The Honda Prelude, one of the Japanese automaker’s first attempts at a fun, sporty car, goes on sale in Japan on Nov. 24, 1978. The first Prelude, a somewhat stubby front-wheel-drive coupe with a high beltline and long hood, provided no hint of the sleek, popular coupe it would become in the 1980s.
The Prelude, the third car in Honda’s U.S. lineup after the Civic and Accord, hit American showrooms as a 1979 model. It didn’t become popular here until the second generation went on sale as a 1983 model.
The Prelude name originally was trademarked by Toyota but was given to Honda for use.
The first Prelude was powered by one engine: a 1,751-cc version of the Accord's CVCC single-overhead-camshaft four-cylinder that generated 72 hp at 4,500 rpm and 94 pounds-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm. It was combined with a two-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission.