It’s funny how every first generation of Honda cars sets the stage for even greater things to come. It sounds obvious, but if you think about it, many manufacturers start out with a good car, which is later watered down and diluted through committee after committee. Go figure. In any case, the 1978 Honda Prelude, the first generation of that car, was certainly an omen of even better things to come. Built as a sports compact car, in size situated between the Civic and the Accord, which was the extent of the Honda line at the time, as far as cars were concerned, the first Preludes were noted for their handling, build quality and attention to detail.
The first Preludes were not very fast, but they were far from slow. Fitted with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, it could reach a top speed of 98 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 mph in 11.3 seconds. Those figures are nothing to write home about, but the acceleration in particular is impressive for such a small, relatively under-powered car.
The first of the Honda Prelude cars were offered with a choice of a five-speed manual transmission or a two-speed ‘Hondamatic’ automatic transmission. Unsurprisingly, this was soon replaced by a more traditional four-speed automatic. The first generation of Honda Prelude remained in production until 1982.