$2,995 But is it Real? 1981 Honda Prelude

This 1981 Honda Prelude looks perfect, other than the lighter shade on the hood. I’m not sure what that’s about but the seller says it’s a one-owner car with “one repair”. It’s here on craigslist for $2,995. NADA lists an “average” retail of $2,300, and “high” retail of $3,175, but nice examples have gone for twice their asking price so I’m not sure what to think about this one. Supposedly it runs and drives like a new car. It’s in De Pere, Wisconsin and it could not have ever been driven in the winter to look like this.

There isn’t one visible flaw in this car that I can see other than the lighter shade on the hood. The seller mentions that this car was owned by an elderly woman, apparently one who liked to shift because it’s a 5-speed. It has 56,000 miles and NO RUST, supposedly, and it sure looks perfect. They say that a lot of “love has got this to running condition”, which means that it didn’t run when the seller got it? They mention new springs (?) and brakes and lots of new parts. The AC blows not super cold and it needs a recharge. They “just took on a 400 mile trip 40 MPG unbelievable for 35 years old.”

Maybe this is the reason it’s so nice and still isn’t sold, it’s haunted! This is the lone interior photo, unfortunately. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve been in contact with the seller because I was going to snag this car. They said that they were waiting for payment on it from someone else, but now a week later the CL ad is still up, sooo.. this is a head-scratcher, again. They told me that other than some fading on the dash top there isn’t one flaw on the interior. It sure looks perfect in there from this one ghosted image. And, it’s red!

Another lone photo, this time it’s of the engine compartment. I shouldn’t complain, sometimes sellers don’t even include one photo. It looks about as nice in there as any vintage car could be, especially one that hasn’t been set up for car show duty and detailed. This one seems to be priced at the top of the game, but I did a Barn Finds story a few months ago on a 1982 Prelude and that wasn’t as perfect as this car appears to be and they were asking $7,950! I think it went for something close to that on a relisted auction. I don’t know if this particular Prelude is real or not, but if it is, it shouldn’t still be for sale for this price!


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  1. angliagt

    “Posting expired” – not deleted?

    Like 1
  2. Luke Fitzgerald

    Fine cars – and the mileage claim is true – super dooper expensive new – and commanded strong prices second hand into the 90’s. Parts are cheap (when availiable) but somethings are unobtainable. Sadly non existant today.

  3. Pookie Jamie P

    Too bad. I would use this as a daily driver here in Florida. I was ready to snag it but post has been deleted and expired

    • James

      Jamie, i know a guy in texas selling his first gen prelude for 1500$. He might even take less. I was going to buy it , but i wanted a stick shift with the red interior.

    • James

      Almost finished. I have it running nicely. Actually drove it to work today.

  4. Stefano Di Rocco

    Ah yea… Have to act fast. Killer car!

  5. gene

    These were great cars, until the problems with the carb come around.
    Then good luck finding anyone who knew how to fix them.
    I used to know, but these days I would not touch them with a ten foot pole.

  6. Jack Quantrill

    I had one just like this for 3 years. Motor finally gave out at 160,000 miles. Calif had a recycle deal for $750 if the car could make into the wrecking yard lot. It limped across the line , and I got my $750, and a one month bus ticket! Think I paid $1200 when I bought it.

  7. David Miraglia

    Nice Honda’s. But I used to call them the Quayludes.

  8. Poppy

    If I remember correctly a moonroof was standard on first gen Preludes.

  9. James

    Funny that i am seeing this post, Ive never used pinterest. I am the buyer of this car. I bought it from Wisconsin and had it shipped to georgia Christmas weekend. The car is definitely as clean as the owner said. All i need to do is replace the carburator, which is getting completed now.

  10. James

    I have a few more pics of the car if you want to see it.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      James, we’d love to see an update! Thanks for writing in and let us hear more!

      • James

        Got the carb changed out, timing belt, water pump, inner tie rods, alignment, and oil change. Put some simple rims and upgraded the stereo. So she is almost done.

  11. James

    Thank you Jamie, here’s a few pics that I took right before putting it in the shop. I bought this car because it’s an exact replica of a car I owned in 1991. It was only ten years old then. Amazing to think about that.

  12. James

    I’m not sure why the pics are coming in upside down.

  13. James

    Still upside down.

  14. James

    Here are a few more. I have to write something to post a pictures.

  15. James

    Jamie, I’m loving this car. I’ll let you know if I ever sell it.

  16. James

    One more picture for now.

  17. James

    Last one Jamie, the back seat. I’ll post more after I get the car back from the shop.

  18. gene

    I do hope you found a shop that can actually get that carb fixed right .
    I wonder if someone sells a weber conversion kits for these cars.

  19. James

    I actually bought a new carb. It was about the same price as rebuilding the old one. Plus once I turn in the old core, that made it even $50 Cheaper.

  20. James

    I finally got her running. I have a video on YouTube of this car. Just put in “1981 honda prelude first gen”. I love this car. I’ll post some new pics also

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