Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit www.motortrend.com for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |  1985 Honda CRX SI - CRX Memoirs
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

1985 Honda CRX SI - CRX Memoirs

Although the first-generation CRX had been formally introduced during the 1984 model year, when Honda unveiled the Si model just 12 months later, enthusiasts realized that the brand’s little, performance-minded hatchback was better in almost every way.

Aaron Bonk
Jun 6, 2011

Thank the mid-’80’s mini-truck clubs for Honda performance as you know itcarefully tailored mullets, Ray-Ban Aviators, pegged jeans, and all. When you’re done, thank the ’85 CRX Si too. By 1985, mini-trucks were arguably a prevailing force among boy enthusiasts who denied more predictable domestic cars. As expected, testosterone-charged arcade meet-ups lost their luster as mini-truck clubs soon sought a more balanced male-to-female ratio. The fairer sex added an interesting and unexpected element to the equation thougharriving at events in smaller, easier to maneuver Ford Escorts, Volkswagen Rabbits, Nissan Sentras, Toyota MR2s, even Honda CRXs. Discriminating, newly enlightened mini-truckers traded their trucks for hatchbacksso many so that by 1989 Mini-Truckin’ magazine, for example, had a compact performance following so large it spawned the first-ever publication catering to sport compact enthusiasts: Sport Compact Car magazine. Sport Compact Car’s editors would later create Honda Tuning.

Htup 1106 01+crx memoirs+cover Photo 2/2   |   1985 Honda CRX SI - CRX Memoirs

Honda’s CRX wasn’t the first sport compact enthusiasts cared about. Volkswagen’s early-’80’s Rabbit GTI overwhelmed much of the competition within a market that, frankly, had little rivalry. Although the first-generation CRX had been formally introduced during the 1984 model year, when Honda unveiled the Si model just 12 months later, enthusiasts realized that the brand’s little, performance-minded hatchback was better in almost every way.

American Honda had a difficult time convincing Honda of Japan to make the CRX available to U.S. consumers. The two-seater was designed for the world market, not Americans. Its essence was aimed toward young, economically conscious, city-dwelling Japanese who grappled with big-city traffic and nonsensical parking. Americans, who Honda’s analysts were convinced bought cars for legroom and impressive cubic-inch counts, were not who the company initially considered as viable consumers. Of course, American Honda was given the go-ahead and, from its first sales brochure and its first commercial, did something nobody expectedit solicited Honda’s all-new sport compact for exactly what it wasa sports car. This should come as no surprise; the Si acronym stands for Sport Injected after all. The media immediately pitted the angular-shaped, two-seater CRX against the GTI and MR2. The CRX delivered. Later, Honda’s CRX made Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list in 1985, among other accolades, like earning Motor Trend magazine’s Import Car of the Millennium title in 1990. Road & Track magazine went on to say that the Si had the sprit of an exotic.

Astute enthusiasts appreciated the high-revving Si’s modern fuel injection, taut suspension, precise steering, and ample braking, yet were left jaundiced by the fact that America never received the higher-output 1.6-liter, DOHC version the rest of the world had. To ensure exclusivity to the much-anticipated Acura brand that would launch later that year, and to the chagrin of CRX enthusiasts, twin-cam D-series engines were reserved solely for the upper echelon nameplate’s entry-level compact, the Integra. None of this mattered, though. Every CRX American Honda received sold.

Doing so was easy. The CRX (excluding the HF model) wasn’t personified as the economically minded, fuel-efficient Honda that it was in Japan. In America, it was clear that it was a no-nonsense sports caronly smaller, and with better gas mileage. Early CRX brochures used terms like race-proven to establish pacts with speed-conscious consumers. Television commercials depicted the Si amidst a grand, slow-motion burnout, kicking up debris as the narrator claimed: The Honda CRX Si. It’s a rocket. Honda went on, using its rocket comparison in later ads as it boasted of the Si’s fast, crisp shifting, its standard front and rear antiroll bars, its nitrogen-filled rear shocksall things typically reserved for higher-end sports cars of this era.

Perhaps Honda said it best in the car’s inaugural advertisement where it flaunted its CRX as a performance-minded compact: It is the car that is shaping the future and defining performance.

Twenty-five years later, indeed it has.

Things You Didn’t Know

1.) Although the Si wasn’t introduced until 1985, the ’84 CRX S is
quite similar, featuring the same stiff suspension and an unprecedented-for-Civics five-speed transmission.
2.) The DX 1300 CRX has one less piston ring per cylinder than
just about any other Honda engine.
3.) Despite nearly three decades passing and countless
technological advancements, Honda is yet to mass-produce a vehicle that’s as fuel-efficient as the almost-60 mpg, eight-valve CRX HF (High Fuel).
4.) Weighing in at less than 1,900 pounds thanks to plastic fenders
and decades-old crash technologyas well as its 91hp enginethe first-generation CRX Si was unexpectedly quicker than Honda’s then-flagship sports car, the Prelude Si.
5.) Carbureted, non-Si CRXs typically ran lean, right from Honda.
Their auxiliary valve, CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Comustion) cylinder heads made things worse and often led to overheating, even on unmodified engines.
6.) The ’85 CRX Si is rare. Its chassis is lighter and was the only Si
to ever be sold with 13-inch wheels (later versions were 14-inch). As such, it yields the fastest 0-60 mph time of any first-generation CRX, including the almost-identical ’86-’87 Si.

By Aaron Bonk
413 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

Emory Motorsports builds the ultimate Outlaw: the 1964 Porsche 356 C4S, an AWD classic Porsche that features the running gear of a 1990 911 Carrera 4.
Rory JurneckaFeb 22, 2019
Two images that purport to show the all-new 992-generation 911 Turbo have shown up on the internet, and they seem to be the real deal
Ed TahaneyFeb 21, 2019
Aston Martin isn't expected to deliver its third hypercar until late 2021, but it's already teasing the mid-engine coupe codenamed Project 003
Kelly PleskotFeb 20, 2019
Carbon Signal Automotive (CS) might not be a familiar name to most, but it's quickly mastered what neither the best in California or Japan can do yet, which is what's helped put its name onto the map.
Jonathan WongFeb 20, 2019
Speedworks Motorsport opts for the new Toyota Corolla hatchback to take racing in the 2019 British Touring Car Championship
Bob HernandezFeb 20, 2019
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP