The Legend spearheaded the launch of Honda’s new Acura division in October of 1986. Designed primarily to take on German luxury cars, the Legend drew its roots to an agreement signed between Rover and Honda in the late 1970s that called for the launch of several common projects including the joint development of a luxury sedan.
Taking on well-established names like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and – to a lesser extent – Cadillac was an ambitious goal for Honda in the 1980s but the company stepped up to the challenge and made sure every aspect of the Legend was carefully designed to last as long as possible. Rover’s expertise in luxury cars proved helpful in sprucing up the Legend, while robust Honda drivetrains ensured it could go well over 200,000 miles if properly maintained.
The Legend sedan was initially offered with a 2.5-liter V6 engine rated at 151 horsepower, earning it the distinction of being the first regular-production Honda equipped with a V6. Introduced in 1987, the Legend coupe was fitted with a 161-horsepower 2.7-liter variant of the V6 that was fitted to the sedan a year later. Buyers could choose between a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic unit.
Honda beat the odds and the first-gen Legend was considered a success, outselling its Sterling-badged sibling by a wide margin. It spawned a full lineup of Acura-badged cars, and it inspired Toyota and Nissan to introduce their own premium brands (Lexus and Infiniti, respectively) before the 1980s drew to a close.
A look in the local classifieds finds a running and driving first-generation Legend sedan with high miles can be purchased for as little as $1,200. Will Honda’s first V6-powered car become sought-after by collectors and go up in value, or will prices stay relatively low?