The cars we loved.
The Accord was one of those cars that hit the ground running. In the first year of it’s production in 1976, it became an instant success. With it’s modest size and great fuel economy it established and new standard for Japanese cars. Each successive generation brought a somewhat bigger, more refined Accord. Eventually it became the benchmark and best seller in America and most of the world.
The third generation, introduced in 1986 with it’s sleek design and pop up headlights, was one of the sportiest Accords to date. Rated as a compact, it was available in 3 body styles: 4 door Sedan, 2 door hatchback and coupe. Another 2 door version called the Aerodeck was available in Japan and Europe that looked essentially like a larger Civic in back.
Honda seems to have established a pattern of producing bland then sporty Accords with each alternating generation. By this time US Accords were made in Marysville Ohio, while some versions still arrived from Japan.
These cars were special not just because they were the perfect synthesis of Honda’s dedication to solid engineering, performance and economy, but because they managed to do these things so well and so much better than anything in it’s price range (and some cars costing much more). With only 98 to 120hp, they offered spritely acceleration due to the cars light weight, but only when mated to the manual 5 speed transmission. The double wishbone suspension all around kept the Accord glued to the road while offering a comfortable ride. Honda certainly got it’s groove on with this and it’s other products.
Accords from this time have aged gracefully. By now if you were able to find one on the road that was not driven to death, you might notice that it’s pop up headlights still work. That’s not something I can say about many Firebirds from the time.
One of the things I liked most about the third generation accord was the attention to interior details. The dashboard has an ergonomic design that’s boxy, but still user friendly. The controls were detailed, without being too small or cramped – all while managing to look simple and straight forward.
The Accord wasn’t this exciting again until the 5th generation rolled around. By then a station wagon was added. The current 8th generation car is now classified mid-sized and replaces the previous bland generation in keeping with the alternating generations of sportiness theme.