Junkyard Find: 1989 Honda CRX

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Honda CRX is one of my very favorite 1980s cars, hailing from an era when Americans paid well over MSRP and/or waited for months for the privilege of getting a new Honda. Twenty years ago, I owned a few early CRXs (before giving up on the carbureted CVCC examples, which were impossible to get through California’s strict emissions tests due to the “Map of the Universe” tangle of vacuum lines), and I often thought of getting a fuel-injected late CRX.

Such cars were expensive back then, but values have plummeted to the point where I now see 1988-1991 CRXs at U-Wrench-type yards. Here’s one in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Of course, the second-gen CRX is still worth enough that only the truly banged-up examples show up in self-service junkyards. This one received multiple layers of the fast-n-furious treatment, as interpreted by the Prophet Manny, the Seer Moe, and the Haruspex Jack.

My guess is that this car’s nickname was THE WOLF.

This sort of odometer reading is typical of Hondas of the late 1980s, even those that spent much of their lives with engines howling at redline. Maybe this car was a sedate commuter for 25 years before it became THE WOLF; the CRX was that rare combination of penny-pinching economy car and fun enthusiast machine.

The 1989 CRX Si got a 105-horsepower 1.6-liter engine, but this car has the regular 1.5-liter D15, rated at 92 hp. Curb weight was just barely over a ton, so fun could be had on double-digit power.

See you later, alligator.

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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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  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on May 22, 2019

    "I had a white over blue 88 4ws" You mean these came in other colors besides red and white?

  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Jun 17, 2019

    I hit a deer while driving a 1989 CRX si once. You'd think I would be dead, with such a low to the ground car - imagine the deer coming through the windshield. However, thanks to remarkable maneuverability, I was able to swerve into the other lane (no one was coming) at 50 MPH and hit the right rear of the deer with the right front quarter of the CRX. The insurance claims adjuster found deer hair in the headlamp assembly...thanks for saving my life, Honda! :)

  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.
  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars