Home » The Duncan Accords: Cold Start

The Duncan Accords: Cold Start

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Yesterday I spent the day at Duncan Imports, where we were shooting a bunch of new Torch Drives episodes. I think we got some good stuff, and we got most of the top picks from our member’s survey post, so if you’ve been on the fence about joining up as an Autopian Member, that should settle that. Permanently. Of course, Duncan is absolutely packed with amazing cars, and it would take us long past the heat death of the universe to show you them all, but there’s no laws that say I can’t show you a few interesting ones, at least no laws I voted for. Today I want to show you two cars I saw, notable because they’re both 1980s Honda Accords, a car I grew up with, a car that was once absolutely everywhere on American roads, and I mean absosmurfly everywhere, and now are more rare to see driving around than a Maserati full of hedgehogs.

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That Accord hatchback you see here is absolutely astounding, as it may be the most perfectly preserved 1980 Honda Accord hatchback on Earth, and, if I can extrapolate a bit, the known universe. Maybe Honda has a better one in their corporate collection, but I’m not sure I’d bet on that. This one is immaculate and has absurdly low miles, too. I can’t remember the exact number, but it’s in the lower four digits, if I recall.

This is amazing to me because these are not cars anyone thought to preserve. They were everywhere and used hard and long until they were used up, like a squeezed lemon. Or they rusted into piles of brownish powder, like cinnamon. The point is, hardly any survive. And yet this one exists, looking as fresh and clean as it did when Reagan was president.

The color is also notable here, that seafoam green, a color almost entirely absent on cars today, which is a shame. All of the interior plastics and velour match, too. These were such handsome and straightforward cars, rational and practical and tidy. Up to the B-pillar, they were almost identical to the four-door sedan versions, but the hatches had two chrome grille bars in the middle instead of at the top and bottom as the sedan did, and had a nifty little wedge-shaped Honda-H hood ornament.

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This thing is an absolute time capsule.

The other Accord I want to show you is this 1981:

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There’s the four-door sedan front end, but it’s tricky to tell why this one is notable from this angle, with the doors open. You can kind of tell, but this should make it more clear:

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That’s my kid Otto in there, lounging in the decadent red-velour luxury of a Honda Accord stretch limousine, complete with a Sony Trinitron CRT television, a red phone, some sort of little bar/fridge setup, jump seats, and a lot of fussy little 1980s hi-fi switches and sliders. Who made this thing? And why? It’s incredible and absurd.

It seems to have been built in Missouri, and had nearly four feet added to the middle. The motivations are still unclear, but I think we can assume they were noble, and important.

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Shinynugget
Shinynugget
10 months ago

My 3rd car was a 1980 Accord hatch in Seafoam Green. It was in beautiful shape when I got it in the summer of 1986. I drove it for about 1.5 years and the head gasket finally gave out. The only thing I didn’t like about that car was the slushy automatic transmission. Sold it to a mechanic for just under $1K and he dropped an engine and kept it going.

ScottyB
ScottyB
10 months ago

This generation of Accord is the car that convinced lots of people to buy their first import after a lifetime of domestics. I had no idea these came in such a cool shade of green, now I want one. Thanks, Jason!

Flinched
Flinched
10 months ago

Oh yes, that Gary Duncan. The one permanently banned from BringATrailer for creating shill accounts to run up bidding on a misrepresented vehicle with undisclosed damage.

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1995-nissan-240sx-21/

Been there, met Gary, and yes the whole place has a creepy religious vibe. Or maybe it’s just all the JDM hearse-temples lined up.

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
10 months ago

My buddy had an green Accord hatchback just like that (but in worse condition) in highschool. Somehow I discovered that the key to my 86 Civic fit his Accord, so I would regularly move it around in the parking lot just to mess with him. It took weeks for him to figure out what was going on. He had subs and speakers spread out all over the car, and there was no way to move or sit down in the car without disconnecting an amp or one of the subs because of his shoddy wiring. Seeing that car brought back a lot of fun memories.

Wezel Boy
Wezel Boy
10 months ago

I once got into a Burgundy ’84 Mazda 626 and drove it a couple miles before I realized that it wasn’t my car.

Parsko
Parsko
10 months ago

Amazing! My first car was an 82 Accord Hatch, 5spd. Still miss it. These all rusted to oblivion.

My family owned ~5 80’s Honda’s (2 were stolen in NYC). He had a thing where he would not buy them until/unless they had 200k miles on them. We regularly retired them with over 300k.

Thank you for this, this was awesome.

PS – I hope Otto showered that day. Don’t want that Torchinsky FUNK all over those beautiful cars. 🙂

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
10 months ago

I drive past this place pretty frequently, but never bothered to stop in, figured as I’m not in the market for anything, they wouldn’t want gawkers just wandering around. Not sure if that’s the case or not

Maymar
Maymar
10 months ago

I think even by the time I start remembering anything in the late 80s, these had pretty much vanished from Ontario roads. Meanwhile, my car’s about to hit its 9th birthday and I can’t think of it as old, and there are plenty of late 90’s/early 2000s Hondas running around.

Lightning
Lightning
10 months ago

That green is pretty much the same as my Sea Mist Green Pearl Subaru, but oh so shiny. It’s motivation to do a paint correction on my car.

Alexk98
Alexk98
10 months ago

As a local who visits Duncan Imports 2-3 times a year, the collection is absolutely staggering, and there is enough turnover that I am always in awe of the new stuff constantly coming in. Their prices may be high, but their cars are (usually) absolutely exceptional, the rarity staggering, and taste always on point.

Not only is it likely the only place on earth you can see over 50 Nissan Figaro’s jammed into one space, but the only place you can find a 1500 mile Integra type R next to a Delorean, 60’s F-250, and a 90’s Cadillac that was used as an ornate hearse in Japan, gold dragons and all.

Words cannot describe the place, and the fact that its open as a dealership and you can roam free is like the greatest car museum in the world. Cannot wait to see all the episodes this trip spawns.

Last edited 10 months ago by Alexk98
No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
10 months ago

Duncan is a rad place, but man the religion-pushing is off putting. When we went, they greeted us with some optical illusions/dad jokes that were religious tracts. We couldn’t leave without each taking a big religious book.

Probably still worth a visit. Probably.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago

“the religion-pushing is off putting. When we went, they greeted us with some optical illusions/dad jokes that were religious tracts. We couldn’t leave without each taking a big religious book.’

I mean, what else would you expect from a business in Christiansburg?

Zac H
Zac H
10 months ago

+1. What shocked me was how we weren’t blindsided by the culty Jesus stuff until we got to the exit gift shop/lounge area. As an atheist I was extremely uncomfortable, but my practicing Christian friend I was with was ALSO uncomfortable…

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
10 months ago
Reply to  Zac H

I have a few people in my life who are religious. When they start to squirm, that’s my queue for me to get out of there, lol.

John Beef
John Beef
10 months ago

Christiansburg, right near Blacksburg and Lynchburg

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
10 months ago
Reply to  John Beef

Not that close to Lynchburg. The Googs tells me 85 miles.

415s30
415s30
10 months ago

Hmmm I will not be buying a car from them I guess, I have looked around the site before.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
10 months ago

Real luxury is velour upholstery and a well-built interior.

Psst…Automotive Industry, you’re doing it wrong because you forgot how to do it right…

Timothy Arnold
Timothy Arnold
10 months ago

My first car was a 79 Accord and I’ve been trying to find a nice, clean one for years. I missed a silver, 40K mile one for $3500 about 10 years ago and have been kicking myself ever since.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
10 months ago

Did you get Otto from a soap opera casting agent? Because I swear he was a tiny baby like last year.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
10 months ago

My parents said it, I said it, my daughter says it: They grow like weeds.

Fruit Snack
Fruit Snack
10 months ago

My parents got one of these hatchbacks new and the quality and precision was a night and day difference to the American cars of the time. The interior felt like the future. A few years later they also got the sedan and were Honda-only through the 90s.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
10 months ago

That lil TV in reminds me of Frankie Sharp tapping his foot to Cassandra’s band as they perform “Ballroom Blitz” in Wayne’s parents’ basement.

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
10 months ago

That might be the best preserved Honda Accord on Earth but the real reason aliens visit Earth is to get cars to preserve as art pieces, occasionally abducting people to do repairs or steal parts or pose awkwardly in tableaus based on popular car ads from the 70s and 80s, those being the height of human artistic expression. So they have some excellently preserved pieces of all the cars that we have shamefully forgotten or neglected.

And hard agree that seafoam green is shamefully unrepresented in modern color choices!

James Andrews
James Andrews
10 months ago
Reply to  Soso Tsundere

That doesn’t sound right, but I don’t know enough about aliens to dispute it…

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago
Reply to  James Andrews

I can attest. They abducted my first Corvair and then came back for me to fix the brakes. I was really scared when they brought out THE PROBE but it turned out to be a torque wrench.

EXL500
EXL500
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

“One out of ten”: Kids in the Hall.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
10 months ago

My wife had one of this generation when we started dating. What a delightful car to drive. I had a Chevette at the time. The poor Accord died of oil pump failure, apparently a common malady.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
10 months ago

Why was the stretched version of that Honda built? Of course it was a noble reason.

In the Bible, in Acts 2:1, the members of the early church were all together in one Accord. Couldn’t fit in a standard one, of course.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

A friend in high school’s father was a minister. He used to tell that joke. We decided it was the most Pastor Dad joke ever.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Am dad. Can confirm.

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
10 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I offer another possibility. This car could be one of the little-known fleet of Honda sedans that were used to shuttle the Carter and Reagan families around the Presidential Retreat back in the day.

What, you’ve never heard of the Camp David Accords?

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
10 months ago
Reply to  TriangleRAD

Bra.

Vo.

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