- Written by webmin
So last week we proved that significance does not equate to collectibility or desirability, as our commenters soundly turned down the candidacy of the 1986 Hyundai Excel for the Class of 1986, despite the fact that it opened up the American market to Korean cars. So for this week’s Class of 1986 candidate, let’s consider the similarly significant 1986 Acura Legend and 1986 Acura Integra. Like the presence of Korean cars on the road nowadays, we’re equally casual today to the concept of luxury Japanese brands, but that entire segment didn’t exist until the 1986 introduction of Honda’s Acura division. In response, Toyota’s Lexus division and Nissan’s Infiniti division both launched three years later, and Mazda’s proposed challenger, the Amati division, never launched at all. Before Acura, Japanese cars were regarded in the United States simply as econoboxes, nothing more.
The result of a joint venture with Rover in which both companies envisioned the United States as the target market, the Legend initially came here as a four-door sedan, powered by a 151hp 2.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6. The Integra, meanwhile, was based on the existing Honda Civic platform and debuted in both three-door and five-door hatchback versions, powered by a 113hp 1.6L DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine. While the previously mentioned Excel debuted to strong numbers, the Acura division sold just shy of 53,000 cars its first year in the United States. Yet while Hyundai sales plummeted over the next few years as customers ran into quality issues, Acura sales more than doubled in 1987 and then continued to rise through the first generations of both the Legend and Integra.
So now that the first Acuras are a quarter-century old, are we ready to consider them collectible? Or, as we’ve been posing the question the last few weeks: Would you make room in your garage dedicated to vehicles from 1986 for either the 1986 Acura Legend or the 1986 Acura Integra? And why?