Friday, June 2, 2017

Honda Dreams Do Come True

Every auto enthusiasts has dreamed of finding their dream car in a barn somewhere, protected from the decay of time and preserved just for them to discover one day.  Sure, we've all had this dream, but how often do these dreams come true?  Very rarely.  However when they do, it's something special.

The phone rang.  It was Randall's mate from Honda Mobility, a firm that sources high quality Honda's all over Europe.  Being a life long Honda fan, Randall was excited to hear what he had to share.  The news was good.  During a trip to Austria to track down a 1991 vtech CRX, his mate made an incredible discovery.  He had met a contact who supposedly had the pristine second generation CRX that he was looking for, but when he was led into the man's garage, he had no idea what he was in for.  The man had a large collection of low mileage Honda's, all in pristine condition.  The two that initially caught his eye were the second gen CRX and an Integra nearby.  As he finished up negotiating for the CRX, he noticed that there was one car in the corner of the garage under a tarp.  He inquired after it and was shocked to see what the owner unveiled.  The man pulled the tarp off to reveal an immaculate 1985 Honda CRX 1.5i with less than 5000 miles on the odometer.  After inquiring, the owner was able to provide documentation to confirm the authenticity of the the odometer reading.  This was a 'barn find' for the ages.  Unfortunately, the owner was not interested in selling the car, so Randall's friend finished up the paperwork on the second generation CRX and headed home.

It's no surprise that Randall was his Honda Mobility mate's first call.  Randall has been into Honda's since he was 18, and has since accumulated quite the collection of Honda's including an Accord Tourer, CRV, S2000, N600, and four S800's.  It was an act of kindness that introduced him to the Honda community.  While in high school, he had been lusting after his neighbors 1990 Civic Hatchback with 9300 miles, when she offered the car to him for much less than the car was worth.  Since then, he has owned nothing but Hondas.

"From day one I was impressed with the high level of design quality and reliability of the Honda by itself and never since dared to switch to another brand."

His involvement in the Honda community even lead him to start a business called Hontec that is now under the care of his Honda friend and co-founder, and continues to serve a large part of Europe.  He and his friend decided to start their own business doing Honda engine swaps because they couldn't find any shops that knew how to do them properly.  The business grew quickly, and they found themselves not only swapping and maintaining Honda engines, but also building and servicing rally cars, including those participating in the Paris-Dakar rally.  Today the business focuses on service, specializing in work on the NSX and S2000.

When it comes to 'barn finds' it's not hard to imagine someone with more money than sense purchasing an exotic sports car, tucking it away somewhere away from the elements, and leaving it there.  What's difficult to imagine is someone doing the same thing with a common, affordable economy car .  You never hear of someone purchasing a new Honda Accord and then storing it in the garage under a tarp.  Car's like the CRX are purchased to be used, not pampered.  That's what makes this 'barn find' particularly special, and Randall knew he couldn't just look the other way.

He tasked his Honda Mobility friend to pursue the car further.  It took him almost a year to convince the owner to sell the car.  They went back and fourth many times before they were able to agree on a price, but finally in 2016, Randall was able to take possession of the car.  The car was everything he had hoped it would be, and more.  He was so impressed by the cars condition that without touching a thing on the car, he took it straight to the Dutch Authorities to have it inspected, and it passed with flying colors.  It was essentially a new car.  The parts of the car that are simply not immune to the sands of time, such as the plastic body panels, showed signs of age, but otherwise everything else on the car was in showroom condition.  It had even maintained the 'new car' smell inside.  After having the car inspected, Randall replaced the original steel wheels, that had the original tires on them, and replaced them with a set of freshly powder coated Phone Dials and Bridgestone rubber.  He also lowered the car slightly, but other than that, the car remains in the condition it was in when it rolled off the showroom floor.

Future upgrades for the car include Mugen CF-48 wheels, factory Honda fog lights, and NOS door panels, side skirts and bumpers, but aside from that, Randall plans to keep the car as original as possible.  We all thank him for that.  It now spends its days in a heated garage under a blanket, much like it did when it was discovered.  Randall only drives it on rare occasions because he wants to continue to preserve the car as best he can.  In most cases I would disagree with this philosophy and insist on driving it as much as possible, but not in this case.  First generation CRXs in original showroom condition like Randall's are extremely rare, and I applaud his decision to continue to preserve this beautiful piece of Honda history.

Photos by Shot At Speed Photography


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