There were a few JDM Honda Prelude models, however, there was one specific one that stood out over the others, the SiR S-Spec.
The Honda Prelude is a special car. Despite being branded as one of the greatest handling cars in the 90s and early 00s the Prelude didn’t always have such a great reputation.
Truth be told, the first-generation Prelude wasn’t particularly good, in fact, it was quite horrid. It was slow, unexciting, and didn’t pack the punch you’d expect from a sporty Honda.
But Honda learned from their mistakes and spent a lot of time and money revising the Prelude. They made it handle better, they completely revised the engine and suspension. The Prelude was also one of the first cars to be fitted with four-wheel-steering already in 1989!
Over the years the Prelude has always had a few JDM specific models such as the S, Si, SiR VTEC, and a few others. But there is one model to triumph over them all, and that model was the Honda Prelude SiR S-Spec which was specifically available for the fifth generation Honda Prelude (1996-2001, BB5-BB9).
Now, there was another JDM model very similar to the SiR S-Spec in terms of specs. They both shared the same engine, horsepower, and gearbox choices. But there was one major difference that would differentiate between the two.
The Type S came available with Honda’s Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS) and was developed to prevent understeer which often is prevalent in FWD vehicles. Yet, due to the Prelude heavy front weight distribution (63,1% front, 36,9% rear), the system still struggled and still often induced understeer.
The Prelude SiR S-Spec did not have any such problems. Instead of being fitted with the ATTS system, the S-Spec utilized an LSD which not only made it about 40 kg lighter, but also helped put the power down properly.
Driving enthusiasts tended to lean towards the SiR S-Spec more as it allowed them to improve cornering and exit speeds which provided them with faster lap times.
The Prelude SiR S-Spec was quite a rapid car. Its 2.2L H22A engine put out a healthy 217 horsepower, and by only weighing in at 1,270kg could manage 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in about 6,5 seconds which may not be quick for modern standards, but certainly was a force to deal with in the 90s.
But acceleration was never the SiR S-Specs strong suit. Where the SiR S-Spec shined was cornering and keeping the speed through the corners. Even a base (standard) Prelude is known to have incredible handling. Even sometimes considered the best in their class.
The S-Spec featured a 5-speed manual transmission, and despite being available in more basic models, the S-spec did not receive the 4WS (4-wheel steering), likely to try and keep the weight to a minimum.
Fuel Tank Equipment
2WS (two-wheel steering)
Minimum Turning Radius
1st Gear3.285 2nd Gear1.956 3rd Gear1.344 4th Gear1.034 5th Gear0.812 Reverse3.000
Final Drive Gear Ratio
While the more basic Prelude models were more suited for everyday driving, the Type S and SiR S-Spec were produced to be used on the racing circuit.
The H22A engine proved to be an excellent fit for the Prelude as it was lightweight, reliable and provided more low-down torque than the K20 and B18 engines due to its increased displacement. And because it could rev to about 8,000 RPM also provided a sweet soundtrack for the ear.
But the engine was only one part of the equation.
The lightweight chassis, double wishbone suspension, and most importantly the factory LSD were some of the most important changes to the SiR S-Spec which made it run laps around its more basic siblings.
The S-spec also came with a great-looking body kit which may, or may not have had a performance improvement due to more efficient airflow.
Despite being an incredibly rare car, the Honda Prelude SiR S-Spec can be found in Japan for around 1,7-2,5 million yen which would equate to about $11,500 to $17,000 given today’s market rates.
Add somewhere around one to two grand for import charges, insurance, and logistics and you could own a piece of JDM history.
Obviously, there has already been a few imported examples, but expect to pay at least $20,000 for one of those examples.
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