Still Desirable? 1991 Honda Beat – SOLD!

by | Jan 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

(Click on the photograph below to expand it and navigate through all the others)

March 4, 2023, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we can now call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

You may have noticed over the years that a rash of JDM importing businesses has sprung up everywhere. It was limited to bigger metropolitan areas near a major U.S. port. However, that has now changed, with numerous small businesses getting into the game of importing forbidden fruit from overseas. That has led to an over-saturation of sorts, and it’s no longer all that hard to find fun roadsters like this Honda Beat for sale on your local craigslist. However, the fine line now is finding one that wasn’t rescued from the dregs of an overseas auction as a throwaway item in the Japanese used car market. This 1991 Honda Beat, last listed in January 2023 on Craigslist in Asheville, North Carolina, looks like one of the best examples we’ve seen and has an asking price of $10,400. Comparing that price against the model guide shows us that the seller is asking a fair number with the average sale price of just over $8,000 at the moment, which also includes plenty of beater-grade examples, as mentioned above:

Are we getting to a point of over-saturation of cool, quirky Japanese cars? I think it’s a real possibility, especially considering how much a car like this or a Mitsubishi Delica would have run you five years ago. It’s amazing how much the market can change from one week to the next, but it’s particularly jarring when you realize how much someone spent to be the “first” owner of a special car or truck. The Honda Beat was no Honda S2000, but it was a sporting car in the finest Honda tradition, which is to say it was light, quick, and direct, with precise steering and a silky gearbox. We never came close to getting them stateside, and the S2000 promptly removed any lingering sadness that this runabout was never parked next to a CR-V in the showroom. That said, many enthusiasts still value being the only one at the meet with a certain make or model.

The Jazda YouTube Channel provides this Honda Beat Buyer’s Guide:

If you buy a JDM car or truck these days, I think you have to do so not with an eye toward future resale value but simply by assessing how much joy it will bring you (every car purchase should be looked at this way, but that’s a topic for another time.) The Beat is a willing backroads companion and an incredibly useful urban warrior owing to its impressive fuel mileage and compact size that makes it easy to park anywhere. The seller’s car looks cleaner than many we’ve seen in recent months, with bodywork that appears to be in good shape and OEM steel wheels that aren’t caked with brake dust. The interior is another highlight, especially since many of these JDM cars have completely trashed cabins after the variety of people who get in and out to move them around the departure and destination ports. While I believe the price to be fair, I’ll bet you could find a rattier one for a few grand less if cosmetics aren’t a concern.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Car is located in Wilmington NC

This is the legendary Honda Beat. Three cylinders. 5 gears. Unlimited amounts of fun are to be had in this awesome little car. Coastal Classic Cars LLC is excited to offer this rare Japanese market example. This vehicle just landed in the US, has been serviced, and is ready for its next owner. The mid-engine rear-wheel drive Beat was never offered in the US, making this a rare collectible for any enthusiast. This Beat features a factory zebra interior, air conditioning, power windows, and an original top in excellent condition. Please message us with any questions or to schedule a test drive! As Wilmington’s original Japanese import specialists, Coastal Classic Cars handles all tax, tag, and registration for our North Carolina buyers.”

Will the Beat go on? We think the market may soften for JDM cars, especially as supply exceeds demand. Does anyone agree?    


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