Honda is seemingly playing catch up in the sports car department. Awhile ago it launched the Honda CRZ hybrid, a little coupe which I am warming up to and more recently, it has previewed the upcoming Honda/Acura NSX which will play a part in the latest Marvel Comic movie, The Avengers.
Better late than never as the last real sporty car in its line-up was the Honda Civic Type-R hatchback. Although it was sporty, it was still based on a hatchback and not something that looked its part. So now we now have the entry level and the supercar level covered but I believe there is a large hole in the mid-sized coupe for Honda to plug. Remember the Honda Integra and the Honda Prelude?
Just about two years ago Honda was like the other Japanese car manufacturers, without a proper sports car in its lineup until the CRZ appeared. Now with the upcoming NSX, things are getting better (I am not counting the slightly dull USDM Honda Accord coupe in this case). But remember the the good ol' days when Honda had a while slew of sports cars in its line-up?
In the early 1990s it had the Honda CRX as an entry level coupe/roundabout, the Honda Integra as a small sized, Civic based coupe, the Honda Prelude as its mid-sized coupe and then rounded it off with the Honda NSX supercar. Honda also had the Honda Legend coupe for those that wanted luxury over handling. It basically had all the bases covered.
I actually miss the Honda Integra and the Honda Prelude. The Integra was based on the Civic but its last iteration, the DC5 Integra Type-R was an incredible track oriented front wheel drive car. It had an engine and a tail so responsive that to me it seemed like they were meant for each other. Some called it slightly twitchy at high speeds, but it was a coupe that actually loved to rev and loved to go round bends. Of course, the Honda Integra has only been out of production for about six years. So I do not miss it too much as there are still a few going around in these parts of the world.
However the Honda Prelude was actually Honda's front wheel drive tour de force. This was even though the final, 5th generation Prelude (pictured above) was clothed in one of the most dullest looking bodies that Honda ever made for a coupe. It was like Nissan's rejected design for its Skyline or Sylvia models. But when you drove a Prelude you'd then realise that it was actually a heck of a car. The four wheel steering (mechanical in the 2nd and 3rd generation Preludes and electrical for the 4th and final generation models) actually made the car feel like it was driven by its rear wheels and when pushed hard cornered like no other front wheel drive could have. In the good ol' days of course.
Of course these days manufacturers have somehow managed to even tweak a beam axle hatchback to get the car's tail to come into play. But that's besides the point. The point of having a Honda Prelude was to actually try technology on a front wheel drive chassis and see what can be done with it. To me the Prelude was a marvelous car to drive. It wasn't as hard core as the Integra but that was the reason it worked so well on city roads as well as bumpy B-roads.
And this is actually why I miss the Prelude from the Honda sporting car line-up. The Prelude, like the Integra was axed from Honda's line-up as it somehow did not confine itself to Honda's marketing strategy at that point of time. Which is why I now feel that I hate marketing people in general. But that should pass.
So Honda, if you're reading this, please come up with a replacement for the Prelude. I somewhat miss it (especially the 4th generation pictured below).
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