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Honda Prelude Info

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The Honda Prelude was a sports coupe produced by Japanese automaker Honda from 1978 until 2001. It replaced the Honda S800, a front-engined, front wheel drive sports car. The two-door coupe spanned five generations and was eventually discontinued on the release of the fifth-generation Honda Integra or Acura RSX Type-S in North America in late 2001 as well as the release of the Honda S2000 in early 1999. In the U.S., the Accord Coupe superseded the Prelude.

Prelude competitors included the Toyota Celica, another straight-4-powered coupe introduced several years prior to the Prelude. Throughout the 1980s, the Prelude was challenged by the Nissan Silvia, Isuzu Impulse, Mitsubishi FTO, Mitsubishi Cordia (later the Eclipse), Opel Manta/Opel Calibra, Ford Probe and Mazda MX-6.

First generation (1979–1982)

post-1-073009800 1314107507_thumb.jpgOn November 24, 1978, the Prelude, which used the second generation Civic as a base, was launched. The four wheel independent struts, brakes and floorpans were all borrowed from the second generation Civic. At 4090 mm (length) x 1635 mm (width) x 1290 mm (height), it had quite a low and wide profile. The wheelbase was 2320 mm, and was 60 mm shorter than that of the original Accord.

As the Civic/Accord of the era used a sub-frame chassis structure with a monocoque body (unibody), the Prelude used a one-piece sub-frame chassis with monocoque body that is set up as a two-pillar structure to increase body and torsional rigidity. The front suspension employed a MacPherson strut with a conventional coil spring mounted offset of the central axis of the damper which was designed and intended to greatly smooth the travel of the suspension, and rear suspension consisted of the Lotus-designed Chapman strut. The front mounted anti-roll bar served two functions, to reduce body roll during cornering and to act as the radius rod for the front suspension. The vehicle featured a rear anti-roll bar as well. This design minimizes the typical front engine front wheel drive understeer while cornering near the limit and also limits the rear sliding behavior of vehicles with this drivetrain layout. "It is," wrote Brock Yates for Motor Trend, "by any sane measurement, a splendid automobile. The machine, like all Hondas, embodies fabrication that is, in my opinion, surpassed only by the narrowest of margins by Mercedes-Benz. It is a relatively powerful little automobile by anybody's standards."

The engine sourced from the Accord was the EK SOHC 12-valve 1750 cc CVCC inline four rated at 75 hp (56 kW) @ 4500 rpm and 96 ft·lb (130 N·m) @ 3000 rpm. This was available for US and JDM Markets. (The Accord-shared engine made use of an engine oil cooler and transistor-controlled ignition system. 1980 saw the introduction of the CVCC-II engine which employed the use of a catalytic converter and several other refinements that improved driveability, the Prelude also received a mild facelift in 1981. Transmission choices were either the standard 5-speed manual or initially a two speed "Hondamatic" semi-automatic which by October 1979, had been replaced by a 3-speed automatic that used the final gear as the overdrive. The Prelude was quick when compared to most of its competition with Motor Trend measuring an early Prelude completing the quarter-mile in a respectable 18.8 seconds at 70 mph. In addition to the standard fabrics offered in most models, an 'Executive' option was offered in some markets which added power steering and Connolly leather upholstery which is typically only used in high end luxury cars. The Prelude was the first Honda model to offer a power moonroof as standard equipment, which eventually became a Prelude trademark. Honda used a single central gauge cluster design in this car which housed the speedometer and tachometer in one combined unit where both instrument's needles swept along the same arc. They also placed the compact AM/FM radio unit up high next to the gauge cluster. The Prelude featured intermittent wipers, tinted glass, and a remote trunk release. There was a convertible model introduced by a Santa Ana California company named Solaire. Less than 100 were believed to be converted when new and they were sold through Honda dealerships with full factory warranty coverage.

The EL SOHC 8-valve 1602 (non-CVCC) inline four rated at 78 hp (55 kW) @ 5000 rpm and 97 ft·lb (125 N·m) @ 3000 rpm was available for UK, Australian & Canadian Markets. It featured a non-automatic choke with 3 positions and a 2 barrel carburetor.

Second generation (1983–1987)

post-1-067085400 1314107512_thumb.jpgThe second generation Prelude was released in 1983 and was initially available with an A18A or ET-2, 1.8L 12-valve twin carburetor engine, producing 110 hp (77 kW), with fuel injection introduced in the "Si" models in 1985. In Japan, Asia and Europe, it was available with a 2-liter DOHC 16-valve PGM-FI engine (EDM = BA2, JDM = BA1, although this engine was not released in Europe until 1986. The JDM B20A produced 160 hp (120 kW) at 6300 rpm, while the EDM B20A1 produced only 137 hp (102 kW). This was the first generation of Prelude to have pop-up headlights, which allowed for a more aerodynamic front clip, reducing drag. Opening the headlights, however, especially at higher speeds, produced significantly more drag. The 1983 model is identifiable by its standard painted steel wheels with bright trim rings (although alloy rims were optional). The 1984-87 base models had Civic-style full wheel covers. In Canada, a "Special Edition" trim was created, which is essentially the same as the USA 2.0Si "sport injected" model.

When the 2-litre 16-valve DOHC engine came out, the hood was slightly modified, since the larger engine could not fit under the original hood. The European version also saw slight modifications to the rear lights and revised front and rear bumpers which were now color-matched. Due to the fairly low weight of the car (1,025 kg (2,260 lb)) and high power (the 16-valve engine produced 160 hp (119 kW)), the car was relatively nimble in comparison to its competitors, which most Preludes had not been up to that time.

post-1-009249700 1314107519_thumb.jpgThird generation (1988–1991)

The third generation Prelude was released in 1987 in Japan and gained four wheel steering on some models. The third generaton received body changes that updated the look. New engines available in the USDM models were: in the 1988-1990 2.0S, the B20A3 which is a SOHC 12-valve dual-sidedraft carburetor engine displacing 1958 cc that produced up to 104 hp (78 kW) and 111 lb·ft (150 N·m); in the 1988-1991 2.0Si, the B20A5 with DOHC and PGM-FI that increased power to 135 hp (101 kW) and 127 lb·ft (172 N·m), or a slightly-larger B21A1 in 1990 and 1991 Si models described below. The B20A6 was the Australian model: a 2.0 DOHC 16-valve PGM-FI engine, also 1958 cc, producing 142 hp (106 kW) and 127 lb·ft (172 N·m).

Engine List Honda Prelude:

B20A/B20A1 - 2.0L DOHC PGM-FI 143/160 hp (Japan/Europe)

B20A3 - 2.0L SOHC carb(12v) 104 hp Canada/US

B20A4 - 2.0L SOHC carb(12v) Non US

B20A5 - 2.0L DOHC PGM-FI 135 hp (101 kW) US

B20A6 - 2.0L DOHC PGM-FI 142 hp (106 kW) Australia/New Zealand

B20A7 - 2.0L DOHC PGM-FI 150 hp (110 kW) Europe

B20A8 - 2.0L DOHC PGM-FI 133 hp (99 kW) Europe

B20A9 - 2.0L DOHC PGM-FI 140 hp (100 kW) Europe

B21A - 2.1L DOHC PGM-FI 145 hp (108 kW) Japan (SI States)

B21A1 - 2.1L DOHC PGM-FI 140 hp (100 kW) Canada/US


post-1-035462800 1314107526_thumb.jpgThe drag coefficient was at the very low rating of .34. This gave better fuel economy, lower wind noise, and a greater level of high-speed stability.

Another unique structural element of the third generation Prelude was the high-strength metal used in the six roof pillars.

In 1987, Road & Track published a test summary that shows the 1988 Honda Prelude 2.0Si 4WS outperforming every car of that year on the Slalom, including all Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Porsches. It went through the slalom at 65.5 mph (105.4 km/h), an amazing result for the time. For reference, the 1988 Corvette took the same course at 64.9 mph (104.4 km/h).

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


In 1990, the Honda Prelude received a facelift.

The front bumper on the 1990 Prelude was also changed to feature clear indicators and park lamps that no longer wrapped around the corners of the bumper. Many of the interior parts were revised, including the dash bezel, the door handle and window switches, the steering wheel shape contours, etc. The five-speed manual transmission had unique gear ratios that offered easy acceleration at high speeds. The B21A1 engine became available in the "Si" trim level, which offered 4WS or ABS (called ALB). The Japanese version of the Si with the B20A was rated 140 HP with the JDM engine and was rated for 37 MPG. The B21A5 engine bored to 83 mm (3.3 in) with a total displacement of 2056 cc producing up to 140 hp (104 kW). This version featured a unique cylinder liner that is reported to be extremely tough, but also contributes to additional oil consumption.

Honda released the Prelude SiStates in 1990. Originally available only in Japan, this car was a limited production run and very few were built. It featured four-wheel steering, ABS, limited slip differential, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, extra sound deadening on the firewall and hood, rear windscreen wiper and washer, and many more features that were usually options. It also featured a unique B21A engine rated at 145 bhp (108 kW) that was only produced for the SiStates.

A series labeled INX was available on the Japanese domestic market. These models had fixed headlights (similar in nature to the European Accord Sedan from 85-90). It was available in three models: XX, Si and Si SRS.

Fourth generation (1992–1996)

post-1-080999500 1314107531_thumb.jpgIn 1992, the fourth generation Prelude after being released in Japan in 1991. The car had a 58% front and 42% rear weight distribution. The four wheel steering system was changed to an electronic version and the engine was increased in capacity from 2.1 litres to 2.2 litres for the base model "S" (SOHC F22A1 engine, 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) at 5200 rpm, 193 N·m (142 ft·lbf) at 4000 rpm) and "VTEC" model (DOHC VTEC H22A1, 190 PS (140 kW; 187 hp) at 6800 rpm, 207 N·m (153 ft·lbf) at 5500 rpm), with a 2.3-litre for the "Si" (DOHC H23A1, 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp) at 5800 rpm, 212 N·m (156 ft·lbf) at 5300 rpm). The Japanese Si came with the F22B (2.2 L DOHC non-VTEC, 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp)). The VTEC model had an upgraded brake system, going from a 10.3" (262 mm) front rotor to an 11.1" (282 mm) front rotor and utilizing larger brake caliper and pads, similar to those found in the Acura Vigor. Its styling approach is similar to the Honda Ascot Innova during the same time period.

Additionally, a 2.0i, single overhead cam (sohc) non vtec model was released in Europe, rated at 133 PS (98 kW; 131 hp). 1993 was the last year that the "Si-VTEC" (BB4) name was used, and beginning in 1994 it was shortened to just "VTEC" and stayed that way throughout the rest of the generation. In some countries, the Prelude with 2.2 VTEC engine was called the VTi-R. In Canada, the Si was called the SR, and the VTEC was called the SR-V.

This model also marked the end for the pop-up headlights. The new headlights featured a stylish, aggressive and slanted appearance. The 1992 Prelude incorporated other design features that had also become the "Prelude standard". The rear end was rounded and fairly high in comparison to the previous square trunk line. The front fascia of the car became wider with fixed headlights. The glass moonroof made way for a steel sliding sunroof which no longer retracted into the car but extended out and over it.

The dashboard was generally accepted as the extraordinary feature of this model, remaining equal in height over the full width of the vehicle. The light blue back lighting introduced in the third generation was continued. Later models (1994 and on) also featured translucent speedometer and tachometer needles. All VTEC & SE models received leather interior. In Japan, there was also an in-dash television set available as an option. As a result of this, many enthusiasts have modified the dashboards of their Preludes to fit a small television set. Also featured was an 8-speaker audio system (Gathers DSP 8 Speaker System) which included a center dash-mounted speaker and rear center subwoofer, while the U.S. version received only 7 speakers (center dash speaker not included). The Japanese version also included a digital climate control system. The Canadian version received some options which were not available in the United States. For instance, the Japanese Prelude had power folding mirrors as well as a rear windscreen wiper, while the Canadian market was the one to have heated mirrors and optional heated seats. The Japanese model came with optional Honda Access accessories such as Typus ski racks, under dash lights, headrest covers, a cabin air filter, and floor mats. Some of the Japanese domestic market fourth generation Prelude VTECs did not come with options such as a sunroof and 4-wheel steering, as it was possible to skip these options when buying in Japan. The fourth generation Prelude also shares some suspension components with the fifth generation (1994–97) Honda Accord. It also shares many suspension components with the 5th generation Prelude's that are not equipped ATTS system.

Source Wikipedia

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