The second-hand market sports cars is crazy right now. This is especially true when it comes to Japanese cars. It gets even crazier if it comes to JDM examples. However, not everyone can afford a genuine right-hand drive JDM sports car. In addition, the price of high performance vehicles delivered in the United States such as the Acura Integra Type R is also out of reach for many people. Fortunately, there are still a handful of sporty and reliable cars that you can buy without breaking the bank. If you’re in that market, you should consider a fourth-generation Honda Prelude.
You don’t need VTEC to have fun
Honda purists won’t appreciate this thought process, but it’s true. In this generation, the only Honda model equipped with the iconic VTEC variable valve timing system is the Prelude VTEC trim that lives up to its name. However, the trim level that is a step-down, the Si, still offers a world of fun and enjoyment for a fraction of the cost. You still get the same sleek, identifiable look as the VTEC model.
Under the hood, the Si trim features a member of Honda’s iconic H-series engine family; the H23A1. According to Edmunds, this four-cylinder develops an abundant power of 160 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. Although not the most powerful engine, the Prelude’s low curb weight of less than 2,900 pounds offers a more than amusing power-to-weight ratio. It’s exhilarating.
Inside, the Prelude Si features cloth-bolstered seats and a set of totally ’90s digital fuel and engine temperature gauges. A digital clock and green backlighting on the tachometer and speedometer make you feel like you are living in the future of the past. Up front, there’s more legroom than you could ever imagine you’d need. At the rear, however, the story is quite the opposite. It’s OK, though. A little like the Porsche 911the rear seats are above all a formality.
Are the Honda Preludes fast?
If you’re talking about going in a straight line, no. The Prelude is not fast. However, like most Japanese sports cars, this is not its intention. The Prelude is meant to be a party on windy roads and tracks with bends.
In this discipline, he is doing quite well. This particular Prelude is now 26 years old. However, despite its age and stock suspension, it’s still happy to hang on to windy corners and put the power where it’s needed. Can we say that the VTEC model and added limited slip differential would that make it better? Absoutely. That doesn’t make it any less fun, though.
If you’re looking for a car that will wow the crowd at a car meet in a parking lot full of teenagers, you’ll have to move on. However, if you want a vehicle to get you around those windy mountain roads or at the local autocross event, but don’t have a ton of cash to spend, this is it. Of course, the best part of it all is that it’s a Honda. The parts are plentiful and cheap, and working on them yourself is a snap. Plus, aftermarket upgrades, should you decide to mod them, are also plentiful.
How much does a fourth generation Prelude cost?
Now let’s get to the best part. The Prelude Si pictured had a nearly new interior, years of service history and a recent complete head rebuild with head gasket, timing belt and head bolts. Even better, there’s paperwork to back up all that work. Plus, it has new shocks, new tires and 175,000 miles. Although it seems relatively high, this mileage on a clean Honda with a significant service history is nothing to worry about. All that greatness just sold for a whopping $3,000.
Even if you were to upgrade to the spicier VTEC model, the price still seems pretty reasonable compared to many Japanese classics at this point. Just over a year ago, a VTEC model sold on Cars and Auctions with similar miles and service history for just $5,100. You better hurry before the market catches up to these beauties if you want. It’s also closing in, as a low-mileage VTEC model also just fetched over $13,000 on cars and offers.
Ultimately, the Honda Prelude is the perfect solution for any consumer looking for a Japanese classic fun to drive it doesn’t break the bank. Who knows? Maybe buying one now could net you a few years of enjoyment topped off with a huge profit down the road. It’s hard to say how these cars will appreciate. However, given the trend of current Honda sport models, it is safe to assume that well-maintained models will only increase.