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BA5
BA5 New Reader
4/25/16 11:56 a.m.

I didn’t grow up loving cars. Although I come from a fairly long line of engineers, and members of my family have always kept cars running themselves, there’s never been much of a passion for the hobby.

That all changed for me on a summer day in…. maybe ’97? Ish? The Honda scene was hitting full stride. I wasn’t really into it, but one day outside my job at Toys ‘R Us I saw it: a 3rd generation Honda Prelude. Mostly what I remember is that it was painted that sort of burnt orange color. It was modified, but not as badly as some cars were in the late 90’s. I couldn’t tell you to this day what it was that made me think “I want a car just like that, it looks so cool”. If we saw the car today we would all probably have a good laugh. But on that random summer afternoon many gears of my life were to be set in motion.

Over the next two years I would become obsessed with owning one. But I was young, didn’t have very good jobs in high school, and they were still a little on the pricey side because they were less than 10 years old at that time. But I waited, and plotted….

Finally in the summer of ’00 I worked all summer and saved up and found the perfect prelude. It was actually a little out of my price range, but the guy saw how badly I wanted it and came down a bit into my price range (I recently confirmed this, as I recently found and contacted the original owner. He was pretty excited to hear from me!).

So I purchased it!

It was completely stock when I got it, but these photos are some of the earliest I could find for it.

These photos are probably 10-15 years old at this point...

At the time everybody was all about drag racing them. Even though I wasn’t really into cars, I knew I really wanted to take it racing. But I knew that drag racing wasn’t going to be this car’s thing (I'm under no delusions about how fast it is). I knew it really wasn’t going to be my thing. So I searched and searched and somehow found out about autocross. This was in the very early days of the internet, so I think it was on an early Atlanta Region message board.

The first event I ever went to was at Lakewood amphitheater and I was hooked. I've been autocrossing and tracking the car ever since.

The second image is actually from one of Atlanta Region's Double crosses (I think that was what they called them) from way back in the day.

BA5
BA5 New Reader
4/25/16 12:19 p.m.

I ran in STS in it's heyday in the Atlanta Region. Although I was always an also-ran against the fast civics, I credit this time with turning both me and the car into a faster duo than either of us has a right to be. Chasing people and cars that are always faster than you can do that.

At least it was white.

It went through a couple iterations as an ST car. One of my favorites was the orange wheels. Alas, they were stolen.

I do really miss those wheels.... Maybe I'll get another set. Or at least another orange set...

sethmeister4
sethmeister4 SuperDork
4/25/16 12:39 p.m.

Nice car! I always thought these were pretty cool. I learned to drive stick on it's cousin, a '91 Integra. Not sure if they have many similarities, but I have a soft spot for late eighties, early nineties Hondas. Looking forward to seeing/hearing more!

RedGT
RedGT Reader
4/25/16 12:54 p.m.

I spent '04-'09 driving a '90 Integra, same color, and often wished it was one of these because the Preludes looked so much cooler.

EvanR
EvanR Dork
4/25/16 2:01 p.m.
RedGT wrote: I spent '04-'09 driving a '90 Integra...

I still drive a '90 Integra that I bought last Fall. It has 116k on it now.

That generation DA/DB Integra usually falls in to two choices...

Racy-colored hatchbacks with manual transmissions

or

Boring-color sedans with automatics

I've got the oddball, a boring beige sedan with a stick.

Run_Away
Run_Away Reader
4/25/16 2:21 p.m.

Awesome! I follow your build on the prelude forums, now I can follow them here.

BA5
BA5 New Reader
4/25/16 2:31 p.m.

I can't remember the mileage (probably whent the car had ~230,000 mi on it), but a while back I rebuilt the motor. At the time I was still running in the ST category, so it was just a motor refreshing. But I got new bearings, seals, oil pump, hoses, rings, etc to make it run like new again.

I replaced some pistons that weren't looking so hot with new ones.

Hot tanked and machined block

Freshly ground crank ready to go in.

Buttoning it up.

I used silicone hose from McMaster as a Samco Hose equivalent for some of the hard to reach hoses on the back of the block. It's bend radius wasn't as tight as might've been nice, but they didn't close up and I figured the heat would get them into shape over the long term They've been in there without any issues for going on 10 years now..

The engine in these is the B20AX series (specifically the B20A5 for USDM cars). There actually is a gold top version that's pretty rare, but mine's gold just because I liked the way it looks.

Just about ready to go in.

BA5
BA5 New Reader
4/25/16 2:50 p.m.

We installed the engine at a friend's parents house. His mom used it as an excuse to get the dad to clean out the garage (to make room for our car).

Out with the old.

'Solid' Motor Mounts

+

=

Cleaning that transmission was a job in and of itself.

Buttoning a few last things up (This is me in the picture. The above picture is a friend of mine).

Ready to go in.

In!

Man.... looking at those pictures I wish it was still that clean!

Fitzauto
Fitzauto HalfDork
4/25/16 5:37 p.m.

Amazing looking car. Always wanted a 'lude of that gen.

Slippery
Slippery Dork
4/25/16 6:07 p.m.

Very cool! I will be following this.

I had a 1988, I will never forget changing the power steering line and what a pain in the ass it was!

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler UltraDork
4/25/16 6:32 p.m.

My first "nice" car was a 1986 Prelude Si, one generation older than that. When I had mine, the 4WS cars were the new shizzle. They are still the best-looking Prelude by far.

BA5
BA5 New Reader
5/17/16 11:07 a.m.

I still remember the first time I fired it up and took it for a spin after rebuilding the engine. At the time I also had an '06 GTO (great car, by the way, and I think the styling on these has aged a lot better than a lot of the other contemporary muscle cars), and for some reason I thought it would be GTO fast. I think this was because it was 4 AM. But the thermostat housing start blowing coolant everywhere (I didn't have it properly sealed up) so I took it back to the garage and quit for the night.

It wasn't until a week or two later when I finally got to take it back out for autocross that I got a real sense of how much a refreshed engine can help. At the time I was also trying out 16's because I figured the extra weight of the prelude needed the extra width I could get in 16" tires (if I recall correctly, 225's weren't available in 15" at the time)

Matt B
Matt B SuperDork
5/17/16 12:19 p.m.

Very cool! Also probably my favorite generation of Prelude, if not one of my favorite Hondas (admitted fanboi).

I've been a inconsistent part of the Atlanta autocross scene for the past 10 years and I'm pretty sure I remember your car there at some point. Do you still come out? I've been trying to make a better effort this year, but of course I've missed the past couple anyway. (I'm spoiled on the convenience of Turner Field. )

Ironsides
Ironsides New Reader
5/17/16 1:11 p.m.

Very cool car, love the action shots!

Opti
Opti HalfDork
5/17/16 1:15 p.m.

Im quite jealous. When i needed a beater, so i could tear down the z28, I saw one of these at a tote the note place, it was red and a stick.

So i went home and read up on them and what to look for, and i reme.ber everyone was looking for clocks or clock covers, its been about 8 years so I cant remeber exactly, because the always broke.

Next day with my new info i go to the lot when its open, and ask if i can look at it. Guy throws me the keys and tells me to go drive it. I hop in and boom pristine clock cover. Im thinking E36 M3 those are always broken this thing is gonna be nice. I couldnt have been more wrong. It smoked so freaking bad, acceleration, decel, idle, and had absolutely no power. As we were headed back to the lot, we stopped at a light and and a 02 ss pulled up. So i rev at him, i dont even think he heard me. I proceed to aide step the clutch at pretty much redline and it barely turns the tires over, the camaro notices im trying to race him and leaves me sooooo bad.

So we put back to be lot and im thinking, ill get it cheap and do a compression test and rebuild the motor or slap a head on it. Nope guy wont come off 2k. I looked for a few more months and never found another

BA5
BA5 New Reader
5/19/16 10:12 a.m.

In reply to Matt B:

I've actually started coming out more regularly again this year. I had two small children and am trying for Time Trials and Hill Climbs, so I'd been ignoring autocross for a while.

DocV
DocV New Reader
5/19/16 3:57 p.m.

Where do you find time trials and hill climbs around Atlanta? Just wondering if there are any within easy striking distance; I keep watching these New England videos with envy. (I am south of ATL)

BA5
BA5 New Reader
5/20/16 11:40 a.m.

In reply to DocV:

http://www.sedivtt.com/

I haven't had a chance to do any of those events yet. I'm just looking to do it.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UberDork
5/20/16 12:50 p.m.

I always wanted one of those in the Cayman or Caribbean Yellow or whatever the color name was. Yours is really nice.

Hey DocV - What's the good word? Go Jackets! Where are you south of ATL? I'm near Macon.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
5/21/16 11:36 a.m.

Still my favorite prelude! And to me it looks best in either white or yellow. Lovely project and car sir.

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
5/21/16 1:21 p.m.

Hmm, that car look vaguely familiar, like I have seen it before. Good to see you here. That gen Prelude is still one of my favorites.

BA5
BA5 New Reader
6/2/16 6:46 p.m.

So eventually ST died down in Atlanta and I decided to try something else anyways. So I would up making a double move: DSP (although I think the car is actually in FSP, but I've been running in DSP all these years) and I wanted to do time trials and hill climbs.

Fun parts:

Kirkey seat and summit racing passenger seat:

Fun new hardware:

Port matching the intake and exhaust:

Cam Timing Gears:

Clean injectors (made a big difference, as you can see by their printout!)

15x8's with R-compounds!

I have an inexpensive Hedman Header (about all that's readily available for the car). The upper part isn't too bad. I cleaned up the inside a bit and then built a larger secondary (2-1) header. I can't remember if I messed with the length at all....

No going back from here! I cut the flange off the original part.

I finished it the night before my first daughter was born!

For this motor with pretty limited mods (and no real tuning) I figure it's pretty good. It certainly feels good! Stock to-the-wheels is usually under 110. Someday here I'll do some tuning so it doesn't choke so bad in the higher rpms.

BA5
BA5 New Reader
6/2/16 6:49 p.m.

These are some of my all time favorite pictures of the car!

I can't seem to find a good picture of it: my wife made the seat cover for the Kirkey for me. It's dinosaur fabric. :)

BA5
BA5 New Reader
7/20/16 12:26 p.m.

Although I've done a few autocrosses this year, for a while now mostly what I've been doing has been track days.

You may even recognize this car from everyone's favorite magazine. :)

ClassicHondaGuy
ClassicHondaGuy New Reader
7/20/16 2:50 p.m.

Killer Honda man! I love what you've done to this car.

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