Clean Commuter: 1988 Honda Prelude Si

This 1988 Honda Prelude is the desirable Si-spec trim, listed with under 100,000 miles and showing excellent cosmetics. The seller notes this is likely due to long-term ownership by a mature, female owner who was a non-smoker. The Prelude appears to retain all of its factory equipment, with its original wheels still attached and no sign of the modifications that spelled the demise of so many of these. Find the Prelude here on eBay with bidding at $5K.

This is the Prelude I remember ogling in the showroom in 1987 when my parents were buying a new Accord sedan. The Honda showrooms at the time placed a big emphasis on its lineup of cars available in Barbados Yellow, which included the Prelude and the CRX. Even the brochures had the bright yellow models on the front, despite the fact that I’m guessing most shoppers opted for sedate colors like this black Prelude.

The Prelude’s interior shows next to no indications of use, but this was a hallmark of this generation of Hondas. I tend to think of models produced in the late 80s and early 90s as being from Honda’s so-called “Golden Era” as the vehicles were just that good and screwed together incredibly well. The three-spoke steering wheel is a classic, sporting look, and the nicely bolstered bucket seats will provide the next owner with plenty of grip and support. The seller notes the A/C is not working.

The backseat appears to have rarely held passengers, not surprising considering it wasn’t the most comfortable space to spend time. The seller notes that the Prelude is accompanied by all shop manuals and service records, which will hopefully paint a robust picture of religious maintenance by the longterm single owner. These cars will only continue to go up in value, as good examples have been hard to find for years. Buy one now!


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  1. DayDreamBeliever Member

    The eBay ad lists it as a “right hand drive” Um, nope.

    Does look like a clean, fun driver!

    Like 4
  2. Will Fox

    Now THIS Honda fan is in love!! What a clean, original example of the last Preludes I truly liked!! I can’t fault anything about it I’m seeing, and less than 100K miles? This thing isn’t even broke in yet!! I would love this for a daily driver. Once again a beauty comes along, and my pocket’s empty. Whoever gets this is getting a SWEET Honda!!

    Like 10
  3. sparkster

    I was looking at Preludes the other day a found a spotless black 2000 model in the bay area of San Francisco. Anybody here know the difference between the Prelude SH and Prelude ? How do you tell the difference ?

  4. BarnfindyCollins

    Sparkster, I sold cars for a large multi brand group when those were new. Going by memory, the 2000 Prelude and SH were identical except for SH having a spoiler and painted side skirts. Give VIN number to Honda dealer to find out for sure what you are looking at. Back to this ’88, I’m not suprised at the interest. It was a sweet time for those cars.

    Like 2
  5. JoeNYWF64

    Roof could be lower, but u can’t complain about visibility all around!
    2 door with a trunk! check.
    handsome looking. check
    glass headlites. check
    Stingy with the gages(no oil press or ammeter/voltmeter), considering there’s no air bag wheel to block em.
    Typical import temp gage – no numbers – maybe cause of blasted metric system & they would have had to produce one w/centigrade #s & another with fahrenheit #s?

  6. Dan

    I had a beat up prelude almost like this except it had the tan interior and automatic trans. It even had a remote car starter!!


    I remember selling these. Some had a 4 wheel steer system.

    “The whole thing steers the wheels in as well as out, helping you turn tightly at low speeds (turning against the direction of the front wheels) and doing things like making lane changes at high speeds (turning in the same direction as the front wheels), though the genuine benefits of both were somewhat suspect.”

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      I had an opportunity to run one of those at an autocross, and it was an unforgettable experience. Not a good one mind you…. The 4WS system in that car was mechanical/cam actuated, so that for the first few degrees of steering, the rear wheels turned in the direction of the front ones. Then, as the steering wheel angle increased, the rear wheels returned across the center line to steer the opposite way so that tight corners and a very small turning radius were possible.

      In street circumstances that might be ok for normal driving, but it certainly didn’t work where sudden strong directional changes were needed.

      • JoeNYWF64

        I wonder how it would compare to another car that had it – the import car of the year 1991 mitz 3000gt turbo. Much wider tires than the Prelude.
        I believe the feature only lasted a few years & later cars did not have that.
        Wonder if these 2 cars were the only ones that had that feature.

        Like 1
    • Mitch Holdgreve

      The feel of 4 wheel steer at normal speeds were somewhat subtle, however in 1988 this car had the fastest slalom speed of any car made that year. It beat Porsche, Ferrari, and Lambo. I am sure many other manufacturers engineers got heat for that, sticker price was just $16,000. I purchased one of the first in my area. It was quite the feeling when you could take a corner fast enough, to kick in the rear wheels turning the opposite direction than the front (more than half a turn of the steering wheel). Absolutely a great handling car.

  8. davew833

    Hmmm. An 80s Honda with non-working A/C. It would be more remarkable if it WAS working. Still, what a great little jewel of a car! Getting an ’88 (or ’89) spares you from the turd of an engine that was the B21A1 that they put in the same body style for 1990-91. The fiber reinforced metal cylinder liners were supposed to be revolutionary, but they only caused excess oil consumption, What’s worse, there’s no drop-in engine swap like there is for Civics and Integras.

    It should be noted that the factory wheels, which they are, are actually plastic wheel covers. I thought Honda really cheaped out by making alloys optional on the Si from 1988-91 when they were standard equipment on the previous years ’86-’87.

    Like 1
  9. BC

    I had this very same car in red and 5 speed. Great running car. Sold In 2001 with 235k miles & still going strong. Was a fun little ride…miss that car!!

  10. Bakyrdhero

    Funny thing Jeff, I can remember seeing a yellow Prelude on the showroom floor when I went with my aunt in Feb 88 to purchase her Gray Accord sedan. I feel in love with Hondas that day and still am! I pushed her towards the prelude and she said she could never get in it out of it (not like the accord rode much higher). Nice blast from the past.

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