At $8,400, Is This 1980 Honda Prelude A Deal?

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Nice Price or No Dice 1980 Honda Prelude

In music, a prelude generally introduces a longer piece of work. In the automotive world, it introduces a sports coupe from Honda like today’s Nice Price or No Dice first edition. Let’s see if this one’s price sounds like a deal, or is just a prelude to disaster.

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park gave us many quotable lines. Probably the most famous of those belongs to Jeff Goldbloom’s character who laments “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Based on the comments, that was the general consensus surrounding yesterday’s custom 1985 Pontiac 6000 which a previous owner had imbued with a 350 CID V8 in place of its original Iron Duke four. Few of you saw the value of such a conversion today, and even fewer could find a reason to pay the Pontiac’s piper to the tune of its $7,000 asking. That resulted in an 86 percent No Dice loss to get our week underway.

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Think about the term “Coupe.” In transportation terms, that originally described a type of horse-drawn carriage with room for two and a driver on the top. The coupe name survived the transition to the automotive age, typically identifying a type of two-door car. Today, however, that simple and comforting descriptor has been corrupted in its use by the makers of four-door automobiles by the rationale that they have some sort of swoopy roofline. I blame the Rover P5 Mark II Coupe of the early ’60s for causing this. That was a four-door saloon that traded its bowler hat roof for a flat cap version.

The 1980 Honda Prelude we’re looking at today comes from the heyday of the Japanese two-door coupe market, which reigned from the early 1970s well through the mid-’90s. Based somewhat on the contemporary Accord, the Prelude offered independent suspension all around and a three-box coupe body that was very distinct from both the hatchback Accord two-door and the smaller Civics.

Image for article titled At $8,400, Could You Make Beautiful Music In This 1980 Honda Prelude?

With its first take, the Prelude’s styling proved somewhat ungainly, an issue that would be rectified with the larger and far sleeker second-generation edition. On this first-generation car, you’ll note that the overhangs are a bit too long for the space between the wheels, an awkward proportioning exacerbated by black rubber bumpers that extend the ends even further.

Styling is pretty subjective, though, and this gold-on-beige Prelude’s condition may make up for any perceived issues with its design. The car carries a mere 59,000 miles and presents very well for those miles and the years. The body panels appear free of any major dents or rust, and the brightwork looks intact and shiny as ever. All of the hard-to-find rubber on the car — door and trunk seals, etc. — seem to be in good shape too.

Image for article titled At $8,400, Could You Make Beautiful Music In This 1980 Honda Prelude?

The interior is tidy, however, a pair of aftermarket seat covers in gaudy orange and black wet suit material detracts from the overall presentation. It would have been nice for the seller to give us a peek underneath to see what condition the original upholstery is in. Other than that, everything looks to be pretty original in here, right down to the old Motorola AM/FM radio.

When you get to the mechanicals, things aren’t all original and that’s a good thing. Replacement parts include the carburetor, plugs and wires, the battery, and the alternator. New front brakes ensure stops are secure as well.

Image for article titled At $8,400, Could You Make Beautiful Music In This 1980 Honda Prelude?

The drivetrain is comprised of a 72 horsepower 1751cc CVCC four and a three-speed automatic driving the front wheels in typical Honda fashion. Aside from all the refresh kibbles and bits, the ad doesn’t give us any sense of how the car runs and drives. I’m going to go with the assumption of “leisurely.”

The title is clean and the ad claims the car to have had only one owner and to have lived its life with that single steward in sunny California. The downsides to be considered are limited to that replacement carb, a Holly that wears an aftermarket air cleaner that lacks the cold start connection to the exhaust. That might make life with the car in colder climes a bit of a pain. It also may make passing the visual inspection part of a smog check impossible. That would have to be ironed out with the seller prior to purchase.

Image for article titled At $8,400, Could You Make Beautiful Music In This 1980 Honda Prelude?

Also requiring ironing is the Prelude’s $8,400 asking price. That’s a lot of cheddar, but it’s safe to say that you will be unlikely to find many Hondas of this era — much less a Preludein this kind of condition. With that in mind, this is sort of a right-car-for-the-right-person deal. Ah, but the question is: is that $8,400 asking any kind of deal at all?

You decide!

Madison, Wisconsin, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Jason McDowell for the hookup!

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