11 February 2016

Does an ’81 Honda Accord signal a shift in the classic car market?

How much do you suppose a 1981 Honda Accord might be worth, maybe a couple thousand dollars? Try again. At the time this article was written, bidding on Ebay had ended at $25,211 for an ’81 Accord LX. Now let’s be clear, this isn’t just some hand-me-down Accord. It is a virtually showroom new, obsessively clean Green example with only 4,651 miles on the clock.

Here’s why it matters: This Accord is unexceptional in every way except for its originality and condition, and is the very definition of mundane. It is the embodiment of the classic car market’s shifting demographics and it’s Generation X’s ’57 Chevy Bel-Air.

Some people may try to argue that the Toyota 2000GT made it clear that imports were hot, but I’d disagree. The fact that the 2000GT’s prices lagged for years was more a function of its obscurity than the fact that collectors didn’t like Japanese imports. But moving past its anonymity, the 2000GT is the very definition of a collector car: It is an achingly pretty sports car; while not quick, it is well-sorted; and most importantly, it’s rare—only about 350 were ever produced.

On the other hand, the Accord was built in numbers rivaling the number of stars on a clear desert night. And yet…

Here is a 35-year-old example that sold for more than $25,000. The listing states that the Accord Coupe has no rust and is completely original and complete down to the spare tire, jack, tool kit and owner’s manual.

You may not love the Honda Accord or even find it worth mentioning, but with some collector car prices stagnant on traditionally strong segments (such as 1955-57 Thunderbirds), it bears noting that not all classics’ values are sluggish. More than reinforce 2016 Scottsdale’s results favoring very low-mileage examples, this Accord signals a marked shift in the classic car market.

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