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Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds

Other Honda sportscars (and econo-boxes) may have been more popular, but few were as naturally sexy as the Prelude.

Bob Hernandez
May 6, 2020
Photographer: Super Street Archives

The Honda Prelude had the right lines. We're not saying it was always that way; it had to loosen up and unboxify a bit from those early generations, but by the 4th and 5th gens. designers were onto something before the Big H ultimately pulled the plug on the model in 2001. The sportscar's silhouette is not terribly dissimilar from those of other long-nosed GT-styled coupes, except the Prelude was undeniably a more modern take. We can understand why it earned and still earns such a cult following and why great builds continue to pop up even today.

With Jeremy Allgier's Prelude Si recently piquing everyone's curiosity, we decided to fire up the web traffic machine and see if we could figure out which Honda Prelude builds all of our fans gravitated to. While we've only compiled a few dozen Prelude features over the years, there were five in particular that pulled away from the rest of the pack, starting with a wild K-swapped 3rd.-gen. in Thailand.

  • Satit Suwantong's K24-Swapped 1988 Honda Prelude
  • Jason Modell's RWD-Converted 1998 Honda Prelude
  • Chris Huitron's Supercharged 2001 Honda Prelude Type SH
  • Cody Hudson's Super Clean 1995 Honda Prelude
  • Big Mike's Turbo 1992 Honda Prelude

1988 Honda Prelude: A Jewel in Thailand

Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds Satit Suwantong 88 Prelude 01 Photo 28/28   |   Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds

We've had a lot of great builds emerge from Thailand in recent years thanks to shooter-at-large Streetmetal, and Satit Suwantong's third-gen. Prelude is among them. Satit endeavored to do something different and we think he nailed it, equipping a rarely modified platform with a K24-engine swap, the first of this particular combo we've seen. He ended up with the ultimate sleeper - a stock-looking Honda that's actually a drag racer.

1998 Honda Prelude - WTF?

Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds Jason Modell 98 Prelude 02 Photo 28/28   |   Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds

You've seen rear wheel drive converted CRX and Civic before but Jason Modell's Prelude may pre-date them all, the story on his whip published a decade ago. The most amazing thing about the build still is how Jason was able to keep the car's original H22 engine in its original transverse orientation (meaning he didn't have to rotate the power plant longitudinally to keep it in line with the drivetrain). He did this with a Bisimoto H2B adapter plate for the transmission and an all-wheel drive trans from the Honda CR-V.

2001 Honda Prelude Type SH - My Blue Lady

Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds Chris Huitron Prelude 01 Photo 28/28   |   Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds

It took Chris Huitron decades to fulfill a very specific Prelude dream, but fulfill it he did, using this Electron Blue Pearl foundation for his project, a color that is exclusive to the 2001 model year. The OEM+ build features a tucked engine bay and a Jackson Racing supercharger stripped of paint and refinished with a brushed look, complete with painted valleys that mimic a motorcycle motor. Chris' 'Lude boasts a unique suspension setup, too, that includes BC Racing BR shock bodies retrofitted with Airtekk bags, while JDM bits include a full Mugen aero kit worked into the exterior.

1995 Honda Prelude - Young Gun

Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds Cody Hudson 95 Prelude 01 Photo 28/28   |   Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds

Inspired by video games and enabled by dear ol' dad, Cody Hudson's 4th-gen. project is dialed-in distinctiveness that was finished being built by the time Cody turned 20 years old. Standout customizations include the shaved engine bay, discontinued JDM G-Corporation Locobanana front lip for a far more aggressive looking nose, and complete repainting with Toyota Venza Sunset Bronze Mica color.

Big Mike's 1992 Prelude from the 2016 SEMA Show

Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds Big Mike 92 Prelude 01 Photo 28/28   |   Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds

Version 3 of our compadre Big Mike's trademark 4th gen. build made its long-awaited debut at the aftermarket parts industry trade show and was a big step in a new, refreshing direction. It was a stripped down, more serious nod to performance, centrally exemplified by the now turbocharged JDM F20B mill where once sat an ITB'ed version of the same power plant. No part of the coupe was untouched, from the Jun hood and modified front bumper, custom fenders and PCI side skirts and CE28 wheels outside, to the completely gutted cabin, left with just the basics like a race car. It was one of SEMA 2016's most noteworthy debuts.

Prelude from Now, Prelude from Then
Blown JDM H23A VTEC Swapped 1992 Honda Prelude Si
JDM-Groomed 1997 Honda Prelude

Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds Big Mike 92 Prelude 03 Photo 28/28   |   Top 5 Honda Prelude Builds
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