1997 Honda Inspire
Available for: $8,995
Honda was enjoying riding a wave of global success through the late 1980s, and there weren't any signs of stopping in 1997 when this Inspire S was produced. The brand had seemingly perfected the FWD sedan market segment and had its sights set on upending the luxury segment next. After the startup success of America's Acura brand, Honda felt empowered to start moving to a more premium market on its own turf in Japan. Finished in a classic Flamenco Black Pearl (NH592-P) this safe, spacious, refined, and reliable five-seater is in good overall shape aside from some light dings, scuffs, touchups, and nicks associated with normal use. Fresh off a recent service, this turn-key ride is offered with a mere 49k verified and documented miles on the ticker. Affordable, easy to service, and unique this Japanese Classic would make for the perfect daily driver and is built to last the test of time!
The cabin is filled with premium materials and tons of electric equipment. Unlike many vehicles of this era, the Honda was equipped with standard dual front SRS dash-mounted airbags. As a capable high-speed highway cruiser, this adds some additional peace of mind for those behind the wheel or traveling with precious cargo. Speaking of the dash it is in good shape and lacks any cracking, distortion, or fading. The view of the road ahead is clear and the skinny A-pillars, low beltline, and large greenhouse promote great outward visibility, too. The driver benefits from an adjustable steering column and power-folding side mirrors, power locks, and electric windows to make the daily commute more manageable. All these items work as advertised in typical Honda fashion. The automatic climate control is ready for winter and the summer ahead, too. Cold A/C and functional heat will ensure the cabin stays comfortable, however, the climate/multimedia screen itself is inoperable. The good news is that the system can be used in auto mode to make due and functions fine that way. Located adjacent is the factory audio, and that works, too! The seats are in above-average condition. Upholstered in a dark and soft charcoal-colored cloth, they lack any major rips, stains, or tears. The headliner and door cards have withstood the past 25 years without sustaining any major damage. The same can be said for the carpets, which have been protected by the OEM carpet mats which are to be included with the purchase of this vehicle.
The surprising thing about this JDM compact sedan is that it shares many components with stateside Acura's, and was even built right here in Ohio on the same assembly line. The TL and Vigor models were sold in massive quantities here in the US, so finding engine and suspension parts is easy as pie. The 2.5L straight-five is fresh off an oil and filter service and starts up promptly with the twist of the key. It benefits from a new 12v battery that will help this five-banger to crank over even in the coldest of winter snaps. While it was up on the lift we also installed a new fuel filter which should keep this torquey engine pulling hard all the way to redline. A new valve cover gasket was installed so that the next owner won't have to keep topping up the oil level, and a new thermostat was installed to maintain proper operating temps for the powerplant. Mated to a slick-shifting automatic transmission, this sedan gets up to highway speeds quickly. A new speed sensor was installed by one of our trained techs and the driveline feels stout and sturdy overall. The suspension is soft and supple and there are few squeaks or rattles that enter the cabin, even when traveling over rougher pavement. ABS is standard and the brakes feel confident when called upon to reign in the Inspire from higher speeds. The alloy wheels are all wrapped in new tires at all four corners. The new rubber quiets down the ride further but most importantly will last for tens of thousands of miles to come.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.