honda nerd? i’m really going to miss this car when it’s gone.

    • 0 avatar

      Please do take care of that Civic, at least until it goes to the next owner. The 4th gen hatch is essentially an example of the perfect small car: practical, economical, fun, reasonably quick, reliable, easy to fix, even stylish.

      In the future people will need that frame of reference to really understand what is a car and what is tacked on for convenience, comfort or ego.

      • 0 avatar

        despite adding about 20k miles to the odometer, it is in much better condition than when I bought it 2 years ago.

        probably the hardest part about selling it is finding a new owner who will not tear it apart :(

    • 0 avatar

      I am very interested in your 89 Si. Always been my favorite model I’m trying to find a good one I can hold onto. Til death do us part

  • avatar

    Sixty eight… cough cough… hundred… cough cough… dollars.

    Rear fenders are not the only thing that rust after 27 years (or make that 10 years where I live). There’s also fuel lines, brake lines, subframes, etc. And that’s on a car that was no stronger than a tin can to begin with.

    I carry fond memories of my old Civic Si, but there’s no way I’d want it back now at any price, let alone $6,800.

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