We just spent the weekend honoring one of the great designers of the automotive industry. Our question this week was inspired by Ryu Asada’s love for Hondas. Of course, Hondas are known for their excellent handling, but what if we take speed and driving feel out of the equation and look at the cars for their design only, purely as a form of art?
What’s your favorite Honda design?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite non-Japanese car?”
It was a lot of fun to read all the answers to last week’s question. We can’t possibly summarize all of them, but a few really stuck out. fuel10922, despite being a Toyota employee, lusted after the Buick Grand National. Meanwhile, famous Honda N600 guru Tim Mings has a soft spot for the Model T.
Some answers were fantastically offbeat, like Ellis‘ Tatra 604, or Old Schoolio‘s AMC Javelin. Some of the more popular marques cited included Lancia, like Chris‘ Delta Integrale Evo II or christiaan‘s Stratos Turbo. The single most cited model was what Yuri calls the non-Japanese car most embedded in JDM culture, the Porsche 911, with Kalervo Kasurinen choosing a Singer while Don Hathaway opted for the “poor man’s Porsche,” a VW Karmann Ghia. Other picks we could get behind included Kevinx‘s Land Rover Disco (though may he should go for a Honda Crosstour) and Craig Z‘s 1964 Cadillac Coupe deVille.
These were all great choices, but we have to admit, the answer that made us laugh the hardest was Alan‘s three-word reply:
The MkV Supra.
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
Mk2 ED-EF CRX that you happened to use under the header.
Timeless, small JNC perfection!
Hands down it’s the original NSX. Not a line out of place, the purity of it’s form is still a wonderment to behold all these years after it’s introduction. Truly a classic for all time.
I came here to say almost the exact same thing. I remember riding in one when I was 13 and even though they’re not really fast by today’s standards, that screaming 3.0 V6 was music to my teenaged ears.
Without a doubt the 3rd gen Accord AeroDeck, looks so sleek, so 80s, and so practical. I want one super bad but you know, so does everyone else
I’d say the Honda City AA from 1981 has a very nice and cute tallboy design, as seen on JNC the City has nice sporty effects with the spoilertip at the rear and red stripes at the bumpers.
If you know maybe you could make an article about buying honda city aa or let me know how to get one 😉
greetings from Switzerland
While maybe not quite a “favorite”, the vehicle that made the biggest impression growing up was the Mazda T600 (trike) Truck running around the neighborhood delivering everything imaginable.
Civic EF….Nothing else….The Hatchback form is by far my favorite looks of the car, it still has the 80s touch just as this model extends all the way to the early 90s….To this day, we still owned our Civic since my late grandfather bought it for us with his retirement money in 2002. I even collect two of them in Hot Wheels form
The Honda Today from the anime “You’re Under Arrest,” which surprisingly is a Honda Police Model Paradise.
I love that Anime Honda Police Model Turbo + the Motocompo.
Yes, my vote favorite also has a beautiful Chinese KO Transformer version, but in addition, it also has a vaporware theme song!
The KA7 & 8 Legend Coupe stands as one of the best designs of all time, regardless of maker. It had such grace an presence and it actually had some fantastic drive trains – especially the Type II mated to a 6 speed manual. Honda will likely never achieve such a beautiful design.
I’d have to go with the Motocompo just because it’s the only Honda that I currently own and I have never owned a Honda with four wheels. Otherwise, a first-gen Prelude would be my choice, preferably in silver with a red interior.
Wait, I also have a 1983 Honda Motra and a 1984 Gyro! The mind is the first thing to go. I still choose the Motocompo.
I agree with Land Ark above, the KA8 Legend Coupe.
As a former owner of a JDM ’91 Alpha I had plenty of time to appreciate it’s lines. It’s a bold, yet subtle design.
From a low front quarter angle you see a narrow-eyed, tensed creature ready to pounce. Heading around to the profile, an elegantly flowing form with a cabin made to take 4 with ease, while avoiding bulk and mass. The rear quarter begins to show a more formal aspect, with a sweeping C-pillar flowing to more chiseled lines around the trunk lid, while the near rectangular tail lamps are held high, again reinforcing the tension in the design. This is a high-level coupe, more luxurious and tasteful than a mere sports coupe, while also much more a drivers car than many luxury coupes. Compare the styling against it’s contemporaries – while also great cars of their time, they each represent a more narrow styling focus that the Legend successfully transcends.
As a work of art, the fourth generation Prelude is head and shoulders above the rest. The wedge proportions build on the double-wishbone front suspension’s low bonnet line, the airy glasshouse transitions into hefty C-pillars as the slender front of the car contrasts with the solid, muscular rear.
It’s a shape that can be what you want – discreet and elegant in a dark colour, or supercar-esque with a drop and some well-chosen wheels. And when you get inside, the wow factor continues with the unique electroluminescent dash sweeping the width of the cabin, emphasising the low scuttle.
Honda’s made a few good-looking cars over the years, starting back with the S500, but the 4th gen Prelude is the one that still cuts it today.
The City Turbo. It’s a box on wheels. To even those who never have seen one it’s the epitome of the Japanese car stereotype. Hell, that applies to non-enthusiasts to Japanese cars and cars in general.
Call me crazy, but as a classic, the Wagovan.
I always loved a Japanese car that can be a Swiss army knife and do it all.
That’s probably why I’ve been driving an Element for 14 years.
That’s why I put one of the last manual USDM Fits into my driveway.
the first gen NSX seems rightfully a popular answer
the 3rd gen Prelude set the stage for Honda’s prowess in engineering to a much greater scale
double wishbone suspension, 4WS, a low hood line, things that are bragging rights on a $160k 992 GT3 were present in this Honda for the masses all the way back in 1988
not to mention the simple yet elegant looks
while the late 80s-90s produced some banger models for Honda, the 3rd gen Prelude is arguably the start of it all
My favorite Honda design is a close race between the 1300 coupe and the ‘70’s S800C hardtop, but ultimately its going to have to be the S800C, because of the rear wheel drive. I think rear wheel drive Honda’s are awesome. My favorite part of the the 1300 is the front end. I just think it’s very unique and well designed. My favorite part of the S800C is the rear quarter and roofline. Just something about the silhouette and profile of the car is vey British. Not to mention the front grill. I think I see some Aston Martin DB5 inspiration in it. If James Bond was Japanese, I’m confident he’d drive a Honda S800C. Well… or a roofless Toyota 2000GT. But I’ll ignore that for now.
One of the things I love about old Japanese cars, that some people may hate, is the inspirations and styling cues the Japanese designers take from other foreign cars. Some may see this as copying or appropriation, but I see it differently. Nothing is perfect in this world, and in order to improve things and to strive to reach a level of perfection, it’s imperative to work together. To take other designs, and continue them, improve them, add your own ideas and continue the ideas that really work. I’m this way, we can achieve a higher vision together.
I’ve owned an 87 Civic Si Hatch & 86 CRX Si. My ex-stylist father idolized the early/mid-90’s Accord/Legend, 87-90 Prelude, and NA1 NSX. We have period Honda memorabilia for all these cars (including the iconic Honda dealership poster of a yellow 90 Prelude Si in front of a black tiled wall).
Since I’m no millionaire, a “favorite” design will give a $20,000 car the look and details of a $50,000 car (exclude the underpinnings), while being simple and unique. This rules out most cars. For even harsher judgement, I’m ruling out anything curvy or pop-up headlights, because who doesn’t like those?
My vote goes to the 86-87 CRX Si for its:
-cute “cartoon coupe” proportions
-CURLED quarter window (look it up! try naming another car that has one!)
-vented & badged B-pillar
-rad “CRX” badging (exterior, interior, and even upholstery on non-USDM models)
-wedged & minimalist dashboard
-subtle lip & duck-tail spoiler
-“big mouth” lower bumper grille (works well with the larger, flush glass headlights in 86-87)
-funky radially asymmetric phone-dial wheels
-off-center “power buldge” on hood (for “ZC” D16-equipped variants)
-Citizen-brand digital clock w/ smoked cover (nevermind your Smiths/VDO gauges or your your sound system by Harmon Kardon…my little Civic had a designer clock!)
You’d think some of these features would be on something more premium, equivalent model like a Lancia Scorpion, but no! And look at how little they cost back then!
The 86-87 Civic Si is a close runner-up because it shares a few of the CRX’s features, but uniquely has:
-subtle tapered roofline with a charming little “kick” above the rear hatch
-all-glass rear hatch, that goes all the way down to the narrow taillight that stretches the car’s width
That’s easy. The only Honda this MR2 lover has ever owned. The Honda Element. More specifically, the pre-refresh model of 03-07. I know its not quite a JNC yet, but it will be. Who doesn’t love a TOASTER!?!?!
My toaster is was around before the Toyota bB and the Kia Soul. The toaster look was perfected by Honda well before those models. Its got a not-so-bad K24 motor, tho the lack of aerodynamics means I get better city than highway miles. The seats in the back fold into the side walls to make room for 2-3 bikes standing up with the front wheels on or my gigantic boxer bulldog and 1 bike. It really is the most versatile car I’ve owned.
There are folks who use their Elements for off-road adventures, camping, going coast to coast. Mine is a dedicated bike hauler and limo for my dog. Nothing beats it really.
Gen 5 Prelude
Perfect but understated.
Have owned S2000 and others and still own Prelude.
Goes on forever and is so beautiful. Honda’s arrow of time.
Needed a v6 or v10.
NSX is a disappointment.
My personal opinion. Want to add electric rear drive motors. Will make nsx 2 redundant.
Honda lost it’s way with too much usa design influence. Toxic culture.