ROTM October: Matt Selden’s ’81 Honda Prelude

It’s a bird, it’s a train (well it’s pictured beside one), is that a Skyline?…….No, No…’s a Honda and a Prelude? We present to you Matt Selden’s delicious looking 1st Generation Prelude straight from our hometown on the East Coast. That’s right West Coast, the East has some goodies up it’s sleeves too.

Matt’s ride was selected for our “Ride Of The Month” due to it’s rarity and upbringing from it’s rough past! This ’81 Lude is one of only a handful of 1st gen Preludes left in the US as they’re becoming harder and harder to find each year. Originally equipped with a 1.8l EK1 CVCC engine (straight from the ’79-83 Accords), it’s 75hp threshold for ’81 was not menacing compared to our B & D series engines we all know today but the key factor was the cars suspension and weight! Only weighing in at roughly 1,950 lbs (this is CRX territory) and featuring individual McPherson struts all around, the 96 lb·ft @ 3k rpm was plenty to get this car up to speed and to weave in and out of traffic!

Unfortunately no suspension options are available for the ’79-82 Preludes except for one company in Australia, by the name of King Springs, who makes lowering coils available for Lude. For the price of shipping and only lowering the car about a 1.5″, it just didn’t seem like the right plan so Matt decided to cut the springs and do it the old school way. Matt says the car handles like a go-cart and sticks to the ground with no signs of tail spin. A little bouncy but for the stance and ride height, it was worth it he said.

The car’s past isn’t that of a good life, but instead had some faithful attempts to make it Nostalgic gold. “The car was passed down from friend to friend in the Norfolk, VA area, where it received an ’82 EK1 engine transplant, some suspension fixes & body work. The previous owners, Wilkins Mcdonald & Mackie Torralba, had a red ’82 alongside it that they were planning to swap the interior and other bits out to make the ’81 more of a complete car. Some things fell through & with tons of vacuum line aggravations, they decided to put it up for sale and I immediately jumped on it. When we saw it it was rough but running, so my friend and I decided to buy the ’81 & ’82 and drive it 2.5 hours home. Ever since then it’s been a project within itself.”

The car went through a heavy restoration process inside Matt’s house garage with the help of some family & friends. It was stripped down & repainted to it’s original St. Moritz Silver while getting a rare set of JDM fender mirrors & new engine goodies! It’s been getting respect from all old schooler’s alike ever since it’s debut at the East Coast Honda Meet back in July and we here at HR are proud to be helping with this project personally. We got the chance to ask Matt some questions about his ride and to learn more about what he’s done so far.

HR: Congrats on being our October ROTM for Honda Roots, you excited?

Matt: It’s an honor.

HR: You don’t see too many 1st Generation Prelude’s on the road anymore. We bet you get alot of attention where ever you cruise too.

Matt: It does turn a lot of heads, probably due to the fender mirrors. They’re quite unusual around here.

HR: How did you come about owning this ride?

Matt: It was found on Craigslist, along with a red ’82 with no front end, for $600. My buddy Nathan has one he’s restoring and talked me into going in half on the deal. So I got it for $300, really.

HR: How many miles have you turned over on the odometer right now?

Matt: The body has about 230,000 and the engine about 160,000, but I’ve only put about 1,000 on it since I bought it.

HR: Can you tell us more about the mods down to the lude and the engine?

Matt: The engine is stock, aside from a Webber carburetor and a custom carbon fiber-look valve cover. The interior has blue CRX seats, which clash with the rest of the red interior, but the originals were shredded. The stereo is a JDM Gathers cassette player with Infinity speakers. The exterior has been repainted the original St. Moritz Silver, with ’79 Accord fender mirrors and Bosch foglights. The rims are Rota RB’s, 15”x7” + 25 offset, custom painted. The chassis has cut stock springs and upgraded ’84 Accord front brakes.

HR: If someone was to find you rolling down the street, what tunes would you be listening too?

Matt: Heavy metal, hardcore, alternative rock. Mostly heavy angry sounding music.

HR: Everyone thinks this looks like a classic Japanese C10 Skyline, was this the original premise for the lude?

Matt: That’s how most people see it at first, and the look is slightly based on it. The silver paint, combined with the Watanabe style rims and fender mirrors, and from a distance, it looks like an old Skyline. That is a huge compliment, considering how rare those are.

HR: How did you get into the Honda game?

Matt: My buddy Nathan got an EF Civic hatchback as his first car, and I always liked it. He gave me my first issue of Honda Tuning magazine, and I was hooked, My first Honda was a ’93 Integra, which I still have, and I love it.

HR: Any future mods planned for the Lude?

Matt: Probably a B-series engine swap, and a few more sets of wheels.

HR: Any big shout outs you like to make?

Matt: Nathan Mitchell, founder of Honda Roots and for featuring my car; Ashallee Wing, who took the awesome photos for this feature; and all other true Honda enthusiasts, young and old. Keep the scene alive!!!

Photography credit goes to Wingin-it Photography & Nathan Carmona

Nate Mitchell

HR Commander n' Chief Collector of 1G Preludes and resource material. Keeping the Roots Alive one car at a time!

2 thoughts on “ROTM October: Matt Selden’s ’81 Honda Prelude

  • October 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Nice car,,, I like your concept modification.
    I have one 1st gen to,,
    Good job..

  • December 18, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Great looking car…where can I get a set of fender mirrors I happen to have a lude 81 and I would like to purchase.
    Thanks and good luck with your car.


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