One Owner! 1989 Honda Prelude Si

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Honda’s first sports car was its S500, launched in 1963. It entered a market already populated with Datsun’s Fairlady and soon, Toyota’s Sports 800. From then, it was just a few short years until Japanese sports cars proliferated into every seam of the ecosystem. Exports to the US were the motherlode, and Japanese makers proved particularly adept at meeting our safety, emissions, and fuel economy rules. In 1971, Toyota found another key to unlock sales: it situated a coupe body on a chassis derived from a sedan, making the Celica from its Carina. Toyota’s success at this endeavor led Honda to follow suit in 1976, designing a coupe body for its Accord chassis. The Prelude was born. The first Preludes arrived in the US in 1979 but performance was less than sparkling. It took another few years for Honda to stuff enough technology in its long hood/short deck solution to the sports car idiom – and then things really took off.

The second-generation Prelude was more angular than its older sibling, prompting a suspension redesign. Better handling allowed for a livelier engine by 1986. Zero to sixty times improved to 9 seconds. Only two short years later, the third-generation Prelude represented another leap forward, incorporating fuel injection in its top-of-the-line US-delivered Si (“sport injected”). The 2.0 liter DOHC fuel-injected four-cylinder engine mated with a five-speed manual gearbox shifted the car up the sports spectrum. Output is around 135 hp. Our seller indicates that during the last fifteen years, this car has been driven to church most Sundays, and that’s it. The odometer reads 98,200 miles. Aside from its jewel of an engine, the third-gen Prelude could be ordered with all-wheel steering and even anti-lock brakes.

The driver’s seat bolster has a tear, and the velour upholstery is slightly worn, but the remainder of the interior shows that this car’s owner cared for his ride. The dash is clean, the sill plates are outstanding, the gauges are crisp, there’s nary a scratch on any surface in this cabin. Even the shift boot looks new. The trunk appears unused. The power-actuated “moonroof” was offered on the Prelude from the git-go, apparently the first ever on a Honda car.

The Barbados Yellow paint shines nicely, though a couple of photos show minor scratches down to the primer. This one-owner 1989 Prelude Si is listed here on Autotrader, by a private party, with an asking price of $18,999 or offer. The car is located in Los Angeles, California and it comes with records and receipts. While the price might be shocking for a high-production Japanese car, it’s realistic. Clean third-generation Preludes with the manual gearbox are rare and regularly sell in the mid-teens these days. Do 1980s cars strike a chord with you? Would you put this Honda in your garage?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rbig18

    Had an 89 SI with all wheel steering. Tan interior. I loved that car. Quick and extremely sporty. Incredible build quality. If this was a better color just maybe.

    Like 7
  2. Fogline

    This is a real find, in my book. Great cars! The price seems a bit steep but I guess it is the classic question of where are you going to find one this nice with this mileage. It seems like with this getting posted today they will likely get a good offer from someone….

    Like 3
  3. TWestrup

    I’d be a player on it at $20K – if it had half the miles?!

    Like 2
  4. Greg G

    I know its a Honda with a solid reputation for quality craftsmanship. But it’s a 40 plus year old car with miles approaching 100k. Yes it’s clean with nice color but I think it’s asking price for what it is might be a little more than I’d be willing to pay. Very nice Prelude though.

    Like 3
  5. Rbig18

    It’s a 35 year old vehicle but I get your point. 100k on these 1/3 life expectancy if decently maintained. I do agree price is out there. But I bet the seller gets it. They don’t make like this anymore.

    Like 2
    • SS

      Totally agree, one of the greatest cars ever brought to market by Honda!

      Like 0
  6. SS

    I was a Honda tech back then, that was an underappreciated car. Blast to drive,dependable not to mention immpecable build quality. It was designed to compete with the Celica.

    Like 1
  7. Greg G

    You’re right guys I over aged this car by 10yrs my bad and from your point of view this may be a good ask for this car but not much more in my opinion. Thanks for the correction. I do like the car though. Good luck on the sell.

    Like 0
  8. CarNutDan

    I ended up buying a 1989 Honda prelude Si sight unseen with the help of my father. Had a big dent in the back corner, busted fog light and it had the common 3rd Gen prelude issue of the moonroof shower where the rails collect rainwater and dump it down your neck when you drive off. But it did have remote start. Fun car mine was black,tan interior and automatic

    Like 1

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