Four Wheel Steering Survivor: 1988 Honda Prelude – Sold!

May 2020 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

It doesn’t get much more rad than a classic Honda Prelude wearing Barbados Yellow paint – and outfitted with the trick four wheel steering system Honda fitted its flagship two-door with. This 1988 Honda Prelude is the car that Honda almost universally parked in its showrooms around the country, and put on the cover of its sales literature, always in yellow. This 1988 model on Craiglist in Annapolis, Maryland is an impressive survivor considering it shows six-digit mileage, looking far fresher than its odometer would suggest. It’s listed with an asking price of $10,000, which isn’t too far off the mark: checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms that an “Excellent” Prelude is valued at $14,000, with “Good” condition set at $8,000. 

Coincidentally this week Hagerty Insurance published this article highlighting how four-wheel steering is having its time in the spotlight – again. The 1988 Honda Prelude was the first car domestically to introduce this whiz-bang technology to the masses, but its debut resulted in muted fanfare. With manufacturers looking for every possible solution for enhancing driver engagement, Honda devised a system whereby the rear wheels “talked” to the driver through slight adjustments made depending on the degree of steering input exerted on the front wheels. So, in other words, the rear wheels would steer in the same direction as the fronts up until a threshold of input was crossed – such as when parallel parking – at which point, the rear wheels would counter-steer. While novel, it added to the price tag out the door and wasn’t helped by the fact that road test editors couldn’t detect a discernible difference in handling quality compared to a non-4WS Prelude.

Regardless of the merits of 4WS, the survivor-grade qualities of this 1988 Prelude are what should compel you to contact the seller. The description isn’t long on the history of the car, which would be worth a read to learn how it survived in such pristine condition, but it’s not hard to spot Hondas of this era that have been abused or neglected. The rear wheel arches are usually rusted out on any car that’s been parked outside, and given the third-generation Prelude features an interference engine, an owner that neglected timing belt changes would likely be advertising a boat anchor or a recently rebuilt engine. If it hasn’t been done, this one is certainly on borrowed time and should be replaced ASAP – but the seller claims the Prelude is up to date on its maintenance. Survivor Preludes are a challenge to find across any generation, but a Barbados Yellow 4WS is an absolute unicorn.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Honda Prelude Si 4WS for sale. 120000 miles. Very reliable and fun to drive. All maintenance up to date with service records. Great condition for a 32 year old car and very well maintained. If interested call 443-569-9049. Serious inquires only!

Do you have a Prelude story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous

    The First Car I bought was a 1989 Barbados Yellow SI Prelude. M ok nths after purchasing the vehicle, my daughter was born. As soon as the Dr said it was to take her home, i placed my newborn in my Prelude. My First Child in my First Car. About a year later, a buddy of mine who i thought was a friend. He was about to lose his job because hos truck broke down. I thought I’d be kind and loan him my car and i could just ride with a friend to work. Well, kne evening he called for me at my workplace. Not knowing what to expect i walked to the front lobby. He looked at me with deep concern and said, “i wrecked your car”. I took a deep breath and asked him if he was alright. He then looked at me woth confusion. I asked him again. He said im ok,im not hurt. But your car isn’t in great shape. It still drives though.
    He explained to me what happened and how it happened.ater i asked him again and he changed his story twice. I guess that what i get for helping someone. Ever since then ive been looking for another “Yellow Curse “. 5spd. I had hoped to keep it and give the car to my daughter when she was old enough to drive it.
    As my search continued for 16 yrs..i found 1! Its on private property in a barn juat sitting there. I am actively attempting to contact the owner. No luck yet, but i will own that car soon enough.


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