Restored in 2002: 1981 Honda Accord LX 5-Speed – Sold!

Mar 2020 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

Once a common sight on American roads, rust-free examples of Honda’s first-generation Accord such as this Hampstead Green over tan cloth 5-speed first listed on Craigslist on March 2020 in Woodbine, New Jersey is now a rare sight today.  Currently asking $5,000,  the current caretaker who restored this example nearly twenty years ago is asking well above the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $1,025, $1,500, $2,375, respectively.  However, for five large, you’re getting a restored example of what may be the nicest 1981 Accord in existence.

Honda launched its first-generation Honda Accord in May of 1976, as a three-door hatchback with a 1.8 Liter, 68 horsepower inline four-cylinder equipped with Honda’s CVCC emissions control technology, a 93.7-inch wheelbase, and a curb weight of about 2,000 pounds.  The Accord sold well due to its moderate size and great fuel economy. It was one of the first Japanese sedans with features like cloth seats, a tachometer, intermittent wipers, and an AM/FM radio as standard equipment. In 1978 an LX version of the hatchback was added which came with air conditioning, a digital clock, and power steering.

In North America, the 1981 model year only brought detail changes such as new fabrics and some new color combinations.  Base model hatchbacks, along with the four-door, LX, and SE four-door, all received the same smaller black plastic remote mirror. The instrument cluster was revised with mostly pictograms which replaced worded warning lights and gauge markings. The shifter was redesigned to have a stronger spring to prevent unintentional engagement of reverse, replacing the spring-loaded shift knob of the 1976 to 1980 model year cars. By 1981 power for the 1.8 was down to a claimed 68 horsepower in North America.

If you have any interest in buying this Accord based just on the pictures, waiting until you watch these two videos the current caretaker put together as they really do this car justice.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the Current Caretaker’s Description:

“Nice running and driving Antique Honda Accord, with cold A/C, 5 speed manual transmission, new clutch, AM, FM, Cassette. I have posted video on YouTube. Search 2 videos: My 1981 Honda Accord Pt1 (of2) and My Honda accord Pt 2

Do you have a Honda Accord story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Analog Man

    This (and the Civic) was the car that shook the American car companies to their core. Japanese cars like this were the bright stars of the Malaise era, and were an absolute revelation when they appeared. My girlfriend at the time (and wife since then) had a near-duplicate 1983 Accord when we were in grad school that I used to borrow all the time (because my heaps were constantly breaking down, and I was subsequently always looking to buy the next cheap piece of junk to replace the previous pile of garbage). Driving her Accord was nothing short of an automotive religious experience. It started me on a life-long love and preference for Japanese cars as the reliable daily drivers (when I could finally afford them).

    The Accord showed the world how to do it. The combination of impeccable construction quality, reliability, comfort, reasonable performance (for the time), and unbeatable price (except for outrageous dealer “ADM” gouging) was untouchable.

    It might be hard to grasp that the time was come when a 1981 Accord is a ‘collector’s car’, but it is. I think the NADA price guidelines are WAY off on this one. If the car was half as nice as it seemed, $5,000 was a bargain for it (even with the funky non-factory style seat covers). A stick and A/C make it even more uncommon and attractive. The listing is gone already, so at least one buyer thought so too.


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