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1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Blown And Homegrown

Joey Lee
Jul 1, 2009
Photographer: Henry De Kuyper
Htup 0907 01 o+1999 honda prelude+mugen front bumper Photo 1/22   |   HTUP-090700-056-60-LUDE

There are few things more satisfying in life than sharing accomplishments with others. Michael Jordan couldn’t have done it without his supporting cast and, even if he had, it wouldn’t have meant much if he wasn’t able to share that moment with anyone else. We need others to push or to lend helping hands when needed. This is also true when it comes to building cars. Really. Inside a community where individualism often serves as the ultimate goal, sharing the spotlight with others can be difficult. Recognition often leads to “I” or “me” sentiments and a failure to recognize those who helped, whether it was through hands-on labor or simply by inspiration. Such communities thrive off of camaraderie, off of relationships, off of unity; neglect all of this at your own peril.

Htup 0907 25 o+1999 honda prelude+mugen header Photo 2/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Philip Ngo understands this. He had help early on when he first acquired his project. “My Prelude was a graduation gift from my parents,” Philip recalls. “It was an awesome feeling having my own car coming right out of high school. With the encouragement from my cousins and friends, this became my first build. My dad also inspired me because of his past with modifying his old-school van and Cadillac.”

It didn’t take long for Philip to begin perusing the Internet forums daily to come up with a game plan of his own. But there was a minor setback. The previous owner left the BB6 with a damaged rear quarter panel—lucky for Philip his friend’s dad happens to own Auto Werks Body & Paint in nearby El Monte, California, where Philip was able to get his quarter panel repaired and even managed to get a Wings West lip kit painted during the process.

Philip’s first order of business once leaving the body shop was to lower his ‘Lude. “I gave my cousin, Chris, a ring and he was able to source me a set of springs and shocks as well as my first set of Volks,” Philip says. After a year of working multiple jobs while tending to his engineering studies at Cal Poly, Pomona, Philip found himself fully enthralled with his Honda. “I didn’t have much knowledge in fabrication but I managed to become the first Prelude owner to retrofit Mercedes E55 bi-Xenon projectors into my headlights,” he says proudly. “I also created a custom full audio setup with help from my other cousin, William, and my sister’s fiancé, Luong.” Working those multiple jobs also meant that Philip had the extra money necessary to spoil his BB6. “Again, with help from some of my friends, I was able to acquire a few new parts like a carbon-fiber hood and trunk, as well as Bride Ergo II seats,” he says.

Htup 0907 03 o+1999 honda prelude+ARC induction box Photo 6/22   |   When a driver hits the gas, unused air is trapped between the cleaner and intake manifold. The ARC super Induction Box puts an end to that by reclaiming wasted air

The Alhambra, California, native soon discovered a new obsession: “I wanted to find all the rare parts for my Prelude,” Philip says. “I wanted to obtain every Mugen Prelude piece ever created and every JDM OEM part available. I ditched my lip kit for a full Mugen aero kit. I found a Mugen header and exhaust also. I installed JDM taillights, window visors, fog lights, even the damn JDM cup holder!” With all of these rare goods, Philip thought the build was complete. He was wrong. “I ran into a deal on a Jackson Racing supercharger that was just too good to pass up,” he says. Philip then commissioned his close friends and even more cousins to help with the install. After days of blood and sweat, possibly tears, the supercharger finally went in, albeit with undesired results. “It ended up running like crap—fuel problems, idle issues, oh, and did I mention that my Prelude was still an automatic?” Philip says. The slushbox was promptly replaced with an H23 Prelude’s manual transmission and beefed-up with an ACT Heavy Duty clutch and 12-lb flywheel. Fuel delivery upgrades followed as well as engine management but things still weren’t running as smoothly as anticipated. “We had so many issues with tuning and going back and forth so I ultimately ended up running a Hondata S300 unit and had Shawn tune it over at Church Automotive,” Philip says. After the tuning headaches were sorted, his supercharged H22A was able to produce roughly 250 whp and 232 lb-ft of torque.

Philip’s Prelude is a prime example of what happens when great minds unite with a common purpose. It’s often understated exactly how much people help one another when it comes to putting project cars together. Often times, the individuals that help us most are left with just one line or a quick mention on a “shout-out list.” Sometimes they’re even forgotten. As such, outsiders never truly understand just how much these individuals may have actually contributed. Philip is quick to make sure that no one is forgotten. “It took me roughly seven years to get to this point and building this Prelude has been such a huge part of my life,” he says reflecting. “I have to thank everyone that has stood by me through all the headaches and helped me out along the way. Without them, I definitely would not have enjoyed this build as much as I have. I especially have to thank my girlfriend, Mimi, for stepping up to the plate with me and tackling each challenging moment.”

Htup 0907 08 o+1999 honda prelude+trunk Photo 7/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
Jackson Racing supercharger
Endyn 9-lb. pulley
Hondata intake manifold gasket
ARC Super Induction Box
Mugen header, Mugen exhaust
Magnaflow hi-flow catalytic converter
Magnaflow resonator
RC Engineering 440cc fuel injectors
AEM fuel rail
Marshall fuel pressure gauge
H23 M2S4 transmission
ACT Streetlite 12-lb flywheel
ACT Heavy Duty 6-puck clutch
Custom steel-braided clutch line
C&R radiator
Samco Sport radiator hoses
Custom coolant overflow tank
Mocal 19-row oil cooler
Mocal thermostat sandwich plate
Mugen thermostat
Mugen fan switch
Magnecor spark plug wires
MSD 6AL ignition
MSD Blaster II coil
NGK spark plugs
Hondata S300 engine management
P28 ECU
Unorthodox Racing power steering pulley
Unorthodox Racing alternator pulley
Prelude Type S valve cover
JDM hood insulator
Spoon Sports reservoir covers

Htup 0907 11 o+1999 honda prelude+supercharged H22A Photo 11/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Stance
TEIN Super Street coilovers
Suspension Techniques rear antiroll bar
Ingalls front camber kit
Tanabe Sustec front lower tie bar
Tanabe Sustec rear lower tie bar
Tanabe Sustec shock tower bar
EM-Racing C-pillar bar
EM-Racing trunk tri-bar

Resistance
AEM rotors
NSX calipers
PBR Metal Master pads
Earlís steel-braided lines

Htup 0907 19 o+1999 honda prelude+gauge cluster Photo 15/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Rims & Rubber
18x7.5 Volk Racing TE37
Time Attack Edition (+48 offset)
225/40-18 Falken FK-451
Volk Racing extended lug nuts

Outside
Mugen front bumper
Mugen fog light covers
Mugen side skirts
Mugen rear add-on pieces
JDM fog lights
JDM window visors
JDM taillights
ARC winglets
VIS carbon-fiber hood
Seibon carbon-fiber trunk
Clear S2000 sidemarkers
E55 bi-xenon projector headlight retrofit
Yakima roofrack
Yakima 43” faring
Yakima Raptor bike rack

Inside
Bride Ergo II seats
Bride Super-Low seat brackets
Bride re-wrapped door panels
Custom carbon-fiber armrest
Custom carbon-fiber center console
AEM UEGO wideband gauge
Defi Blue Racer Series boost gauge
Alpine 6.5” head unit
Audiovox DVD player
Infinity Basslink II
Infinity 4-channel amplifier
Pioneer component speakers

Htup 0907 23 o+1999 honda prelude+crow harnesses Photo 16/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Props
Mimi
My family (Ngostars)
Team Boneout
Auto Werks Body & Paint
Bryan
Wisely
Ben
Carol
Paul
Dan

Owner Specs

Hometown:
Alhambra, CA

Htup 0907 02 o+1999 honda prelude+mugen rear Photo 17/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Daily grind:
Electrical engineer

Favorite website:
www.preludeonline.com

Building cars for how long:
7 years

Favorite kicks:
Dunks

Dream car:
Junction Produce Lexus LS460 on air and 20s

Build inspiration:
My family

Can’t miss TV:
Heroes

The Prelude Curse

If you own a Prelude and find that you have trouble meeting or dating someone of the opposite sex, then there are likely two explanations: you’ve either got no game, or you just might need to shower more. But if you do have a personality and you tend to bathe on a regular basis, then it could be due to the urban legend commonly referred to as "The Prelude Curse.” Look online and the number of stories running rampant among the Prelude forums regarding this supposed curse is many. The basic idea has to do with Preludes and the un-diagnosable mechanical/electrical problems that often go hand in hand. The results affect many Prelude owners’ social lives, meaning dates and relationships are often spoiled due to things like mind-boggling Check Engine lights and no-start issues. Of course, much of this is speculation, and there’s no way to prove whether the curse is true or if it’s stuff of fable, but there’s no denying the possibility of its existence. Maybe some Prelude owners are simply bad mechanics or even worse caretakers. Or maybe they’re just plain creepy when it comes to the opposite sex. “My Prelude’s gone through two brake master cylinders,” Philip says. “Every time it happens it breaks a block away from my house in the middle of an intersection. My family has to come out and help me push the car all the way home each time.” It goes without saying that none of this does wonders for the social life.

Htup 0907 05 o+1999 honda prelude+supercharged H22A Photo 18/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair
Htup 0907 22 o+1999 honda prelude+volk TE37 Photo 22/22   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Family Affair

Sources

Falken Tire
Fontana, CA 92335
800-723-2553
http://www.falkentire.com
King Motorsports Unlimited
New Berlin, WI 53146
262-522-7552
http://www.kingmotorsports.com
Jackson Racing
Yorba Linda, CA 92887
714-921-4500
http://www.jacksonracing.com
By Joey Lee
242 Articles

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