KIDNEY, ANYONE? This 1980 Honda Prelude is gold, Jerry!

For five generations and 22 years the Prelude was sports coupe of the Honda lineup. Later iterations were some of the best handling front-drivers ever built, darlings of the Tuner Era, but the SN-chassis is where it all began. And when you’re talking first-gen Preludes, an example like this one offered for sale in Kingman, Arizona, is as close to the holy grail as you can get. 

That’s because this 1980 model is finished in the rarest of first-generation Prelude colors, Longleet Gold, which was offered for a single year only. It’s a shame, as it’s a brilliant hue representative of the era and exudes a level of swank the silver — which seemingly 99 percent of first-gen Preludes came in — can’t touch.

Beyond the paint, the li’l ‘Lude has all the other qualities you’d look for in a classic car. It’s incredibly mint, has a proper 5-speed transmission, and the dashboard remains miraculously uncracked.

Beyond that, the SN Prelude has no shortage of oddball design cues that make a car of this vintage interesting. The speedometer and tachometer overlap each other like a rainbow, with the needles moving along parallel arcs, a gauge Honda called the Concentrated Target Meter. It boasts the first power sunroof offered on any Japanese car. It was available with an optional radio tuner and volume button mounted in the side of the gauge cluster. Alas, this example lacks it and has an aftermarket head unit, but it has the space for one should you want to add it later.

The seller is asking an even $5,000 for an example with 88,000 miles on the odometer. There are surely very few in this color left in the country, if any. If collecting rare Hondas is your thing, this is definitely one to consider. See the ad on Craigslist.

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14 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? This 1980 Honda Prelude is gold, Jerry!

  1. Myron Vernis said:

    Cool car, great price and, even more rare, a good Craigslist ad! I’m out of garage space but if someone buys one of the cars I have listed on JNC classifieds, I’m buying this immediately.

  2. Jim Simpson said:

    Cool beyond belief… and a very good price like Myron my problem is too many cars and no space for more… or he and I would be racing to get this one…

  3. Scotty G said:

    If it were only silver.. (kidding) (crickets).
    What a gorgeous car! I wonder what they mean by it needs nothing “mechanically”? The body and interior look fantastic; maybe it’s a cracked dash? I’ll be kicking myself for not grabbing this one, but leaving cars outside in Minnesota is a bad idea.

  4. Ant said:

    Wanted one of these since that old Intersection video of the French fashion designer bloke driving one around Paris. Unfortunately they’re very rare indeed in the UK, and every single other generation of Prelude is more affordable too!

    Pity there’s no good interior photo in the ad. One of the highlights of the first-gen Prelude is the concentric instrument cluster, with the tachometer inside the speedometer.

  5. Cho said:

    I love this car. I love the stocky body and the fact it’s RWD with a manual. I miss the classic designs. Simple but elegant or quirky.

  6. The Black CRX said:

    Only the ’79 Prelude had the cluster-mounted radio. Owners found it even more confusing than the concentric gauges (you used a twist knob to cycle through its four presets, for example), and Honda relented for ’80 by installing the under-dash housing for a standard-size radio, and installing blanking panels on the meter housing. The pod radio was never offered as an option in the US market, and the whole dash was redesigned for the ’81 midcycle refresh.

    But also in ’80, Honda relented to dealer pressure to sell radios and tape decks as accessories. As a result, no ’80 Honda model in the US — not even their most expensive Accord LX — came with a standard radio or antenna. Honda offered a line of their own accessory radios, but many dealers installed other brands. (Obviously the unit in this car is modern.)

    I love the accessory alloys on this Prelude. They give the whole car an Italian flair.

    • Ben Hsu said:

      Ah, good to know! If it were mine, I’d probably add the Rotary Radio in there just for kicks. It looks like there’s a space for it, and could be done without damaging the dash. To me, the fact that it wasn’t offered in 1980 makes this an even sweeter car, since it’s not missing an option it could’ve had.

      • The Black CRX said:

        Good thing is that there’s pretty much never a chance of that with a Honda, up until very recently. There were no factory options, only model/transmission/color (e.g, “Accord LX 5-speed in Longleet Gold”), and then dealer-installed accessories.

        It’s what led to tortured trim-level names more recently like “Odyssey EX-L with Rear Entertainment System,” but it did make it, um, simple, to get a Honda the way you wanted back in the day. That is, as long as you were willing to wait for one, pay markup, and put up with all the stuff dealers added like fabric treatment and extra side trim.

        Other than transmission and color (and emissions), every ’80 Prelude boarded a ship for the US with exactly the same equipment.

  7. Honda600King said:

    This looks like a nice survivor but it has been on Craigslist multiple times over the last few years and it is puzzling why it doesn’t sell. Terrific one-year color and correct accessory wheels. For originality freaks like me, it appears the seat covers on the front don’t match the original fabric in the back. May not be a deal-breaker for some but at $5K – I’d expect the fronts to be original. Hope it finds the right home!

  8. Mark Newton-John said:

    You should also note that the Fiat 500 also had the concentric tach/speedo combination.

  9. Kane said:

    Absolutely loved the Seinfeld refrence, Awsome man.

  10. Frank said:

    That is nice. The only thing I don’t like about it is the engine. A modern Honda engine would probably get 50 mpg and perform better.

    If I lived near Kingman, I’d go look at it.

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