Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

1979-1982 Honda Prelude

Who better to build a practical sports car than Honda? The 1979-1982 Honda Prelude was well-built, reliable, and economical -- and it was also a fun-to-drive little car.

1979 Honda Prelude coupe, a practical sports car
1979 Honda Prelude coupe.  See more pictures of classic cars.

The 1.8-liter overhead-cam four from the Accord was dropped into a 91.3-inch wheelbase notchback coupe. This smooth engine provided brisk, but not blinding performance. With rack pinion steering and fully independent suspension, the Prelude was an nimble handler.

Styling was pleasant, rather than flamboyant. The break with conservatism was the dashboard. The tachometer was mounted inside the circular speedometer. In '81 the concentric speedometer/tach combination was replaced by normal parallel round gauges.

A solid Prelude will appreciate, but a car needing restoration will never return your investment.

Pluses of the 1979-1982 Honda Prelude:

  • Fun and practical
  • Good mileage
  • Standard sunroof

Minuses of the 1979-1982 Honda Prelude:

  • Rust prone
  • Optional automatic transmission saps performance
  • Cramped back seat

Production of the 1979 Honda Prelude (U.S. calendar year sales):

Production of the 1980 Honda Prelude (U.S. calendar year sales):

Production of the 1981 Honda Prelude (U.S. calendar year sales):

Production of the 1982 Honda Prelude (U.S. calendar year sales):

Specifications of the 1979-1982 Honda Prelude:
Wheelbase, inches: 91.3
Length, inches: 161.4
Weight, pounds: 2,130
Price, new: $6,445-$8,445

Engines for the 1979-1982 Honda Prelude:


ohc I-4
91 cid
72-75 1979-1982

Want more information about classic cars? See: