Junkyard Find: 1984 Honda Accord Sedan with 475,113 miles

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The second-generation (1982-1985) Accord made Soichiro Honda's company a sales colossus in the United States, doing away with any residual impression that it was a mere motorcycle manufacturer with a sideline in four-wheelers. The last time we saw a discarded example in this series was way back in 2016, so today we'll admire one found in Northern California with close to a half-million miles on the clock.

I find so many Hondas (and Toyotas) in car graveyards with better than 300,000 miles on their odometers that I don't bother photographing them unless they have interesting qualities beyond just high mileage. This rule does not apply to other Japanese manufacturers.

475,113 miles puts this car in 11th place overall in the Murilee Martin Junkyard Odometer Standings. It's also number 4 among vehicles built in Japan, behind a Camry and two third-generation Accords.

Here's the current MMJOS Top Fifteen, which includes a bunch of high-mile cars I haven't yet written about (my Nevada/California junkyard expedition of last week was a productive one):

  1. 1999 Toyota Avalon: 949,863 miles
  2. 1985 Toyota Camry: 648,928 miles
  3. 1990 Volvo 240: 631,999 miles
  4. 1988 Honda Accord: 626,476 miles
  5. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E: 601,173 miles
  6. 1996 Toyota Camry wagon: 583,624 miles
  7. 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD: 572,129 miles
  8. 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD: 535,971 miles
  9. 1988 Honda Accord: 513,519 miles
  10. 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon: 493,549 miles
  11. 1984 Honda Accord: 475,113 miles
  12. 1995 Toyota Previa: 465,234 miles
  13. 1980 Datsun 210 wagon: 445,440 miles
  14. 1990 Nissan Sentra: 440,299 miles
  15. 1991 Honda Accord: 435,471 miles

That's four Toyotas, four Hondas, three Mercedes-Benzes, two Volvos and two Nissans. Eight manual transmissions, seven automatics. Six built in Japan, four made in the United States, three from West Germany and two assembled in Sweden.

This is a base Accord sedan with five-speed manual transmission, which had an MSRP of $8,549 (about $26,349 in 2024 dollars). Keep in mind that it has a few pricey options and that it was very difficult to get a new Accord or Civic at list price during the middle 1980s, so the out-the-door price of this car would have been a lot higher.

The radio was gone by the time I arrived, but we can see that there's air conditioning and a cigarette lighter.

Honda's PGM-FI electronic fuel injection system became available in the Accord during the 1985 model year; this car has the carbureted ES2 SOHC straight-four and its 86 horsepower.

This isn't a CVCC engine and so doesn't suffer from the terrifyingly complex "Map of the Universe" vacuum-line system, but it's still very difficult to get any carbureted engine from the middle 1980s through the strict California emissions test. If I had to guess, I'd say that inability to pass smog led to this car's demise.

Honda built the first Accord at its Ohio motorcycle plant in 1982, but this car was built in Saitama Prefecture in Japan.

You'll find one in every car. You'll see.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

1984 Honda Accord sedan in California junkyard.

[Images: The Author]

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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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  • Tod65798044 Tod65798044 on Jul 03, 2024

    Stunned there are no BMWs on that list. Stunned.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Jul 04, 2024

    A mechanic told me that it's best to let go of a car after 7 years. Now I understand what he meant. I've got a 12 yr old car and I'm going thru a heavy maintenance cycle which cost more than what I will get out of it via extended ownership.

    The cars above are the exception to the rule and are for bragging rights, little more. Keeping an old truck on the farm or giving your kids an old car is fine. Past that, it's not worth the headache.

    Best to donate to a charity or sell on Craigs list. Someone always needs a set of wheels. Let them decide when to bring it to the junkyard. 🚗🚗🚗

  • DS No for 2 reasons. 1-Every new car pipelines data back to the manufacturer; I don't like it with domestic, Japanese and Euro companies and won't put up with it going to Chinese companies that are part financed by their government. 2-People have already mentioned Vinfast, but there's also the case of Hyundai. Their cars were absolutely miserable for years before they learned enough about the US market
  • Theflyersfan Well, if you're on a Samsung phone, (noticing all of the shipping boxes are half Vietnamese), you're using a Vietnam-built phone. Apple? Most of ours in the warehouse say China, but they are trying to spread out to other countries because putting all eggs in the Chinese basket right now is not wise. I'm asking Apple users here (the point of above) - if you're OK using an expensive iPhone, where is your Made in China line in the sand? Can't stress this enough - not being confrontational. I am curious, that's all. Is it because Apple is California-based that manufacturing location doesn't matter, vs a company in a Beijing skyscraper? We have all weekend to hopefully have a civil discussion about how much is too much when it comes to supporting companies being HQ-ed in adversarial countries. I, for one, can't pull the trigger on a Chinese car. All kinds of reasons - political, human rights, war mongering and land grabbing - my morality is ruling my decisions with them.
  • Jbltg Ford AND VAG. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.
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