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

Dear Oppo: I Need Your Opinion

As some of you may know, I recently purchased a 1987 Honda Prelude 2.0 Si (A20A3 engine) for $200 as a D.D. beater. It looked like this when I bought it:

And now, after a lot of baths, some sanding off of the surface rust, and some white anti-rust primer, it looks like this:


For those of you wondering about the corner light, they were both old, brittle, and cracked and the first time I took it above 70mph, I got home to find the lenses broken off at the bolts and everything forward of the bolts missing. I'm guessing the wind resistance plus the vibration of the road was the final straw. I've found a pair of full-amber JDM lenses on eBay which I plan on buying fairly soon, then smoking to match the rest of the car.

Now, the more I tinker with this car and the more I drive it, the more I discover that it's actually not that much of a beater. It needs a couple repairs, mainly the windshield wiper switch, the headlight motor switch, and a thermostat vacuum outlet. Total cost: $312.

And that's basically it, aside from some interior issues, like a torn seat bolster and some dash cracks and generally worn upholstery.


I'm also discovering that when pricing parts online, 80% of the time the performance aftermarket parts are cheaper than OEM due to the rarity of the OEM parts. Here's where my conundrom lies:

This car is too nice to LeMons or track rat. But I don't want to keep it for forever- I just feel too limited by the FWD, though this is by far the most fun FWD car I've ever had. So I want to eventually sell it or trade it. Now, the 'poor' NADA private sail value for one of these is about $2k, which isn't quite enough to get me into a non-beater NA Miata.


So here's my options, so far as I see them:

Sell the Prelude pretty much as-is (once the Audi is back on the road), except for the repairs I priced out, plus the light lenses. Throw that money into the Audi, which is even more difficult to find performance parts for, or attempt to stash it and save up for an NA Miata or E30 Bimmer.



Upgrade the Prelude with the limited selection of parts available for it. Mainly: Racing header and exhaust ($480), Weapon-R cold air intake ($170), Cipher Automotive racing seats ($260 per pair), Drilled and slotted rotors and pads ($250 for everything), KYB shocks $240 for all 4), B&G sport springs ($220 set of 4) and wheels and tires (probably 15x7 Enkei Compes) with mid-range summer stickies on them (approx. $800).


And no, those prices aren't mistakes. The very few performance parts available for this car are CHEAP in comparison to many other cars I've seen.

Anyways, upgrade the Prelude over time, until it's in 'clean and tasteful' condition, at which point, I put it on Craigslist for no monetary value. Instead, I list it for trade only- specifically, as a trade for a fairly stock NA Miata or E30 bimmer in good running condition. This second option could take place over the course of a year, as I upgrade it bit by bit. I'm in no rush to get rid of it, but every time I look at I, I just keep thinking to myself "Damn...if only it were RWD....and had a better parts selection)/ In the meantime, I'd have one seriously fun, and rare, Prelude to tool around in.


Oh, and turns out most turbo kits for this car run for around $400. Go figure.

So what say ye, Oppo: Flip the Prelude pretty much as is, or turn it into a more long-term investment by upgrading it in hopes of trading it straight-up for a car I'm more interested in?

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