Junkyard Gem: 1991 Honda Accord with 394,057 miles

Honda began using six-digit odometers on its American-market cars in the 1982 model year, long after Mercedes-Benz and Volvo but well before most Detroit manufacturers acknowledged that most cars would likely exceed 100,000 total miles during their lives, and Hondas have always held together very well. This means that I check the odometers of any 1980s/1990s discarded Hondas I see during my junkyard travels, in the hope that I’ll find one with an exceptionally high final odometer reading. That search resulted in this fourth-generation Accord that almost reached the 400k-mile mark during its three-decade career, discovered in a Northern California car graveyard.

We’ve seen some Hondas with notably high final odometer figures in the Junkyard Gems series, including a ’93 Civic with 300k miles, an ’89 Civic with 308k miles, a ’95 Integra with 342k miles, and an ’83 Accord with 411k miles. In fact, it’s unusual to find a junked Honda product with less than 150,000 miles on the clock (though most of the cars made during our current century have digital odometers that can’t be read in the junkyard without taking heroic measures, so I may be seeing some doomed low-mile late-model machinery without knowing it).

These cars tended to rust quickly in regions with winters full of road salt and summers full of swampy humidity, but this was a San Francisco Bay Area car that, presumably, spent most of its life in California (yet not too close to the ocean, which can result in some real corrosion horror stories).

By the early 1990s, the Accord had been available in America for 15 years — getting a six-year jump on the Camry — and was firmly established as a sensible vehicle that would keep going for many years if treated well.

The “treated well” part is important, which is why most junkyard cars I find with absurdly high miles look clean and well-cared-for. There are exceptions, of course, but the kind of car owner who takes care of all the maintenance items on the dot also tends to keep the car in decent cosmetic shape. That’s certainly the case here; the interior shows faded upholstery and some damage caused by junkyard shoppers, but no signs of abuse or neglect.

Since this car is a second-to-top-trim-level EX, it has a 2,156cc straight-four making 130 horsepower. The Accord SE got a hairier version of this engine with 140 horses, while the lowly DX and LX Accords got just 125 horsepower in 1991. Americans couldn’t get an Accord with a V6 until the 1995 model year.

Do you need a manual transmission to get past the 300,000-mile mark? Not at all!

Honda began making Accords next to their motorcycle plant in Ohio all the way back in 1982, but this one began life at the Sayama Automobile Plant in Japan.

“One of the most amazing attributes of the Accord is its ability to transport you to the future.” Today’s Junkyard Gem certainly accomplished that feat.

Poor Danny, polishing what might be a new Mazda MX-6, is about to learn that the Accord topped the American car-sales charts again.

Naturally, this generation of Accord got much better advertising in its homeland.

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