At $15,800, Is This 1998 Honda Prelude SH a Good Deal?
The seller says today’s Nice Price or No Dice Prelude says the car comes with some tasteful mods. We’ll have to decide whether those—and the price—are to our taste.
Purple is a weird color. I mean, few people are ever going to paint their house in “ripe plum” or “nasty bruise” and if a dude were to wear a purple suit he’d just as likely be mistaken for a Batman nemesis than a fashion icon. At the same time, though, purple is the color of some tasty jams and jellies as well as of one of the best cocktails around, the Aviation.
The 1985 Cadillac Coupe deVille we eyed last Friday was painted in metallic purple, a hue the company called Heather Firemist. Honestly, that does kind of sound like a Batman villain. A whole lot of you found the car’s $14,000 price tag to be villainous, sending the purple Caddy packing with an 85 percent No Dice loss.
Thankfully, today’s 1998 Honda Prelude SH isn’t painted in a controversial—or even halfway interesting—color. It’s just plain old white. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. After all, white goes with everything and modern fashion edits say that it’s perfectly ok to drive a white car after Labor Day.
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Now, the Prelude was once Honda’s entrant into the hotly contested sport coupe category. Competitors here in the States included Toyota’s Celica, Nissan’s 240SX, and Volkswagen’s Scirocco. Take a look around. You might notice that none of those cars are being built anymore. In fact, the modestly-priced sporty coupe category has been pretty much dead since the early aughts. Stick a fork in it. It’s long gone.
For a while there, though, it was a pretty rich category and the Prelude was a well-respected member of the pack. The car’s name conformed to the music-themed convention Honda once liked at the time. That allowed the coupe to align with the likes of the Jazz, Concerto, and Ballade, although none of those made it to the U.S. like the Prelude. Other manufacturers sipped from the well of musicology for car names as well. It might be fun, in fact, to match the Prelude with the short-lived electric Coda. Then maybe add an Austin Allegro for good measure.
Of course, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Stay on track!
This Prelude is from the fifth and last generation. Following its production, the model would struggle on until 2001 when market forces and the internal competition from the Civic Si and Accord Coupe made the Prelude more of an afterthought. With just under 60K moved in the U.S., this generation is the lowest production of the line.
According to the ad, this one has 192,000 miles on the chassis and a much more modest 50,000 on the swapped-in JDM H22A VTEC four. That, along with the five-speed manual is said to “run like a dream.” All the belts, including the cam-driver, were changed 2,000 miles back. Maintenance records for that and other work are said to be organized in a folder and included with the car.
The bodywork is all original and looks to have survived the years and the miles with minimal marring. The wheels are aftermarket but fit the car’s aesthetic and give it a bit of pizzazz in contrast to the “goes with everything” paint.
The interior presents as very clean, but there are a number of mods in here that may give potential buyers pause. Those include a Momo sport wheel (nice), a Recaro driver’s seat out of an Evo 8 (I’ll allow it) a double DIN head unit in the dash (ok), and an aftermarket open-mechanism shift lever (meh). The passenger airbag appears intact, and the car comes with factory mats and a fairly stock appearance outside the driver’s office.
The car’s title is clean and while we don’t get to see the rear plate, we can assume that it’s been registered in California and can pass smog here despite the mods. Oh, and that building in the back of some of the pictures in the ad with the snow on the roof that’s so puzzling? That’s the North Woods Inn. They let you throw peanut shells on the floor in the bar there.
This Prelude may be part of a former ruling class that has fallen from power, but it still has its adherents. After all, the current owner seems to have shown it some serious love. And, it’s done nearly 200K so it’s not like it hasn’t been seeing some action. What then might it be worth?
The seller is asking $15,800 for the car and it’s now time for you to weigh in on the car, the mods, and that price tag. What do you think, does that price make this Honda a prelude to fun? Or, is that a sour note?
Los Angeles, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
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