Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Honda: The 5 Best Used Hondas

Exactly 66 years ago on today (Sept 24th, 1948) the Honda Motor Corp was incorporated in Japan by Soichiro Honda.  Honda started out making a motorized bicycle (nicknamed the Bata Bata for its engine sound) using surplus Tohatsu 2-stroke engines from radio generators, but they soon ran out of the engines and started making their own.  It was from these humble beginnings, and only three years after multiple atomic bombs and uncountable quantities of conventional weapons had reduced the Land of the Rising Sun to shambles, that Honda in his 170 square foot workshack launched a commercial empire.  Today, we are happy to produce a short segment on the best cars to ever be born from Dreams.

Makes you wonder what sort of men are struggling to innovate in countries like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan and what their impact on the world will be in half a century. Will they make as significant an impact on the world as men like Soichiro Honda or Takeo Fujisawa?  Only time will tell, but the ability to man to rise from the depths of disaster is almost limitless.  Enough meandering madness, let's get to the top 5.

 5. Acura NSX

Starting out the top five is one of the best cars to ever come out of a Honda factory, find this 1991 Acura NSX bidding for $21,000 with ...even with an autotragic transmission, this car looks too good to be true.. seller nenelovesnena has zero feedback, the car has New York plates and is offered in Florida...but hey, it could be a person who has recently moved and this is the first eBay transaction...yeah...probably a scammer.  Sigh. If anyone sees a better NSX for sale, post a link in the comments.

 4. Honda Prelude 4th Gen

The fourth generation Honda Prelude may have been superseded by the Acura RSX, but it was really a swan song for the era of fun-to-drive cars with a Honda badge on the front.  Nothing has really been exciting to drive since the Honda's entry into the pony car segment went away.  Find this 1998 Honda Prelude Type SH offered for $4,500 in Oxnard, CA via craigslist.   The hardest part of finding a good Prelude is finding one that hasn't been modified by idiots. 

3. Honda CRX

If you think trying to find a stock Prelude is tricky, just try and find a non modified CRX Si!  It is like trying to find a cotter pin in a pile of needle bearings.  The best we could do on short notice was this 1987 Honda CRX Si currently bidding for $2,500 reserve-not-met with 1 day to go, located in Nicholson, GA.  It has had a recent paint job, but the wheels don't look bad and it doesn't have a giant wing, so it gets a pass.

2. Acura Legend

The Acura Legend was the first North American vehicle to be powered by one of Honda's over engineered C-series V6 engines.  The Legend was also available with a 6-speed manual gearbox in 1993, which was at least a few years ahead of the Japanese/German competition, and a decade ahead of Detroit.  Find this 1994 Acura Legend Coupe 6-Speed offered for $13,975 or best offer on eBay with only 45k miles on the clock, located in Denver, CO.

 1.  Honda S2000

If you have never driven an S2000 in anger, you might not get the choice of the little convertible for best used Honda, because on paper it doesn't seem that special.  Even putting around in traffic it drives like any other Honda, but give it the beans and the 9000 rpm 4-banger comes alive.  The chassis is fantastic, steering feedback is second to none and the interior is top notch.  The S2000 isn't just the best convertible that Honda ever built, it is arguably the best convertible ever manufactured for public consumption. The best part? They aren't even that expensive to buy or own.  Find this 2000 Honda S2000 offered for $11,000 buy-it-now on eBay, located in Athens, TN with 3 days to go.

See something we missed?

Image credits; eBay, craigslist, Honda.


  1. Good list. Would love to own 1,2,4 or 5.

  2. All other cars should have the f20c and 6 speed from the s2000 swapped in. A 9000 rpm redline on anything outside of the super bike world is wonderful.

    1. I couldn't agree more. What is amazing is that Honda built an engine with mean piston speeds matching a F1 car that will last for 250k miles with only basic maintenance. It is a staggering feat of engineering and quality control.

  3. This is a car site, but you would have to have a top ten if you were talking motorcycles, starting, of course, with the CB 750 that literally changed the motorcycle world. I've had two Honda M/C and they were not only exciting (second year CB750 was the first) but absolutely dead reliable. Talk about amazing feats of engineering.

    1. Actually, I was thinking of a Top 5 Honda Motorcycles would look something like

      1) The Super Cub-the most produced motorcycle on the planet, delivering people and goods throughout the world. It introduced the USA to the slogan "You meet the nicest people on a Honda.

      2) Honda 305 Dream-the motorcycle that that showed the world that some motorcycles start easily everytime, don't leak oil and a fun to drive on main roads too.

      3) Honda CB750-Their inline 4 looked complex but was amazingly reliable, allowing Honda to leapfrog over the British twins and American V-twins and secure their position in the US market forever.

      4) NR500 to show the world that oval pistons and 8-valves per cylinder can work and can deliver power through a single-sided swing arm.

      5) Honda CBR600-Probably the most versitile sports bike ever produced since its introduction in 1987 as the Hurricane through its evolution through the F-series and the current CBR600RR.

      Then of course, there's all of their off-road stuff which would require its own top 5.

      Feel free to add to these people as this is just my opinion. I've ridden all of the above (and many more) except for the NR500

    2. This is a great list. From my personal experience, I can't sleep without mentioning...

      CB550F - The little brother of the Big CB750, this beautiful, reliable and agile bike had a few cool quirks like the serpentine exhaust and a front disc that always squeaked but was also reliable, fast and FUN, FIN, FUN to drive.

      VTR250 - This little Honda is often forgotten but the performance, sound and brilliance reflected in it's V-Twin, 4-valve, 250cc engine and it's restrained bodywork deserve accolades. Deadly reliable with a sweet power band, it could perform perfectly as an errand bike in the city or ridden two-up on the highway without fear.

      CB1 - This 400cc, 16-valve pocket rocket was an engineer's and rider's wet dream. Performance, looks, reliabilty and a sci-fi/Blade Runner/future-now design made this bike an instant classic.

      Earlier this week I snapped a picture of a new Repsol Replica CB250 parked next to my moto in downtown Chicago and thought to myself, "Honda still has it.". Kudos to this awesome company for their passion, engineering, reliability and understanding of moto & auto market.

    3. All good picks as well. (Problem is, there aren't many that one can pull off a list. As an example: I feel like I dishonored Honda by not putting the VFR750 on that list. Put a 4:1 exhaust on one of those and it will sound remarkably like an Italian V8 at full scream; only the Honda can scream at an even higher pitch. IMHO its the best all around bike ever conceived.)

    4. Don't know how I forgot the RC45, either. They have made so many great bikes, any list will leave out one or more that by all rights should have been included.

  4. I love the 90's. Maybe similar lists for Toyota, Subaru, Nissan...?

    The high-revving, VVTL-i 2zz and whatever it went into OEM (Corolla, Celica GTS) didn't get as much love as the earlier Honda applications of variable valve lift but I can't stop raving about the Vibe/Matrix body style with that engine. The 6-spd feels like churning a bucket of gravel, even after a swap to brass linkage bushings, but what fun in a practical sleeper.

  5. The S2000, absolutely. The NSX seems to have a very serious fan base as well. I might even give grudging props to the CRX though I really don't think it's worth any more than a Civic of the same vintage.

    The second-generation Legend was a pretty spectacular car at the time it was first sold, but the world's kinda passed it by, it's still wrong-wheel-drive, all the 'real' cars like that E55 from the other day have depreciated down into its price territory.

    And that Prelude, nah. Wrong-wheel-drive Japanese sport coupes used to be a dime a dozen, and the Prelude might have been a notch better than some of the others in driving experience but without a hatchback any car that size is useless.

  6. I would submit the previous generation Honda Fit as a GREAT reminder of what Honda used to be. Seriously, it's a great car.

  7. "Best" car I ever owned was a 1992 Accord. I was going to art canter at the time and after a long day of shitty critiques I would take it out on the poor Honda. I never let me down. Never needed anything. I ended up selling it and buying a 65 Chevelle which had more bravado but not as trustworthy.

    1. While the Accord is now the ultimate bland mobile, I felt pretty lucky when I was selling the very first Honda Accords. They were very well received by a lot of people who had never considered a 'ferin' car before. By contrast to the Civic, the Accords were well equipped (even though the a/c had to be added at the dealerships in the early years). I've sold a lot of different brands of cars but have never encountered anything that approaches the near fanatic loyalty that Honda owners exhibit for their brand.

      Its also worth remembering that the Accord came out just before VW started delivering cars from their ill managed Westmoreland, PA plant. Those US built Rabbits were visibly inferior to their German (diesel powered) twins that shared the same showroom floor right next to them. Honda didn't repeat those cost cutting mistakes as shortly thereafter, Honda opened their Marysville, OH plant. Even their earliest US built cars/motorcycles were identical in all respects (including build quality) to their Japanese assembled products. Honda has even had to export cars from the US to Japan over the years. They changed the way we regard transplants.

  8. High revs make every car more fun. I love my high-revving late model civic si. Keep in mind some of us northerners prefer wrong wheel drive for getting around during the 9 months of winter.

  9. Let's not forget the Honda EU1000i.


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