The words ‘Honda’ and ‘classic’ are two words that many classic car enthusiasts wouldn’t expect to find in the same sentence. Given their first car (the Honda S500) was not introduced until 1963, Honda can still be considered a relatively young manufacturer in comparison to some of its European rivals.
Honda quickly built a reputation for their willingness to pioneer new products and technological advancements – an innovative spirit that has been maintained by the marque ever since. This period in the Seventies and Eighties was of great significance for Honda. They successfully overcame the prejudice that was fielded against Japanese car manufacturers, by their superior quality, performance and reliability that drew favourable comparison to their established rivals.
Honda’s pioneering four-wheeled vehicles are already regarded as bona-fide collectible classics – models such as the S500/600/800, N360/800, Z360/Z600, L700/800 and the kei class commercial T360 – but Honda enthusiasts have already turned their attention to the company’s Seventies and Eighties models. Cars which helped to build, establish and cement the reputation of the Honda Motor Company.
Here are some of the models to look out for:
^ CIVIC (1973-’79)
Arguably the model that propelled Honda to success, the Civic is still synonymous with the brand to this day. The key to its success was its compact size, good fuel economy, reliability, build quality and good equipment levels.
First released in 1973, the Civic was initially only available with a 1.2-litre engine, until late 1974 when Honda introduced a more powerful 1.5-litre, four-door version. However, in 1977 Honda decided to refine their 1.2 version and discontinue the 1.5 model – turning it into a bit of a collector’s item. If you happen to be lucky enough to have one in your garage, you can check the exact value using Honda’s free valuation tool for used cars.
Price: Finding one is going to be your first challenge, because so many have rusted away. Therefore putting a price on one – given limited availability and current market conditions – is going to be hard, however, a quick search on the internet reveals an Irish Civic Hondamatic for €2200 (£1800) to give you a rough idea.
^ ACCORD (1976-’81)
Introduced in 1976, the Accord was an immediate success, drawing praise for its attention to detail, high build quality, moderate size, fuel economy and comfortable drive – so much so that they were then considered by many as the best Japanese family car on the market.
In terms of specifications, almost all of these models come with a 1.6-litre engine as standard with a 1.8-litre unit topping the range in some markets.
Price: Comparatively more plentiful than a MkI Civic, the original Accord is still quite a scarce machine now. Cars of this era and type, should be around £3000 for a good one – but in today’s unpredictable market, you’ll find some priced at £4000 or even nearer £7000.
^ JAZZ (1984-’85)
Certainly an opinion splitter in terms of looks, the Jazz was Honda’s first attempt at a conventional ‘city car’, that remained uncompromised on interior space and comfort due to its intuitive design. Adopting the ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’ approach, the Jazz remained totally unchanged for its duration on the UK market, sticking with the 1.2-litre, five-speed model.
However, due to its less than competitive price at the time (similar to the well-established Ford Fiesta) the Jazz, despite favourable press reviews, never really took off in the UK and was discontinued in 1985 – making them a very rare commodity on today’s classic car market.
Price: Definitely the rarest of the three – due to the Jazz’s short-term availability in the UK and the fact that ‘grey imports’ of its JDM sister (the Honda City 1981-’86) are equally rare/ practically non-existent on the UK’s roads. Estimating prices therefore is pretty futile and car prices should be evaluated on a car-by-car basis.