1986 Honda Prelude Si coupe

A 1986 Honda Prelude Si recently sold on Bring a Trailer for $7,500. This made me wonder why I hadn’t yet written about any Prelude.

“We are lots of fun.”

1986 brought few changes to Honda’s Prelude sports coupe, which continued in both base and Si versions. A visual distinction from 1985 was the high-mounted brake lamp, along with a few more exterior color choices.

The Si‘s salient feature was its engine—the B20A 110 bhp 2.0 liter inline four with three valves per cylinder and fuel injection. Making ten more horsepower than the base Prelude meant that it was about half a second faster to get from 0-60 mph—spritely but not fast at a little under 10 seconds.

A five-speed manual transmission was standard, with a four-speed automatic optional. Fuel economy was respectable at 25 city/30 highway by the day’s standards with the manual transmission (22/28 by modern standards). As might be expected, the automatic dropped ratings by 8% in the city and 3% on the highway. With a 15.8-gallon fuel tank, a Prelude’s Si‘s proud new owner could expect a range of 335 to 390 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

Prelude Si photo from the 1986 Honda full-line brochure

By 1986 standards, the $12,955 Prelude Si—about $33,600 in today’s dollars or about what a 2022 Accord EX-L sedan goes for—came well-equipped. Standard exterior and mechanical equipment included a power moonroof (a Prelude trademark), power windows, power mirrors, power disc brakes, and Michelin 185/75R13 steel-belted radial tires (a size still somewhat available) on Custom 13-inch alloy wheels. Inside, air conditioning, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cloth front bucket seats were included. The stereo featured electronic quartz tuning, an autoreverse cassette player, a seven-band graphic equalizer, and four speakers.

These second-generation Preludes were a revelation when introduced for the 1983 model year, replacing the somewhat ungainly first-generation coupes that had been introduced in the late 1970s. They come from a period when Honda styling seemingly could do no wrong—Road & Track called the second-generation Preludes “handsome, satisfying, exciting.”

Second-generation Preludes attract collector interest, and there is some online forum support. They are sometimes available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at online auctions such as Bring a Trailer that cater to the eighties car market.

Make mine Sonic Blue Metallic, please.

Other Hondas I have written about include the 1983 Civic S hatchback coupe, the 1984 Civic DX hatchback coupe, the 1984 Civic CRX hatchback coupe, the 1985 Civic CRX Si hatchback coupe, the 1986 Accord sedan, and the 1988 Civic sedan.


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