I like buying cars. I like finding cars. I like owning cars that I have coveted. Sometimes the cars stick around for quite some time, other times they are gone a month later but I always enjoy the time that I do get to own them. This story starts out like most of my car buying stories, wandering around the internet looking to see what is on the market.
Landing on eBay one Friday afternoon brought a 1991 Honda CRX Si to my attention. Who doesn't like the Honda CRX. It is easy to appreciate it for what it is and it is one of those Honda collector cars that everyone is always after. This particular car was in excellent condition with just 60k miles on the odometer and an honest, straight forward story of its history accompanied it. I immediately contacted the seller to find out what I could about it and offered to purchase outright if he had a price in mind but he wanted to let the auction run its course. No problem that is fun to me too. The auction was ending Sunday afternoon and I immediately put in a bid over the reserve (the seller had informed me what it was) as I was pretty confident I wanted to own the car. Sunday comes around and I raise my max bid a bit even though I was currently the high bidder as by this time I knew I wanted to own the car. Success.
The car was located in Pennsylvania and I in Florida so now the decision of how to get it. Transporting it back is the easy button but you know what is even more fun? Yup, flying up and driving it back. I had been wanting to do a road trip down mountain roads for a while now and this was the perfect opportunity to make that a reality. I enlisted my buddy Richy to be a co-pilot and airline tickets were booked for an early Friday flight to Pennsylvania giving us 2.5 days to get back to Central Florida by Sunday afternoon, plenty of time for some adventure. So yes, we are flying 980 miles away to drive back an almost 25 year old unknown to us car. My wife and some others gave me an interesting response when I told them the plan but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Besides I am a AAA member (i.e. License to drive crappy old cars).
The owner of the CRX Jason couldn't have been a nicer guy. Always quick to answer any inquiry I had and accommodate our trip as much as possible. We arrived at his home about noon on Friday and the CRX peaked out of the single car garage. It felt like all those TV shows and stories you hear of barn finds. Here we are in rural Pennsylvania stumbling upon an astonishing condition 1991 Honda CRX Si. The car spoke for itself. Everything we see goes in line with the history of the car that Jason has explained and I was quick to pay him the balance and work to get on the road.
Friday's part of the trip would be a direct shot to Peaks of Otter Lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway to set us up for a great Saturday drive. 330 miles later with an average of 32mpg we arrived at the lodge early enough to enjoy some dinner and get rested for the next day.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles long so I knew with our time frame we would have to pick a portion of it to enjoy this time around. With a Parkway speed limit of 45mph it is a smooth and steady 2 lane road with no stop signs, stop lights and with our trip barely any traffic. The Peaks of Otter Lodge is directly on the Parkway at mile post 86. Not wanting to drive at night on the parkway we target Asheville, NC as the end point for the day, approximately 300 miles away. The timing of our trip was perfect if you ask me. Unbeknownst to us October is the busiest part of the year for Parkway tourists as the changing colors of the leaves bring people in from all over. We had missed most of that by a week and with the all day light drizzle we saw hardly any traffic had to be dealt with. There were spans of 10-15 miles were we didn't even see another vehicle. My kind of drive.
The pictures will speak for themselves but it is an impressive road and experience to saw the least. Even though the peak leave color changing season was over we still had plenty to look at and enjoy. Most of the rest areas on the parkway shut down November 1st so we didn't have access to those but there are a lot of scenic overlooks to get out and stretch your legs at. Besides, this trip was all about driving to me so I could care less about most of the tourist stops along the way. Some pre-planning pointed us to an awesome BBQ joint in Galax, VA about 8 miles off of the Parkway. The Galax Smokehouse was superb.
Richy and I took turns driving averaging about the speed limit of 45mph as we twisted in and out, up and down the mountains. We listed off quite a few cars that would be excellent candidates for this trip and CRX proved to be a great performer. The car is eerie. It is as if this car was frozen in time around 1995 and only just recently discovered and put back on the road. All the usual items that break on the CRX are intact, the paint is still glossy and the car drives incredibly well. This is most likely the closest I will ever be to experiencing what it would of been like to drive a brand new Honda CRX in 1991. The miles came and went and the wonderful scenery never failed to impress We eventually ended up over a mile above sea level as we neared our destination for the evening and dense fog slowed us down a bit. The CRX never wavered, never concerned us and never took a smile off our faces. Getting off the Parkway at about 5:30pm as dark was setting in brought us to a gas station to fill up. 38mpg for the journey. Not bad 1991, not bad at all.
Saturday night met us with a hotel and dinner. Sunday was all about getting back home after a quick stop in Savannah, GA for some lunch at the Six Pence Pub. Highway cruising back home between 70-80mph in on again, off again rain still produced a solid 32mpg. The car is home now and ready to be cleaned up after what may of been the longest trip of its life. All said just over 1250 miles back home. This one will be a keeper for quite some time. The good news is I still have 170 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway to explore so time to start looking for the next car to own.
- by James Innes