For decades, the two-door Prelude exemplified Hondas peak performance technology in the United States. The Honda Prelude entered the marketplace during the late 1970s as a challenger to American pony cars such as the Ford Mustang as well as a competitor to the Toyota Celica. Through the 1980s, the Prelude added a fuel-injected engine, sleek aerodynamics and even four-wheel steering. In 1992, Honda introduced the fourth-generation model that featured even more refinements.
Along with the availability of a Honda VTEC engine and larger brakes, the fourth-generation Prelude featured an all-new look that deleted the pop-up headlights. The Prelude underwent another design change for the 1997 model year that saw a longer length for the sports coupe. Compared to the previous generation model, the 1997 Honda Prelude was styled in the image of sport compact rather than a personal luxury car.
In addition to the base model, a Prelude SH model was fitted with ATTS (Active Torque Transfer System) that boasted the capacity for providing rear-wheel drive-like handling while maintaining a front-wheel drivetrain. Coupled with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, the 1998 Honda Preludes aluminum-constructed, 2.2-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine generated 195 horsepower.
Four-wheel disc brakes, cruise control, air conditioning, CD player and 16-inch alloy wheels came standard on the 1998 Prelude. For 1999, the manual model of the Honda Prelude allowed the engine to produce an additional five horsepower. By 2001, sales of the Prelude had decreased in later years resulting in the discontinuation after 23 years on the market.