If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

Bringing the Prelude(s) back to life: step 1

After being parked for at least 6 years both my BIL’s Honda Preludes were moved out of their overgrown park places and moved onto his property this week. We’re going to use one of these for the Carbagerun rally through Europe this winter. The red one (an ‘83 I believe) will be restored, eventually.

Carbagerun

In February 2016 my brother in law and I will be participating in the Carbagerun through Europe. Route:

  • start: The Netherlands
  • finish day #1: Basel (Switzerland)
  • day #2: Turin (Italy)
  • day #3: Avignon (France)
  • day #4: Toulouse (France)
  • day #5: Andorra (finish location)
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The route as indicated in this map is the shortest route. We’ll obviously not be taking the shortest easiest route. It’s not a rally for nothing, the rally officials are sure to have a nice route planned for us. Mountain passes and snow chains will be used, weather permitted.


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You’re supposed to use a <1999 <€500 car for this rally, which will take place on public roads and in which speed is not an issue while adhering to traffic laws is. The car will have to be ready some time in December. We initially wanted to rebuild the red Prelude for this rally, but our current plan is to use the white one and keep it as ratty looking as is. We can then restore the red one without hurry or stress.

The Preludes

The red Prelude is a one family car, it was his grandfather’s last car and his first car. It has some emotional value and seems to be the least rusty one of the two Preludes. It’s got about 23x.xxx km on the odometer, and the (AT) transmission and the engine are out of the car. They’re rebuilt and have been in his garage for all these years. The white Prelude was bought as a €200 donor car. The 4th gear of the 5 speed (MT) transmission didn’t work when the car was bought. It has rust issues, but it’s got a pristine interior (save for some minor mold) due to the extremely low kilometers. 63.xxx km, so about 40k miles. It was said to run and drive fine when parked. Both were parked on a paved parking lot in 2009 or earlier, and hadn’t been touched since.

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Despite being parked on paved parking lots, the cars were overgrown. The weeds, which grew in between the tiles but not underneath the cars, ended up completely filling two large garbage bags.

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The move.

The red Prelude doesn’t even have a drive train and the white one hadn’t run in many years. As a result we had to trailer them out of there. We used my father in law’s Dodge Magnum RT as a tow vehicle to get the cars from the parking lot and onto the street, where they could be put on a trailer. I sadly don’t have a picture of the Dodge in action, but it’s visible in the background of one of the pictures. Once on the street we winched the cars on a dual axle trailer and recruited a neighbor to tow the trailer home. The Dodge wasn’t up to the task as it’s a gray market import with weird US market wiring, so its tow hook isn’t able use the lights of a trailer. We used the more conventional Renault Espace diesel minivan of the neighbor as a tow vehicle for the trailer instead. Note the VW Transporter T3 (‘Vanagon’) wheels on the trailer.

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Luckily the cars don’t weigh much, so they were easy to push.

Up next: Inspecting the cars and indexing what should be replaced/fixed. Also important: which of these cars can be made ready for German inspections the easiest before December this year? To what extent will rust be an issue?

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