San Ramon Street Sighting - 1979 Honda Accord CVCC
In all my time publishing this blog I didn't think I'd get excited over a Honda Accord. It's that well-built, milquetoast family sedan that everybody and their brother, aunt, next-door neighbor and best friend will own at least one of in their lifetime. The average Accord performs its function with little drama, little character and is just... there. And yet, here's an Accord that has to be the cleanest one of its age I've seen in years. Most Accords give their owners a decade or two of reliable service, and then they have problems. And the owners frequently aren't car people, so when something breaks that's too expensive to fix, or the car is too old to be fashionable anymore, it goes to the junkyard.
There is one ray of hope about old Japanese cars. They're generally lightweight, simple, nimble and have small, efficient four-cylinder engines and manual transmissions. As long as you don't hit anything, they're good little commuters that can also be fun to drive. The 1979 Accord sedan came with a 72-horsepower 1.8 liter four-cylinder and a 5-speed manual (or two-speed Hondamatic if you're lazy and patient).
This ridiculously clean St. Moritz Silver example with maroon interior is a pretty standard Accord and wouldn't look out of place on a street corner in 1983 in this condition. Fast-forward to 2013 when I found it, and the thing had fewer dents than my '07 Focus. I could only find two on the whole car. I didn't peek inside but I don't see a "5-Speed" badge on the rear of the car so it could well have the Hondamatic, which I figure probably drives like a 1960s GM Powerglide. This was the first year of the sedan in the US, first year of the 1.8 liter engine and the final year of the 2-speed auto before an all-new three-speed automatic was introduced.
I like seeing old economy cars kept in great condition like this. Most of these cars were long dead many years ago, but a few have enough pride of ownership to take care of them.