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Judgment Day

With everyone and their Mom opting for Integras and swapped Civics, one guy bucked the trend. More than 10 years later, his is the Prelude by which all others are measured.

Dru Barrios
Oct 1, 2005 SHARE
0510ht_01z+1994_Honda_Prelude+Front_Driver_Side_View Photo 1/11   |   Judgment Day

When Aries Dionisio bought his '94 Prelude brand-new, he didn't expect to still be driving and modifying it 11 years later.

"Originally I was looking for a Civic coupe, but everybody had a Civic back then," Dionisio says. "Everybody and their mom had an Integra by then too, so I got a Prelude." We're betting the 2.2 liters of torque-spewing DOHC VTEC power also had something to do with his decision.

0510ht_02z+1994_Honda_Prelude+Front_Motor_View Photo 2/11   |   Judgment Day

That summer, Dionisio treated the Prelude to some bolt-ons but, dissatisfied with the minimal gains made by a no-name intake, header and exhaust, he stepped up to a NOS 60-shot wet single-nitrous fogger kit. Minimal as they sound, the mods kept him happy for about the next seven years.

Early in 2002, with about 190,000 miles on the odometer, the original H22A1 gave way. Dionisio sourced a JDM H22A long-block with the intention of doing a straight swap. After looking over the motor, he discovered four bent valves and decided to just "get the head done up all nice and purty."

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He sent the head off to Kurt Gordon at KG Precision Engineering for the works: Civic Si .5mm oversized flat-faced high-compression valves over a new multi-angle valve job, a port and polish, and a welding and reshaping of the combustion chambers to a de-shrouded cloverleaf design. Crower titanium retainers and Web springs keep the new valves in place, while a set of JDM Prelude Type-S cam get the rockers popping. STR gears keep the cams turning.

Trimming out the engine is an OEM Prelude Type-S intake with K&N filter, GReddy header and SP cat-back exhaust. So. Cal. tuners XS Engineering reprogrammed the stock P13 ECU for the new motor, raising the rev limiter to 8500 rpm and altering the timing map to fit the new setup. Fuel was tuned using an A'PEXi V-AFC and Vortech fuel pressure regulator. After a few dyno runs, the final tune yielded 230-wheel hp and 180 lb-ft of torque.

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With the motor assembled and installed, Dionisio got cracking on the Prelude's exterior. From Inline4 in Garden Grove, Calif., he sourced a rare Mugen front bumper with matching headlight covers and Mugen side skirts. He tapped Ronald from AeroDuo, known for his ability to hunt down rare JDM obscurities, who found the Mugen rear spoiler.

Dionisio acknowledges his Mugen obsession, noting that he ordered just about everything available, including a set of bronze 16-inch Mugen MF-8s from Options Auto Salon. For a different flavor, he sourced a set of used 16-inch Mugen M7s in pristine condition from a fellow member of honda-tech.com. Both sets of wheels immediately received 215/45R-16 Falken Azenis Sports wrappings.

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With the outside handled, Dionisio looked inward. The subtle, luxurious-racecar theme from the rest of the car flows right into the cockpit with two-tone Recaro Sport seats adorned with bright-green Takata harnesses and harness pads. An FET quick disconnect holds on an OMP steering wheel and Defi oil pressure and water temp gauges keep the engine's stats in check. Dionisio made himself a custom shift knob by drilling and tapping a Snap-On screwdriver handle, an idea he admits came from an episode of American Chopper.

Since his last dyno session, Dionisio has added a custom Hytech Exhaust header and replaced the Type-S intake with an AEM short ram. He expects that after a retune, the 'Lude should be good for 10 to 15 more hp and a 13-second quarter-mile run.

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While the Prelude used to be his daily driver, Dionisio finally has that Civic coupe he wanted for those duties--a '93, bone-stock except for a K&N drop-in filter and set of OEM del Sol wheels. The Prelude remains his work in progress, due for an LSD install (either from an Accord Euro-R or Quaife), an Autopower rollbar and other details, like switching to Earl's stainless-braided lines and -AN fittings.

No matter how incomplete he feels his car is, Dionisio's Prelude marks the epitome of a well-rounded street car.


Mugen Gems

At one point in Honda enthusiast history, the rarest and most sought-after wheels on the planet were produced by Mugen. As the JDM scene grew, these wheels became less rare but remained just as popular. Mugen has made many different wheels, with some more memorable than others. Some were very limited in production--for reasons unknown--and those are the most coveted.

If you want your car to stand out, you need the rarest of the rare. Sometimes only minor differences make a wheel desirable, such as size, color, or lug pattern. With help from Arn Reyes of abunairacing.com, we compiled a list of the five most revered Mugen wheels.


bolts&washers

Aries Dionisio's '94 Prelude

Propulsion

Dionisio's Prelude is powered by a JDM H22A with cams sourced from a JDM Prelude Type-S. STR cam gears regulate the spin. Civic Si flat-faced .5mm oversized valves are held in by Crower titanium retainers, centered on top of Web valve springs. KG Precision Engineering gave the head some attention including a port and polish job and cloverleaf-style welded combustion chambers.

A JDM Prelude Type-S intake with a K&N drop-in filter feeds the intake charge through an RC 68mm overbored throttle body into a match ported OEM intake manifold. Spent gases exit through a custom Hytech header into a Random Technology high-flow cat and out a GReddy SP cat-back exhaust system. An ACT extreme clutch kit connects the H22A to the M2A4 transmission. Spoon Spark Plug wires, a polished alternator and a stainless-steel braided oil filter relocation kit add a bit of bling to the engine bay.

Rims & Rubber

This BB1 rolls on not one but two sets of rare Mugen wheels. Sixteen-inch MF-8s share their time on the car with a set of 16-inch M7s. The MF-8s have a positive 43 offset while the M7s have a positive 55 offset. Both sets are wrapped in 215/45R-16 Falken Azenis Sports.

Stance

The fifth-gen rides on a set of Tein HA coil-overs. The chassis is stiffened by Spoon Sports front and rear upper strut bars. A Suspension Techniques rear sway bar and a Tanabe rear lower tie bar tighten everything up out back.

Resistance

Project u pads clamp down on Brembo OEM replacement rotors up front and Power Slot rotors in the rear. Russell stainless lines transfer Motul brake fluid to the OEM calipers.

Fashion

Inside:

Green Takata harnesses are at home on top of the two-tone black and grey Recaro Sport seats in the cockpit of this four-wheeled fighter jet. An OMP steering wheel, Mugen Sport Pedals, a C's short shifter, and a custom Snap-On shift knob connect man and machine. An FET quick-disconnect hub acts as a bit of theft deterrent (you can't steal what you can't steer). Defi oil pressure and water temperature gauges keep tabs on the engine's vitals.

Outside:

The Prelude's exterior scheme screams Mugen power. A Mugen front bumper--including the super-rare headlight covers--and Mugen side skirts were sourced from Inline4 while Ronald at AeroDuo tracked down the Mugen rear spoiler to complete the package. JDM Vision mirrors wrap up the exterior setup.

I.C.E.

An Eclipse 7002 AV head unit and a matching Eclipse DVD player supply the sights and sounds inside Dionisio's ride. The beats are unleashed through Boston Acoustics front and rear component speakers and a Bazooka RS-8 HP subwoofer. The I.C.E., and the rest of the car for that matter, is powered by an Optima Red Top battery, relocated into the trunk.

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By Dru Barrios
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