Why No Saaaaaaaaafety Exemption for The Little People?

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You may have caught my article about the brand-new 1960s Mustangs you can legally buy – upgraded in all the right places but left alone everywhere else.

They have modern, fuel-injected engines, high-capacity four-wheel-disc brakes and modern suspensions that make them the equal – or better – of a brand-new (2019) Mustang not only in terms of performance but also everyday driveability, low maintenance and long-haul durability, too.

Also their emissions – which are as low as the new Mustang’s and so Uncle-approved.

But they haven’t got any of the other stuff Uncle has been mandating since the 1960s that may have made cars more crashworthy but also less beautiful and individual. No air bags homogenize the  steering wheels; no federally-approved bumpers mar the classic lines of these reborn Mustangs – which look exactly like the originals because they are original.

It’s the same sheetmetal, just newly stamped – fully authorized by Ford – and allowed by Uncle.

This is fine – but also not-so-fine because it’s effectively an exemption for the rich only.

These Mustangs – and a few other similar models, all of them reproductions of classic cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s – are priced well over six figures, chiefly because the exemption is granted for a very small number of vehicles (no more than 500 in a year).

The cars are hand-built to the nth degree of detail and fastidiousness. But the real reason for the high cost is  . . . the high cost. Building a small handful of cars for sale means you can’t exploit economies of scale. Every low-volume car is an expensive car, almost by definition. The manufacturer has to make a lot of money on each car because he’s only selling a few cars. A manufacturer of lots of cars, on the other hand, can make just a few bucks on each car and still make a great deal of money.

The best historic example of this is, of course, the Model T Ford – which sold for less with each new model year because Ford was selling more of them each year.

But we’re not allowed to have a modern Model T – a simple car updated in all the right places – that we can afford. Not necessarily a reproduction Model T – but in principle. How about a reproduction 1983-1987 Honda CRX, for instance? That car delivered better gas mileage than any new car – including hybrid new cars.

Sixty-eight miles per gallon (for the HF version) and that was 35 years ago.

It did so via light weight, chiefly. The car weighed less than 1,800 lbs. and so a very small (1.3 liter) and not very powerful (58 horsepower) engine was sufficient – and more than that.

It was fun.

Manual transmission. Sport-tuned suspension. People bought it as much for the mileage as for the enjoyment of driving the thing.

And it was cheap.

$7,668 back in ’83 – which is just under $20k today.

Imagine such a car reborn – and like the six-figure classic Mustangs, upgraded in all the right places – but otherwise left as they were. Lighter than the originals, perhaps. Via the use of modern (and now affordable) composite materials for the body that weren’t affordable back in the early-mid 1980s.

But no air bags – they weren’t around in the ’80s – and (like the reborn Mustangs) exempt from all the federal saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety folderol that has been imposed on new cars since the ’80s.

And not just a handful of them, either.

How about as many of them as people are willing to buy? So that they wouldn’t be for the rich only.

Why not?

How is it that some cars – expensive ones – are exempted from the regulatory folderol which everyone else is forced to accept?

Isn’t that more or less the same thing as the government allowing people who earn a six figure salary to skip making  “contributions” to Social Security since they won’t need a monthly government check in their dotage?

If it is not saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe for any new car to be built without air bags and back-up cameras and all the other things, why does the government allow some old cars to be resurrected, but only for the enjoyment of those deep-pocketed enough to be able to buy them?

Do the deep-pocketed have thicker skulls to protect them in crashes? Are they exempt from “the laws of physics” the government always ululates about to justify its cosseting of us at bayonet-point?

Don’t forget – it’s illegal for you and me to even temporarily disable a defective air bag (the Takata time bombs) until such time as they can be replaced with non-defective ones. But someone with enough bucks can buy a brand-new 1967 Mustang GT without any air bags at all and it’s perfectly legal.

Some animals are, indeed, more equal than others.

But there’s no legitimate reason why they ought to be.

One can make a morally persuasive case that a new car’s emissions be within a certain spec since emissions over a certain threshold can affect the health of other people. This includes new old cars like the ’60s Mustangs being manufactured by Revology.

But the presence or absence of air bags in a car affects no one except perhaps the person in the car – and even then, only potentially.

If it’s ok by Uncle for a guy who can drop $167,000 on a “new” 1967 Mustang GT to drive around without air bags, then it ought to be ok for you and me to drive around in a “new” 1983 CRX – or maybe a ’78 Dodge Dart or a ’70 VW Beetle – without them, too.

Of course, Uncle won’t ok it precisely because there would be a mass exodus away from Uncle-approved new cars into much more affordable (and far more fun) new old cars such as an updated ’83 CRX, ’78 Dodge Dart or ’70 VW Beetle.

It would crater the new (new) car business – which builds cars to government-spec at our expense, because we’re not allowed the option to opt out.

But Uncle always allows exceptions – and exemptions – for those who can afford them or who have the right connections.

Which gives you some idea as to what Uncle is really up to, his ululations about saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety (and many other things) notwithstanding.

. . .

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88 COMMENTS

  1. its not expensive to retro fit old cars with modern drivetrains

    I have two,
    a 74 Bronco, with a fuel injected 302 from a 91 mustang, 5 speed manual trans from a ’00 Jeep, disc brakes from a 76 K5 blazer

    and my teenage sons daily drive is a 76 Chevy stepside K-10, which he transplanted a LS 5.3 from a 2002 pickup, he reworked the wiring harness himself, and farmed out the computer reprogram
    he swapped in a NV-3500 five speed from a 2007 chevy pickup, AC from Vintage Air, a NP-208 transfer case from a 85 K-20
    a 4 inch lift from Alcan Spring and 35″ tires and some ancient 15×10 slot mags
    probably have around $10K in it , $2K for the truck, $2K for the used engine and fuel system, $2K for the vintage air, $2K for the new suspension, easily another $2k for misc stuff maybe more, ive not kept up with it, because I dont care
    we did all the work ourselves, but if you paid someone to do it, it would probably double the cost to $20-25K, not bad if you ask me, certainly not anywhere near the cost of the mustang you profiled
    the Bronco and the K10 both get MPG in the low teens, and are made from solid steel, no plastic anywhere.

  2. One of the best cars I had was an 89 Corolla SR5 coupe. 5 speed manual, carb’d 1.6L (I think). It was a cool body style, handled reasonably well for a front wheel drive and I got up to 50MPG on straight highway driving (crazy!).
    Never did anything to that except oil changes and spark plug wires (after 15 years). The cost per mile to own that car was next to nothing. I still keep my eye out for that generation GT-S which had fuel injection and another 20-30% horsepower.

  3. The other thing about newer cars that no one mentioned is this: the black box which tracks all your movements, speed, braking, etc. This sits there waiting for some insurance company or cop to subpoena your data, and then your car turns witness against you.

    No thanks!!!

    I’m sticking to cars made in the year 2000 or earlier. Last year I bought a ’99 Mercedes C280 with 73,000 miles on it in perfect shape for $5,000. That car absolutely rocks. Feels like a tank, handles well (sport package with stiffer springs, etc.), reasonably fuel efficient, comfortable, and a very classic, beautiful look.

    Those are your best values in cars: old, but lightly used in a place free of snow and salt.

    Cheers,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where cars never die of old age.

    • Hi Kim,

      Yes, indeed – I’ve written about this as well (it’s in here, somewhere). And the cars from that Golden Era – roughly, mid-late ’90s to early-mid 2000s – will last almost forever if you maintain them decently and don’t abuse them. My ’02 Nissan Frontier runs as well today as it did 17 years ago. I am betting it will still be running great a decade from now – and when it finally does get tired, it can be resurrected for a fraction of the cost of anything new.

  4. It’s like Uncle suddenly turned into my mother-in-law, and was placed in the front seat of every car in the country.

    Speaking of which: I’m waiting for the mother-in-law exemption, which would allow whatever seat in my car that happens to be occupied by my mother-in-law to be an ejector seat.

    The problem is that once the nanny gets inside the car, all the fun goes out the window.

  5. Just need to have about a thousand different companies/brands selling the same cars all made in the same factory.

    Only 500 cars sold per brand.

    • In the 80s, there were quotas on foreign clothing imports. I went into a bargain clothing store and saw dozens of identical wool starves, with dozens of countries of origin. I suspect they all came from the same factory.

      So, make your 500 Mustangs and then change the name of the company. Rinse and repeat.

  6. Eric take Uncle out of the equation and you not only have new updated old classics like Mustangs and others you mention here. Who knows what new and creative models and technologies would have developed instead of the few cookie cutter models we’re stuck with now.

  7. My 1990 Dodge Daytona ES V-6 5spd was and still is a pocket rocket … ordered it in Sept of 1989 and still have it … in the flats of Florida it still gets 38mpg at 70mph …

  8. I loved the article about the new Mustangs. If innovation were really allowed in the automotive industry who knows how many thousands of decent paying jobs could be created.

    • Hi Someone,

      It would have a multiplication effect. Lower-priced new cars would also mean less (perhaps no) debt for car owners, who would then have money to spend on other things, or save to build wealth. They could be more independent as a result.

      And that is just exactly why such cars are not allowed. The true purpose behind all of this is not “safety.” It is to control people and one way to do that is to keep them financially dependent, struggling to make ends meet.

      • Eric, I don’t think it’s that sinister. I hope I’m right. I think it’s just big money. IMO, the big boy car makers get in bed with uncle’s ‘create a new reg’ with money/corruption, to simply limit the amount of competition they get. It’s pretty easy to assert, because they would all be out of business if we could buy 80’s versions of cars now for half the price cars sell for today.
        It’s a fact that Tier 4 diesel rollout was because the lower tier asian diesel makers were about to dump diesels in the US for a fraction of what they cost us for the past 10 years. I was starting to see them come avail. in my biz, then Tier 4, and no more.

        • Profit motive plus keep the citizens in bondage. If anything, it’s worse than we all imagine as men without constraints have no constraints on the evil they will perpetuate against the citizens. Venezuela, North Korea to name a couple of very obvious recent examples.

  9. The same law that permits these new modernized Mustangs and Broncos and others also permits something like a 1980s CRX. The problem is to be built that car would cost at least the same six figure price. Same with the others. Possibly more since the aftermarket new parts available are fewer. They would need to be created. Also the law only allows each company to make I think it is 250 cars a year.

  10. Great article Eric!!

    A 1986 CRX was my first car. It wasn’t an Si, but it was plenty fast for me when I was seventeen.

    My brother bought it used in 1990 for $4700. I got it a little later from him. The car was unfortunately a 4 speed slush box, but in spite of that, I could get 42 mpg.

    I put over 100k on it with no work over oil changes and plugs.

    And that is one car that I should never have let go!

  11. In my view there is sweet spot between old and new. A new, circa 2012 vehicle (mine is a 2012 Infiniti G37), is a desirable improvement over old systems, without the current mandated, costly, annoyances.

    Examples: Good brakes 4-wheel disc – I like ABS, electronic ignition with 100k mile sparkplugs rather than points, fuel injection rather than a carburetor, superior performance over a V8 – with a V6, good fuel mileage, superior handling, 5 or 6 speed overdrive transmissions, pushbutton start. If chosen wisely, high reliability – i.e., mostly Japanese.

    • Hi Liberty,

      I agree – but to clarify, cars have had all the things you mention since the mid-late 1990s. That era – up to the early-mid 2000s – is the sweet spot, in my opinion!

      • Agree – and I saw the current auto fiasco coming so I have three high-performance vehicles from the era you describe – in this instance all 2012s.

        The plan, at this time, is keeping the vehicles I have until some sanity returns to the new-vehicle market.

    • I personally refuse to buy a car more recent than about 1990. If it has electronics beyond LED indicators i wont touch it. Would rather go back to horse and cart.

      • Hi Toni,

        I’ll accept EFI and computer engine management; I like overdrive transmissions. I won’t accept more than two air bags and would prefer to avoid them altogether. I am utterly uninterested in paying for – or being pre-empted by – any form of “assistance” technology. No automated braking/lane keeping/back-up camera/drowsy driver warning; no ASS, especially.

        • Personally I hate anything electronic on a vehicle. Carburetor and mechanical injection if serviced correctly are just as good and more easily diagnosed what is going wrong without massively expensive equipment as the electronic stuff along with being as fuel efficient. In fact the more modern fuels (low lead/lead free etc) are actually more damaging to your health, environment and the mechanicals of even the cars made for those fuels than the lead/sulfur fuels were. What it does mean for govt and corporates is more of your hard earned money because of vehicles not lasting as long.

            • True, but that was a great advantage in the past.

              If the engine quit, then it was easy to diagnose the problem since it was almost always the carburetor!

            • Oh really? Then WHY did so many cars get so much better fuel economy and performance with a carbatooter on it compared to Foolish Injection? I’ve had multipe cars, different marques, in both carb and injection form, depending on year, and the carburetted modela ALWAYS outperformed the squirters in every department. AND were stupid simple to diagnose, and cheap to restore to good working order when indicated.

          • Pre computerized fuel injection can be nightmarish to deal with. There’s a lot going on to keep working right and it requires a great deal more experience and access to specialized parts to do so.

            • lol mechanical petrol injection systems are not a lot different to diesel ones and either is easy enough to fix with a bit of study. I personally am a bush mechanic not qualified. I can fix all the old stuff including Mechanical injection systems but the electronic stuff is what gets complicated and expensive to fix. sure go buy the new parts and on some vehicles basically sell your soul to do so but not interested in doing that personally.

                • yes they are simple but hellishly expensive to replace when they fail which i have seen them do far more often than mechanical and at far less Miles/klms/hours. sorry but you can have your electronic/mechanical and i will take straight mechanical every time. As i said a set of toyota landcruizer (one of the most popular 4wds here in australia) cost $10G for a set. The old mechanical ones often just got checked for several scheduled injector services before needing a replacement. You do that with the solenoid ones and not replace every service you WILL get major problems every time even if you only ever get good fuel.

                  • I haven’t had a single injector issue ever. This going back to the first fuel injected car my parent bought in 1986. Now one car may have had a TPS issue at 200K miles, but the whole car was imploding at that point.

            • The cure for machanical fuel injection systems, both petrol and diesel, is to keep the fuel clean and clear of water, Do that they will last indefinitely.

              All the sensors, wires, the brain itself, feedback loops, and the individual injectors themselves, are electronic, which means common point of failure. I’ve worked them for years, and am pretty good and diagnosing without the $10K computer systems needed. WHICH sensor is out w=of whack> WHERE is the stupid thing stuffed away? then buying it….. fofty to a C note for nearly anything, and sometimes four times that. I spent two weeks chasing in intermittent open in the engine coolant sensor on a Bosch L Jetronic a few years back. Replaced the stupid sensor, and THOSE guys had a diabolical sense of humour when they placed that sensor on the wrong side the cylinder head. Which explained the fault once I finally found it. SOme previous ooperator had stretched the wires leading to the grip attaches to the sensor itself, cause of its crazy burial site. Of course, the break was up inside the harness cover, not visible, and the poly wiring insulation showed no sign of having been stressed. Once found, a fairly easy fix. But in all the decades I’ve futzed with mechanical systems I’ve never had anything close to that one. SOmetimes the diagnisis is easy.. like the Mercedes 450 SE I tangled with in Guatemala, where no one know about electronic injection yet. Started it, watched it, smelled it, as it richened up and died I “sniffed” the coolant temp sensor. Put an ohmmeter on it, way out of range. Told the shop owner that’s what it is, he got one, I popped it in, ran like a Benz….. he’d been scratcjing his head for a year on that one, and he’s a sharp mechanic. I’ve wondered a few times since then if I had decided to stay on and estamlished a name for myself as in iinjection system guru…. maybe could have made some coin…. everything then had carbs in Central America. EVERYONE knew how to deal with them. But injection? NObuddy dint know nuttin bout dem…….

              • If you’re talking MB then you’ll have to send the mechanical systems they had to one guy who can rebuild them. German stuff is always needlessly complicated.

                I have not had to do anything with fuel delivery besides a fuel pump on my ’97 Mustang on any fuel injected vehicle owned by me or immediate family in over 30 years. The electric fuel pump on my Mustang at over 200K miles developed a dead spot on the motor. I replaced it and then when I had the old one on the bench I decided to test my theory it was just dead spot. Sure enough it worked fine so long as it wasn’t turned off on the dead spot.

  12. Since we’re reminiscing about Golden Era Japanese Classics, here’s the one I wish I had in my garage today. A last generation (circa 2003) Honda Prelude with all factory performance options, and rear wheel steering. So fun to test drive, it made me giggle. Much faster than the CRX SI. Oh, but sorry Eric, it came with front airbags. ;-(

    Can’t feel too sad about not buying that Prelude.Ended up getting the new 04 Acura TL with 6 Speed manual. Not as fun to corner. However it came with one of Honda’s best gearboxes, and V-6 engines ever. (Six airbags too 😉 ) Still got that one.

  13. And, the CRX and that gen Civic make great race cars. Lap times at Mid-Ohio leave me in the dust in a Miata..well…the drivers might be part of it, too…but, but, but, they be fast.

    As we “advance” we seem to be losing ground.

    • Mark, I don’t see how those civics can beat your Miata. Yes, those civics were awesome, BUT the front end suspension geometry is bad, probably due to the FWD nature of the design. The front outside weighted tire actually stays parallel to the frame, so when the car is leaned over, the tire stays leaned over as well. leaving only the outside part of the tire on the ground. Not so with the rear BTW.
      I have pictures to prove it when I auto-crossed mine. I didn’t know any different back then though.
      Now maybe those civics you’re up against have much beefier sway bars which would help alot?
      Miata’s rule the autocross clubs. The new civic R’s aren’t slouches either.

  14. Forget just the CRX, I’d love to see no-thrill optioned sports cars brought back as a special order only option, only thing different is better metals

    Imagine the flood of Supra’s hitting the market…

      • @ GTC

        You might be mis-remembering, the first Celica with the inline 6 was in 79′ when it was called the “Celica Supra”. (here in the US anyway, Japan got it 1 year prior)

        I had a friend who owned one that had Enkei rims on it and it was a total sleeper. (kinda ugly though) It was deceptively fast in the twisties with a buttery 5 speed. This was circa 86′ in Socal, and we’d do a lot of mountain runs in it. Great fun.

        • I think it was called the Cressida, a four door sedan on a slighty lstretched RWD platform with that inline twincam six in it, and five apeed manual. The owner was a fast driver, but his wife liked a staid saloon over a sporty coupe… the Cressida was a bit of a sleeper, as no one expected a plain looking fourdoor to have such a powerplant up front. cornered reasonably well, too, as they shifted the engine and greabox rearwatd a bit for balance. He’d had a olugged crankcase breather whcih caused a number of problems, main being squirting oil out of places no one knew existed. Two trips and a grand at the local Toyo dealer, they wanted to rebuild the whole engine at more than the car was worth. He came to me, I diagnosed the lugged breather tube.. he’d been using a poor type of oil which built up gunk, plugging the long tube. Took a quart of lacquer thinner and a bicycle brake cable on a drill motor to roto-root the tube clear again after soaking overnight in the lacquer thinnner. Dealer could not get one. One happy customer on that one. I told him to switch to a different engine oil problem permanentlu solved.

  15. I used to own a second generation CRX Si. Arguably the best car I ever owned…..and definitely the second most fun (behind a Turbo Supra.)

    But let’s put keep things real. Granted, mine was the Si, not an HF. But SIXTY-EIGHT MPG???? The best mine ever got was exactly HALF that mpg! That’s with a rebuilt, perfectly running engine and new clutch. Everyday average, driven hard with the A/C on, was 29. I thought that was damn good.

    The only reason I ever sold it was….(get ready Eric) I just didn’t “feel safe” driving such a tiny car Without Airbags in hard core Phoenix traffic. 🙂

    • Hey Mike, I never driven anything older than a new edge Mustang and was thinking about picking up a CRX sometime

      Any advice you’d like to give that you don’t see mentioned anywhere about them? Thanks in advance

      • Zane, I never discovered any mechanical weak links in my CRX Si. Only advice I can offer is try to find one where the body hasn’t been too “riced out.” (Aftermarket spoilers, tail light assemblies, etc.) Trying to restore a butchered body sounds a lot more expensive, and less fun, than rebuilding an engine or transmission.

        Be patient. There are probably a few near originals still out there. It will be well worth it. Enjoy the hunt.

        • Thanks Mike

          Yeah, I’m in no rush, and I’d prefer a shell honestly as I’ve mentioned countless times in other posts that I plan on K-swapping it and possibly fitting a S2K cluster in it, but keeping it otherwise clean.

          They say they’re thief magnets btw, how accurate is that?

          • I imagine they are. Mine was garaged at night, and rarely parked in sketchy areas. Never broken into, or stolen. Perhaps I was lucky, too.

    • Well, sorry to say, I wouldn’t feel safe in ANY small car today even with airbags. It’s just a numbers game, 2500lbs vs a 5000lbs whatever, no airbag is going to save you in a head-on between these two. And that’s the typical bad accident today with everyone on their cell phone. Differential speeds of approx. 80-100mph. Sorry, lite car looses, and looses big if the other car is twice the weight.
      I see about 1-2/month head-on’s now just around my NY suburban metro area.

      • Hi Toni,

        Agreed – and I’ll take t further: Air bags do nothing to save you if you don’t wreck but may kill you even if you don’t. The real point, however, is that it’s no more any other person’s business to force you to buy an air bag than it is for them to force you to do jumping jacks or eat your spinach.

        • agree completely. there are way to many tyrants out there that wish to take away all our liberties in all aspects of life and turn us into debt slaves to them

    • “But let’s put keep things real. Granted, mine was the Si, not an HF. But SIXTY-EIGHT MPG???? The best mine ever got was exactly HALF that mpg! ”

      There were significant differences between the HF and Si modes. The HF had a high compression engine with 8v(old cvcc) instead of the 12v head(2nd gen was 16v), coupled with a wide ratio manual transmission and specially cast aluminum wheels that were much lighter than the Si’s. So not only did the engine have less frictional losses due to the head design, but the chassis was around 200lbs less. With the tall overdrive my 87′ HF routinely got me 45mpg on the highway at 80mph. That was when it had around 300,000 miles on it and it didn’t even consume oil. I bought it from my grandfather that used it for long commutes and he always drove 55mph everyone on the highway and would get around 63mpg in it- lol

      Honda did an incredible job on the HF, but have never really followed up with a true successor in my mind. Even though the HF was miserly, it was actually still fun to drive. It’s hard to explain, but it never felt like an economy car. Sure, the Si would dust it easily, but it retained some of the fun despite that.

      • Hi Nobody,

        Thanks for adding what you did about the differences between the HF and the Si. I should have clarified them in the article. The HF was specifically designed for optimum mileage while the Si sacrificed some mileage for improved power/performance. Either way, these cars were phenomenally economical- a fact that really stands out when you reflect that they were made more than 30 years ago and would still be among the most fuel-efficient new cars available today, if they were available exactly as they were made more than 30 years go…

        • Sure thing, let’s call it a “team effort”.

          🙂

          One other interesting fact- the HF model was CARB’D, the Si was fuel injected, blowing conventional thinking on such things out of the water.

          My understanding is that the older CVCC heads worked only with carbs.(don’t know that for sure though)

          • I’ve never owned a Honda but remember reading about the CVCC system when it came out. As I recall a precombustion chamber fed by its own small intake valve was utilized. This in turn was fed by a dedicated section of a special 3-barrel carburetor. I don’t know if fuel injection was ever considered for this setup. (I’m too lazy to look it up so this is going by fading decades-old memory. 🙂 )

            • One more “throw you for a loop” thought is that the F1 rage about pre-combustion chambers are basically CVCC styled in concept…lol..and misattributed to Mercedes as an “innovation”.

              They came back like bell bottomed jeans….or I suppose now like the cool kids wearing torn 80’s style jeans and college women daisy dukes.

              Yee haw!

  16. Theres no thrill in driving anymore with the stasi police gunning for you for any minor infraction. God forbid you had that third beer somewhere. All the cars are homogenized blobs even with technically superior performance qualities with terrible visibility / high waistlines / angry headlights (odd) / and annoying headrests that stick right into your head. If you have the coin for one of these retro rides sure but cars like the CRX and the old 1990s era Nissan Sentra SE-R were almost perfect. Never see them again.

    • Hi Mark,

      Agreed on the Car Stasi – but there is an additional reason for wanting to be able to buy these old cars new: They are DIY fixable and durable and free of all the Big Brother crap. I’d far rather drive around a new old CRX than a band-new Prius… braking for no reason without me touching the brake pedal, beeping at me for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.… a Claymore mine pointed at my face…

  17. I also used to have a CRX SI.

    My dad got over 60, and I think 90 MPH driving it down to Florida once. The only real problem, towards the end, was that the A/C drew so much power the engine had difficulty getting up and moving. 98 HP ain’t a lot with AC on full blast. Otherwise, it ran like hell, and was cheap and I could get a shitload of gear in the hatchback. I’d buy one again in a heart beat.

    • You’re lucky, I want to drive one bad

      I’d just find the engine/trans for a 8th gen Si and use it, then throw in a S2K gauge cluster for the looks.

      Swap alone w/out Upgrades would be day and night, then imagine the tuning

  18. Your right Eric, the old CRX would still be a great car today, if it were allowed. It would put pressure on any current fed-mandated car today and why it will never be. It’s not about emissions, not about safety, it’s about regulation, period. They have to keep changing the game or cars like this would be made and sold new, made in India, etc….

    I owned a CRX-Si. Was awesome. Hated the FWD, but, but, but. Auto crossed it, and I was competing with RX7’s, the 1st version. Held my own.

    • Hi Chris,

      I have a big soft spot for this car, too. I love the looks and that it’s fun to drive – much more so than most new cars. Exponentially more than any modern economy car.

      The drivetrain was so good – even back then – that it would not need much in the way of upgrades today. But imagine the car lighter by 400 or so pounds. And then maybe a six speed (in place of the stock five speed) with a really deep sixth/OD…

      I bet it’d be capable of 70 on the highway – and get to 60 in 7 seconds or so.

      • I was shocked at the specs on that car of 91HP! Wow. You could have told me it was 150 or 200 and I would have believed it. It’s all relative though, as I had lots of 70’s 1.3 and 1.5L Civics. I was the local kid/mechanic who fixed all the neighbors who couldn’t afford the dealers service fees. Got me through college too. I think I flipped 10-15 civics.
        Soooo, the Si was the creme-de-la-creme to me in the early 80’s and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Until……………………. I learned the hard way why FWD sucks, lost the back end around a fast, banked to crowned sweeper (70+ dumb), and center punched a pole. Dented the metal sunroof with my head, when I stiff armed the wheel. Ripped the engine right off it’s alum. motor mounts. No airbag needed, haha……
        One mistake was I put some nice rubber on the fronts, obviously, but didn’t have the $ for the rears too, so when I pushed it, the back said ‘no you don’t’.
        Got it fixed too. Found a great bodyshop guy who was infatuated with my roadrace bike. Trade here and there, fixed.

      • I missed your 70mph reference. ohhh yes it did, and more. I used to drive to work (co-op during college), and I drove Rt 95 in Philly at 4AM every day. It was empty back then. There was this bad part of the road that almost was a jump, and jump it I tried. It would launch the car at over 80mph, all 4 wheels, but only over 80, so that’s why I know it did it. haha.

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