It’s been talked about, but it doesn’t mean much. Or does it?

The Honda Prelude was introduced to the world for the 1979 model year and lived through five different generations, with the final generation ending with the 2001 model year. If you’re someone who is into Muscle, then the Prelude may not have meant much to you, but for fans of the Honda brand, or tuners in general, the Honda Prelude was an important item. Based very loosely on the Honda Accord, the Prelude was a bit more cramped inside, but as it evolved from generation to generation, it got better and better. Unfortunately, sales weren’t all that good dropping from more than 330,000 models sold from 1983 to 1987 to less than 60,000 examples between 1997 and 2001 — ultimately leading to the demise of the sports coupe. Well, for those of us who have missed the sporty little coupe, there may be a little bit of hope yet, as the senior planner for the Civic, Rob Keough, reportedly told Car Buzz that there have been “hallway conversations” within Honda about the car’s revival.

What “hallway conversations” means is really unclear, as it could mean just about anything. Maybe there’s just some lonely engineer talking with a couple of buddies around the water cooler about how awesome it would be to see a new Prelude go into production. Or, maybe it’s a serious conversation between an engineer and someone who might have a little bit of say or persuasive power. Either way, the fact that a car that was discontinued 15 years ago is still floating around in the heads of some over at Honda is a big deal. The question is, whether or not there’s a real business case for such a model to come back. It would be a travesty to call something other than a sports coupe a Prelude. That would be like giving a new SUV the NSX nomenclature. Right now, the only real competition out there would be the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins, and those aren’t exactly performing quite as well as they would have 20 years ago when the sports coupe market was strong.

Then again, the Civic Si and Civic Type R have been met with massive enthusiasm this year, so there is hope that little Japanese sports coupes can make a comeback, but I honestly wouldn’t hold my breath as it’s definitely a reach hoping that the Prelude comes back anytime soon. Still, hang onto that little bit of hope, because as someone who’s driven one in the past, I sure do.

For those of you who either didn’t pay attention way back then or have forgotten, the Prelude was quite the little sports car. The fifth-gen model saw a total of 14 different trim levels across five different markets. Seven of them, including the F22B Si and the Type S with the H22A engine, were sold in Japan only. The Si and SiR were even offered with four-wheel steering. Only two models ended up here in the U.S. – the base model and the Type SH, both of which offered around 197 horsepower, Four other models were available in Europe only, while three, including an Si with the F22Z6 engine, were offered in Australia. In its best form, the Japanese-market Si, it offered as much as 217 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque.

A car of the Preludes stature today would put the BRZ and Toyota 86 twins to shame, and could even be reworked to give more higher-end sports cars a run for their money. But, as much as we can all hope, chances of even seeing the Prelude name revived are pretty thin, but don’t lose out hope if you want to see one. Stranger things have happened, and Honda – as seen with the new Civic Si and Civic Type R – finally has a good handle on what the public wants.

Honda Prelude Subaru BRZ Toyota 86
Engine 2.2 L H22A VTEC 2.0-liter Boxer engine 2.0-liter Boxer engine
Horsepower 217 HP @ 7,200 RPM 205 HP 205 HP
Torque 163 LB-FT @ 6,500 RPM 156 LB-FT 156 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 8.7 seconds 6.7 seconds 6.4 seconds
Top Speed 125 mph 143 mph 136 mph
2001 Honda Prelude
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honda prelude
2001 Honda Prelude
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Source: Car Buzz

Robert Moore
Automotive Expert
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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