Past, Present, and Future – Braulio Negreira’s 1979 Prelude Restoration

Thirty-five years after its initial release, a silver California-spec 5 speed Prelude SN puttered down the highway with its new, then 18 year old owner grinning from ear to ear. She was running fairly rough, the thermoswitch not functioning among other things, but at highway speeds this was no issue. This was her maiden voyage, leaving her original owner of thirty-five years, heading to her new home 120 miles away in Fremont, California. Her odometer was ticking away, only a bit over 108,000 miles under her paint and patina. Two years later, countless hours of learning, working, reading, and some fair amounts of cursing later, she sits a lot better than how she showed up.

1979 Prelude Restoration 1

The E series CVCC motors, in this case an EK1, are notorious for vacuum leaks and parts in general are becoming harder and harder to find. With that in mind, the prior owner decided to plug up a majority of the vacuum system with bolts. So, the first tasks were to not only remove all these bolts, but to entirely redo the vacuum system; new hoses, missing components, and all. This was by no means an easy task as a majority of parts had to be pulled from scrap cars which were very few and far between. In addition to this labor, an NOS thermoswitch and thermostat were sourced and the grimey Prestone coolant was replaced with the proper OEM Honda coolant after a thorough flush.

As the months ticked by and the repairs continued, the urge to add some modifications to the car grew stronger. Quickly, I grew to realize that lighter but still period correct wheels would be a nice addition to the car. Some Craigslist and Facebook group searching later, about a year after initially purchasing the car, her original 13″ steel wheels and beauty rings were removed and replaced with 13×5.5 +38 Enkei MF13s.

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This simple addition set off the car in ways I never imagined. The handling became slightly more nimble, the braking slightly improved as well, but the aesthetics of the entire car were completely changed. Again, more time passed, more parts were acquired including Japanese market OEM rubber floor mats to replace the torn up and overall disgusting aftermarket mats that were cut to fit the car years ago. Around the same time, I ordered a Remus muffler, which due to various life events and procrastination has yet to be installed.

And now, here is how the car currently sits. In need of a better carb tune and craving to finally get the Remus muffler installed, she sits from time to time until she’s warmed up, her Yokohama Advan track tires heat up, and down the road and up the canyon she goes. The current setup features white 14×6 +38 SSR MKIIR wheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan A032R (185/70r13) tires. Over the coming months and years, I hope to not only continue to restore the car but also give it a few, select modern improvements.

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I’d like to give a quick thank you to Nathan Mitchell and the other fellow Honda Roots admins and editors for bringing me onboard. I myself, like Nathan, am fluent in first generation Prelude. In addition, I have a vast knowledge of 1970’s Honda CB motorcycles and Honda history in general. I look forward to providing more content in the future. Keep the oldies rolling.

Braulio Negreira

Honda Roots Editor Owner of a '79 and '82 Prelude SN and a multitude of old Honda CB motorcycles.

3 thoughts on “Past, Present, and Future – Braulio Negreira’s 1979 Prelude Restoration

  • November 4, 2016 at 6:55 am
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    My 82 lude has 205k miles she’s a bit puttery but no rust and in pretty good shape I’m looking to do a engine swap and upgrade to make it a sleeper please let me know what will work because parts are hard to find here in Wisconsin, I wanna keep this car for a lifetime

    Reply
  • December 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm
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    Thats a beautiful car. I just bought one. Had it shipped from Wisconsin to Georgia..I love this car. I owned one back in 1995, so this is a duplicate.

    Reply
  • December 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm
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    Thats a beautiful car. I just bought one. Had it shipped from Wisconsin to Georgia..I love this car. I owned one back in 1995, so this is a very personal purchase.

    Reply

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