This is a 1986 Honda Accord DX hatchback. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: wow, what a lovingly preserved third-generation Accord. Or perhaps: oh boy, I bet we’re going to talk about double-wishbone suspension. Man, am I pumped for that. Or maybe even: wait, this blog is still a thing? The fact is, the Accord has a stigma of being a very reliable, well built and exceptionally boring vehicle. Don’t worry though, I’ll try my best to make it interesting. First things first, the pamphlet under the wiper tells me that I can find Jesus in 6 easy steps. See? We’re off to a great start already.
This Accord was on the market for three years, from 1986 to 1989. Back then, Japanese cars didn’t have the brand recognition that they do now, which meant that they were very much playing the second fiddle to the Americans in the sales race. Well, I say Americans, but I actually mean American, singular. The American (also a George Clooney movie, incidentally) in question was the Ford Taurus. The Taurus was the car to beat in the late 80s. The Taurus had something that made sense to people. My theory centers around the fact that Robocop drove one, but that’s just me. The fact is people bought alot of Fords. That is, until this little guy came along.
You could get an Accord in three flavors during the third-gen’s lifespan: a sedan (the one everyone bought), the coupe (the one everyone wanted to buy) and this, the hatchback (the one people mostly forgot about). You could get two engines, both of which were four cylinders developing either 98 or 110 horsepower. The more powerful engine was reserved for coupes and sedans and designated by an EX-i badge. This engine, coupled with Honda’s excellent five speed manual, made for a particularly pleasant driving experience. So much so, in fact, that by the time it went out of production in 1989, the Accord had leapfrogged the Taurus as the bestselling car in its class.
So the Accord ended up being the Guardians of the Galaxy to the Taurus’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that’s not what makes it interesting. This is a car from when Honda was the “alternative” option. It was what the kids are calling, hip and with it. Now, Honda’s are cars for people who don’t feel like doing research about cars. Back then, they were trailblazers. Honda and its contemporaries unseated the established American car market, sending them scrambling for new ideas.
You guys ready to talk about double-wishbone suspension? I’m ready to talk about double wishbone suspension. Let’s do it. A double wishbone is a style of suspension for the front wheels that contains a shock absorber and a coil spring, and allows for greater control over the camber of the wheels (diagram for all you engineering nerds). Oh, and it also looks a bit like a turkey wishbone. This, in essence, allows for greater control over how much the car leans while cornering, and adds feeling to the steering (hey, that rhymes). And that, I think, is the crucial point to take home about this little car.
Is it possible for something that was once uninteresting, an appliance, to become desirable only on account of the passage of time? Not like a rotary telephone or a Rolodex- those are only novel for having been outmoded. This little Accord still works as a car, probably better than most, as a matter of fact. You can tell that whoever owns this likes it, cares for it, based simply around the fact that it’s still around. Third generation Accords, as well as their predecessors, had the decidedly annoying tendency to rust into oblivion in states that salted their roads. This one didn’t. Its owner took care of it so it took care of it’s owner. I can get behind that.
- In 1986, the Accord Sedan was the third most aerodynamic 4-door on the market. There’s a little fact to keep in your back pocket. Use it at parties.