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    1. Member dieselraver's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 12:21 PM #1
      Seems like this was Honda's Forgotten luxury sports car. I remember my uncle and one of my friends having one of these back in the 90's I absolutely loved the design and the idea of a sports car. How come there is no "cult following" for these Preludes? Why wasn't it successful for Honda?

      my uncle had one like this.






      but my friend had a nice black one...

      Very similar to this one.







      are these worth looking at today? Are they as reliable as old Honda Accords from that generation?

      Any ownership/first hand feedback appreciated!
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    3. Member worth_fixing's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 12:23 PM #2
      yeah i'm surprised they weren't more popular than that. When I started driving, I absolutely lusted over them. But they rusted out really quickly here, and the only surviving ones are twice totalled, thrice repainted, rusty fender'ed and aftermarket bumper covers.

      If I remember correctly, their H22 motors were open deck and had issues. Common swaps were H22A motors from Japanese market Preludes, but even those took oil over time and didn't last as long as the B-series motors.

      Too bad.
      http://badges.fuelly.com/images/sig-metric/286588.png
      Any car which holds together for a whole race is too heavy.

    4. Member Yuppie Scum's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 12:47 PM #3
      First, you need to reset your expectations around the word “luxury”

      The problem with these is that they almost universal fell into the hands of teenagers in the 00’s who riced the **** out of them. I do see them pop up on CL and FBM from time to time. Seems like there are rare examples of unmolested ones.

      IFW the 80’s pop up headlight/4ws ones myself.

    5. Junior Member Enderwaves's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 12:49 PM #4
      I like the styling on both of the 90’s Preludes. I know guys who tracked these seemed to have lots of head gasket issues. Every time I see a clean one I take a look, because they are very good looking, but they are usually priced slightly high...


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    6. Member nyexx's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 01:06 PM #5
      I want one very badly and look for one daily. Can’t find them clean, manual, and reasonably priced. They are extremely reliable and durable just have to keep an eye on the oil level because it will burn a lot of it.

      My favorite generation is the 92-96 though.

    7. Member worth_fixing's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 01:09 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by nyexx View Post
      I want one very badly and look for one daily. Can’t find them clean, manual, and reasonably priced. They are extremely reliable and durable just have to keep an eye on the oil level because it will burn a lot of it.

      My favorite generation is the 92-96 though.
      yeah, why is that?
      http://badges.fuelly.com/images/sig-metric/286588.png
      Any car which holds together for a whole race is too heavy.

    8. Member Cutandthrust's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 01:31 PM #7
      I sold Honda's back in 1998, right about when this car came out. It was my favorite Honda we offeredome out, and was more of a GT type car than the Lude, it was faster and instant torque from the V6. The target market of the Prelude was not interested in a GT car you had to wind-out to tap into the power band. About the only thing the Prelude did better was handling, this car in base trim was more than a V6 EX-L Accord Coupe as well. The Automatic Prelude was a big yawn-fest, but the stick was fun. I would 100% absolutely own one today, the design is still somewhat current despite the age, and these cars were very comfortable to log miles on. I would definitely want one today. With that said, I remember a buddy in High School had a 1996 Prelude Si Vtec, and that car was so rewarding to drive and wring out. The last gen was much heavier, and porkier feeling in comparison. I also blame the 1995-1999 Integra GS-R for steeling tons of possible Prelude buyers. The 3rd gen Integra IMO was never a looker in stock form, but it drove, and handled amazingly well, and was quicker than the Prelude.

    9. Member Cutandthrust's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 01:33 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by nyexx View Post
      I want one very badly and look for one daily. Can’t find them clean, manual, and reasonably priced. They are extremely reliable and durable just have to keep an eye on the oil level because it will burn a lot of it.

      My favorite generation is the 92-96 though.
      I agree, '92-'96 Prelude was such a good car. I see plenty of 1985-'91 clapped out ones from time to time here in Phoenix, AZ, but all of the golden era '92-'96 models have vanished, or are being stored.

    10. 04-05-2020 01:49 PM #9
      I think they were a little under appreciated, and overshadowed by the Integra and perhaps the Accord V6 coupe (like mentioned). Also, it was more of a GT car and not super luxurious for the time. Honda/Accura had a lot of coupe options in the 90's, so they most likely cannibalized sales with the numerous overlaps.

      I would argue there is a following, it's just not as big as the Civic or Integra scene.

    11. Member tampaSi's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 02:04 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by worth_fixing View Post
      If I remember correctly, their H22 motors were open deck and had issues.
      Too bad.
      And even that is only a "problem" if you're trying to turbo the thing and make 400hp. Stock (or close to it) they should be no more problematic than any other Golden Era Honda 4-cylinder, which is to say - sewing machine reliable. If you take care of it, it'll take care of you.

      I've owned a number of 90s-era Hondas and while the Prelude SH was always on my list, I never pulled the trigger because they had terrible headroom compared to the equivalent Civic / Integra. That low roofline took its toll, and as a 6'3" dude, my head would be jammed into the sunroof aperture. Shame, because I really liked the look of them and they drove very nicely.
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    12. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 02:41 PM #11
      I had a '93 VTEC model, which had a 2.2L. I believe was the first Honda branded car in the US to have VTEC (aside from the NSX), but not entirely sure. The engine was fantastic, with strong pull to redline, with a milder VTEC shift than say what you get in something like the S2000. The 5MT and clutch action were also quite good, with clearly defined shift gates, and a pretty linear and light clutch.

      It also had great seats, and generally very good ergonomics. The brakes were so-so, and it had lots of torque steer, and benefited greatly from an aftermarket and much stiffer rear ARB, which improved its turn in and corner habits tremendously. The ride was decent for being a shorter wheelbase nose heavy car, and the steering feel was decent for the time, but nothing spectacular. It felt a bit overboosted as well.

      It looked ok, and the interior was very different than most other cars at the time, and made the car rather unique.

      Overall, it was very good car, with what I felt was a great engine for its day. The chassis had a lot of promise, with double wishbone at all 4 corner (typical Honda back in the day), but the factory tuning didn't exploit its goodness, whereas Honda did do so with the Integra Type R when that came out.




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      04-05-2020 02:46 PM #12
      Friend of mine has a clean red one he picked up a couple years ago as a nice weather daily. I *think* it’s an auto though, I’m not sure. He loves it, and so do I.
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    14. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 03:10 PM #13
      I really liked the 3rd and 4th gens, I nearly bought a 94 brand new.

      I never warmed up to the 5th Gens, kinda ugly imo.

      I can’t remember the last one I saw in person.

    15. Member BlakeV's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 03:16 PM #14
      That 1997 came as a shock.... ugly as a sin.

      Fourth gen was far better styled. Too bad the powertrain was not like fifth.


    16. Member Cutandthrust's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 03:26 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      I had a '93 VTEC model, which had a 2.2L. I believe was the first Honda branded car in the US to have VTEC (aside from the NSX), but not entirely sure. The engine was fantastic, with strong pull to redline, with a milder VTEC shift than say what you get in something like the S2000. The 5MT and clutch action were also quite good, with clearly defined shift gates, and a pretty linear and light clutch.

      It also had great seats, and generally very good ergonomics. The brakes were so-so, and it had lots of torque steer, and benefited greatly from an aftermarket and much stiffer rear ARB, which improved its turn in and corner habits tremendously. The ride was decent for being a shorter wheelbase nose heavy car, and the steering feel was decent for the time, but nothing spectacular. It felt a bit overboosted as well.

      It looked ok, and the interior was very different than most other cars at the time, and made the car rather unique.

      Overall, it was very good car, with what I felt was a great engine for its day. The chassis had a lot of promise, with double wishbone at all 4 corner (typical Honda back in the day), but the factory tuning didn't exploit its goodness, whereas Honda did do so with the Integra Type R when that came out.



      Don't quote me on it, but IIRC the Del Sol Si I think was the first "Honda" branded Vtec (too lazy to look up right now if fact) I just remember that being part of the marketing, and that model was very rare for even the time.

    17. 04-05-2020 03:28 PM #16
      I know the third gen was made up until 1991, I'm not sure if this one is late 80's or an early 90's but it was SO CLEAN. I had to stop and admire for a minute.

      Winter 2020 by Geoff Potter, on Flickr
      Winter 2020 by Geoff Potter, on Flickr

    18. Member Bibs's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 03:37 PM #17
      I love them now, but at the time, I recall being disappointed in the last gen...the styling of the front lights was similar to the Sunfire!


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      04-05-2020 03:40 PM #18
      Prelude exemplifies my love-hate relationship with the old DOHC VTEC Honda era. On paper, it's stylish, specced to thrill, and a willing partner on the perfect road. In real life, it's overweight, overpriced, and on the normal kinds of roads that make up most people's driving, not much more fun than a manual 4 banger Accord. As a Honda boi who came of age around the time the Prelude died, I'm speaking from experience. A stock Prelude mauled a modded Accord in handling, but you had to find a perfect back road or go to the track to see that difference.

      A lot of people lament the death of the quirky DOHC VTEC Honda coupe, but honestly I've driven a lot of cars from that era and all of the Civic Si sedans are at least as fun as the worst DOHC VTEC cars, while being way more practical, affordable and suited for real life.

      To put it in the context of the time, the top dog Prelude SH had a base price of $26K in 2001. A base 325Ci was only $3K more, and was smaller outside, bigger inside, with a nicer interior. It's cool to be contrary on the internet, but $3K for RWD, a bigger + better interior and that blue and white emblem is an easy decision for me.
      Last edited by CTK; 04-05-2020 at 03:43 PM.

    20. Member x(why)z's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 03:40 PM #19
      Here's a great article. Best Handling Car Under $30,000 from 1997:
      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews...hived-feature/

      Somewhere there is a comparison between the Prelude and M3 which won the Best Handling Car Over $30,000.

    21. Member elite.mafia's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 03:42 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by BlakeV View Post
      That 1997 came as a shock.... ugly as a sin.

      Fourth gen was far better styled. Too bad the powertrain was not like fifth.


      Those wheels are horrible, eitheer way I liked both gens, nearly bought one way back when but I couldn't get the funds by the time it sold.
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      04-05-2020 03:47 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by BlakeV View Post
      That 1997 came as a shock.... ugly as a sin.

      Fourth gen was far better styled. Too bad the powertrain was not like fifth.

      The top dog 4th gens got the same DOHC VTEC H22, just down on 5HP in the US. In JDM land the 5th gens all got an extra 15-20HP.

      Where the 4th gen really killed on design was the interior. Maybe the best Honda interior of all time outside of the NSX IMO:



      You HAD to get EL gauges though:



      I would say the Prelude peaked in '94 in the US, which I think was the first year we got the H22. From there it either stayed still or regressed as the competition moved forward.

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      04-05-2020 03:50 PM #22
      The later ones were great. I really wish Honda made a Prelude/Integra/RSX equivalent today, but that would require getting people to buy them new.
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      04-05-2020 04:01 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by TJSwoboda View Post
      The later ones were great. I really wish Honda made a Prelude/Integra/RSX equivalent today, but that would require getting people to buy them new.
      They do- the Civic Si coupe. There's also the Freeze Breeze twins if you need the revs. But the latter has most of the problems of the old cars.

    25. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      04-05-2020 04:07 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by CTK View Post



      I would say the Prelude peaked in '94 in the US, which I think was the first year we got the H22. From there it either stayed still or regressed as the competition moved forward.
      See my post above. We got the H22 in '93. '94 an on got the EL instruments, and newer pearlescent blue green color.

    26. 04-05-2020 04:16 PM #25
      One thing that killed the prelude, as is was at a price point most that would be interested in it could not afford . I think I remember reading the last generation was around 40k usd new . They were indeed some cool cars .

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