Regular Car Reviews Takes on the Honda Prelude Si 4WS
Technology for the sake of technology sums up the 4WS system in the Si.
Back in the late 80’s when American cars were badge-engineered versions of other American cars, Japanese companies like Honda were going above and beyond with technology. Proof of this is in the 1989 Honda Prelude Si 4WS, hilariously documented by Mr. Regular, also known as Brian Reider of Regular Car Reviews.
Via RCR, we get to know a bit of background on the all-mechanical rear-wheel-steering system. It works with tie rods just as you’d expect from the front wheels, and at small inputs, moves the rear wheels in the same direction as the front. However, past 1/4 turn, the rear wheels begin to move opposite of the front. Reider notes that this has some unique drawbacks. “If you’re parked right up next to a curb, you can’t crank your wheel.”
Luckily the car’s actual handling wasn’t a drawback, but didn’t really feel much different from a Prelude Si with normal rear wheels. Still, when it was first released, it was praised by the likes of big-name magazines. Reider points out a Road & Track article where it said the 4WS “easily out-performs Porsche, Ferrari and Corvette on the slalom.” Wheels magazine named it car of the year in 1988, too.
In fact, the 4WS as a whole didn’t have anything else to offer on the Si other than the steering technology. There was no extra trim or niceties, just a few badges unique to the 4WS models. Power came from Honda’s B20A5 2.0 engine, pushing out just 135 horsepower. That engine was shared with lesser Si’s as well, and while 135 horsepower doesn’t sound like much, Reider claims “it was one of the most powerful production car engines Honda had ever produced.” Looks like things have come a long way for Honda in all aspects of technology.