It’s time for everybody’s favorite parlor game, “Remember When?” where the good old days are magnified and revered.
Today’s subject: Remember when Honda made fun, affordable cars? Nowadays, the Civic Si all the H-brand has to offer, though the Type R might restore some mojo. Back in the day, one could buy a CRX, a Civic Si, a del Sol, a Prelude, or an S2000 from your friendly Honda store — and the Integra across the street from Acura. They’re all gone, replaced by crossovers.
Yes, I left the CR-Z out, as my arbitrary criteria for this list requires actual fun.
(I really wanted to put the “n” in there.)
I have a ’97 Prelude that will sometimes cycle on and off its air conditioning when it’s unbearable hot outside (June-September here in Phoenix). Air will come out nice and cold, then it will get real warm suddenly for about 30 seconds before getting cold again. It only happens when it’s extremely hot outside and I’ve been driving for awhile. It works fine the majority of the time. What do you think?
BMW has M, Audi has a whole alphabet and Honda has Si. In truth, just the Civic has Si. Honda’s “Sport injection” trim started back in the 1980s but never expanded beyond its compact offerings in the U.S. Honda’s performance trim also never expanded beyond sharpened responses, a modest dollop of power and some looks-fast trim additions. The first Honda Si model came to our shores in 1985, but the first wasn’t a Civic — it was a Prelude. The Civic Si joined us a year later in 1986. But I digress.
Cars like the Civic Si are popular with journalists like me. The reason is simple, quite like the Civic itself. Unlike some performance packages, the Si treatment still favors sharpened responses and improved feel over simply jamming an over-boosted turbo engine under the hood. While the later is obviously a hoot and a half, the former is ultimately more pleasing to my peculiar tastes.
The first-gen Honda Prelude didn’t sell particularly well in the United States, being very small and not particularly quick for a sporty car, but it had Accord reliability and some examples managed to survive on the street for decades. In this series, we’ve seen this ’81 and this ’82— both silver cars with red interiors— and today we’ve got another ’82… in silver, with red interior.
Please welcome TTAC reader “psychoboy” as he tells a story of a rare encounter with the rarest of Honda Preludes — JB
A few months ago, I was convinced to get involved with what has turned out to be The Worst LeMons Car Of All Time, the mighty ‘Super K’ Plymouth Reliant wagon, as part of the “K-It-Forward” program. As bad of an idea as that was, it turns out that, compared to my attempt to buy a chop-top Prelude, it might have marked a bit of a high point in my automotive adventures this year.
Way back, way way back, in 1979, my family decided to trade in our nondescript late-Seventies Chevy Sedan on the newest, hottest, sports car to come from Japan: the brand new Prelude. Silver paint, Bordello red velour interior, giant moonroof, luggage rack on the trunk. This car had it all. It even beat Lexus to the market by a few decades with a concentric speedo and tach, and Chevrolet by ten years with an irreplaceable (in the sense that you couldn’t find a replacement) radio in the cluster shroud.
My only experience with Quaaludes was highly memorable. Yet I struggle to elicit any memories of my only drive in a Honda Quaalude. Or did I just dream that (the drive)? So just how did this Honda get that nickname anyway? Well, let’s just say that Quaaludes have more than one effect, and while the Prelude may well have induced sleep, its fairly unlikely that it was ever very successful as an aphrodisiac. I’ve certainly never heard it referred to as the Honda Viagra, despite its very close ties to the Honda Vigor.
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