Soul survivor: MK2 Honda Accord Hondamatic

At PetrolBlog, we make no apologies for concentrating on the emotional side of buying and running a car. Rational thought and common sense scarcely warrant a mention. And this emotional aspect of motoring is highlighted in no better way than the latest and unexpected arrival here at PBHQ. Introducing the MK2 Honda Accord Hondamatic.

It’s at this point that I should probably point out that the Audi A4 – purchased to tackle the regular airport runs – has departed from PetrolBlog Towers. For all of its solidity, reliability and sensibility, it was just too bland to warrant a long term place on the PetrolBlog Fleet. It failed where the Honda Accord Type-Shed and Saab 9000i blossomed – being completely devoid of charm and soul.

1982 MK2 Honda Accord 4AST

So when the opportunity to acquire the 1982 Honda Accord Hondamatic arose, I needed little excuse to whack the A4 on eBay and await the flurry of bids. But more on this another time, because this update is devoted entirely to the Honda Accord. A car dripping in PetrolBloggyness. A car which – in less than 48 hours – has completely stolen my heart.

It’s a second generation Honda Accord, introduced in 1981 and built in Japan, a full decade before Accord production started in Swindon. Contemporary reviews were extremely positive about the rival to the Ford Cortina and the Vauxhall Cavalier and it’s widely accepted that the Accord was the model that put Honda on the map in the United States.

Interior of 1982 Honda Accord Hondamatic

LGT 864Y was originally sold in December 1982 to a Mr Drew of West Molesey, Surrey – it still wears its original Comerfords of Thames Ditton number plates. Less than 16 months later it was up for sale at Balmer Lawn Garage in Brockenhurst for the princely sum of £4,850. Clearly liking what they saw, Mr and Mrs Tiffin of Hampshire part-exchanged their 1979 Honda Accord and – after fitting a sun roof – drove away in the later model.

Its mileage then was 12,506. Today it stands at 55,947 – a mere 43,000 miles covered in just under 30 years. Never missing an MOT, never missing a service, never being off the road. This Honda Accord is a true testament to properly loving and cherishing a car. It’s never wanted for anything, but then you sense that it never let anyone down. It’s no accident that this Accord has survived against all the odds.

1982 Honda Accord dials

In fact – as I’ve since discovered since driving her home – she’s actually one of only two left on the roads of Britain. Talk about responsibility. Buying the Honda Accord is like being given custody to a child. It’s so much more than a three-box saloon car. This Honda Accord is filled with memories. If it could talk, it would regale you with stories of trips to the west country. Of evenings sat perched on a cliff top, watching the sunset over Hengistbury Head. Happier times – when the Accord, much like its devoted owners, was still in its prime.

Mr Tiffin sadly passed away many years ago, but Mrs Tiffin couldn’t bear to part with the Accord. So it remained in the family, locked inside a garage every night, infrequently pressed into service for a quick trip into the New Forest or to the shops. It stems from a time when cars were bought for the long term. Depreciation was something for other people to worry about. When something went wrong, it was fixed.

This Honda Accord managed to survive the travesty of Scrappage. Is it any coincidence that at the start of 2009 there were six MK2 Honda Accord Hondamatics still enjoying active service in the UK, only for that figure to have been halved by the same time in 2010? I suspect not. We just have to salute the likes of Mrs Tiffin for resisting the temptation to cash in and drive away with a soul-less and rather desperate Hyundai i10.

Side view of 1982 Honda Accord MK2

But at 85-years-of-age, Mrs Tiffin finally decided to call time on the Honda Accord. Driving the car was proving to be too difficult, not helped by the Accord’s lack of power steering. Indeed, the garaged charged with looking after the car had cruelly advised Mrs Tiffin to scrap it. Even the merest mention of the word ‘scrap’ brings tears to the eyes of Mrs Tiffin. Remember what I said about emotions and cars?

A deal was agreed back in October and having sold the Audi A4 and cleared a space for the Accord, I ventured up to Hampshire to collect my latest acquisition. Thanks to Honda UK, I had the luxury of a brand new Accord Type-S – the chance to do an old versus new comparison was too good an opportunity to miss. More on this soon.

2013 Honda Accord Type-S and 1982 Honda Accord

It’s strange. The usual ‘child-on-a-Christmas-morning’ levels of excitement were still there, but I had really mixed emotions when driving away in the Honda Accord for the first time. To Mrs Tiffin, the Accord is much, much more than a car – it’s a key to a lifetime of memories. It almost felt wrong driving away. But it’s clearly the right thing to do. And where better than PetrolBlog HQ for a car as lovely as this?

Considering the Accord has travelled no more than 1,000 miles in the past three years, the journey home was remarkably uneventful. There’s clearly a few cobwebs that need to be blown away, but the 120-mile drive was completed at speeds of no more than 60mph. Performance would be best described as leisurely, but it’s hard to expect much more from a 1982 1.6-litre, three-speed Honda Accord Hondamatic.

I’ll save the in-depth report on the car for when I’ve had more time with it, but for now let me just say what a pleasure it is to drive. The tiny 13-inch steel wheels mean that – despite the lack of power steering – its manoeuvrability is effortless. The seats are wonderfully comfortable, the cabin is delightfully light and airy and absolutely everything works. And the original National MW/LW radio does a brilliant job of picking up 5 Live.

National radio in 1982 Honda Accord

Cosmetically, the Accord needs work, but there’s no structural rust. Over time, it – along with the Citroën AX GT – will be restored to former glory. But for now, I’ll just revel in the relaxed and leisurely way in which in the Honda Accord goes about its business.

Many thanks to Carol for putting me forward as a worthy custodian to this wonderful survivor and to Mrs Tiffin for entrusting me with the responsibility of looking after the Accord for the next 30 years. Here’s to more happy memories.

1982 Honda Accord Hondamatic

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

15 comments

  1. November 26, 2013
    Ben

    Lovely car, look forward to hearing more about it.

    Reply
    • November 26, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Cheers Ben.

      There will be plenty of updates!

      Reply
  2. November 26, 2013
    Ant

    Oh. My. God. Yes.

    If I’d seen this come up I’d have struggled not to buy it myself.

    Reply
    • November 27, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Heh. I just had to have it. Lovely car with a delightful backstory.

      Reply
  3. November 26, 2013
    Chris Barker

    Genuinely heart-warming story which proves beyond doubt the very real connection that so many of us have with our cars. Good luck being this plucky little Honda’s next custodian.

    Reply
    • November 27, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Cheers Chris.

      I now have a problem, with three cars I feel an emotional attachment to. Oh dear.

      Reply
  4. November 27, 2013
    Darren Leslie

    Absolute gold. Be interesting to see how you get on with it.

    Reply
  5. November 27, 2013
    Allan Duncan

    A former colleague had a manual 1983 Accord. He did over 400,000 miles in his manual Honda and it still didn’t use oil!

    Reply
    • November 27, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Good lord.

      That sounds like a challenge to me! 😉

      Reply
  6. November 30, 2013
    Scott

    Chuffing chuffed about seeing the one and only Hondamatic purchased by petrolblog. Please, dont be a stranger with the updates. Thanks for this great article bye the way.

    Reply
    • November 30, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Cheers Scott. I knew it was a rarity, but I had no idea it was the last MK2 Hondamatic.

      Don’t worry, PetrolBlog will be littered with updates!

      Reply
  7. March 2, 2014
    Craig B

    How are you getting on with your old Accord? I also have a Y reg Mark 2 Accord, done 53000 miles and still sailing through every MOT. Mine loves snow, potholes and B roads. Great to see another one in such good shape- I look forward to more updates.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      I reckon yours is in better shape than mine!

      Rust is the major problem, which is a shame as the interior is mint and the engine is strong.

      Having said that, it’s not responding well to the Dartmoor air. Even in the garage, it’s not great with damp starts.

      Any pics of yours online?

      Reply
  8. August 19, 2014
    Allan

    I have the same, but 84 on a B plate.
    Got it 2.5 years ago at 40, now done 71.
    Today it failed mot on (just) a sill and mid exhaust…found this blog whilst looking for exhaust. Love it! Mine ‘ is last of it’s year and model, condition isn’t great but it drives so much better than anything modern I’ve had. 🙂

    Reply
    • August 22, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Sounds familiar. Bit tatty, but drives well?!

      Any luck finding an exhaust?

      Reply

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