Junkyard Find: 1980 Honda Accord Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1980 honda accord sedan
In rust-prone regions, first-generation Honda Accords oxidized to oblivion well before the 1980s were finished, but elsewhere they held together for decade after decade. I still see the occasional 1977-1981 Accord when I walk the rows of car graveyards in Colorado and California, though nearly all of those cars are hatchbacks.Here’s a hard-to-find ’80 Accord sedan in Denver.
It shows some rust, of the slow-motion sort we get here in High Plains Colorado.
Honda went to six-digit odometers on American-market cars for the 1982 model year, but we’ll never know the true total on this 1980 model. The pedal pads and seats don’t show the kind of wear you’ll see on a 300,000-mile car, so chances are this car has 110,662 or 210,662 miles on the clock.
Five-speed manual transmissions still had sufficient cachet in 1980 that it made sense to put boastful emblems like this one on cars so equipped.
The 1.75-liter four-cylinder engine seen here made 72 horsepower and had the still-somewhat-revolutionary CVCC system in place. No catalytic converter needed, although you were still supposed to run unleaded gas in this car.
The vacuum-hose diagram looked intimidating by 1980 standards, but CVCC-equipped Hondas of five years later had the terrifying “Map of the Universe” diagrams, required as emission-control laws became stricter during the decade. Electronic fuel injection did away with the need for CVCC long before the end of the 1980s.
Americans loved the early Accord hatchbacks so much that we can forget the sedans even existed. This car might have been a runner when it arrived in this place, but few want to buy a beat-up 40-year-old Accord when 25-year-old Accords sell for about the same price.
I’ll bet this car still had 20 years to go when this sticker went on the rear glass.
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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Apr 02, 2020

    I remember when these (and the Civic 4-door sedan) came out. Our neighbors across the street had one of these in the same red with red bordello velour. The maintenance reminder lights were kinda cool. You can see the three slots under them - you were supposed to insert your key in those, to reset them.

    • Ccxianson Ccxianson on Apr 02, 2020

      Ha! I had forgotten about that. Probably because I ignored mine! It also had the door and trunk open indicators which was pretty deluxe for the time. Also the A pillar antenna that you had to remember to deploy after a car wash. I don't remember the stock radio because mine came with a cheese-deluxe Schuck's special AM/FM cassette unit already installed.

  • JimC2 JimC2 on May 02, 2020

    Really late comment but I remember my grandma had one of these in the early 1980s. I don't know what model year but definitely this vintage. One of my uncles, my hippy uncle as it were, had a Civic wagon. I don't know who got their car first and I wonder if one inspired the other's purchase. Honda has always been stubborn. They did CVCC (a lot of genius and understanding of gasoline combustion that nobody else had) and successfully avoided catalytic converters when most of the competition didn't yet understand how to build an effective cat that didn't also incur a 5-10% penalty on engine output. When fuel injection became universal in the American car market in the late 1980s and early 1990s, almost everybody went to closed loop feedback systems that used an oxygen sensor (this is a good thing). Honda used their own "PGM FI" that was Honda marketingspeak for open loop (no oxygen sensor). That design philosophy isn't superior—it's actually inferior in a market with challenging emissions standards—but yet again stubborn Honda decided to be different and their own system was competitive and successful. Go figure. Anyway, neat cars and the beginning of an era when Honda made a lot of money!

  • FreedMike Not to toot my own horn, but I seem to recall saying that these ICE bans would get walked back a bit due to realpolitik. Wouldn't shock me if California is next.
  • Johnny ringo Mechanically the GTOs of this period were good cars but their styling was an absolute disaster, this was one of the most spectacular cars of the 1960's. When Ford redesigned the Mustang during about the same time they made sure it looked like a Mustang. I pulled up behind a car in a parking lot around this time period, it looked as if someone had decided for some reason to customize a Chevrolet Cavalier. Then I walked by it and saw the GTO emblem. Saying it was designed to be subtle is a cop out as in the 1960's Pontiac had the most aggressive styling of any automaker; subtlety was not part of the design.
  • Undead Zed Interior and exterior looks clean, but the fact that he doesn't mention mileage at all in the ad bothers me. That combined with the mods and that little "over $36k USD invested" quip at the end are throwing up flags in my head. If the mileage is below 150k and it's accident free, then this could be a pretty good deal, if you don't mind the slushbox. But as-is I'd want to run a carfax/autocheck on the title to see what pops up before making an offer.
  • FreedMike Kind of amazing these were cousins of the old Cadillac Catera.
  • MaintenanceCosts Cammed daily driver/street car? No way. Way too easy to run rich at low engine speeds and overheat and destroy the cats.I'm also generally skeptical of ordinary owners who think they are better engineers than the ones working for the auto companies.