Anthony Pedatella’s 1990 Honda CRX Si was his pride and joy when he and his wife-to-be Marisa began dating in midst of the Tuner Era. It epitomized the style of the times, with a ZC twin-cam, Clarion stereo, and a coat of orange-bronze paint. Unfortunately, the couple had to sell the 2-seater as their family grew. Then in 2011 Anthony passed away from cancer at the age of 36. Ten years after that, the Toronto-area family decided they wanted the car back, but it had been 20 years since it was sold.
The desire to find the car came by happenstance. Anthony’s cousin Julia Riviglia had remembered riding in the CRX when she was a young girl. A few years ago she was out driving when she came across another CRX like it and thought, “If that thing is still on the road in the condition that it’s in, maybe his car is.”
That prompted some posts in Honda groups on social media, where the family immediately began receiving advice from the community on how to find the car. First step, find the VIN.
“I remember the leather, I remember the shift knob,” Marisa said in an interview when the story was picked up by Global News. “I remember all the things he tweaked about the car, the name of the stereo system, and then obviously the sound of the car.” Even if they couldn’t buy back the car, they thought it would be nice just to see it again. It would offer Marisa and Anthony’s three daughters some connection to their father.
Within three days of the posts, the family had found the name of the person Anthony sold the car to. He recalled how it had been his first car, purchased before he had his license (his mom drove it home). However, he had repainted the car from its Volvo V70R-inspired Saffron color to blue. It was sold in 2015 and the second owner painted the engine bay bright green, as one did in the mid-2010s. That owner couldn’t remember the names of the teenagers he sold the car to, but recalled that they had planned to part it out. It looked grim for the Pedatellas, as the car was likely either a shell or scrap metal.
The unique color combo sparked the memory of another man who recalled his brother owning a car matching the description. All he could remember is that his brother sold it near an intersection in a nearby town. Someone who saw the story on Global News, armed only with the color and rough whereabouts, then used Google Earth to track down the precise location of the CRX. Turns out, it had been sitting in the back of a quick-lube shop.
Marisa and her daughters went out to look at the car, now sitting wheel-less on stands. Before she even saw the VIN she knew it was her late husband’s. It was still wearing the same period Eibach sticker that Anthony had put on the window 20 years ago. “As soon as I saw those stickers I thought Anthony is talking to us,” she told Global News. The shop’s owner Nathan Siva had plans for it, but after hearing the story he decided to gift the car to Marisa. “This should be yours now,” he said.
The search was over, but the car still needed a lot of work. Once again, the Honda community pooled their resources to help. One generous enthusiast sold Marisa an entire parts car, donating the proceeds to a cancer charity. Many others donated parts, some towed the cars for free, and colleagues from the garage where Anthony worked donated their time to completely strip the CRX even in the midst of the pandemic. Once taken down to its bare shell, some of the Saffron paint was revealed beneath the blue. Next came the body fabrication work, paint, and reassembly
Finally last month, almost two and a half years after the family began their search, the car was rebuilt back to Anthony’s spec and Marisa was able to take the car home. It even won Best in Show at a local Honda event. According to Toronto’s City News, the next step is for Anthony’s daughters to learn how to drive stick.
You hear a lot about the negative aspects of the Honda community, but heartwarming tales like this one can put things back in perspective. Every car tells a story, and this one has an incredible one. Its various chapters in life even coincide with prevailing period correct modification trends. In its restored state it’s a pretty good snapshot of a tasteful 90s build. The idea of finding a Honda in Canada sold 20 years prior at first seems impossible, but if this story tells us anything it’s that citizens of car enthusiast-land can really come through when they work together.