Rust-Free One-Owner: 1979 Honda Prelude

Original, one-owner, rust-free, and California car seem to be four golden selling points these days. Maybe they always have been. This 1979 Honda Prelude is all of those things and more. This red jewel is listed on eBay as a classified ad with a price of $7,990. It’s located in Canton, Georgia.

We have seen first-generation Preludes here before and a lot of Barn Finds readers have owned them. I have never owned one, yet, but I sure love the simplicity of the first-generation cars. After the next design came out, the first one with covered headlights, they were arguably better cars but the charm was gone for me.

The seller says that this “is a real survivor and has had years of pampering”, it sure looks nice. It helps to be rust-free, something that those of us in the upper-Midwest or Northeast part of the US don’t get to enjoy too often. It’s hard to argue with the short-trunk-long-hood look of these early cars.

The seller says that this one “had sheep skin seat covers and nice dash that has had a cover on it and looks great!” This really looks like a fantastic example, there aren’t many flaws that show up in the photos that the seller has provided. They say that it has a “working power glass moonroof, power brakes, up grade door panels and interior, am/fm/cass & org factory radio, spare, jack and tools are in place”.

The engine is super clean and sometimes it’s due to a detail job by a seller and sometimes it’s because it really was kept this clean. Either way it’s nice to see. The seller says that this “1.8L 4cyl CVCC runs out stong [sic] and in past 150 miles over $1500 worth of recent service that inc: new timing belt & water pump, tune-up, altinator [sic]  & battery, coolant and brake system flush with new mater [sic] cyl & rear wheel cyls and much more!” This looks like a great example, how many of you owned a first-generation Prelude?

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  1. Steve R

    Nice car. It won’t last long at this price.

    Steve R

    • Eric Lund

      It’s been on ebay going on two months now… I’m looking for a first gen Prelude and this one is over priced by at least $3,000

  2. Alfie

    I haven’t seen one of those in years!

    Someone really cheapened out on the battery.

    • RichS

      Not really sure how that’s cheapening out on the battery. That’s the stock size.

  3. RichS

    I loved the instrument cluster on these with the tach inside the speedo head

  4. mallthus mallthus

    It’s got a mater cyl…oh yeah!

  5. Jack M.

    I guess that you could always put a bigger battery in the trunk.

  6. dweezilaz

    Test drove one of these with a friend. She had had one, Had gotten it re-upholstered and was tee-boned as she left the shop.

    The one we tested was the same red as this one and had well over 120,000 miles on it IIRC.

    Everything was still tight as a drum, ran like a sewing machine and the handling was tight and crisp. Sweet car.

    Scotty is right. Preludes after this one just lost something along the way.

  7. Troyce

    One great thing about them (many other cars too) is the non-interference engines. Both of the ones I knew suffered a broken timing belt – probably long after it should have been replaced per Honda – but neither hurt a thing other than a bit of pocket change.

  8. Royal

    I owned one of these for a short time. It was black with tan interior. Bought it off my friend from HS while were were in college to get it off his front lawn as the neighbors were complaining. I got it home to find the head gasket was shot but I cleaned it up and got it to run after a tune up and an oil change with some thickener added to deal with the lousy compression. Sold it to another friend who was still in HS who rolled it the first night he had it. Was so impressed, that I bought a nice 83 Accord sedan about a year and a half later.

  9. Luke Fitzgerald

    Typical small capacity jap car – have to wring its neck to make them go – laughable torque steer – impeccable build quality and an ease to work on. Mechanicals are (mostly) availiable – but some prelude under hood and trim bits will get you searching

  10. Eric Deckman

    My first car that I bought with my own money. An ’81 in the fall of ’82 or ’83.
    Gold BBS rims. Friends and family called it a pimp mobile.
    Next car was an ’83 Celica GT-S.

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