Reader’s Ride: Steve’s 1992 Honda Prelude Si

Odometer (Legend):  550,564

550564

My buddy Steve Lynch has popped up on my blog a few times.  I met him originally through the Phoenix Automotive Press Association (PAPA) and he’s a published author many times over.  Over the years, Steve and I have gotten together for car talk and a couple of drives, including our feature on The Truth About Cars with “orphaned Hondas.”  Steve was delighted to share with me the story of his latest automotive acquisition:  a very well-kept, original 1992 Honda Prelude Si.

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To Steve, this Prelude is more than just A-to-B transportation.  It represents a life-sized souvenir from the days when he worked for Honda at its main office in Torrance, California.  And to him and many others, it represents an icon of an era 25 years ago when cars were simple, fun to drive, and a little more interesting than the sea of cookie-cutter midsized sedans out on the roadways today.

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Any great car purchase story begins with a long-awaited “first drive” home.  It just so happened that Steve’s first drive in his new Prelude was over 2,000 miles in distance since he’d flown to Florida to pick it up.  Along the return trip, he turned over 100,000 miles on the Prelude’s odometer and visited some interesting roadside destinations like the “Florabama” beach bar, located at the Florida-Alabama state line.  I only wish I’d been able to tag along to enjoy the miles and the scenery!

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The 1992 model year marked the first year for the Prelude’s fourth generation.  Body lines became much more rounded off as Honda departed from the boxy, pop-up-headlight-equipped 1988-1991 model year design that I’ve owned a few of.  That futuristic layout continued on into the interior, where the instrument panel stretches across the entire width of the car with gauges housed in a narrow opening.

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The most beautiful thing about the Prelude, though, is something you can’t readily see.  It’s that 5-speed transmission, so slick shifting you can flick it with a pinkie finger through all the gears.  Honda’s engineering excellence really shines through when you get the Prelude out onto an onramp, just like I did when entering Highway 51 southbound.  The audible and tangible feelings as the car revs to its 6,500 RPM redline are exactly why the Prelude was (and forever will be) a favorite of tuners.

While the “H23” 2.3-liter powerplant puts out only 160 horsepower, it doesn’t matter.  The car’s perfect sense of balance makes it an engaging driver, no matter the speed.  From the moment I got behind the wheel, the car just felt “right.”  Perhaps it’s because the car hails from an era that I’m so acutely familiar with (Honda and Acura products of the 1990s), but it took almost zero time to get comfortable in that supportive bucket seat and to get an understanding of how the controls and features operated.  That’s something I definitely miss in new cars today:  The simplicity of an engine, a transmission, and an open road without a dozen computers deciding how I need to drive or even taking over control for me.

I thank Steve for his hospitality in allowing me a few minutes behind the wheel of his new ride!

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Integra is getting a new radiator this week, and I happened to park nose-to-nose with a Civic CX at the mechanic.

Aztec Green!

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19 Responses to “Reader’s Ride: Steve’s 1992 Honda Prelude Si”

  1. Such a great car! The Prelude, the CRX, the S2000, the Integra… purist driver’s cars that are still some of the best vehicles Honda ever made.

    As of yet, the big gaping hole at the Honda Heritage Center in Ohio was the lack of any Preludes. They should have at least one there!

    • Yeah, I’m surprised that they wouldn’t have any ‘Ludes in there! Driving Steve’s made me miss my old ones. There was a suuuuuper clean “Electron Blue Pearl” 2001 (last model year) “SH” model that popped up for sale recently in Virginia or something. Caught my eye!

  2. Brian Richardson Says:

    Hi Tyson, I owned that same 92 Prelude SI from new, and loved it! It was the last of five Ludes I owned going back to 1983. My 2002 RSX came close to the Prelude for driving fun.

    >

  3. That Prelude is very nice. Great color. Is the displacement unusual for a Honda or Acura? I usually see 1.8 or 2.2 liter displacements on 4 cylinder engines.

    Speaking of Florida, have you had a chance to drive into the state yet? 😉

    • I agree with you, the displacement seems odd. Plus someone tried explaining it to me the other day that Steve’s Prelude does not have VTEC. There must have been various engine configurations available. “H22” seems to be the most sought after. I’ve seen guys take an H22 and stick it in a 3rd generation Prelude before for more power. I haven’t yet driven “into” Florida! Only flown there!

  4. Brad Heffran Says:

    It’s a beaut, Clark! It’s a beaut!

    • Haha, thanks Clark Senior! Is it too early in the year to already start with the CV quotes? Never. The little lights aren’t twinkling. I know, Art, and thanks for noticing. Happy Friday Brad!!

  5. Midnight Mystery Says:

    I’m not much on coupes, but that is just a gem… It’s surly to create a smile or giddy grin!!!

    But the way you described it sounds very nice… I do enjoy roasting a 4 banger!!!

  6. Always great to see a fellow devotee who’s helping keep the flame alive…

    We need more ppl to keep maintaining these wonderful vintage cars.

    • That’s for sure! And you’re one of those people. Let’s continue to preserve the Honda Heritage. Your 93SE will continue to get more praiseworthy comments as the years go by than it ever did when it was brand new. Pride of ownership! We have it.

  7. I remember the first time I rode in my friends 1993 Black Pearl Prelude. It was a very wet afternoon in the middle of winter and the cheap tyres that it had on it when he purchased the car made it very loose in the wet! Was such a great motor, especially when the VTEC kicked in. Congratulations to Steve on his new purchase, hope he enjoys!

    • Thanks Adam! I know Steve will appreciate that. Yes there’s something about having bad tires & a wet road that make for a fun (and sometimes even scary!) experience. Have a great weekend!

  8. Sounds like you had a fun time driving this. I’m bummed I missed it.

    • He’ll be around! Hey you’re booked the weekend of 3/18, right? That’s when Steve and I are doing our Prelude-Integra comparo at Mount Lemmon.

  9. “when cars were simple, fun to drive, and a little more interesting” – you nailed it with that description. To this day, my 1998 Prelude is my favorite care, and for that very reason. There was no satellite radio, blind spot warning (which it desperately needed), adaptive cruise control, or backup camera. It was difficult to get in and out of. The interior was relentlessly and completely…black. Everywhere you looked, inside and out, black. Except for those amazingly simple and clear orange and black dials. It drove amazing. It sounded amazing. Even though Honda still sells a 2-door Accord, it’s just not the same. Nothing else is a Prelude.

    Thanks for continuing to post great stuff on your blog.

    • Glad you can agree! Simplicity isn’t such a bad thing. It’s one of the main reasons I love my NSX. No cup holders. No power steering, even. No crazy technology trying to drive for me. Just sheer raw driving enjoyment. What do you drive now, Jay?

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