HomePick of the DayVintage VTEC: 1997 Honda Prelude

Vintage VTEC: 1997 Honda Prelude

The Pick of the Day is a “golden era” Japanese coupe


The Pick of the Day is a “golden era” Japanese coupe Next year marks two decades since the last Honda Prelude rolled off the assembly line, perhaps so the company could devote more development or focus into the S2000 roadster which debuted around that same time.

Honda’s sports coupe lived for more than 30 years as a fun-to-drive yet economical car.  At the core, it was Accord-based, but it had such niceties as a standard moonroof on every model since the first generation launched for the 1979 model year.


The Pick of the Day is a 1997 Honda Prelude base model in San Marino Red with only 47,000 original miles, owned by just one adult for its 23 years and always living in salt-free states, according to the private seller in Rocklin, California, advertising the Honda on ClassicCars.com.

 Over the years, it’s become exceptionally rare to find a Prelude that hasn’t been subjected to modification in the “tuner” community, and this one is definitely a bone-stock survivor. 


“It has never been modified or raced,” the seller says in the ad.  “It has always been garaged and well-maintained.  All factory books, the original window sticker, and all maintenance records are available.”

Marking the first year of Honda Prelude’s fifth generation, 1997 was the year that the Prelude design language returned to a boxy look reminiscent of the third generation of 1988-1991.  Notably absent were the pop-up headlights that adorned both the second and third generations. 


But as with many Hondas, a conservative exterior was counterbalanced by a marvelous engine, and the magic happened under the hood.  Fifth generation Preludes like this one were equipped with the “H22” series of engines, delivering a satisfying dose of power at the higher end of the rev range thanks to the famous Honda “VTEC” (an acronym for variable valve timing and lift electronic control).

This pretty Prelude with low miles is offered for just $9,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie is a Phoenix-based automotive enthusiast who has been writing for The Journal since 2016. His favorite automotive niche is 1980s and 1990s Japanese cars, and he is a self-diagnosed “Acura addict” since he owns a collection of Honda and Acura cars from that era. Tyson can usually be found on weekends tinkering on restoration projects, attending car shows, or enjoying the open road. He publishes videos each week to his YouTube channel and is also a contributing author to Arizona Driver Magazine, KSLCars.com, NSX Driver Magazine, and other automotive publications. His pride and joy is a 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe with nearly 600,000 miles on the odometer, but he loves anything on four wheels and would someday like to own a 1950 Buick Special like his late grandfather’s.


  1. I would have to say the 1987 Prelude was the best or maybe I had a well made one. It was a SI model four wheel steer black loaded. It went 326,000 miles mint shape before I traded it in. And when I did it felt like i was putting my dog down. That car for 14 years never let me down always started. Tires,brakes,exhaust that’s it not even one light bulb. Great car. I saw it one day outside a pizza place I go to I went inside to the take out one kid standing there I said your Prelude out there, yes, that was mine it’s a great car. I left with my pizza looked at the car he had a trash can size exhaust pipe on right then I new she would be dead soon. Sure enough 2 months later saw the same kid in the same place, no car, I ask were’s the black Prelude, it blew up,the motor died. SAD.


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