I recently had a conversation with a gentleman from Dallas. He owns a 1984 CRX 1.5 Spyder that he bought new. Here is his story:
He read the Road & Track (July '84) article about the Straman conversion into a convertible. He immediately called up Straman to see what he needed to do to buy one of these conversions. He was told that he had a few options. He could buy a CRX and ship or drive it to SoCal. He could also order the conversion straight from the dealership (the dealer would have the car shipped & converted), or buy one already converted from Straman. Either way, the price was the same. (My '86 CRX was ordered from the dealer with the conversion, per my window sticker) The conversion price was $4995 in 1984, but his brother owned a car dealership, so he paid wholesale price for the conversion, at $4100. The July '84 article lists the estimated price of $4000-$4500 for the conversion, so it went up to $4995 for actual production. This means the dealership markup was $895. If you had it converted without the dealer's help, you still paid full price. That encouraged the new-car-dealer to contract directly with Straman. That means less hassle for Straman, since dealers are easier to handle than picky private owners. I have copies of all the above information from his file.
He ordered his CRX around July from Honda and got delivery of the car around August. He then drove it to Costa Mesa (from Dallas) for the conversion and to meet Richard Straman and tour the shop. He was very impressed and said there where several cars undergoing surgery, including some exotics. He then flew home. Two or three weeks later, he flew back to pick up the car.
It was good to talk with him. His car is the only white spyder I have seen, and also the only '84 model. I am sure many other '84's exist though. It was interesting to hear the story. I remember that japanese trade restrictions were still in place and no Honda dealers had big lots full of cars. I bought a new '83 Accord and new '84 Civic and the only Honda cars on the lot were the demonstrator cars (and maybe a couple others). No midwest japanese car dealers had thier own facility. They were usually run out of a bigger-volume domestic dealership, like Olds or Chevy. I had to wait 4-8 weeks for delivery of my cars, also. You could not bring your old car that was 2 days from death and expect to take delivery of a new Honda/Toyota/Mazda/etc that day. You either bought a domestic or ordered your import and rented a car until yours could be built and delivered. A few foriegn dealers would have a some tiny bit of inventory, but you couldn't be picky about colors or options. (By the time I bought my new '89 Prelude, the import restrictions were gone and foriegn dealerships had lots of inventory.)
He sent me his original paperwork. It is very interesting. The car's base mrsp ('84 CRX 1.5) was $6,592.00 plus $174.00 destination charge. No deals were made back then for these desirable cars, so he paid full retail price. His total price paid was $10,866.00 (plus other optional equipment and taxes).
My '86 CRX 1.5 Spyder has a base msrp of $7,339.00 and destination charge of $189.00. Add the conversion price of $4995 (+ $780.00 in additional freight for the conversion) and the total comes to $13,303 plus other options and taxes. My window sticker shows that the options (spyder conversion, stereo/cassette + 4 speakers, alloy wheels, floor mats, AC, tail light panel, dealer prep) cost more than the car did! MSRP/d.c.=$7,528, options=$8,295, Total was $15,823.00 plus taxes.
He sent me the original Straman brochure for the CRX conversion. I have been looking for this for a long time. It was a black & white photocopy. That is how Straman gave them out. That seems primative, but our expectations of a color brochure did not exist twenty years ago. Now I share this brochure with you.
Do any of you other Straman owners have the original paperwork for your car? Share what you know.......
P.S. Note that Straman refers to these as "spyders", and so should we!
Edited by slimwhitman, 05 March 2007 - 05:00 PM.