My family has always owned Hondas, the first car I drove was a 1987 Honda Civic wagon, my parents also owned an '87 Accord LX before the transmission failed, and currently own the '92 Acura Vigor we featured on TestDrive Spotlight last week along with a 2002 Honda CR-V. Honda wasn't necessarily the only car I was considering back in 2012 to buy, but when I found this 1990 Accord LX for sale in Mississauga, I knew I had to buy it. The previous owner also owned a body shop which seemed to specialize in luxury models, but this Accord was daily driven by their son. They originally bought it from the first owner who had leased it through their own private company as a fleet vehicle new from Honda in 1990.
I didn't know much about the CB7 Accord chassis at the time, I was just looking for an inexpensive car that came certified and e-tested in order to get on the road as quickly as possible, and the Accord was one of the few that were worth considering. I had looked at another CB7 in Oakville immediately after driving this one. It was 2 years newer and was 'fully loaded' as far as the 1992 model year was concerned, with power windows, doors, and a moonroof. The 1992 was in rough shape though, a cracked windshield looked like it was allowing water into the dashboard and there was some rust around the doors. I made the best choice I could, to take the base model with less visible issues over the one that was better equipped.
It didn't take long for us to learn how great this little car was. We bought it just under 200,000km and immediately took it on a road trip from Niagara to Ottawa without much issue. It seems over the weekend someone broke our passenger-side mirror and attempted to break into the driver's side window, as both had some signs of damage during our drive home. Either way we really liked this car despite having manual windows and doors, and the A/C not working anymore. Cruise control was a nice option that was selected but aside from that the car was pretty spartan.
The original LX trim came very basic, with unpainted front/rear bumpers, door handles, and mirrors. The previous owner had the bumpers professionally painted in the original OEM colour to help boost the image of the car, and shortly after I took ownership I finished the job, by painting those mirrors and door handles with the same OEM paint. It helped to make the car look more like the US-Spec LX, which was an EX model here in Canada. Adding additional features like power locks and windows would have been too difficult given my experience working on these cars and budget at the time.
Over the 3.5 years I owned the car, I was able to add plenty of OEM goodies to this relatively original car. I always tell the story of this car's radio, when we bought the car it came with an aftermarket Kenwood CD player which sounded OK considering the car's age. The radio worked well but CD sounded a bit better. The only issue was our typical route to work every day required us to drive along Burlington Street in Hamilton, and that poor CD player would skip ever few seconds. I decided to go all-in and replace the aftermarket head-unit with an OEM Honda radio and CD attachment out of a 1997 Honda Odyssey. It was as original as I was going to get for a car that was 25 years old at the time.
I added a set of factory fog lights to the front of the car, found a brand new in box hood protector with the side panels, original window visors, and a factory spoiler with LED brake light. I also sold off the cheap 14" steel rims with hub caps for a set of 15" alloys off the 5th generation Accord, and bought another set of 15" steelies for the winter. The final upgrade was an arm rest for the front passengers, which is normally a part only found in south-Asia.
This was one of the best cars I've ever driven, even though it's almost as old as I am and truthfully isn't very safe. We only had 1 breakdown when the radiator cracked on a hot day, and the vehicle speed sensor failed which meant the odometer and speedometer worked intermittently. The radiator was a cheap enough fix, and the VSS required an OEM part after trying something aftermarket. No matter what we asked of this little Accord it always fired up and got the job done, rain or shine, snow or hail.
The 4th generation Accord is one of the most successful vehicles Honda ever produced. Although many of them we see on the roads today are being used as beaters, it still goes to show that Honda produced a fantastic vehicle that had the potential to last forever. With 3 different body styles, a sedan, coupe, and wagon, along with 4 different trims for Canadian models, all the way from our base model with power nothing up to the all-leather SE, the Accord could truly be the car for any situation. We're certainly a little biased towards this car, but we feel that the succeeding generation Accord just didn't have the right chemistry and soul that the CB7 does. It worked on so many levels.
We mentioned in our Spotlight episode that we'd love to buy another Accord if we could. Many have told us that we should just buy back our 90 LX, but I don't see the point. Over the three and a half years I owned it I was able to customize it up to the best possible version of itself without getting into power options, and there's really nothing else I could have done with the car. Moving forward we'd love to find a 93 SE coupe or an EX-R wagon to purchase, that way we have something different yet similar to work on. This generation Honda Accord will always have a special place in my heart, and I hope people continue to save these cars.
You can watch our full episode of TestDrive Spotlight on the 1990 Honda Accord LX below: