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1999 Honda Prelude - A Build Inspired

Inspiration can sometimes strike from the least likely of places.

Big Mike
Nov 10, 2011
Photographer: Eric Tong

The story of this clean, white Prelude starts with one Justin Di Nisio, of Broomall, Pennsylvania. When he was merely a tyke at just 11 years old, his older brother’s friend rolled up in a car that not only caught Justin’s attention, but captured his imagination as well. Even at that young age, he’d fallen in love at first sight. He told everyone around him that one day he would own the same car. The thing was, he didn’t even know what kind of car he was drooling over. The vehicle had “R” emblems on it and some sort of body kit that prevented Justin from being able to identify it. Later on he discovered that under all of that fiberglass was, in fact, a Honda Prelude, and the object of his obsession finally had a name.

Htup 1110 01+1999 honda prelude+cover Photo 2/5   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Build Inspired

As soon as he turned 16, Justin began his search for his first car. Although he looked at all types of chassis, he knew deep down what he really wanted, and he finally found an automatic, silver ’98 Prelude. “At the time it was the only one that I could find, so I just bought it.” That impulse buy would end up being a source of great regret as those around him made fun of the fact that the vehicle was armed with a slush-box, so Justin pushed aside the itch to modify the car and set his sights on a manual model for his build. After just four months, the car was sold and a new search began. It was only a week after the sale of the original car that Justin found his current five-speed chassis.

Now in possession of a platform that fit all of his wants and needs, Justin jumped right in to modifying the car as he saw fit, and over the next couple of years, the modifications were made as quickly as the funds would permit. Although the vehicle purchased already had an AEM intake and an exhaust, Justin took the car straight home and installed an AEM V2 intake as well as a GReddy EVO2 exhaust that he had in his garage. Additional under-hood additions like a JDM Prelude Type S valve cover, carbon-fiber spark plug cover, and Samco radiator hoses were acquired and installed. A few subtle exterior mods including black housing headlights and a set of JDM foglights also made the cut. Money was tight at this point so Justin did what he could, when he could. “At that time, I just drove the car to and from school. Time just flew by.” Although unable to do what he wanted to with the car, Justin continued daydreaming of the modifications he would add when his circumstances changed. Little did he know that a quick trip with a friend would mark the beginning of a whole new chapter in his build.

Htup 1110 02+1999 honda prelude+rear view Photo 3/5   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Build Inspired

A friend of Justin’s was selling an ECU, so Justin hopped in the car with him to meet up with the prospective buyer. During the chitchat that ensued, the buyer mentioned that he worked at shop that imported all types of JDM parts, including Prelude parts. Justin’s ears immediately perked up and he got the email address of Nick, the owner of EliteJDM. Not wasting any time, Justin quickly made contact. “I emailed him and he told me to come up and take a look around.” Accepting the invitation, Justin went over to the shop and inquired about a slew of JDM Prelude Type S parts that he wanted for his Prelude. Getting a deal that he couldn’t pass up, Justin purchased virtually the entire exterior of his chassis’ Japanese counterpart including the JDM Type S front bumper and lip, fenders, side skirts, rear bumper, and flush-mount spoiler, as well as window visors, power-folding sideview mirrors, and even front and rear badges.

With the majority of exterior accoutrements acquired, Justin turned his attention to the interior of his vehicle. With word of a complete Type S interior arriving at the shop, Justin got to work picking up and installing essentially the entire interior including the door panels, sun visors, center console, red-stitched leather hand brake cover, bright red carpet, and rear seats, as well as other often-overlooked bits like the dome light. From interior to exterior, Justin’s Prelude build was progressing smoothly. All he had left to do was get the car and all of its exterior enhancements painted. Little did he know that he was about to get hit (literally) by a situation that would bring that about much more quickly than he expected.

Htup 1110 03+1999 honda prelude+engine Photo 4/5   |   No crazy wire tuck or Bondo under the hood—just simple and clean.

Many enthusiasts love their vehicles so much that they refuse to drive or even park their cars in the open where it can be exposed to the elements. Yet planning around Mother Nature isn’t always a sure thing, and even the most timid enthusiasts may find Mother Nature could care less about their plans. That’s exactly what happened to Justin; except that it wasn’t a little harmless rain smacking his car, it was hail. Yes, hail. Fortunately, his insurance company took care of him and gave him enough money to fix and paint the entire car. After a careful search for a body shop he could trust, he had the whole car sprayed Honda Grand Prix white.

It’s hard to imagine that this clean, white-on-white Prelude drew its initial inspiration from an incorrectly badged, “riced out” chassis. But the end result clearly shows Justin’s take on how a fifth-gen Prelude should be built. Yet he is quick to give credit where it is due. “I would never have gotten this car the way it is without the help of my dad. He always hated me putting money into my car, but was always by my side when I was installing parts. I would like to dedicate this car to him. RIP, Dad.”

Htup 1110 04+1999 honda prelude+interior Photo 5/5   |   1999 Honda Prelude - A Build Inspired

Self-Made Man
Starting off in 2000 as a shop called Impulse, Nick D’Allesio decided that he wanted to be his own source for Japanese drivetrains and parts that he could hand pick. With a passion and enthusiasm for all things related to Japanese motoring, EliteJDM was born in 2007. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, EliteJDM is currently the largest importer on the East Coast. Specializing in RHD conversions, he provides as complete a conversion as possible for his customers. Additionally, a plethora of JDM parts ranging from wheels to suspension, brakes, clusters, seats, bumpers, glass, and much more are also available. To top it off, there is a 12,000-square-foot facility dedicated to installation and fabrication. Nick is the sole owner, operator, installer, and customer service representative, so give him a call at 1-888-RARE-JDM or visit www.eliteJDM.com today.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
H22A4
JDM Prelude Type S intake
K&N drop-in filter
Mugen header
Custom test pipe
Mugen twin-loop exhaust
ClutchMasters FX100 clutch
Competition Clutch 15lb flywheel
Fidanza short-throw shifter adapter
Unorthodox Racing underdrive pulleys
JDM Prelude Type S valve cover
TC Sportline carbon-fiber spark plug cover
Samco radiator hoses
Spoon Sports spark plugs
Spoon Sports radiator cap
Spoon Sports oil cap
Spoon Sports reservoir socks
Spoon Sports magnetic drain plug set
Mugen thermostat
Mugen fan switch
Skunk2 VTEC solenoid cover
Blox 02 CEL eliminator
Optima Red Top battery
Tein hood dampers
Stance
Tein Flex coilovers
Suspension Techniques antiroll bars
Spoon Sports shock tower bar
IL4 5mm spacers
Resistance
Spoon Sports calipers
EBC green stuff pads
EBC Ultimax BlackDash rotors
Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
Honda brake fluid
Wheels And Tires
17x7.5 +40mm offset Yokohama AVS Model T6
215/40-17 Yokohama S. Drives
Exterior
Grand Prix White paint
Depo black housing headlights with TSX projectors and E46 bezels
JDM Honda Access grille
JDM Prelude Type S hood
JDM Prelude Type S front bumper and lip
JDM Prelude Type S fenders
JDM Prelude Type S side skirts
JDM Prelude Type S rear bumper
JDM Prelude Type S flush-mount spoiler
JDM Prelude Type S power folding mirrors
JDM Prelude Type S window visors
JDM Prelude Type S taillights
JDM Prelude foglights
Interior
JDM EP3 Recaro front seats
Wedge Engineering brackets
Recaro sliders
Takata harnesses
Sparco harness bar
EP3 Civic Si steering wheel
JDM Prelude Type S gauge cluster
JDM carbon-fiber gauge bezel
CTR shift knob
ITR shift boot
JDM ashtray
JDM cup holder
Custom red “Versace” fabric headliner
Custom red “Versace” fabric package tray
Custom red carbon-fiber armrest
JDM SiR floor mats
JDM SiR carpet
JDM SiR center console
JDM SiR door panels
JDM SiR rear seats
JDM Prelude Type S leather hand brake cover
Mugen pedals
Electronics
Gathers speakers
Props
Dad and Mom
Josh Buller
EliteJDM

Owner Specs

Favorite Website
Preludepower.com
Screen Name Or Nickname
JDLUDE99 or JDM Justin
Building Hondas For How Long
6 years
Your Dream Car
NSX Type R
Build Inspiration
Friends, family, forums
Current Stable
Honda Ruckus
What’s Playing In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
Thrice
Greatest Movies Of All Time
The Matrix series

Connect

EBC Brakes USA
www.ebcbrakes.com
Elite Imports International
www.eliteJDM.com
Suspension Techniques
www.stsuspensions.com
Samco Sport
www.samcosport.com

Sources

EBC Brakes
Sylmar, CA 91342
702-826-2400
http://www.ebcbrakes.com
Suspension Techniques
800.445.3767
http://www.stsuspensions.com
By Big Mike
46 Articles

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