HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1990 Acura Legend, Honda’s bold move into luxury...

Pick of the Day: 1990 Acura Legend, Honda’s bold move into luxury market

The front-wheel-drive sedan set the stage for worldwide acceptance of high-end Japanese cars


The 1980s saw a tremendous amount of change in the Japanese automotive industry. Cars from Japan were some of the highest-quality automobiles available and as a result, the Japanese manufacturers considered moving into the luxury market with vehicles that did not just compete with American luxury but with the European luxury segment.

The first company to market was Honda with its Acura brand, and the first car offered was the Acura Legend, a full-size luxury sedan aimed squarely at the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E Class.

The Pick of the Day is from the end of the first-generation Acura production run, a 1990 Acura Legend LS sedan.


Acura Legends were as well-built as other Hondas but larger in all dimensions while adding such niceties as leather interiors and climate control. The front-wheel-drive Legend was the first Honda car with a V6, a 2.5-liter engine with 151 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque that featured multiport fuel injection and four valves per cylinder. This might seem normal today but keep in mind that US manufacturers were still using carburetors and pushrod-actuated valves.

Also, at a time that suspensions in most cars were by MacPherson struts and beam rear axles for front-wheel-drive cars, the Legend took that up a notch with true four-wheel independent suspension featuring double wishbones up front and struts in the rear.

acura, Pick of the Day: 1990 Acura Legend, Honda’s bold move into luxury market, ClassicCars.com Journal

The Legend was very well-received, reviewers and buyers impressed with its fit and finish, and its well-thought-out ergonomics. The only major criticisms were for the Acura’s somewhat bland styling and less-than-engaging driving dynamics. Still, the Acura Legend was a very important car in the Japanese luxury segment as it paved the way for Lexus and Infiniti; it completely altered buyers’ expectations of Japanese cars.

According to the Kentwood, Michigan dealer offering this Acura on ClassicCars.com, it is a nice-driving Legend LS that has had only had two previous owners from new, and has accumulated just 89,000 miles. The sedan runs well with all features working as they should, the seller adds.


The previous owner had the timing belt replaced in 2018, the dealer notes, and the car is completely stock with the exception of a more-modern audio system.

Japanese cars from this era are rising in interest for collectors who attend such events as the Future Collectors Car Show and RadWood, as well as for those who want them just to drive and enjoy.

acura, Pick of the Day: 1990 Acura Legend, Honda’s bold move into luxury market, ClassicCars.com Journal

The asking price for this well-preserved Acura Legend is a modest $9,900, which represents a lot of classic Japanese luxury for the price.

To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


  1. Really, whoa! Typical used car dealer. Steal it for nothing, sell it for a ton! At least the 100,000 mile change out of the timing belt has already been done…….or has it?? Are there written receipts for that job? Lord knows.

  2. This was never a popular car…..and the perspective you want to align to it, I respectfully submit is more accurate for the earlier Toyota Cressida…. a magnificent game changer – real true competitive Japanese luxury – reliably adored by many (and I believe with a different badge in an even nicer upscale version in some other countries).

    • You have obviously never driven a Legend! If you got one of the 94 GS with the Type II 3.2 L motor, your opinion would change. 0-60 was 4.2 seconds, and handled like a Bob sled on rails! It was one of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven! And comparing it to a Toyota Cressida, you obviously don’t know Acuras either!

  3. It stated the timing belt was replaced in 2018 but it’s only worth $2,500 at the most because of the vehicles age plus the article stated the criticisms were for the “ bland” styling & they hit the nail on the head with that comment!

  4. Daryll, it is an Acura not an accord.

    Mike, I actually personally know many Acura collectors out there no matter how nutty the idea of Acura collector may sound.
    Finding a first generation Legend that has not been messed with, with under 100k miles is pretty difficult to do and the younger collectors are seeking these out. You can find 50 Porsche 911 SC coupes for every one of these cars advertised right now in excellent condition. Try doing a search for a first generation Legend in original condition and then get back to me. I did this myself to check the market and found a bunch with 150k plus miles all for more than 6k including a 250k mile car. The 64k mile Legend coupe was 14.5k a 79k mile base legend sedan had an asking price of 15k dollars. I am not saying it would be the first thing I would run out and buy in this segment, that would be a Lexus LS400 but those are moving up in price as well. People are now collecting these and prices are moving up accordingly.


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