I bought the car off a little old lady that used it to commute around town. I sold my 1999 VW Chico for a R4000 profit and bought the Ballade for R12 000 less than I got for the Chico. My car is the 1988 to 1992 model.
When I received it I had the following done:
The car had brand new Firestone S211 tyres on it, but I also had these tyres on my Chico and when you don't have power steering, they make turning the wheel quite difficult. I immediately replaced them with a set of Pirelli's.
The left front top balljoint had to be replaced. On my model the balljoint is welded onto the wishbone, which meant that I had to replace the whole wishbone at R450.
I replaced the two rear shocks, as they were shot to hell, and caused the car to bounce around under braking. R700 for the pair.
I had to replace the front right CV-joint as it was making a terrible noise when accelerating whilst turning. R150.
Had all the other CV joints greased up.
Took the car for a decent service, as it had last been serviced in 2003, and had only done 4000km since then! 4000km in 3 years! Service cost R1200.
During the service the back brake drum cylinders were replaced because they were leaking brake fluid. R450.
I installed the first radio in the car. It still had the Honda badged place holder where the radio should be. I installed a Sony MP3/CD player with some nice Pioneer 6x9 speakers in the rear. R1600.
Only 500km after fitting the Pirelli's, I drove over a piece of sharp iron next to some roadworks and wrote off the rear right tyre completely. Another new Pirelli was fitted.
The interior cooling fan stopped working for no apparent reason. I checked the fuse box, but no fuses was blown. Took out the glove box and fiddled with the wire that goes into the fan and voila! It's working now.
I blew a headlamp in the wee hours of the morning just before a long trip. Bought a replacement at a service station, but it is practically impossible to fit! With all the fiddling I have turned the headlamp so that I am now blinding birds out of trees while driving at night. I have been adjusting it ever since and can't seem to get it right. It's either too high or too low.
In a few days I am going to have the front disc pads replaced as the brakes have been making a grating noise of late.
All in all, I spent around R7000 on the car before I was satisfied that it would be reliable enough to drive long distances, seeing that my girlfriend lives 350km away.
In 1992 I had just started school and two of my uncles each had one of these little Honda's. I absolutely fell in love with them. I just love their low slung shape.
Since the day I got it, I have had a smile on my face each time I got into it.
It really is a low little car - the door handle comes about up to my knee! Although it is such a low car, it still manages to be amazingly spacious inside!
The interior of my car is absolutely spotless. Everything still works. Not a single thing has broken off or has stopped functioning. Even the electric mirrors still work!
The upholstery doesn't show any sign of wear after 14 years and 160 000km of use. I know a guy with the same car with 290 000km and his upholstery is still spotless as well!
The ride quality is stacks better than that of my Chico. Road noise is much more insulated, and you feel like you are actually driving a car. Not just an engine with four wheels and a seat.
I also love the fact that I now have central locking, electric mirrors and an excellent air conditioner in my car.
When I got the car, I just assumed that it's old and that it would use the new LRP (Lead Replacement Petrol) available in SA. When I visited Honda's website, I was horrified to hear that all Honda's actually use unleaded petrol!
Since I have been using unleaded petrol performance and economy has drastically improved. I get about 10km/L in town and 13km/L over long distances.
A few weeks ago I had to fetch my sister and three of her friends from a camping trip that they had. This was about 380km from home. We loaded 5 people with their camping luggage, which included sleeping bags, etc into the little Honda's boot with some space to spare. On the return trip we had a slight tailwind and with 5 people and their luggage I managed 13,5km/L!!
My car is absolutely quiet inside, no matter what road surface you are driving on. It has no rattles at all. I think for a 1992 car the quality of the fit, finish and plastics used is amazing. The soft touch plastic on the dashboard still looks good if a bit shiny. I have seen a lot worse on brand new cars.
Since I fixed it up when I first received it, nothing has gone wrong whatsoever. I intend to keep this car for a long long time.
If you want nice little city roundabout or a reliable long distance cruiser, do yourself a favour and look for one of these with low-ish mileage (less than 200 000km) and get one! You won't be sorry!