Big Hondas are odd beasts, sometimes. Scratch that, they always are. And that’s a bit of an issue for yours truly. I like an oddball as much (if not more than) the next car nerd, but I just don’t get big Hondas. I know, I know, I’m writing this on a website read mostly by folks based in North America, where large Hondas have been adopted and are now about as mainstream as Oldsmobiles were back in the day. But elsewhere around the world, including in Japan, big Hondas are very hit and miss, and mostly the latter.
Case in point: the last Prelude. The JDM version was launched in late 1996 and sold until the middle of 2001, though production actually stopped in September 2000. Right there, you know something went awry. No carmaker wants to have nine months’ worth of inventory of anything lying about. Yet that’s exactly what happened to Honda with the final Prelude. They sold a shade under 14,000 in Japan in those four and a half years – a major dud.
But you know what? I kind of like this one. Older Preludes don’t really get my juices flowing. Not to say that I wouldn’t photograph one if I saw it – especially the first generation, which is my second favourite of the bunch. But on the rare occasion where I see one of these pass by in the street, it never fails to catch my gaze.
It even has a colourful interior and seats that aren’t entirely made of doily-covered grey velour. I mean really, this is outstanding for a JDM car of this class and era!
I’m not going to go into specifics about this Prelude’s engine or anything of the sort – this has all been covered fully and expertly by Brendan Saur in his take on this car, which you should read immediately after you’ve finished the present post. This is just an excuse for me to muse about the fact that Hondas aren’t very popular here, yet some looked really good. Alas, in the Venn diagram depicting those two categories, the overlap is very small and does not include the fifth-gen Prelude, which is located in the majority “turkey” side of the lookers.
Still damn handsome, though. Pass the cranberry sauce. ‘