The scene, if you can imagine, is nearly dark. A terrible combination of rap music and bad 80's rock ballads are blasting through the speakers, strobes are popping off left and right, and Amber Jung, a saucy young female who has joined us on this year's Tour is telling me how great her boyfriend Dean Cristofori's car is. I nod as if interested, but with the constant bombardment of female entertainers in the room and the occasional liquid refreshment, one should not be blamed for answering with nods and smiles. We are reaching the wee hours of our overnight stop in North Carolina, but the only thing I can think of is how great the feeling will be once I get some shut eye. Feature cars? Let's talk tomorrow morning.
As the night turns into day and my stomach begins to hate me because of what I did to it just hours before (Can I get a "Whoa Team Waffle House?" - JN), I find myself bumping into Dean and Amber once again. On cue, we all exchange pleasantries sluggishly, but in a flash I'm reminded of more about last night than breasts and liquid-induced gag reflexes. There's that Prelude, staring me in the face. It's the one people whispered to me, "500 horsepower." And with the gullwing doors propped wide open, that 500 horsepower might even be enough to propel the car up off the ground. But those power ratings seem off. 500 isn't common for a street-driven Honda, much less a Prelude. A gutted Civic hatchback with a built B18? Maybe, but the H22?
Seeing how Preludes weren't being modified as much as the other Honda models, Dean still found plenty of promise with this black sheep chassis. A lack of aftermarket support meant everything had to be custom and in his case, nearly $50,000 worth, most of which went to the engine bay. But as you can see, the money's well spent with the H22 now fully built and turbocharged to powered excellence. JE Import Performance was the shop responsible for tearing the motor down, stroking it to 2.4 liters, then reassembling it with Eagle connecting rods, Endyn pistons and rings before having it balanced and blueprinted. The block also has Golden Eagle sleeves, a Cometic head gasket to bring the compression ratio down, and a Moroso oil pan to hold a greater capacity of, well, oil. ARP head studs were then used to tighten the cylinder head back down, but then a custom equal-length turbo manifold was bolted on to accept a T4 Precision SC-61 turbo with modified internals and a S-cover with a 4-inch inlet. The turbo kit also uses a Turbosmart Megasonic blow-off valve for loud and necessary pressure discharges and a TiAL 44mm wastegate redirects exhaust gases, keeping them from reaching the turbo's turbine blades. A Precision intercooler fills the Ground Design front bumper and a custom setup of A'PEXi N1 universal mufflers fills the back bumper.
Dean also modified the factory fuel system to accommodate a set of 1000cc Precision injectors, an AEM fuel rail and fuel regulator, and a Walbro 255LPH in-tank fuel pump. With fine tuning done only through a Turbosmart e-Boost boost controller, Dean's H22 now sings to the tune of 510.7 whp and 398.8 lb-ft, as tested on a Dynojet. The factory transmission needed the necessary equipment to handle the power increase, so a pair of Stage 5 axles from the Drive Shaft Shop were installed to stop any premature axle failure, followed by a lightened Fidanza flywheel, ACT XT-SS clutch, and a Quaife differential to hook up both front wheels while burning out before making its way down the track.
Of course, no Tour car is complete without the looks. You know what we're talking about. With a high-tech engine and an attractive companion by his side, Dean transformed the Prelude into a Diamond White masterpiece, using paint from House of Colors and mixing it with a Blue Pearl. You already know about the Ground Design Black Widow kit and door conversion from Decah, but maybe you missed the VIS carbon fiber Invader hood, HID lighting from a BMW 3-Series, lighting from Street Glow, and a fakin' the funk-special police strobe kit, sure to piss off any law enforcement officers within eyeshot. Dean also slammed the Lude properly for Tour action, a total of two inches with a set of Tein HA coilovers, then stiffened up the shock towers with front and rear Spoon braces. Those wheels filling up prime realty under the wheel well are black-faced 18x7.5 Design Systems System One wheels that have been wrapped with BFGoodrich 225/35R18 g-force t/a kdw tires. Just beyond the wheels is a braking system from Rotora that uses a 4-piston caliper, Axxis pads, and Rotora brake lines.
Inside, Dean had plenty to wow the other Tour-goers, from the Bride Ergo II seats to a full audio rig-who wouldn't be impressed? A trio of GReddy gauges line the A-pillar while a wideband AEM gauge is mounted to the center console. Beneath the factory sunroof control is a GReddy turbo timer and a carbon shift knob from MOMO sits atop a Neuspeed shifter. There's plenty of neon, too; under the dash, back seat for the makeout session, and funk in the trunk, where you'll also find two fiberglass enclosures and a false floor for the Sony amplifiers and Kicker subs. A flip screen Alpine IVA D-900 head unit leads way to the Rockford Fosgate speakers all around the passenger compartment.
Clearly, Dean's Prelude rocked the North Leg of the Tour and was by far one of the most impressive we've seen in recent years. The car even suffered a minor injury on its way down in South Carolina, taking a small crack as Dean rolled into a pothole, right when Nads decided to give him a jingle. But that didn't stop us from selecting it as our top choice of the Tour. Maybe it was Amber and her lovely Jungs; maybe it was all of those 510 horses beckoning to us. A bit of both, perhaps? Whatever. We were convinced.
Ride: '98 Honda Prelude
Owner: Dean Cristofori
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Daily Grind: Student/Performance technician
Power: 510 whp; 398.8 lb-ft
Under The Hood: 2.4L DOHC VTEC H22A, blueprinted and balanced by JE Import Performance; Eagle connecting rods, Endyn pistons and rings; ARP head studs; AEM fuel rail and regulator; Precision 1,000cc injectors, SC-61 T4 turbo, and intercooler; Walbro 255LPH fuel pump; A'PEXi N1 universal mufflers; custom equal length turbo manifold; NGK spark plugs; TiAL 44mm wastegate; Turbosmart Megasonic blow-off valve; Moroso oil pan; Fluidyne radiator; Golden Eagle sleeves; Cometic head gasket; ES motor mounts
Drivetrain: Drive Shaft Shop Stage 5 axles; Quaife LSD; Neuspeed shifter; ACT XT-SS clutch; Fidanza flywheel
Brains: Turbosmart e-Boost boost controller; GReddy turbo timer
Stiff Stuff: Tein HA coilovers; Spoon strut bars
Stoppers: Rotora 4-piston calipers, rotors and brake lines; Axxis brake pads
Rollers: 18x7.5 Design Systems System One wheels; BFGoodrich 225/35R18 g-force t/a kdw tires
Outside: Ground Design 2000 Black Widow body kit; BMW 3-Series HID conversion; Street Glow underbody lighting; Diamond White Pearl with Blue Pearl mix paint by House of Kolors; body work by Damon Drake Customs; Graphics by Speed Design; Decah Lambo door conversion; VIS Invader carbon fiber hood; Euro clear sidemarkers; police strobe kit
Inside: Bride Ergo II seats; GReddy oil pressure, fuel pressure, boost, EGT, water temp, wideband O2 gauges; AEM wideband gauge; MOMO Shot shift knob; Razo pedals; 3M tint
Ice: Alpine IVA D-900 head unit; Sony amplifiers; Rockford Fosgate 6.5-inch two-way component set in front, 6x9-inch three-way full range speakers in rear, and tweeters; Kicker Competition 12-inch subwoofers (x2); Phoenix Gold wiring
Props: I would like to thank all my credit card companies, my family and girlfriend for all of their support. I also want to thank and give a huge shout out to Team Solo; you guys are the best. Loren at Rotora, Bun at Tees USA, Amy at Meguiar's, David and Dusty at MVP Motorsports, Randall at NX, Hill at Agile Automotive, James at JRP, Howard at AR Fabrication, Jordan at 01designsystems, Mike Miller and Aaron aka Toshi at Frankel Acura, and Big Mike D
Dean's Prelude Rocked The North Leg Of The Tour And Was By Far OneOf The Most Impressive We've Seen In Recent Years.
500 Horsepower Isn't Common For A Street Driven Honda, Much Less A Prelude.
Dean Transformed The Prelude Into A Diamond White Masterpiece.