Paul Guinness recalls the days when Japanese cars were frowned up by the classic car fraternity...
After the success of the Subaru Impreza competition, Kelsey Media is giving away another car in 2020, this time it’s the rare Honda CRX Mk2.
When was the last time you saw a Honda CRX? Back in the day, the sleek but diminutive Civic coupe was a more than worthy alternative to the likes of the Golf and 205 GTI, but they were never a huge seller to begin with and the British weather saw off most of them.
Of the survivors, most will be the second-generation car produced from 1987 to 1991 and that’s exactly what we decided to source when deciding on next year’s ‘win a car’ prize. It wasn’t easy: the modifying scene was at its height back when these cars were first becoming affordable and the Max Power types have seen to it that standard cars are few and far between, but we found this example at a Brightwells sale back in September.
Showing just 74,000 miles and with a history back to day one, it’s as good as they get and has clearly been treated well during the last few years which it has spent as part of a small collection.
After which, it must be said, its new life at Kelsey Media has been something of a rude awakening. Previous experience with Hondas of this vintage has given us unshakeable confidence in their reliability and so despite the car having covered just 100 miles in the last 10 years, we simply slapped the trade plates in the window and set off.
Of course it was fine and some 50 miles later with the car back at base we were pretty chuffed with our purchase which really is the tidiest example we’ve seen in a long time.
Problems? Well the to-do list was surprisingly small, but a few days after acquiring the car the offside rear brake caliper decided to start sticking and as usual, an exchange caliper was the simplest solution. With the car up on the ramp, the workshop pointed out the poor quality welded repairs to the downpipe and we found an aftermarket stainless steel part was easier to source than a standard one. For the princely sum of £70 it came complete with a matching stainless manifold and it seemed rude not to fit the two together. The only downside is that the aftermarket part lacks the heat shield of the original Honda manifold and so we’ve been keeping an eye on the plastic intake trunking which runs right above it just to check it’s not about to be melted by exhaust heat.
We’ve also sourced a replacement sunroof panel, since the original is starting to bubble up around the edges – although luckily, this is limited to the siding panel itself and not the roof skin. Originals are no longer available from Honda or anyone else and bodywork professionals reckoned it was too fiddly to weld up, but we’ve sourced a beautifully made fibreglass replacement which comes complete with a bonded-in frame providing mounting points for the headlining panel.
Otherwise, we’ve done little more than check the oil and water (both fine of course) and drive the thing. Everybody wants a go in the go kart-like CRX, although so low is its gearing that they’re usually not gone too long. At 70 mph, the engine is turning at 3800 rpm and the overall gearing is so low that the car will happily pull off in second.
You can see the Honda CRX for yourself at the Kelsey Media stand (145) in Hall 1 at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show with Discovery this coming weekend at the NEC, where you’ll also have the chance to enter the draw to win the car. Entry costs just £5 and visitors can enter as many times as they like. The winner will be announced at TRAX Silverstone 2020.