Junkyard Gem: 1997 Acura EL

Junkyard Gem: 1997 Acura EL

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Drivers from Mexico or Canada who take their cars across the border into the United States may drive them legally here for one year, after which they must drive back home or go through a registration process that ranges from arduous to impossible, depending on the state. As a result, quite a few Canadian- and Mexican-market cars end up marooned and un-registerable here, and I find some of them during my junkyard travels. Today, we've got a Canada-only Acura that showed up in a Northern California boneyard recently.

I'm always looking for junkyard odometers with very high final readings (right now a 631k-mile Volvo 240 holds the record), and at first glance I though I had come across a Civic sedan with nearly 450,000 miles. Then I noticed the metric speedometer and realized that I was looking at a non-US-market car. 448,538 kilometers is 278,709 miles, by the way.

A look at the build tag and emissions stickers showed that this car was built and sold in Canada. I'd found a second-generation Acura EL in a Colorado junkyard a few years back, so I knew that I'd just found a first-generation EL.

Like its Acura Integra contemporary, the Acura EL was based on the Honda Civic. It replaced the Integra in Canada for 1997 and production continued through 2005. It differed somewhat in appearance from the Civic and had a nicer interior but was mechanically nearly identical to the US-market Civic EX sedan.

A version for the Japanese market was built in Canada and exported across the Pacific as the second-generation Honda Domani.