The Accord


I made an attempt to go to Taco Bell yesterday but the line was prohibitively long. Damn you Taco Bell and your delicious wares!

I was 18 years old when I bought my first car – it was a maroon 1997 Honda Accord LX sedan, not unlike this one here. At the time, I knew how to drive a stick but I liked the Accord better than the manual Civic coupe I had driven so I ended up with the automatic. 36-year old me would have slapped 18-year old me in the face for that decision.

When I bought the Accord, I didn’t have any intention of modifying it. Really, I didn’t know anything about modifying cars or that there was a large market for modifying Hondas. Another one of my friends had started hanging with the car dudes in town that was into both hanging out in large parking lots at all hours of the night, and both legal and illegal drag racing. Once we started hanging with these guys, I was pulled into the world of modified cars and immediately got hooked….but in a pretty dumb way. I didn’t know shit about cars to begin with but as soon as I knew there were all these cool parts available, I ended up blowing a lot of money on a lot of shit that made a slow car only marginally faster (see photo below for a visual on what a super slow SOHC Honda engine with too much money in aftermarket parts looks like).

IMG-4600

Look at those clear corners too! Blue bulbs and all. I’m pretty sure if I could have back all the money I dumped into the Accord, I could buy a supercharger for my Mustang and still have money left for a few trips to Taco Bell.

I think I drove the Accord for maybe a year and a half before getting rid of it for my 1998 TransAm. I wish I could say I learned a lesson about dumping money into modifying a car but I ended up doing the same thing with the TA not long after. At least that car was pretty fast.

My friend Ben had a few nick-names for the car, including the alter to Satan and the portal to the 7th layer of hell, because of all the bad shit that happened with it in such a short period of time. I got in three small accidents and the car was vandalized and broken into a couple of times. By the time I finally got rid of it, the universe had clearly been trying to warn me.

I still remember the night that I knew I needed to get rid of the Accord. Really it was less about the apparent curse someone had put on the Accord before I bought it and more so about keeping up with the automotive Joneses. I was sitting at a stoplight behind a maroon C5 Corvette driven by someone close to my age (I think I was 19 or 20 at the time) and all I could think about was how much “cooler” than my modified Honda Accord that Corvette was…not to mention faster. Not long after I went and test drove some Mustangs, and the TransAm that I eventually ended up with. At the time, getting myself into a 500+ dollar a month car payment was not the smartest idea. I like to look at the silver lining though – at least I picked the TransAm, which was about half of the price of the Roush 360R Mustang I drove earlier in the day. Small victories. Also, the TA ended up being a pretty decent investment in the long run, but I’ll write more on that later.

When I parted ways with the Accord and made my move from the Honda world into the modern muscle car world, I pretty much lost all interest in Hondas and could be found regularly making derogatory comments about “ricers” and their fart-can or bumblebee exhausts, as if I hadn’t very recently owned a stunning example of a Honda with a fart-can exhaust.

The territorial attitude of some folks in the car community makes for good laughs now but in my younger days, it was easy to fall into the petty rivalries and shit-talking. As I’ve gotten older, I find I’ve become a lot more objective in my appreciation for automobiles across the board. Since the polarizing (looks-wise at least) Civic Type R finally made it to the US of A in 2017, it’s maintained a high spot on the list of cars I regularly tell my wife that I desperately need. I do have some friends who can’t understand the appeal of a front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder Honda hatchback covered in obnoxious aero pieces, scoops, and a large wing and I sort of understand. I think part of the appeal to me is just knowing how far Honda has come in its performance and how it really reminds me of what really got me into the car scene in the first place. It doesn’t hurt that the Type R has considerably more power than my Accord did. 🙂

 

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