By on October 28, 2019

2004 Acura EL in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsLast year, I found a 2009 Chevrolet Chevy (a Mexican-market Opel Corsa) in a Denver car graveyard, presumably driven here on Mexican plates and then abandoned and towed away when it couldn’t be registered in Colorado.

We can assume that today’s Junkyard Find came to the Mile High City in the same way, but via the northern border rather than the southern one.

2004 Acura EL in Colorado junkyard, decklid badge - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Acura EL was a luxed-up Civic, based on the Japanese-market Honda Domani sedan. The EL sold well in Canadaland, and I’m sure plenty of them commute daily into Detroit or Buffalo. This is the first one I’ve ever seen in Colorado, though.

2004 Acura EL in Colorado junkyard, speedometer - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThose of us accustomed to seeing Freedom Distance Units in big type and Communist Enslavement Distance Units in small type on our speedometers might be startled by this gauge showing KiloLenins first. Actually, I’m surprised some local seventh-gen Civic owner hadn’t grabbed this instrument cluster, because km/h is more JDM, yo.

2004 Acura EL in Colorado junkyard, HVAC controls - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsMetric temperature settings, even! What’s the point of the metric system, anyway?

2004 Acura EL in Colorado junkyard, owner's manual - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDespite some timeworn seat upholstery, this car was in decent shape when it got to its final parking space. The original French-language manuals were still in the glovebox, suggesting that it may have been a one-owner machine.

2004 Acura EL in Colorado junkyard, RH rear view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe rear bodywork, being Domani-based, doesn’t look like a US-market Civic sedan from the era, but otherwise we’re looking at a nicely-optioned Civic sedan that almost blends in here.

Attain the balance between luxury and excitement.

Just the car for the salt flats.

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49 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2004 Acura EL...”

  • avatar

    Obligatory: The metric system is the tool of the devil!!! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it!!!

    • 0 avatar

      Those era EL’s were badge jobs, the 90’s ones were nice though. Basically a better looking civic with leather, sunroof, better audio, rims etc.

    • 0 avatar

      Bad news: “Since the International Yard and Pound Agreement of 1959, one foot is defined as 0.3048 meter exactly.”

      We *are* on the metric system! … head explodes …

      Bonus factoid: The prototype meter bar of platinum-iridium is old news (as of 1960). As of 1983, a meter is “the length of the path traveled by light in a vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second.” So what’s a second? “Since 1967, the second has been defined as exactly ‘the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom’ (at a temperature of 0 K).” Thank you wikipedia.

      This is all going to be difficult to prove out at home.

      [By the way, if you’ve never contributed to the Wikimedia Foundation, you might be a selfish narcissist. :-) ]

    • 0 avatar

      28 Cars with the first post FTW!

      I wonder if the car had any Royale with Cheese wrappers under the seats.

      (“Aw man, I shot Marvin in the face!”)

  • avatar

    2 questions: Where was this thing built? Japan? Anna, OH? Canada? Why did someone write “3.5 L”? Its obviously a 4 banger? Head scratcher?

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Anyone who goes by the numbers on climate control is crazy. If you’re cold, turn it up; if you’re hot, turn it down. The number is less than meaningless.

    • 0 avatar

      Generally agree except on my 2004 Caddy. Set at 73 and never touch it year around. A great HVAC system reminiscent of the ones from GM’s glory days.

      • 0 avatar

        I have to agree. My 2005 Grand Prix with dual zone climate control was identical. Set and forget, it just held a steady perfect temperature. Don’t know what programming and sensors GM was using in the 00s but it just feckin’ worked. Never had a vehicle as good before or after (GM included)

      • 0 avatar

        Weirdly, I set mine to 72 in the warmer months and 68 I’m the cooler months. If I don’t the thing is a refrigerator, which I generally like but I don’t want to fiddle with the fan constantly.

    • 0 avatar

      Kind of, but mostly yes. There are a few variables that make it pretty tough to actually build a truly “set and forget” system. The sunlight sensor on the dashboard helps a lot, but- Some people have tinted side windows or darkly tinted side windows, other locales don’t allow any front seat side window tinting, the local humidity might go through wide swings… and so on.

      I don’t have to change the set point by more than two or three degrees (F) in my ’15 Honda; they did a pretty nice job on that one.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends on the car – my BMW is set to 70F year-round, I never touch it. And it is 70F in the car. My Fiata – I just use it like a manual system, because auto-mode is useless.

  • avatar

    An Acura that looks like a Honda Civic? Pathetic. I think this is the start of Acura’s decline – selling poorly-disguised Civics.

    The green spray paint on the engine – is that a warning that the engine isn’t EPA certified, and not to be swapped into a Civic?

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that someone hasn’t grabbed the trunk with the different tail lights for their Civic yet.

  • avatar

    I find the mileage to be one of the more interesting data points in these Junkyard posts. How hard would it be to carry a battery pack and power up the car long enough to see the mileage?

  • avatar

    “Freedom Distance Units in big type and Communist Enslavement Distance Units in small type.” What a hoot! You are a funny writer Murilee!

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Everything about the metric system is better than the English units except for temperature. A difference of 2 degrees C is pretty significant. I wish our country had changed over when Canada did. Ironic that all American cars are all built with metric sized fasteners…though the transition was odd. My MK VII was metric except for the carryover items such as the engine.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a bit of a misnomer to call them “English” units. It is the units used in England when the USA declared independence, but around 1820 the UK did a massive overhaul and rationalization of their system of measurement and came up with the Imperial system. Thus weight and volume measurements are all different between the current US and old UK systems.

      A US gallon is actually the Queen Anne wine gallon of 1707, and at the time gallons were different sizes for wine, beer, ale and honey. The US has continued to use these 18th century units and never updated them. Thus you see difference between US and UK ounces, pints, quarts gallons, and in weight ounces and tons.

      The system of units used in the USA today has not been used in England for close to 200 years

    • 0 avatar

      My mother’s 1978 Plymouth Horizon was part metric (its VW-sourced engine) and part SAE (pretty much everything else). Lots of fun trying to work on that POS.

  • avatar

    My ’86 Monte Carlo SS was half metric and half-SAE. So when working on the engine, break out the SAE wrenches. When working on the interior, you better have a metric set if you wanted to remove the seats. Maddening it was.

  • avatar

    These have been so prevalent in my life I never knew they weren’t sold in US. This, along with it’s 90’s EL predecessor (which looked WAY better than the Civic it was based on and didn’t look like a badge engineering job) and it’s CSX successor were massive sellers and there are still a lot on the road. Were all 3 of them Canadian exclusive?

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. We didn’t have a Civic-based Acura between the Integra and the ILX.

      • 0 avatar

        Our Acura dealers wouldn’t have survived without the EL/CSX. I suppose they can feast on the higher margins of the RDX/MDX now, but when it was only TL/RL and no Integra sedan, they needed to skim the top trim of the Civic to make up the customer volume in Canadian Acura showrooms.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      The only person I knew who owned an EL was a woman who was both a neighbor of mine and a manager at Calgary’s most famous strip club: The French Maid. You may draw your own conclusions – but her house parties were awesome.

    • 0 avatar

      My wife is now with me in the U.S. and she brought her fathers 2004 Acura EL with her. Currently 268k kilometers and runs great!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My 77 Monte Carlo had both metric and SAE. I had to buy metric tools as well back in the early 80’s to work on it.

  • avatar

    “Freedom Distance Units”

    There is nothing father from truth. It is British colonial units symbolizing suppression of freedom of religion and taxation without representation. Tyranny in other words by English King.

    If you want Freedom, Equality, Fraternity and Republic Units you should insist on switching to French revolution inspired and mathematically superior French metric system, considering that French Republic was US ally during anti colonial war for independence in NA. You should leave rotten English system to Canadian who stayed loyal to tyrant King and oppressors in red coats.

  • avatar

    Whoever wrote “3.5L” on that engine — pretty sure it’s not :)

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