Digestible Collectible: 2003 Acura CL Type S

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

Yes, dear readers, I do read the comments. I try and chime in when I can, but I have a day job that doesn’t always allow me to monitor, refute, or verbally flog every remark, even when warranted.

Wednesday, prolific commenter CoreyDL noticed a blurple Acura CL lurking behind my beloved Gallic pile of rust. Somehow, I’d forgotten about these, even though a former neighbor had a beautiful metallic orange CL Type S that always caught my eye.

In other words, I’m running out of ideas. Keep up the comments and suggestions!

As was mentioned further down the comment thread, Honda’s automatic transmissions had an unfortunate habit of self-destruction, making the six-speed manual even more important to locate. This 2003 Acura CL Type S for sale in Tennessee is so equipped, and even tempting with its likely-to-fade-to-pink red paint.

Its 260 horsepower in a front-wheel-drive coupe is plenty quick, especially as Honda decided to fit a real limited-slip differential. Heck, this could make a fun weekend track toy that still looks classy on the soul-sucking Monday morning commute. I’d prefer the factory radio were still present, as I’ve had too many aftermarket head units stolen to count — including from my own Honda coupe when I was 17 — but that’s a minor complaint for an otherwise-pristine car.

But is its $7,500 sticker a fair price for this? I’d be more comfortable if two grand were knocked off, and I’d pay more for one in a color such as orange or purple, but those examples seem to be hard to track down with three pedals.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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6 of 58 comments
  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Jan 29, 2016

    I was always impressed with this car and gave it serious consideration before I bought my BMW. This was the one car that Car & Driver actually said had handling that equaled an e46 3 series (I think it was a 330i in that test). My question is for Jack Baruth if he's reading, which is how does this compare to his brand new Accord, a car that is basically this one's direct descendant?

    • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Jan 29, 2016

      Seconded the request! Very interesting comparison.

  • Chrishs2000 Chrishs2000 on Jan 29, 2016

    The CL Type-S is an interesting car, but in 2003 you could get a brand new 7th gen Accord Coupe V6 6MT for less money and a vastly superior interior. Those are thankfully not hard to find, and becoming extremely cheap.

  • Tyrade Tyrade on Jan 29, 2016

    I worked as for a supplier that had Acura as a client when this CL launched. I remember how pleased with themselves they were that they had successfully created an oval fuel door with compound curves and the skinniest fender lips known to man. They had already started losing their way even way back then.

  • Disaster Disaster on Feb 01, 2016

    Keep in mind all Honda Accords and Acuras of this era ate ring gears requiring transmission replacements. The less powerful Accords are good for 100-150K. Some Acura S's have eaten their trans in as low as 60K. Otherwise a great car. I owned the non-S version.

    • VoGo VoGo on Feb 01, 2016

      All? I never had this issue with my manual transmission Accords.