Everyone likes a good surprise. Unexpected postcards, thoughtful gifts, even the right unexpected guest. Well, if there was any surprise of the Los Angeles Auto Show, it was the Honda Prelude concept showing up fresh off the Japan Mobility Show stand. Rest assured, dear readers, it’s every bit as good as you hoped.
The Prelude concept arrived in Los Angeles basically unannounced, and thanks to bailing on Hyundai unveiling the Santa Fe for the third time this year, I had it all to myself for a bit. While this concept obviously isn’t production-spec, it’s farther along than you’d think, and the details are absolutely beautiful.
The Prelude concept certainly gets size right. It’s hard to judge how large a car is through pictures, particularly under the bright lights and backdrops of auto show stands. Thankfully, this car seems to have roughly the footprint of a tenth-generation Honda Civic Coupe, so it’s still beautifully small. If you feared that the reborn Prelude would be Accord Coupe-sized, you have nothing to worry about.
Honda hasn’t exactly been secretive about plans for production, and the details on the Prelude certainly capture this intent. Never mind side view mirrors, here’s a weird one for a concept car: The Prelude has wiper blades, wiper arms, and cowl plastics. Unexpected additions, especially considering the cost of such parts.
Notice anything missing here? If the Prelude is indeed a hybrid, the absence of an exhaust tip suggests this is either just a pusher model, or a display model with low-speed electric propulsion. There’s still suspension and hubs and whatnot under here, but don’t consider this finalized underneath.
Speaking of mechanical bits, the concept sports Continental Sportcontact 6 summer tires, massive Brembo fixed calipers, and ventilated discs. Think sporty, but not exactly Civic Type R. Essentially, it’s appropriate rolling stock for a mature coupe, so Honda definitely understands its mission.
Above all else, the Prelude concept is beautiful, a sight for sore eyes amid bloated crossovers and cars that just don’t want to be cars. This isn’t trying to be a mobility solution, it’s not trying to pioneer new methods of distraction, its target customer isn’t one of those couples you see on House Hunters. It’s a sports coupe, a proper, delicately styled, effortlessly elegant sports coupe for people who like to dream rather than simply consume. It’s romance, bloody romance, in a callous era of techno-rationalism. Who knew that’s all Honda needed to have the best car of the show?
Some more photos:
(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)
Editor’s Note: Thomas wants me to note that he finds the new Civic Type R to be equally as exciting as this Prelude. Since a tie means the headline is still accurate, I left it be. -DT
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.