The Honda CRX Si is a brilliant little car- endowed with almost no power and a scant curb weight to match. Sold in the U.S. from 1985–91, the Si variant of the CRX featured a 1.5-liter, fuel-injected four-cylinder paired with a slick five-speed manual transmission. Because of the stupid-low curb weight (barely over 2000 pounds, in most cases), the car was lithe and buzzy, and it rapidly became a staple at local autocross events and then larger SCCA events across America.
In 1988, the second-generation CRX was introduced in North America, and a new Si variant was included right from the get-go. The new CRX Si came a host of new upgrades that further elevated the little buzzbox in the motorsports arena. The biggest impacts were felt from the four-wheel double wishbone suspension setup and the addition of a rear roll bar (non-SI variants did without the rear bar) and the venerable 1590-cc D16A6 engine.
These later-gen cars are the stuff of legend, welterweight stature notwithstanding. They were cheap, light, precise, and about as mechanically complex as a screwdriver. To say nothing of the little H badge on the front, which meant they were as reliable as the sun. These virtues also came at a small sticker price, further adding to their desirability.
And so, North America saw more than 65,000 second-gen CRX Si’s enter our land between 1988–91. Over the ensuing years, cars changed hands, often at bargain basement prices. After all, buyers were getting a used, cheap, small, hatchback with not much power. But that was the appeal—basic and reliable transportation with a bit of fun on tap.
You used to be able to snag a relatively healthy second-hand CRX Si for a completely reasonable price. Blame The Fast and the Furious, or blame those pesky, impressionable young kids who grew up and are now awash in newfangled tech money. The attraction to the late-1980s and ’90s front-wheel-drive hot Hondas has grown massively. And where there’s increased demand but shortened supply, you’ll run into swifty escalating prices.
When asked about the recent activity in the CRX Si market, Hagerty auction editor Andrew Newton put it this way: “Broadly speaking, they’re still cheap, but interest is growing for certain FWD hot Hondas like the 1999–2000 Civic Si, Acura Integra Type R, and the CRX Si.”
Remember what we were saying about lightweight, cheap to own, and good for racing (street or otherwise)? Those virtues have come to harm the supply side of the market for these little guys. “It is exceedingly difficult to find one with lower miles, no rust, no mods, no crash history,” Newton says “They've been dirt cheap forever and could take abuse, so a lot of them did. They're also 30 years old.”
All of these factors are conspiring to give an old friend new life in the premium market. Wait, what? Consider this example that sold on Bring a Trailer recently. That’s a stone’s throw away from modern Civic Type R money. It’s also a damn sight more than its modern-day Si great-grandchild, the sublime Civic Si coupe. Here’s a slightly more affordable example, but even adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly $8K more than what a brand-new CRX Si used to cost.
While these are extremely low-mile examples, it’s safe to say that the days of scoring a spicy little autocross hatch for less than a Mac laptop are behind us. Expect the crazy prices on the clean CRXs to continue to lift values on even the rougher examples.