Last post on May 08, 2012 at 10:07 AM
You are in the Honda Prelude
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Honda Prelude, Coupe
#2005 of 2496 Re: lulu9 [nyccarguy]
Feb 16, 2007 (10:37 am)
After creating a short list of cars and cross-referencing these by reading a multitude of reviews, I realized that my heart was set on getting a 2001 Prelude Type SH.
As mentioned in one of my first posts, I am a former Prelude owner, an ’84, which I bought from a wealthy family who had relegated it to a train station car. Even in its early years, the Prelude had a great reputation. And I was not disappointed. What a fun, reliable, spirited little car! This car never had a mechanical problem, other than maintenance type repairs, and took me everywhere care-free for years. I referred to it as “The little car that could.” Keep in mind that this is back in an era when cars were far from the quality, comparatively trouble-free vehicles we drive today.
This car had soul and spunk—an amazing turning radius by the way—so it was sad when I had to let it go. It was like saying farewell to a trusted friend, someone who always watched your back. The shame of it was that the engine was running great! But the body developed significant rust. I actually sold it to a man who was going to do some body work and install a new floor. Go figure! Yet I was happy to hand the car off to someone who could give it some major TLC. Not only did this Prelude earn the status of having sentimental value, it left an indelible impression: All things considered, the Prelude was an exceptional car compared to its peers at any given point in its history. Having known other Prelude owners over the years, there is definitely something to be said about their loyalty.
This is why I wanted to experience the last generation. (I was disappointed when Honda decided to call it quits for such a fine car—with such a great history—when all it needed were some refinements. They must not have felt that killing the Prelude would leave a gap because there was the Integra/RSX.) I wanted the ’01 because it was the last production year (as we are well aware)—for the cool factor—and also because it increased my chances of finding one with low miles.
I thought it would take me many months—even longer—to locate a low-miles Prelude in the tri-state area, but I came across a Type SH immediately upon initiating my search: at a Honda dealership in Long Island.
By the way, Nyccarguy (and for any of you guys reading this): FYI, you might want to check out the 2001 Type SH on sale now at Cars.com. It only has 19,500 miles on it, and the seller is only asking $14,000...“Only” because it’s loaded with all this after-market “stuff.” Wow! This car was available during my search, but the custom paint is off the charts in terms of my taste barometer. It would never match my shoes or handbags! (Actually, I’m surprised it’s still there.) I would love your opinion(s) on all those after-market parts!
Prelude No. 1: Long Island Trip No. 1
The first Prelude I looked at in early January was a silver ‘01 Type SH at a Honda dealership. It had 33,065 miles, and they were asking $15,995. It was very clean although there were some minor, barely-noticeable scratches which prevented it from being “mint.” I even had them put it on the lift. However, there were some other things that bothered me about the car, namely, the lack of available maintenance history, and, also, I got a really bad vibe.
God knows I’ve probably worn out my welcome with you folks, but I am proud to say that I have a stellar record buying cars privately. I am nobody’s fool and have finely-honed BS detectors. Although the car was Honda Certified, there was no history available in terms of maintenance—what was done, the frequency of oil changes, what type of oil was used (synthetic?), etc. None of my questions could get answered in terms of basic maintenance. That’s just the way it is at a dealership, which is why I never bought a “pre-owned” car from a dealer. I prefer to go right to the source. The car reporting agencies showed two—not one—prior owners. In other words, it was a Born Again Christian car in that it was apparently reborn the day it arrived at the dealership and became Honda Certified by their mechanics. That’s not the way I see things.
I asked about the former owner and why “he” traded it in and received two somewhat conflicting versions—and that bothered me too. Nobody likes to be lied to. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. The first version was that he traded it in for a new Civic SI. (Really?) Also, on a CarFax report I paid for (because they use a different company), the car was reported to have failed a NY State emissions inspection (odd for such a low mileage car)…though when I brought this to the salesman’s attention, I was told that it had to be a mistake. He said that there are lots of mistakes on CarFax, which is why they don’t use them anymore. O.K. Who am I to dismiss this? I certainly don’t sell used cars for a living. But by this time, my BS detectors were on high alert.
Then, I asked to be alone with the car so I could inspect it more thoroughly. As I’m inspecting the interior with a fine-tooth comb, looking for spills/stains/wear, what do I see? A huge wad of cash stuffed way down in that space between the front left passenger seat and cup-holder island. Situated next to the cash was a woman’s NY State driver’s license—she was Italian…from the Bronx…had that mob look going on with the big hair. (I can say that because I’m Italian!) I was absolutely dumbfounded in the truest sense of the word.
Upon retrieving the money and the license, I couldn’t even bring myself to count it because (a) it didn’t belong to me, so who am I to count money that’s not mine—that’s an icky thing to do since it obviously belonged to this woman; and (b) I was immediately in the grip of this very bad gut feeling, like a scene lifted right out of a Stephen King movie. All that was missing was creepy background music. Why did I get this awful gut feeling? I have no idea. All I know is that life has taught me the hard way to ALWAYS trust gut feelings about people, places, and situations. Period.
My guesstimate is that there was at least $400. I saw fifties and twenties. Found money is one thing—finder’s keepers one can say—but finding money that literally has its owner sitting next to it is money that needs to be returned. Well, that’s my own moral compass. Stupid me…what did I do (because part of being dumbfounded is being dumb)? I called the salesman over and showed him my discovery. Then I returned the money and the license to him—of all people! Yet even he, with his 30+ years of car-selling BS, could not hide his dismay. Mr. Yabber Mouth—so much so that I couldn’t think and needed to be alone—was momentarily at a loss for words.
But then he managed to recover himself and cleverly said, “Ohhhhhh (long pause again because he’s thinking of what to say)…someone called us looking for this earlier today. How did it end up here?” feigning earnestness and genuine concern. He then started up again, like a wind-up toy, about all the
#2006 of 2496 Re: lulu9 [nyccarguy]
Feb 16, 2007 (10:53 am)
Chapter 2 of Prelude Buying Experience--Got Cut Off
But then he managed to recover himself and cleverly said, “Ohhhhhh (long pause again because he’s thinking of what to say)…someone called us looking for this earlier today. How did it end up here?” feigning earnestness and genuine concern. He then started up again, like a wind-up toy, about all the valuables he has found in cars over the years and how he had always promptly returned his findings to the owners. I’m sure my discovery certainly made his No. 1 on his Top Ten list.
What do you think the chances are that this woman ever saw her money again? Slim to none? I’m sure she got her license back, but I’ll bet she was told that the money was never found. Yet, I had all the info. I needed to return everything to her safely by mail. On the other hand, my gut feeling took over and instructed me to get rid of that money and license ASAP because there was negative energy attached to it.
I made an offer of $13,000 (cash), knowing that they were probably not going to accept it. (I’m sure he was also disappointed to realize that there would be no financing.) The bad vibes added up to major ambivalence—I didn’t care either way. Actually, I didn’t even want to make an offer. I just wanted an excuse to leave. Yes, I wanted a low miles Prelude, and test driving the car stirred my passion for owning one even more, but not at the expense of bad gut feelings.
The salesman suddenly turned into a complete ass. No more kiss-up, roll-out-the-red-carpet Mr. Nice Guy who insisted on calling me “dear” and “sweetheart” (yuck). First he thanked me for completely wasting his afternoon and his time. If that was not rude enough, he went on to say that he was actually insulted by my offer, and, further, that my offer belied my intelligence. He thought I appreciated the awesomeness of the last gen. Prelude—how special it was, what a fine piece of machinery it was, how difficult it would be to find one as clean and beautiful as this one…on and on it went, like a dripping faucet. He was actually pissed—yes, pissed—that I put a $100 hold on it, but I did so at his request. (I didn’t want to drive all the way to LI to find that the car had been sold or was on hold for someone else.) So, allegedly, in the six days I had it on hold, at least a dozen people wanted to buy it.
He told me that they would take no less than $15,000. By now the price of the car became completely moot because I would never give my business to anyone who spoke to me the way he did. I didn’t know which was more disturbing: my bad gut feeling (which I could not shake, though there was no rhyme or reason to it) or his good-cop-bad-cop style of selling cars to women. (I wondered if he would talk to a man the same way. Verdict: No way.) I just politely thanked him for his time and left, being the nice CT girl that I am. He gave me his card to “think things over, come to my senses,” but I threw the card away as soon as I got home—in an effort to purge myself of that “What a long, strange trip it’s been” experience (to quote the Dead).
One week later, the car was no longer being advertised so it did sell shortly thereafter. Cars are like relationships. This one wasn’t meant to be. I felt no loss.
Prelude No. 2: Private Owner—Long Island Trip No. 2
Just one day following my unpleasant experience at Honda dealership, I came across a 25,500 mileage Prelude on Cars.com. Wow! Can that be? Car is black—my favorite color. Seller is private. I’m thrilled! Yeah! Called seller. Said his car is in “showroom condition…that you can eat off the engine.” He’s asking $17,500 but will go down to $16,500. Will not go lower. Car has been on website for two months or so. The only problem is that I have to drive to Long Island again—two Saturdays in a row. God, I hate that drive!
Looked at car following Saturday. It is in mint condition—looks brand new inside and out—makes Car No. 1 look a bit shabby.
Reviewed paperwork with seller: Found out that first owner bought in Pennsylvania in October of 2001. Then used as trade-in at Infiniti dealership in PA in June, 2005, where my seller found it. Car had 16,428 miles when he bought this car (making him second owner). He was thrilled to have located it. He purchased an extra 80,000 warranty, which he signed over to me. Meticulous about oil changes (synthetic oil), etc. Needed to sell car to pay off car loan/lose car payment since he is now homeowner.
What a concept: A used car with a legitimate story behind it! He acknowledged that he’s asking more because it’s in mint condition and babied it. Quite frankly, I didn’t mind paying more. $16,500: sold. (What are the chances of my finding a Prelude in this condition again without major travel involved?) No nonsense…no BS. Nothing but great gut feelings through and through. What a difference a week makes.
Blue Book Private Party Value in 1/07:
Fair = $12,770
Good = $13,870
Excellent = $14,705
#2007 of 2496 Re: Snow Tires vs. Summer Tires [nyccarguy]
Feb 16, 2007 (12:03 pm)
Gee...I really had no idea that snow tires could make SUCH a significant difference in drivability.
My way of dealing with snow has always been to stay home (it's just that simple ) until the roads are sanded. I'd rather negotiate an unplowed sanded road than a plowed unsanded road any day.
Still, your description above certainly makes a convincing case for purchasing snows in that you were able to drive THAT CONFIDENTALLY in the driving conditions we had the other day. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Since we're almost (hopefully) into spring, I'm hoping I can get by until next winter.
#2008 of 2496 Re: And just 2 more things [nyccarguy]
Feb 16, 2007 (2:24 pm)
Thanks for confirming that Audio Visions is in WP: Got it. Thanks also for the directions...I just wasn't sure of what city/town it's in.
Don't worry! I have no intentions of messing around with anything in terms of my radio until I give options further thought. Nothing is going to get done 'til spring anyway, at which point I can handle being outdoors for more than a few minutes.
It has never occurred to me to get SIRIUS radio. Why? First of all, no one in my world has it--not yet anyway. So no one has ever brought to my attention its benefits. Unless someone tells me, "This is so great...you've got to check it out," I can be oblivious.
Secondly, it has never occurred to me to pay for something that was always free. Paying for radio?? If I'm going to consider going that route, I would like to think that the benefits/advantages are considerable. According to you, it's a "gotta have" thing. Meanwhile, I haven't even listened to a SIRIUS radio station. Clearly, I'm not an "early adapter!"
What happens to stations I enjoy listening to, like NPR? Does it just go away?
O.K., so I would get the Urethane Suspension bushings when these sway bars are installed, correct?
Lastly, I can't believe that I haven't asked about this yet, considering how important it is. It has nothing to do with an upgrade but rather an existing "issue" with the car.
The guy I bought car from never used the alarm that came with our model. Apparently, when he first bought it, his neighbor complained about his alarm going off at night, which he never heard himself. So he just decided not to ever use the alarm, which was his way of dealing with it. He was going to go the etched glass route as a security measure--of course, we know he had many plans for my car if he had kept it, but the only plan that came to fruition was the AEM air intake.
Do you have the OEM alarm? Have you ever had a problem with it? I don't know if I should go to the dealership and have this fixed, or get a different alarm installed if this existing system is problematic. I am really perplexed on this one. What do you think?
Have a nice weekend!
Feb 16, 2007 (7:31 pm)
I'm glad you enjoy posting your Prelude experiences here with us. It is nice to get a fresh perspective and hear your first impressions (first as a Prelude enthusiast and second as a woman). Besides, I think timothyaw is getting a little sick and tired of my somewhat winded postings .
I'm glad you didn't buy the first car from that dealer on Long Island. What a schmuck!
Regarding your Prelude's alarm. It wasn't a factory option, but there is a dealer installed Prelude alarm that was available (maybe that's the one you have) or it could be aftermarket.
Here's my take on alarms: When's the last time you heard a car alarm going off, stopped what you were doing, and immediately called 911? NEVER? That's what I thought. Car alarms are useless. If somebody wants your car that bad, they'll take it. A car can be flatbedded away in about a minute. I parked my car on the streets of Manhattan for 2 years with NO ALARM and I've still got it (granted this wasn't the early '90s during the crack epidemic).
If you listen to NPR, you still can because a new radio will still be able to receive AM/FM signals. NPR might be on SIRIUS, but I'm not sure. I detest radio commercials (kinda ironic for a guy who used to work in advertising). Music keeps me going in the car. All the stations play commercials at the same time, plus the music stations here in our area are terrible.
You should be fine with your OEM tires until next year. It may not even be necessary for you. Do you have a job where you MUST go out in the snow or can you stay home and work from there? I work 6 days a week. We open up at 7:30 AM. There is no other choice besides snow tires for me during the winter months.
If you get the Suspesnsion Techniques sawy bars like mine, they come witn urethane suspension bushings.
Happy Valentine's day everyone!
#2010 of 2496 Re: lulu9 [nyccarguy]
Feb 19, 2007 (6:56 am)
First I would like to thank lulu for sharing her experiences on this board. It was refreshing to hear your take on the Prelude. And no nyc, I always enjoy your passion for our beloved car. It's just that I don't have the writing expertise of you and Ms lulu
I do share a lot of the same strong feelings about this car. Did you all know that this 01 is my fourth prelude. I had THREE different 91 preludes. They were all black and used. The first was a automatic. Of course you know the reason I got rid of that one. The second had tan interior. Just could never get over that. Both of those were impeccable cars. The third one was black/black, a private seller. Long story short, came to find out the car had been in a accident that the seller did not tell me about. I don't think I test drove the car hard enough the way I should have. If I did it would have shown some issues. Sold it. Of course when I found out the car was being dropped for 01 I had to buy the last year. It's a great car, I love it! I'm not getting rid of this car ever. Me and NYC have discussed this, I don't think Honda makes em like they used to.
#2011 of 2496 My passion for Preludes
Feb 19, 2007 (1:50 pm)
started when I was 16. My first car was a 1992 Chevrolet Beretta GT. My best friend who live across the street bought a 1992 Prelude Si. That was such a fun car to srive and really turned heads and got compliments everywhere we went. It was probably not the best car for a 16 year old, but I digress.
When I went off to college, my freshman year I saw this Black/Black 1992 Prelude Si tooling around campus. Sophmore year I start talking to this guy on my floor. We start talking about cars and I find out the Prelude is his. We immediately clicked and he's still one of my closest friends today. His Dad knew somebody at a Honda dealer in ALbany, NY who knew somebody at American Honda. The dealer got his friend at American Honda to sell the car to him. He actually had what was the forst 1992 Prelude registered in the US. It was basically a Right Hand Drive conversion straight from Japan including a JDM spec motor. What a blast that car was to drive!
#2012 of 2496 Re: lulu9 [timothyaw]
Feb 19, 2007 (1:58 pm)
Oh my goodness! Jeez. I had my response all ready to be posted, and I hit the "cancel" button by accident, completely deleting everything!!! Oh brother. Now I've got to start over.
Timothytaw, I'm genuinely relieved to hear from you. I was so concerned that my long-winded postings had driven you away from your trusted forum--that I had high-jacked it with my feminine drivel!!
While NYC offers valuable advice/suggestions about what to do--and why--which completely gets him off the hook for his word count --I go off into these never-ending tangents.
The fact that you owned three used '91 Preludes is quite remarkable. Wow! I'll bet the third would have been impeccable too if it weren't for the accident. I'm so glad to hear that you love our '01 so much!
It is also amazing that someone would sell a car without disclosing that it had been in an accident. That's just so wrong!
Even in this day and age--with multiple car reporting agencies--an unreported accident/mishap remains just that: unreported. So it's difficult to side-step a seller who's hell-bent on lying when you ask them the simple, yet straight-forward question: "Has this car ever been in an unreported accident/mishap?" Obviously, there are those out there who lack so much integrity that they can easily lie, without conscience.
Well, the rest of my post will need to be finished tomorrow because of my own little mishap.
Have a great evening!
Feb 20, 2007 (5:03 am)
The 90-91 Preludes were some sharp looking, great handling cars. When I see one on the road today, it still turns my head. If I could find one in good shape, I would probably pick it up. I guess I feel like you do about your 80ish prelude.
But this last generation Prelude is even more special. It also is a sharp looking car with even BETTER handling! Like I said before, this one is a keeper
#2014 of 2496 Re: lulu9 [timothyaw]
Feb 20, 2007 (8:52 am)
In my (very) humble opinion, I think the Prelude had a certain mystique with each generation. With the Prelude, I was always like, "What will Honda do next with it?" The Celica always seemed brutish and rough around the edges (many of which I test drove) while the Prelude reflected refinement and ingenuity, raising it's coolness factor well beyond the more popular (mainstream) Celica.
My little '84 earned my total respect because, at the end of the day, it was a fine running automobile--unlike the other cars I'd owned. Other than the major repairs that all cars require at a certain age--timing belt, water pump, clutch, exhaust, this little car ran. It had close to 130,000 at the time I had to let it go.
My feeling is that Honda always put the best of what they had to offer in terms of technology into the Prelude throughout its various stages, yet they were also willing to take some design risks.
Anyone who's ever been drawn to the Prelude, enough to buy one, understands that the car's mystique is quite hard to pin down.
When my eyes took in that shiny '01 at the dealership, and then I sat down in it, that same feeling rushed back to me--the one I had about my '04. I was like, "Yes, I Completely Get It (whatever that "it" is)." Either you do or you don't.