Home » Faded But Fun Red Rides: 1990 Honda Civic Si vs 1991 Dodge Stealth

Faded But Fun Red Rides: 1990 Honda Civic Si vs 1991 Dodge Stealth

Sbsd 3 26 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Welcome back! I didn’t intend for this to be a theme week, but for the second day in a row, I’ve got two cool stickshift cars that are basically ready to go. So I guess I’ll keep it going all week.

Yesterday’s Mazda and pretend-Mazda seemed to go over well, and a lot of you thought that either one would be a good choice. I agree. The Probe ended up taking the majority of the votes, however, securing it a spot in the Friday runoff, which we’re going to do again this week.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I think if I were going to pick one, though, I would take the 626, mainly because I’ve already had a Probe exactly like that one. And I really like the ’80s Mazda orange gauges. But I wouldn’t kick either one out of my garage.

Screenshot From 2024 03 25 15 00 57

Both of yesterday’s cars were red on the inside; today’s are both red on the outside. They’re a little scruffy, but good low-mileage examples in what sounds like great mechanical condition – and more importantly, stock. Let’s see what you think of them.

ADVERTISEMENT

1990 Honda Civic Si – $4,800

01212 Jbf4sopmgvw 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 1.6 liter overhead cam inline 4, five-speed manual, FWD

Location: San Fernando, CA

Odometer reading: 94,000 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives great

ADVERTISEMENT

The “Si” in this car’s name originally stood for “Sport Injection,” back when most Civics were carbureted. These days it means “the fast one with the big-ass wing.” During these in-between years, when fuel injection was a given, the Si tweaks were more subtle: a little more power, sportier seats, stiffer suspension, a tach, and a sunroof. And not an ounce of fat anywhere on it.

00404 8buj3bxn9q4 0ci0t2 1200x900

This Civic Si shows only 94,000 miles on the odometer, and the seller, who is also the original owner, says it’s accurate. It runs and drives great, and is completely stock, down to the steel wheels and plastic wheel covers. So many of these Civics got modified to death that it’s easy to forget what a stock one looks like. It has just had its timing belt done, so no worries there.

00000 5uenbvdonod 0ci0t2 1200x900

It does have a lot of wear on that driver’s side seat bolster for so few miles. But I guess if the driver got in and out of it a lot, like for a messenger or delivery job or something, it’s possible. The rest of the interior looks nice, and the bird’s eye view of the interior proves that the sunroof works like it should.

ADVERTISEMENT

00w0w 6wadpnpkofp 0ci0t2 1200x900

Outside, it looks like that warm California sun has taken its toll; the paint is faded unevenly. It almost looks like they started buffing it back to a shine but didn’t finish, or did a poor job. A paint job is in order it you really want it to look its best, and considering the prices these things are starting to command, it would be a worthwhile investment.

1991 Dodge Stealth – $3,900

00u0u Hi36brht7y9 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 3.0 liter overhead cam V6, five-speed manual, FWD

Location: Chula Vista, CA

ADVERTISEMENT

Odometer reading: 150,000 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives great

The Dodge Stealth, and the Mitsubishi 3000GT from which it was derived, always seemed a bit redundant to me. Mitsubishi and Chrysler had the Eclipse/Talon/Laser triplets, which were the same thing, only a little smaller, and also available in three power levels, with the fastest model equipped with all-wheel-drive. Why the need for a bigger, heavier version of the same basic idea?

00e0e Ketnxfhb3kr 0ci0t2 1200x900

I know at least one of my colleagues is a big fan of this car. And it’s not that I dislike it; it just seemed weird that they’d offer basically the same car in regular and Extra Value sizes. This is a base model Stealth, which makes do with a single-overhead-cam V6 making 164 horsepower. That’s a little more than half the output of the turbocharged all-wheel-drive Stealth R/T, but you won’t find one of those in this condition in this price range. This car has had a ton of mechanical work done including a full engine rebuild and a new clutch. The seller says it runs and drives flawlessly.

ADVERTISEMENT

00s0s Bufe1jfoyz0 0ci0t2 1200x900

Cosmetically, it’s not quite as nice. There is some sun damage to the top of the back seat, and the door panel on the driver’s side looks a little ragged. The seller also reports that the passenger’s side power window doesn’t work. Everything else is said to be in good working order, though.

00606 Jtmrnwai2n7 0ci0t2 1200x900

The paint is better than the Civic’s, but not great. There are some worn spots, and the whole car is a little faded. It is completely stock, down to the wheels, which is nice to see. And as is the case with a lot of sporty coupes, including Camaros, Firebirds, and Mustangs, I like the clean lines of the base model better than the high-end models with a bunch of ground effects and spoilers stuck on.

The biggest trouble with either of these cars is that they’re more money than I feel like they ought to be. But they both have crossed the threshold from “old” to “classic,” and both are likely to go up in value as time goes by. Once again, the best advice is that if you find a car you like for cheap, don’t wait for it to get expensive. Grab ’em while you can. Which one of these is on your shopping list?

ADVERTISEMENT

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
63 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
25 days ago

The Base Stealth was a piss poor example of the model. Even the Dodge version of the 3000GT while good at the time is only a poor example of a muscle car, expensive to maintain, hard to source parts, and not worth it. The decent price Honda is a great daily driver. Only idiots and FANatics would go Stealth

First Last
First Last
26 days ago

Give me the sporty version of the basic car over the basic version of the sporty car every time.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
26 days ago

This one was a little difficult, but I can’t pass up a Civic that clean/low miles

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
26 days ago

This Civic is such a reminder of how inadequate and miserable vehicles were back then. How did we survive? Like, this is what we were happy driving? Terrible engineering, packaging, overall design. :SHUDDER:
It’s just great to see how far Honda has come since then. /S

Here4thecars
Here4thecars
26 days ago

That Civic is a little expensive, but I guess that’s what they cost these days. I much prefer the looks of the Civic over the Dodge. Civic for me.

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
26 days ago

This is so easy. Civic all the way. The Stealth is a bloated, underperforming heap. I mean it always was, and even moreso after three decades. The Civic would be more appealing at this price if the paint was nicer, but it still wins handily.

Last edited 26 days ago by Zelda Bumperthumper
Scott Ashley
Scott Ashley
26 days ago

Mitsubishi 3.0 V6 making 160ish horsepower. Sounds like the motor in my old Plymouth minivan. Not exactly a sports car motor. Nope ill take the Honda.

James Carson
James Carson
26 days ago

Civic please. I’ve never been able to fit in the Stealth.

Hiram McDaniel
Hiram McDaniel
26 days ago

If that Civic Si was about a 1000 miles closer to me, I would absolutely be running to that seller with a fist full of cash. Have always had a soft spot for a good hatchback, and that my friends, is a good hatchback.

XLEJim700
XLEJim700
26 days ago

Welp, I’ve got a pretty good history with Honda products. The latest entry was rolling out my portable Honda generator to power my Central New Hampshire home for the last twenty-four hours. And it’s almost the same color as that Civic. So Honda.

Dirk from metro Atlanta
Dirk from metro Atlanta
27 days ago

Having owned an 88 CRX Si that I’d purchased new and owned for a dozen years, I wouldn’t mind tearing around with its slightly bigger brother if only for old time’s sake.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
27 days ago

Stealth for me. I’d feel much cooler driving it, if only b/c I’m old enough and pop-ups.

At the point, it’s mainly about style, which the Stealth definitely has. Sure, the Civic may be the better performer, but unless you’re going all FnF, does that really matter for cars this old?

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
27 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Yeah, I’m pretty sure the Honda is fun to drive for what it is, not relative to newer cars with way more easy power or older dedicated sports cars.

OTOH, I’d be a little worried that the base Stealth is a little heavy for its engine. I don’t need raw power, but I’d like more than the secretary’s model, as they used to call base Camaros.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
27 days ago
Reply to  Jason Roth

Yeah, and they were pretty big, for a sport coupe, weren’t they? It does seem like it would be the equivalent of driving around in a base model SN95 Mustang for sure – more show than go.

I find in those cases, the manual makes all the difference in the world…if not fast, you at least get fun.

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
26 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Exactly. But I’d love to test drive one. Those things looked so futuristic when they came out.

IIRC I like the simplest Stealth best, but the craziest 300GT—each design had a natural expression that was either relatively clean or full-on baroque.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
26 days ago
Reply to  Jason Roth

For me, as silly as it seems, it was the spoiler that makes the difference. The uplevel 3000GT’s (the one with 4 wheel steering, all the Japanese bubble era excess gadgetry) spoiler looks better than the oddball Stealth one.

David Kieras
David Kieras
27 days ago

I would fix up and flip the Stealth to a kid who wants something to bling out, make a little cash, and reinvest in another Showdown vehicle.

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
27 days ago
Reply to  David Kieras

Playing the long game.

Actually, it would be kind of fun to do a Fantasy Showdown league—you start with $X, you get to buy & sell, but you also have to repair & maintain. Totally infeasible, but a fun idea.

Accordian
Accordian
27 days ago

I’ll take the pink Honda

Cyko9
Cyko9
27 days ago

The Honda is a deal. At comparable mileage, the Stealth would have a chance, but without a little more muscle, it’s an uphill battle.

Gubbin
Gubbin
27 days ago

That li’l Civic brings ALL THE NOSTALGIA. So light, so zippy, so much usable space.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
27 days ago

Civic, close to 50 MPG and a fun high revving flickable car? Yes please. A little high on the price point though

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
27 days ago

Faded glory beats just faded away. It’s the Honda, sorry SWG.

Stephen Walter Gossin
Stephen Walter Gossin
27 days ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I’m still in the Stealth’s corner, but well said.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
27 days ago

Admire your loyalty.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
27 days ago

I may be a fanboi for peak-era Honda, but that is the obvious choice and in today’s market a reasonably fair price for an unmolested example. My son is still driving his first car, a ’92 EG Civic purchased in 2015, and it’s still going. If I had any need whatsoever for a daily driver I’d be running up to San Fernando with a stack of 100s in my hand right now.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
27 days ago

How is this not 100% for the Civic? Those are legendary. This would be a good time to meet a hero. If disappointed, there will be another buyer for about the same price.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
27 days ago

Civic SI for me. Practical, cheap to own/maintain. All it needs is a paint job and it’ll be nearly perfect.

Church
Church
27 days ago

I’m a sucker for pop-up headlights, but that Civic is pretty sweet, so it gets the nod.

63
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x