The Honda Prelude began life as a sporty-looking econo-coupe, but gradually gained more horsepower and additional plushness as the 1980s went on. The third-generation Prelude Si was a genuine factory hot rod, particularly when equipped with the innovative four-wheel-steering option, and I look for such cars whenever I’m prowling through wrecking yards for interesting pieces of automotive history. Here’s a high-mile 1989 Prelude 2.0Si with the 4WS, found in a Colorado Springs yard last summer.
Honda went to six-digit odometers in North American-market cars starting in 1982 and 1983, and many of the discarded Hondas I find from the 1980s and 1990s show impressively high final mileage figures. This one came tantalizingly close to the 200k figure.
The paint shows the signs of damage from decades spent in the rough-on-car-exteriors climate of Front Range Colorado, but the car still would have looked good enough at 50 feet.
Then a hailstorm rolled in, smashing the front and rear glass and dimpling much of the bodywork like the surface of a golf ball. Fixing that damage wouldn’t have been worth the cost on a high-mile Prelude, so the car ended up in this place.
In any case, local third-gen Prelude aficionados would have taken one look at this gearshift and walked away.
The 2.0-liter DOHC B20A5 engine made 135 horsepower in 1989, which made the Prelude 2.0Si very quick for its era (and one of the best-sounding cars of the time as well).
The Prelude’s 4WS system was entirely mechanical, with a separate steering box on the rear suspension and a shaft connecting it with the main front steering box. It made the car very quick in the slalom— supposedly it could beat the same-year Corvette— as well as much easier to parallel-park.
On top of all that mechanical technology, the ’89 Prelude 2.0Si came with standard air conditioning, a pretty good (by 1989 standards) audio system, and a comfy interior.
The stylish car for stylish people.
Good-looking? You bet!
Are those excerpts from Western car reviews flashing on the screen in this home-market ad?
4WS: an incredible turn of events.