the fleet: 1995 Honda Prelude 2.3i 4WS

pl2This Malachite Green ‘Lude has had one mature lady owner in its seventeen years, and was garaged for most of that time. It is wonderfully unmolested, just as you’d expect, complete with the original (working) Honda-badged stereo radio/cassette! It has been lovingly looked after, complete with a fully stamped service book. Wonderfully tight to drive, I love the fourth gen Prelude’s combination of short wheelbase and super-sharp electronic 4WS – it’s like nothing else on the road!

The 2.3 litre, H23a engine fitted is one of the largest four cylinder motors Honda has ever done, and feels very long-stroked for this manufacturer, and nowhere near as revvy as the H22 VTEC. Still, it is amazingly smooth for a big four and comes close to most sixes. There’s plenty of power from the 160BHP engine, and a useful extra bit of torque over the VTEC – not that that is particularly lacking. This car has Honda’s 5-speed autobox which suits the car nicely; it’s far less of a manic, thrashy drive but you can still make very swift progress. Oh, and the superb handling means you can carry speed through bends which would demand greater respect in other cars!

This particular example suffers from having done mostly short journeys and relative lack of use over many years. As such, the oil and coolant weren’t a pretty sight, and the engine developed the customary H23 tappet rattle – Performance Autoworks reset them skilfully and some extended motorway journeys and regular oil changes quietened things still further. The trouble with Hondas is that owners either thrash them (because “they’re built for it”) or neglect them (because “they’re so reliable”)! Still, the build quality of nineties Hondas is breathtaking, and this one works so well across the board, despite its age – many other makes would be scrappers by now. I’m looking forward to using this as my daily driver through the winter – can’t wait to use the four wheel steering in the snow!

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