Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

1982 Honda Accord

I have a question about a 1982 Honda Accord with only 47,000 miles.
We are trying to sell it, but we are not sure how much to ask. We
think it’s a really cool car, but it’s beginning to rust and we do
not have the cash to restore it. What we are finding though, is we
think it’s a cool car, and think it should sell for blue book value,
but we are getting no offers. We bought the car with only 5,000 miles
on it, and are only the second owner. The rust is beginning around
the wheel wells, but we have had our mechanic look at it, and he says
it looks great mechanically. We are located in Ohio. I am thinking
maybe on the west coast it would go for more? No one seems to be
interested in it here. The interior is almost pristine, the engine
will last another 200,000 miles, it would be in excellent condition
save the rust on the wheel wells. How much should we ask for this car
and where should we post it to sell to get the best price?

It’s a rust bucket regardless of the shape of the motor. If there is rust in the wheel wells, there is rust starting in over places as well. In many states, it’s the reason why cars can’t pass inspection. Rusted cars are of minimal value and only temporary use regardless of how few miles it has. That few miles may mean it sat a lot too which isn’t good. The body is very important to a car’s value. Don’t expect much and feel happy with anything you get.
The engine will go another 200k miles ? Maybe in another body and only if parts were available.

Probably no one is interested because they know better.

Rust on the wheel wells is why nobody is going pay what you’re asking for the vehicle.

After another winter of salt and sand on the roads, that rust is going to grow like a cancer.

Most car buyers look at the used vehicle first for it’s overall condition before they buy it. But most car buyers won’t bring the used vehicle in for a pre-purchase mechanical inspection before they buy it.


The problem you have is that the value of this car is as a possible classic. Otherwise it is just something a student might want to buy for $50 or something, to use for a year max, then junk. Somebody who doesn’t care about the newer safety features in cars, is will to live w/some problems b/c otherwise they’d have no car at all. For that, maybe $50 to $100.

But you see your car as classic potential. And there’s some merit to that. Your car if fixed up would make a nice car to drive and be more interesting to look at than the thousands of 2005 econo-boxes we see daily on the road. But folks buying classic-potential-cars know their cars very well, and they know how much effort and $$$$ it takes to take a car from the state yours is in to close to new condition. They know it might cost them $15,000 or so in other words. There’s heck of a lot of labor involved, that’s the main reason it costs so much. So they can’t afford to pay very much for a car like yours, especially for such a common car as an Accord, otherwise the venture is just unaffordable.

They might well pay more in California, but only if the car was a California car. They wouldn’t pay more simply b/c it was in California, but b/c an inspection would show very little rust compared to an Ohio car.

I think you’d be better off to sell it for the best offer you get within a month, and be done with it Best of luck.

Your market is a very niche buyer who has an interest in a rolling relic. This is not an everyday car in the eyes of the average buyer. People have a hard enough time purchasing a 1992 car let alone a 1982.

Maybe try ebay for greater exposure.

Ohio and rust is why no one around there is interested in it. These cars also have a bit of a nightmarish carburetor and emission control system.

NADA shows an average retail of about 3300 dollars but (and just my opinion) someone would have to be deranged to pay anywhere near that for an 82 Accord that is rust free much less one suffering from rot.

You state that your mechanic says it looks great mechanically and which may or may not be word play which could gloss over any rust issue.
So what did he say about iron oxide…?

You’re going to have to look long and hard to find someone who is as enamored of your car as you are. Not that there’s anything wrong with your car or thinking it’s a cool car, but people who think like that are few and far between. Objectively speaking, your car lacks any of the basic safety features and creature comforts that people expect in a modern day car. With that said and with the rust that you state is beginning around the wheels I think you’d be lucky to get $1000 for it, and that would probably be from someone who needs cheap transportation to run into the ground.

But keep looking, old Honda lovers are out there. Right now I have an '83 Civic in the shop with 240,000 miles on it. Customer just paid for a complete engine overhaul, clutch, 4 new tires, struts, control arms, brakes, and exhaust. $5000 on a 30 year old car. Crazy.

@asemaster, it’s amazing that someone would go that deep financially into an '83 Civic. Those things are essentially tuna cans on wheels

It’s crazy, but one of those sentimental things. I guess she bought the car new. Apparently we come highly recommended by one of her friends since she brought the car to us from 2 counties away. The car overheated and cracked a head. Another shop replaced the head with a reman and the car smoked badly ever since. Without even looking at it I suggested that the only reliable remedy would be a complete tear down and rebuild and just pulled a price out of thin air, thinking no sane person would do such a thing. Two days later it showed up on a tow truck, and on the front seat was a check for half of the quoted price.

You know how hard it is to find oversize pistons for an 83 Civic?

Very difficult I would imagine and probably not that cheap in comparison to an old small block Chevy.

I remember back in the 80s a neighbor across the street bought a brand new '83 Civic in the late fall and the reason they stated for doing this is because they had never owned a FWD car and heard they were great in snow and on ice.

A month later we had a pretty heavy snowfall (unusual for here) and since they were now invincible managed to slide it into a ditch at a moderate speed. That wiped out the front end and cured them of FWD cars although the car was not the one at fault.

I know how the car runs and how it gets 35 MPG without really trying. It is an ideal car for Ca. and I would buy it if I still lived there but for $1,000. Sorry, you should advertise in Trade Express or Photo Ad. for Santa Barbara County. You can probably type it in and get the info.

Here is a Honda Accord in Tucson for $850. Has a couple of dents but no rust. It needs a power steering repair, much easier than repairing rust holes.

Just as parents have a hard time being objective about their own children, I have observed that many owners of old cars have a hard time being objective–and realistic–about their vehicle.

The reality of the situation is that few–if any–people are likely to consider this car the “prize” that the OP believes it to be. Almost everyone will view it as simply as 32 year old car with very little passenger protection, a nightmarish emissions system, and some obvious rust damage.

A knowledgeable buyer will know that, for every bit of rust that is visible, there is about 3-4 times more rust damage that is not visible–and this makes the car unattractive to those knowledgeable people.

Ergo–the car has limited value–unless the OP can find the “one in a million” buyer who thinks that this car is worth buying for more than a few hundred dollars.

yeah this sounds like a car a lot of people would buy for a grand and almost no one would buy for 1200

I went to several websites and saw cars similar to yours being sold for about $800…and they were not selling. Rust is probably the worst factor in causing a car or truck’s value to plummet. I pass on this kind of vehicle on a weekly basis for $500 so I don’t see much chance that you can get more than scrap value for it. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but it’s true.

You might get a little more than scrap value if you can actually drive the car to the scrap yard. But I doubt it.

Take the first $500 you can get.

Sell it to a student; they only care if it runs and has a heater. We sold our 1994 Nissan Sentra to a college kid; the car was starting to rust but everything else was close to 100%. We asked and got $750 with 8 tires on rims.

Old as that car is, it is not smog exempt in California

And I would imagine it’s not a given that it would even pass

I can just picture miles of rotten vacuum hoses, and all sorts of moving parts that are seized

For crying out loud George there is no merit to a 82 Honda Accord ever being a classic.