HomeCar CultureCollect ‘Em All: The 1993 Honda Prelude Si

Collect ‘Em All: The 1993 Honda Prelude Si

Clean fourth-generation Prelude completes a lineup of five body styles


Assembling a complete set, as it turns out, can apply to more than just baseball cards or souvenir shot glasses. Even automotive collectors find it satisfying to complete a series. And with my recent acquisition of a 1993 Prelude, I closed the gap on owning all five generations of that model.

It has been 45 years since the Honda Prelude sport coupe was first launched. Marketed for over two decades and five generations, the car was phased out of production after model year 2001. However, true to its name, those Preludes might have been just an indication of what was to come.

Consistent Formula

The “original” Prelude made its way to dealership showrooms in 1979 and paved the way for subsequent models. Throughout its lifespan, the Prelude leveraged a front-wheel-drive, naturally aspirated four-cylinder coupe arrangement. It was well appointed even in base model form, and all Preludes came standard with sunroofs.

The press release for the introduction of the final-year Prelude (in 2001) said: “Designed to be an aggressive sports coupe with superior handling, the Prelude is intended to appeal to drivers who will appreciate its high level of performance and refinement. Specific areas of improvement include enhanced handling, greater technical sophistication, more storage and utility, and enhanced safety.”

Enthusiasts were delighted to learn that the Prelude is coming back. At least, that’s what Honda has hinted. A concept car was shown at the Japan Mobility Show last October, and it later debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

The Prelude’s attributes of handling and its captivating design were what drew me to the model from a young age; I drove a 1989 Prelude in high school in the late 1990s. A couple of years ago, the AutoHunter Cinema team produced a video showcasing my current car – which is nearly an identical copy of the one I owned back then. Even at 185,000 miles, the car’s smooth five-speed gearbox and acceleration feel are engaging. The 1980s aesthetic elements like pop-up headlights are icing on the cake.

One of my Preludes, by the way, was sold on AutoHunter two years ago. The only Prelude I hadn’t owned at that point was a fourth-generation version. Let us look more about its attributes.

Fourth Gen Basics

In model year 1992, Honda took a fresh design approach to its beloved sport coupe, both inside and out. The formerly wedge-shaped body took on a much more rounded look, and the pop-up headlights made way for fixed assemblies. Perhaps one of the most controversial elements was the car’s interior, where a two-tiered, flat-topped dashboard gave the cabin a sort of space-age vibe.

The generation lasted through 1996. There were three available powertrains offered during this era:

  • “S” Model: Powered by the 2.2-liter F22A1 inline-four with 135 horsepower
  • “Si” and “SE” Models: Powered by the 2.3-liter H23A1 inline-four with 160 horsepower
  • “VTEC” Model: Powered by the 2.2-liter H22A1 inline-four with 187 horsepower

Across all available engines, the two transmission offerings were a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic. One of the innovations that continued for this generation was an available four-wheel-steering system.

My “New” 1993 Prelude Si

On June 2, 1993, a Prelude was sold from Tempe Honda in Arizona to its proud original owner, Julie, with 16 miles on the odometer. Julie had previously owned a Honda CRX and was already hooked on the driving dynamics, economy, and overall “friendliness” that Honda ownership entailed. Julie opted for a Milano Red “Si” (a trim level that originated in the 1980s to describe the Sport Injected, or fuel-injected, model) with a five-speed manual transmission. The car had a retail price of $20,330.

After 219,547 trouble-free miles and 31 years, Julie was finally ready to part ways with her car. Effectively, she’d owned the car for half her life, so this was a difficult decision to make. She wanted something with a few more safety features, an elevated ride height, and easier ingress and egress.

That’s where I came into the picture. As it turns out, Julie and I were mutually connected through an independent mechanic. Julie expressed that she was ready to sell the car and we were put in touch since I am integrated into the Honda/Acura community locally. The car was too cool to pass up.

The service records that came with the Prelude paint a clear picture of the love and care it received over its 30-plus years in service as Julie’s primary car. Excluding cosmetic items like new upholstery and a fresh paint job in 2018, the receipts come out to around $15,000 in expenditures. The timing belt and water pump have been changed three times – this is a big-ticket (and important) service item.

Future Plans

My Prelude has survived three decades without falling victim to any kind of crazy modifications, and I intend to keep it clean and original. In fact, my plan is to revert the car to looking even more “showroom” by removing the window tint as well as having the wheels professionally refinished. One upgrade I do plan on adding is the factory trunk-mounted spoiler.

I guess now the only thing left to do is keep tabs on when Honda plans to drop generation number six, so I can promptly put my order in. Have you ever owned every generation of a particular model? Let us know in the comment section!

Stay tuned to The Journal for news on Honda Preludes, both from the past and from the future!

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,, 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’m flatly envious. Congrats on your most recent acquisition. You’ve got a beautiful, well-curated collection. Maybe I’ve missed it, but have you any inclination to show us a bit about how they’re stored or your approach to upkeep?

    • Thank you! I appreciate that. I was lucky to get connected with the opportunity to acquire this Prelude. It has some miles on it, but finding one in original shape is getting to be extremely difficult. My hobby/collection is in a constant state of evolution. Right now I juggle about a dozen vehicles, and it is a constant game of “musical cars.” I have an ongoing rotation at the Acura dealership showroom where I store one vehicle. Another one is at a mechanic, and another is at the paint shop. A lot of this I document on my YouTube channel if you want to check it out sometime. I do believe that cars need to be driven actively/frequently, so do make efforts to cycle them for exercise. Thanks for reading!

  2. just bought a first generation 1982 prelude with 152,000 miles .where do you get parts and accessories for a 1982 prelude ?

  3. G1 Preludes are the most obscure of all. What specifically are you on the lookout for? The 1982 that I had was running an aftermarket Weber carburetor and a long list of other non-factory equipment. Unfortunately OEM parts were discontinued long ago. You may also want to connect with some of the Facebook groups and forums centered around 1979-1982 Preludes.

  4. I lusted after a Prelude back in the 80’s but my budgets had me settle for an early Accord and two different Honda Civic FE’s. I pre-ordered a 1990 Miata after following the story of their development and still have it, but it was not a practical daily driver. Following news of its development, I was in line to buy one of the first 1992 Honda Cvic VX’s delivered to New England and was amazed by its almost exceeding the on-road performance of my Miata. Like Julie, I now need to find a deserving new owner for my 1992 Honda Civic VX. It has been babied all its long life with me (32 years now), is “all original” (never modified) and even with 265,000 miles on the odometer looks “like new” inside and out and still starts immediately. I want it to go to someone who will appreciate this rare version of the Civic hatchback that was the “1992 design of the year” selection by Automobile Magazine and made headlines for being the first car in the USA to average 55 mph and still accelerate and handle like a “sports car.” It will be sold with all kinds of documentation including a copy of the Robert Cumberford article mentioned above. Lots of photos and a detailed write-up via email are available to anyone who is serious about preserving this unique version of Honda design and engineering. Thanks for helping to preserve and maintain interest in Honda automobiles.


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