Golden Era Icon: C&D Track Tests 1999 Prelude in 2019
We doubt that a better time capsule exists than this sub-1,000-mile Prelude.
We love hearing about old(er) cars that are kept lovingly over the years. Even more so when it’s not just another car in someone’s collection, but employees at the company itself. That’s what happened with this 1999 Honda Prelude Type SH. Employees at American Honda carefully preserved the Prelude for nearly 20 years. How and why it was never thrown to the wolves in the press fleet, or sold, remains a mystery according to the story by Car and Driver.
Thankfully, Honda threw the keys to C&D, which were able to do some instrumented testing to see just how well the Prelude Type SH stands the test of time. How stock is it? “Aside from a set of newer 16-inch Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires mounted at some point along the way, it’s original down to its clutch and brake pads,” author Scott Oldham writes.
This is better than the “adult driven, always garaged” Craigslist ad special. When they got the keys the Prelude had an otherwise-unbelievable 941 miles on the odometer. The driving experience is much the same as C&D remembers when they tested it way back in the 90s, but there are a few things they noted that can’t be said about all newer cars. “The Prelude feels as if it was assembled with precision. Its panel gaps are tight, and most of its interior is soft to the touch,” Oldham explained.
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Perhaps the most striking thing about the Prelude, and rightly pointed out by the author, is the steering. “Today, the Honda’s helm feels slower than we’d like, and its 15.6:1 ratio means you have to shuffle the wheel in your hands when navigating tight mountain roads,” he said. Oldham also added, “…the Prelude’s steering is so precise and its feedback so organic that it should be used as a reference for steering engineers all over the world.”
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Photos courtesy of Jessica Lynn Walker and Car & Driver.