Honda CRX: Buying used

By: Joe Kenwright

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Honda's CRX has stood the test of time better than some may expect.

 

Buying a used Honda CRX

HISTORY

Honda completed the evolution of its CRX coupe into a two-seater sports car in May 1992. A lift-off aluminium roof and rear glass that dropped electrically behind the front seats created an almost open body with rollover hoop.

Being Honda’s first local VTEC model, with variable cam-timing and lift, helped justify a stiff price tag that nudged $40,000 in its later years. Its B16A2 engine delivered 117kW from just 1.6 litres with exceptional fuel economy. Contoured seats, motorcycle-style instruments and double wishbone suspension front and rear added exclusivity.

Despite mid-engine looks, the car utilised a front-drive layout and was overshadowed by the Toyota MR2 even though it was cheaper. However, the CRX has stood the test of time better than expected. A driver’s airbag was added in 1994. A facelift in March 1996 added an immobiliser, electric aerial, new seat trim, revised alloy wheels and front spoiler. Final stocks were cleared September 1998 and there’s still no replacement.

PRICES

Owners couldn’t leave this CRX alone making for a wide range of modified $5000 examples worth zip if you don’t share their taste. The best original cars fetch closer to $10,000.

CHECKPOINTS:

  • CRX was a popular grey import during a lawless period when parts imports were given identities from local wrecks and illegally registered. At the slightest hint of a non-factory delivery, investigate how it was complianced and registered or risk losing it.
  • Aussie headlights were two-piece glass; imports had one-piece plastic which can be crazed.
  • Modifications range from outrageous or illegal to dangerous. Check that wild wheels, underbonnet mods and non-genuine exhaust don’t make it uninsurable or veto a younger driver from driving it.
  • Bulletproof engines are thrashed mercilessly and are now blowing up from lack of oil, sludging, old age and neglect. Cheap replacements are now scarce so $3000-plus overhauls are the only alternative if smoky or rattly.
  • Heater slide controls can seize and break. Usually a roadworthy item so check that all heater/demister functions work.
  • Hard-worked gearboxes will have worn synchros and noisy bearings.
  • Seat fabric was moulded directly to frame so worn cloth and bolster trim prone to splitting are big-dollar repairs. Leather re-trims are common but quality varies.
  • Factory red faded early. Check that paint on roof panel, bumpers and body panels matches.
  • Roof panel seals wear then leak and the handles break which can add up in cost. Check for water damage.
  • Steer away from examples with heavily modified bodywork as it can cost a bomb to reverse if the original parts are no longer with the car.
  • Thanks to CRX experts Hondworld (03) 9530 9930

 

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