Honda Prelude
aka {{{aka (Type here, not up there)}}}
Production 1979–2001
Class Sports coupe
Body Style 2-door coupe
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Width {{{Width - type here}}}
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Wheelbase {{{wheelbase - type here}}}
Weight {{{Weight - you get the point}}}
Transmission {{{transmission + drive}}}
Engine {{{engine}}}
Power 68-217 hp @ N/A rpm
N/A lb-ft of torque @ N/A rpm
Similar Toyota Celica
Acura Integra
Mitsubishi Eclipse
Designer {{{Designer (lead designer if it was a team effort)}}}

The Honda Prelude was a front wheel drive I4-engined coupe that was manufactured by Honda between 1979 and 2001. It spanned five generations of cars but was discontinued upon the release of the fourth-generation Acura Integra in Japan in late 2001.

The Prelude's perennial competitor has been the Toyota Celica, another I4-powered coupe introduced several years prior to the Prelude. Throughout the 1980s, it was challenged by the Nissan Silvia, Isuzu Impulse, Mitsubishi FTO, Mitsubishi Cordia (later the Eclipse), and the Mazda MX-6.

Styles and Major Options[edit | edit source]

Convertibles[edit | edit source]

Through the years, several German companies have converted Preludes into convertibles. Currently, there have been convertibles made from the first, second and fourth generation Preludes.

File:Tropic s.jpg

A first generation Prelude convertible

First generation Preludes were modified by a company called Tropic Design, located in Germany. In all, they modified 47 Preludes, most of which were exported to Japan and the US. Very few have remained in Europe, initially all in Germany. Some have been sold over time to nearby countries, at least one to the Netherlands and one to Belgium.

File:Ab cab 02.jpg

Second generation Prelude convertible

Second generation Preludes were modified by another German company; some 100 Preludes were modified. No DOHC engine-equipped models have been known to be converted into convertibles, however. 3 versions were available, a basic version, one which had more luxurious options, and one which added a body kit, increasing its aesthetics.


Fourth generation Prelude convertible

Of the fourth generation Preludes, only some 15 were modified into a convertible by German company Honda-Autohaus Manfred Ernst. No details are known about the engine types and other specifics. Since only 15 were ever made, they are assumed by many to be custom-built.

Generations[edit | edit source]

Fifth Generation (1997-2001)[edit | edit source]


Fifth generation Honda Prelude unibody

The fifth generation of the Honda Prelude saw enhancements over the fourth generation, including new body styling and handling characteristics. In 2001 the Prelude was discontinued.

The fifth-generation retained an FF layout with an independent front suspension. The vehicle utilized a 63/37 weight distribution. All fifth-generation Honda Preludes came with 16 inch aluminum alloy wheels with all-season 205/50 R16 87V tires, except the Xi (14 inch steel wheels with full covers and 195/65 R14 89H tires) and Si (15 inch aluminum alloy wheels with all-season 195/60 R15 88H tires.) on which aluminum alloy rims came as a dealer option. Unlike the USDM Preludes, JDM Preludes came with rear windshield wipers (except the Xi).

The fifth-generation Prelude marked a return to the body style of the late 1980s, or third generation, in an attempt to curb slumping sales of the fourth-generation body style. The fifth-generation was assembled and distributed to many parts of the world, including Japan, the UK, the US, and Germany, among others. All models and trims stayed within the BB-chassis code (BB5-BB9) and housed either the H-series engine or F-series motor. Models available to the Japanese market included: SiR (10.6), Xi (8.8), Si (9.2), SiR S-spec (11.0) and the Type S (11.0). The US received a Base model and Type SH. Canada received the Base model, SE, and Type SH. Europe received the 2.0i (9.5) and 2.2 VTi VTEC (10.0). Australia received the Si (10.0) and the VTi-R (10.0). All fifth gen. Preludes came with an H22A ( ) except: Xi (F22B), Si (F22B), 2.0i (F20A), Si (F22Z). BB5 was the Xi, and Si-2WS trim. BB6 was the SiR-2WS trim, SiR S-spec, Type S, Base model, Type SH, SE, 2.2 VTi VTEC-2WS trim. BB7 was the Si-4WS trim. BB8 was the SiR-4WS trim, and 2.2 VTi VTEC-4WS trim. All Preludes had a fuel tank capacity of 60 L (15.9 US gal).


Photograph of a Sparkle Yellow Metallic (Y-59M) Honda Prelude with optional Motegi wheels.

One version of the fifth-generation Prelude, the Type S, was only available in Japan. It was equipped with the 2.2 L H22A, featuring VTEC and producing 220 PS (162 kW, 217 hp) @ 7200 rpm and 22.5 kgf·m (221 N·m, 163 lb·ft) @ 6500 rpm. With a compression ratio of 11.0:1, 87.0 mm bore x 90.7 mm stroke and the VTEC-valve timing, lift and duration were adjusted to 12.2 mm|11.2 mm (intake|exhaust). Honda also overhauled the air box and replaced it with a more efficient design that is often referred to as Dynamic Chambering, along with an increased throttle body design bored to 62 mm (as opposed to the previous 60 mm). The exhaust system also was treated to a redesign as well, where the pipe design became a more cylindrical shape rather an oval shape. The 3-way catalytic converter was also increased in size, as well as the exhaust piping from 50.8 mm (2.00 in) to 57 mm (2.25 in) (tToV). With the increased power output, the suspension was equally enhanced with 15 inch front ventilated discs and 14 inch rear discs. The fifth gen. curb weight was 1,310 kg (2,882 lb) and had a ground clearance of 0.14 m (5.5 in.). Unlike the SiR S-spec that had an LSD, the Type S acquired the technology from Honda that is known as the [[Active Torque Transfer Syste m]] (ATTS) (other terms that may be seen elsewhere that may come up are: DYCS [direct yaw control system], active yaw control system, Active Electronic Limited Slip Differential [misnomer.]) The gearing on the Type S matches all other fifth-generation Preludes that had a manual transmission except for the 5-speed 2.2 VTi VTEC and had a FD: 4.266. The Type S had an Active Control ABS system, different from the others which had the standard ABS systems. The interior featured leather laced with red stitching. Manufacturer styling options including seat lettering. The exterior styling of fifth generation Preludes was standardized for most models. All had a sunroof except for the Type S model.


The Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS) as used in the fifth generation Prelude.

There was only one other car that housed the H-series, and it would be the last of its kind until the presentation of the K-series. The Accord Type R/Rx/Torneo (or the JDM version of the name more commonly known as the Honda Accord Euro R) housed the last line of a more refined H-series motor, which lasted from around 1998 to 2002, until the exterior was revamped and the K-series was introduced.

The USDM fifth-generation Preludes also saw enhancements in the engine, with the full line now offering VTEC H22A4 engines, an evolution of the H22A1 with higher flowing heads, making 195 hp (198 PS, 143 kW) @ 7000 rpm and 156 lb·ft (21.8 kg·m, 212 N·m) @ 5250 rpm from 1997 to 1999, and the same torque readings with 200 hp (203 PS, 147 kW) @ 7000 rpm from 1999 to 2001 with a compression ratio of 10.0:1. The USDM fifth-generation had a Type SH ("Super-Handling") trim which featured the Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS), and, along with the 5-speed base model, shared the exact same gearing from the Type S and SiR-S spec trims in Japan (in which the Type SH transmission is the exact same as the Type S.) This system allowed Honda to overcome the limitations of front wheel drive somewhat, and in 1997, Car and Driver named the Prelude Type SH the "best-handling car under $30,000."

Fourth Generation (1992-1996)[edit | edit source]

File:PB165355 ben prelude lg.jpg

A fourth generation Prelude on an autocross course

In 1991, there was a major overhaul of the fourth generation Prelude, released outside of Japan in 1992. The car maintained a very close to perfect 58% front and 42% rear weight distribution. The four wheel steering system was changed to an electronic version and the engine was increased in size from 2.1 L to 2.2 L for the base "S" model (SOHC F22A1 engine, 135 hp (101 kW) @ 5200 rpm, 142 ft·lbf (193 N·m) @ 4000 rpm) and "Si-VTEC" model (DOHC VTEC H22A, 190 hp (147 kW) @ 6800 rpm, 158 ft·lbf (214 N·m) @ 5500 rpm), with 2.3 L for the "Si" (DOHC H23A1, 160 hp (119 kW) @ 5800 rpm, 156 ft·lbf (212 N·m) @ 5300 rpm). In the UK, there was also a 2.0i model that was rated around 125 bhp (93 kW). 1993 was the last year that the "Si-VTEC" name was used, and starting in 1994 it shortened to just "VTEC" and stayed that way throughout the rest of the generation.

This model also marked the end for the pop-up headlights and a lot of other design features that had become "Prelude Standard". The rear end was no longer flat and wide; but wide, rounded and fairly high in comparison. The front fascia of the car became wider with fixed headlights. The glass sunroof made way for a steel sliding roof which no longer retracted into the car but extended out and over it. This in effect creates a spoiler which reduced air noise when driving.

The dashboard was generally accepted as the extraordinary feature of this model. The dashboard stretched from left to right in the car, being equal in height over the full length and housing all dials and indicators. The light blue backlighting introduced in the third generation was continued. Later models (1994 and on) also featured translucent speedometer and tachometer needles. In Japan, there was also a in radio bezel television set available as a standard option; as a result, many enthusiasts have tried to find the Gathers television set. The Japanese version of the Prelude also had certain options which were never found in state-bound models but did show up in the Canadian market. For instance, the Japanese Prelude had power folding, as well as a rear windscreen wiper while the Canadian market had heated mirrors. The fourth generation Prelude also shares suspension components with the fifth (94-97) and sixth (98-02) generation Honda Accord.

Japanese Prelude Only Options:

15" Five Star Blades, Automatic Head Light System, Automatic Wiper System, Baby Seat, Bumper Pole, Bumper Sensors, Daylight Running Lights, Digital Climate Control, Drivers Side Interior Panel Rear View Mirror, DSP Special Edition Dash Speaker, Gathers Equipment: AM/FM Radio w/ CD Player, Equalizer, Television GPS Set, CD Changer, and Speakers, Half Mast Antennae, Power Folding Mirrors, Rear Bumper (Has No Bumper Lens) - Not Required in Japan, Rear Deck Air Refiner, Seat Head Rest Pads, Stanley Amber Fog Lamps, Stanley Fender Side Markers, Stanley One Piece Head Lights (Black or Chrome), Typus Winter Roof Rack, Zebra Print Floor Mats,

Third Generation Post Facelift (1990-1991)[edit | edit source]


A Rare 1990 SiStates Prelude


SiStates Prelude Rear Badge

In 1990 the Honda Prelude was given a facelift from the previous third generation (1987-1989) styling to a newer look. This facelift featured slightly smaller tail lights than the previous model, with clear indicators instead of the previous yellow indicators. The rear bumper was made slightly taller in the top section to accomodate the smaller tailights, and although it doesn't look like it the bootlid was changed above the lights as the upper part of the newer lights is actually smaller than the previous model. The front bumper on the 1990 Preludes was also changed to feature clear indicators and park lamps and different styling. Some interior panels were redesigned, including the dash bezel, both the upper cover and the surround with the sunroof switches, etc on it. The door cards recieved a slightly different style of electric window switch plates. On some models however there are some different combinations of pre and post facelift styling inside, e.g. the EX model retained the older style door cards with the rectangular door handle, and older style window switch surrounds, and didn't have speaker covers in the door cards regardless of pre and post facelift.

Honda in 1990, released the Prelude SiStates. This car was on a limited production line and very few were built, it featured 4WS (Four wheel steering), antilock brakes, limited slip differential, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift leaver, extra sound deadening on firewall and hood, rear wiper and washer, and many more features that were usually options. It also featured a unique B21A engine that was only produced for the SiStates. This model was only available in Japan for the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market).

Third Generation (1988-1989)[edit | edit source]


A third-generation facelift Honda Prelude on a road course

The third generation Prelude was similar to the second generation, however it gained four wheel steering on some models, as well as a 2.0 L SOHC carburated engine, an optional B20A DOHC EFI engine, or a slightly-larger B21A1 in 1990 and 1991.

The four wheel steering system on the third generation prelude was an extraordinary piece of engineering in itself. As of 2006, it is the only four wheel steering system on a production car that is entirely mechanical in its design; that is, there is always a direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the rear wheels. This means the four wheel steering-equipped Prelude was intuitive to drive, unlike most other four wheel steering systems in which the rear wheels were controlled indirectly by a computer.

The third generation Prelude also had some new external designs worth mentioning. The hoodline was designed to be the lowest hoodline of any front wheel drive car in the world, allowing for better forward visibility. The drag resistance was at of high-speed stability.

Another unique structural element of the third generation Prelude was the high-strength metal used in the 6 roof pillars. The roof pillars were so slim that all-around visibility was amazingly clear for 326°. Some call this Prelude the "baby NSX" due to some common design cues between the two cars, such as the excellent forward visibility via a low hoodline, a front end resemblance, the suspension attributes (great handling with a smooth ride), the taillight, front turn signal and fog light designs were also changed in the 1990 and 1991 models.

In 1987, Road & Track published a test summary that shows the 1988 Honda Prelude 2.0Si 4WS outslalomed every car of that year, including all Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Porsches. It went through the slalom at 65.5 mph, which was amazing in those days. For reference, the 1988 Corvette did the same at 64.9 mph.

The Prelude was Wheels magazine's Car of the Year for 1987.

Second Generation (1983-1987)[edit | edit source]


1986 Honda Prelude

The second generation Prelude was released in 1983 and was initially available with a 12-valve carburated engine, and fuel injection was introduced in 1985. In Japan, Asia and Europe, it was available with a DOHC 16-valve PGM-FI engine, although this engine was not released until 1986 in Europe. The second generation Prelude was the first to have pop-up headlights; this allowed for a more aerodynamic front which reduced drag. Opening the headlights however, especially at higher speeds, produced more drag and came with a specific howl inside the car.

When the 16-valve DOHC engine came out, the hood was slightly modified since the larger engine could not be fitted under the stock hood. The European version also saw slight modifications to the taillights and revised front and rear bumpers which were now color-matched. Due to the fairly low weight of the car (1,025 kg) and high power (the 16-valve engine produced 100 hp) the car was surprisingly nimble, something most Preludes were not in comparison to their competitors, until the VTEC engines came out.

First Generation/ Origins (1979-1982)[edit | edit source]

The first generation Prelude was released in 1979, and was the third main model in Honda's modern lineup, joining the Civic and the Accord. Styling of the car was a combination of both then current Civic and Accord. The Prelude was equipped with a 1751 cc SOHC CVCC I4 engine that produced 72 hp and 94 lbf-ft of torque with a 5-speed manual transmission, and 68 hp with a 2-speed automatic called the HondaMatic.

Photos[edit | edit source]

Awards[edit | edit source]

The Prelude was on Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list ten times, from 1984 through 1986, and 1992 through 1998.

See Also[edit | edit source]


Honda Motor Company

Honda | Acura | Li Nian | Honda Racing Corporation | Honda F1 Racing | Mugen


USA: Fit/Jazz · Civic · Accord · Civic Hybrid · Odyssey · CR-V · Pilot · Ridgeline · Civic GX · Civic Si · FCX Clarity · Insight Hybrid · Accord Crosstour · CR-Z

Europe/Asia: City · Jazz · FR-V · Legend . Accord (European) . Civic Type-R

Japan: Inspire · Stream · Legend · Life . Odyssey (Japanese)· Step WGN . Freed


1300 · Acty · Airwave · Avancier · Ballade · Beat · Capa · City Turbo · CR-X · CR-X del Sol · Concerto · Domani · EV Plus · FCX · FR-V · HR-V · Insight · Inspire · Integra · Life Dunk · Logo · Mobilio · Mobilio Spike · MR-V · N360 · N600 · NSX · Orthia · Passport · Prelude · Quint · Stream · S500 · S600 · S800 · S2000 · That's · Today · Z · Z600 · ZEST · Accord Hybrid · Element


Small Hybrid Sports · StepBus · Dualnote · HSC · JVX · Remix · Spocket · WOW · FCX Concept · Accord Tourer Concept · 1-4 Concept · 2007 CR-Z Concept · PUYO Concept · Accord Coupe HF-S Concept · Pilot SUV Concept · Inspire / Accord Modulo Concept · Pilot Prototype · Civic Type-RR Mugen Concept · Racer Hot Wheels · Open Study Model (OSM) Concept · Insight Hybrid Concept · City Concept · Civic HFP Concept · FC Sport Fuel-Cell Design Study · The Great Race 2025 Concept · Sports Modulo S2000 Concept · Sports Modulo Fit Concept · Life Style Study · NSX Mugen RR Concept · Accord SR-9 Study · 2009 CR-Z Concept · EV-N Concept · Skydeck Concept · P-NUT Concept · New Small Concept · Insight Sports Modulo Concept · SSM Concept · Odyssey Concept · 3R-C Concept · Li Nisn Everus Concept · Air Concept · CR-Z Hybrid R Concept · CR-Z Racer Concept · Fit EV Concept · BRIO Concept · Civic Concept · N800


RA271 · RA272 · RA273 · RA300 · RA301 · RA302 · RA106 · RA107 · HSV-010

Keihin · Showa Corporation · Nippon Seiki · List of Honda engines · Mugen

Soichiro Honda Corporate website independent

External Links[edit | edit source]

line at honda.co.jp]

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