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Thread: So... Once Upon a Time...

  1. #121

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    The Honda Prelude horde:

    When I was a little kid there were neighbors with teenage boys who were always driving around some really cool cars. The gas crunch was in full effect so there were other neighbors trying to keep their Simca's and Opels running. Another neighbor drove dragsters at a local race track when he wasn't driving his proffesional motorcycle racing kids to race tracks across the state.

    The common thread was a NASCAR race blaring out of portable AM radios every Sunday.

    I think the day I saw a neighbor pull up to his son and roll down the electric window of his air conditioned Camaro revealing the smell of leather seats.. that was it... a luxury hot rod was the ultimate idea of a perfect car for me. But I was like 8 years old.

    Enter adulthood and I began restoring old Fords on a low budget. I was raising kids on a low end government wage while paying for a money pit old house I could barely afford. So even though my cars were 'cream puffs' at 25+ years old, they were also prone to frequent breakdowns as they were cars that had sat idle for a decade plus and were mostly original parts.

    Time passed and reliable transportation took precedence. But my oldest was ready for his first car. Now I remembered riding in cramped little riding lawn mower sized Hondas that never broke as a teen. And my son had set his sites on a compact sports car for his first. At that time it seemed every small car of any stature had watermelon shooter sized tail pipes spewing out burping sounds while duct taped parts n pieces flopped around in the breeze. So I tried diligently to convince him the luxury hot rod was the way to go. Zooming in comfort and style is cool. One day he bought a 1991 Prelude that didn't run. The day it was trailored to the house changed his life and mine. It was a beautiful car. Shiney black metal flake, electric windows and air conditioniing. Hmmmm

    Armed with a small sack of bicycle tools quickly resulted in hiring a tow truck to a place where a cracker-jack mechanic got it going by replacing an alternator installed backward. We had replaced fuses and when the car was fired up the alternator caught fire in like 3 seconds. For clarity, to this day I do not know howthehell the op had installed the alternator backwards... they only fasten one way but anyway...

    The car was quickly becoming a money pit. My son had a low wage job so 'ole pop' was paying for repairs all too often. Together we set out for better. I found an imaculate Prelude that had been completely restored stem to stern with super nice upgrades. The owner was in a hurry to sell and when I waved a stack of $100 bills in his face he quickly signed the title.

    I used to ride in the 91 listening to sounds and noises my son was concerned about. After driving pickups and vans for a decade getting in and out of the Prelude was difficult for my aging-fat carcass. But the day we bought Prelude #2 I had ridden with my son. So I had to drive Prelude #1 home while he drove his new one. Man it was like my first go kart ride as a kid. "I want one of these." Well being I had bought Prelude #2 and my son was going to pay me back I just traded his for mine after driving #2 a few minutes.

    A few months later Prelude #2 was murdered by a red light runner who hit the rear end with a brush guard clad flat bed tow truck. We coulda (and now woulda) fixed it but had no clue how to nor the tools to do it. So he drove Prelude #1 while searching for Prelude #3. One night he asked me to go with him to look at one. We met the guy and my son wanted the car. It was a radical-ized version that was in my view too hot for him to handle back then. So I bought it. Not long after he found Prelude #4. Another restored version of Prelude #2. Only this one was even better equipped with authentic JDM goodies and tasteful mods.... and a pickup load of extra parts. Then I was graced to find a lifetime garaged 91 that needed an engine. Prelude #5. Shortly after a neighbor was selling her one owner 91. Prelude #6.

    Content with Prelude #4 my son was asked at a car show if he wanted to buy a 2001 loaded with nice parts, but a botched engine rebuild. The freakin' hood was worth more than the owner was asking. Nobody at the show would even take the car for free. At 10 pm I'm at a car show telling my son "if you don't buy it I am". Prelude #7.

    I was the owner of three, working almost constantly and they were falling apart faster than I could fix 'em. Not satisfied with paying a shop to keep them going I decided it was time to thin the herd. I had traded my Prelude (#3) to my son for Prelude #1 again. I had given it back to him between the murder of #2 and sourced #4.

    I gave him Preludes 5 & 6 for #3. He needed capital for another engine for #7 and #4 was fine for transportation until then. #3 just sat collecting bird poop. He sold #6 for motor money and mothballed #5. Remember #5 had always been garaged and I had set about doing a makeover to that one.

    So I resumed restoring #3 finding all those radicalized add ons were haphazardly installed. I was going back factory with some tasteful sleeper mods. My son was methodically learning how to pluck an engine from a car about a year after learning how to change his own oil. He was an electrical whiz, but lacked the raw strength to unfasten stuck on bolts. I told him I'd break loose the hard stuff if he'd allow me to restore the engine bay once the motor was out. My goal was to have it appear like it had just left a race shop with lots of dark grays and flat black faces everywhere.

    One day we plucked the old engine out. I cleaned that engine bay to a sparkle but there were lots of broken fasteners and rusty screws. It took me about a month but it looked great. Meanwhile we rebuilt the replacement engine leaving in the stock pistons and rings. Compression was like new so we left well enough alone. Then one weekend 2 friends pulled a marathon assembly process of installing everything on the motor with a new clutch and such.

    A couple of things went wrong, but being we'd been going 30 straight hours at the end it was bound to happen. Once the motor was planted we took our time ensuring everything was torqued proper, fastened correctly and shined up all spiffy and new looking. Prelude #7 was on the road.

    When that one was done I spent about a hundred days on Prelude #3 fixing all those rigged items. But soon after a mystery coolant loss developed so #3 is mothballed until..

    Lately we've resumed a methodical resto of #5 affectionately called "Lucky". See the owner rescued that one from the hauler taking it to the junkyard. A blown head gasket was the reason. So he replaced that and soon after it was plagued with 2 busted main bearings. I paid a guy to swap in a running engine and now we are doing cosmetic improvements to the outside of the engine along with chasing an idling issue. See Lucky is one of those cars that when something goes wrong it's never textbook.

    So we'll solve that mystery and complete the process of electrical restoration of Prelude #4 after the original owner had done some shortcuts when installing all those JDM goodies. Most of those were sold to pay for stuff #7 was going to receive as part of the motor swap. Instead it's getting more stock as time goes by. And I'm so dang anal about properly replacing stuff it takes a lot more time fix things, partly because... frankly I'd never done it before.

    Now my son has his sites set on Honda S2000's while I contemplate installing a turbo charged Ford 5.0 in a Mazda Miata...










    The red arrows point to cars bought by neighbors shortly after beinging home #3.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 04-09-2017 at 11:39 AM.
    John 3:16
    "Never shoot a gatling gun wearing sandals" -PK

  2. #122
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    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    I have fond, but short memories of a dark grey twin to your #6, assuming it has the flip up headlights. I think I recognize the rest properly. What a sweet ride. I had my ex in it one day on the NYS Thruway, and slowly got it rolling at quite a bit over the posted speed limit. Okay, more than quite a bit. It was so smooth. It was a couple miles at speed before she said something like "how fast are you going?" I normally drive like an old man, but that car just purred... She flipped when I told her, and I had to slow down. Sold it to a neighbor whose wife needed wheels, she got rear ended by a Mercury station wagon. Poor Prelude was toast.

  3. #123

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Yup #1, 5 & 6 all have/had pop up headlights.
    #1 is a parts store house and last I heard #6 had a busted engine is why I say "had".

    Yeah, smooth they are. Luxury hot rods in their era. Weak and underpowered by todays standards. What I liked Scout was how even at 35mph they seemed to be moving fast...
    #3 & 7 have 150 on the speedometer. They reportedly don't quite make that number. (I've never broken the speed limit in any of mine) But folks who swapped in an Accord 5th gear have been clocked at 199 on race tracks.

    Mr. Honda did a car called the 1300 in the 60's. Air cooled hot rod that he said was his dream of a car that handled like an Italian but rides like a German.

    The Prelude was the 1300 re-invented. However Mr Honda was not involved.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 04-10-2017 at 06:36 PM.
    John 3:16
    "Never shoot a gatling gun wearing sandals" -PK

  4. #124
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    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    You're correct by mine anyhow- it didn't make that number.

  5. #125

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    That was a fun read. I'm amazed by your ability to recall all their history.

    The first month of owning a 09 STS V8, I spent some extra money on gas. Now after a year of driving her, I'm again in Old Man mode when driving. And yes, it's a blast to drive at 35 MPH, too.

    Thanks for a great history-story.

    ~ Chance
    Never point a flashlight at anything you don't intend to illuminate! Never buy a flashlight you have to make payments on.

  6. #126
    harro's Avatar
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    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Great read bykfixer. Are any of them the All Wheel Steer versions? Australia got quite a few AWS Hondas. I think we were used as a bit of a testing ground for that technology. AWS versions had the strange habit of dropping in value like a cinder block does, when dropped from the top of a 9' ladder. Front end mechs didn't want to know about them because of the complexities involved in maintaining the system. Didn't alter the fact that they were a nice vehicle though.

  7. #127

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    None are harro.

    We considered doing that to Car #1 and even sourced the parts, but after my mechanic spoke of potential alignment issues front to rear we opted not to.

    See the first 4ws system (89-91) was all mechanical. A simple set of gears and rods was all it had. Genious!
    But Honda decided to take it a step further with the next group (92-96) and add electronics to the mix. Not only that but the system itself was changed to independent from the front end. The electronic gizmos were not reliable over time, very rare to find when they did fail and it left the car very unstable at the rear when the electronics weren't operational.
    The next group (97-01) were even worse. Road debris that collects under cars from driving in rain etc would blind sensors. Again causing the rear end to be unstable.

    I used to geek out on the Prelude since it was Hondas R&D car. Numerous things from the Prelude are still being used. Most are not. lol.

    Through the internet my son and I (along with 2 other Aussies) were able to diagnose, solve and source parts for one poor chap trying to get his 1993 4ws correct. One day he responded to the forum we frequented "success". No more warning lamps on the dash lit and the car handled perfectly. Soon after somebody crashed into him. Ugh!

    Another Aussie ripped all that crap from under his 94 and now races it.
    They were great cars but nowaday they are falling apart all over the planet and being they were R&D cars repair parts are getting pretty scarce. That's why we practically lived at the junkyard 2 years ago.
    John 3:16
    "Never shoot a gatling gun wearing sandals" -PK

  8. #128

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Haven't done one of these lately.

    Soda bottle hunting.
    Today I found myself looking around my home at all kinds of trinquets with all kinds of stories and suddenly was flashing back to a time I hung around with a guy named Bud. Bud and I did a lot of trading back then. He was a heavy drinker with a blinded eye and a caterac in the other and I was his chaufer of sorts... more like designated driver. We'd go to flea markets. He drank on the way there and back. Antique dealers, same. Other traders homes where he'd consume more alcohol than a top fuel dragster. Enough to kill many people. But I didn't touch the stuff back then. It was between my extreme athelete days and mid-life crisis days when my boys were young and my 1920 something house was falling apart almost as fast as I could fix it.

    One day another friend told me about a 19th century dump he had found in an old part of a nearby city. Old districts have them scattered on hillsides as back then folks buried their trash on hillsides, in abandoned wells and that sort of thing. But this was a city dump from between 1800 and 1900. Acres wide, about 2' below a gravel parking lot were thousands upon thousands of glass bottles, perfume vessels and broken dishes. Anything else had long since rotted... well there were bazillions of ceramic clothing buttons and old marbles too.

    Bud and I visited the place in January one year when it was too cold for most folks to go outdoors. Afterall we were in a high crime area in a point in time where folks were murdering each other over this new thing called "crack" cocaine. We were visited several times by locals who reminded us we were not welcome. We returned anyway, and noticed after like the 3rd visit were left alone. See we'd dig up dozens of bottles and leave a few along the brim of our holes. Locals would gather them up and take them to nearby antique dealers for a few dollars each. We were after a few certain local brands of soda and beer bottles. Bud wanted beer bottles and I wanted soda bottles.

    We scored a few nice medicine bottles with local stamping on the embossed glass. A few perfume bottles, numerous poison bottles (highly prized in the 80's) and some other stuff to trade at flea markets for stuff we wanted.

    There was a developer who was expanding an abandoned factory to turn it into apartments and had scraped the top off of various areas to see just how big this dump was. Areas about as big as an automobile at each location. Idea being that all that garbage had to go, but he was entertaining prices and developing designs to build his project so Bud and I were on the clock so to speak before giant Tonka toys began removing all that garbage. We had about a month as it turned out but each time we returned we expected the treasures to be gone.

    Each hole had been dug to good earth and the garbage removed but Bud and I tunneled sideways into the bank of several holes until we discovered which ones had the oldest glass. One day we were tunneling near each other and low and behold had reached each others tunnel at a real pretty aqua blue bottle. We flipped a coin and I won. I unearthed a beautiful, pristine beer bottle stamped with that town on it. That brewing company was out of Richmond but this one had Petersburg. Bud quickly offered me $3 for it. (Bud was a cheapskate). I declined.

    We ended up going there one day to find the treasure was gone, but had our fill of old glass bottles so no tears were shed. Plus the murder rate was escalating to broad daylight shootings by a local gang who had moved in from New Jersey and made it known that "Battersea" Petersburg was their turf. One day I had to pull my gun on a guy but that's for another time.

    With all of this nice old glass stockpiled Bud and I began trading at local flea markets. He traded stuff for old war books and I for still full soda bottles. Being Bud was a cheapskate he usually ended up empty handed as he wanted to get $100 worth of stuff for a $5 bottle. Me, I ended up with still full soda bottles in droves as I didn't mind getting the short end sometimes.

    Well one day a guy I traded with often mentioned he was acquiring some still full beer bottles from that Richmond brewer from the 1930's, shortly before they went out of business. Bud was too cheap to buy any and I didn't normally collect beer bottles. I said no thanks and began walking away... then I returned and said "hey, ever heard of a Home Brewing from Petersburg?" He said he and his club had never heard of one but there was a rumor a guy found one digging trash at the old Brown & Williams factory. Walking away Bud says "holy ****! How'd he know about that bottle?"


    To this day this is the only known one.

    That was about 1986. Sometime later Bud and I had a falling out over 25˘…
    A few years ago I saw Bud in a grocery store. We had not spoken for years. He approached me and stated he was now sober and regretted our friendship had ended over such a small amount of money, then says "if you wanna sell that bottle my offer for $3 still stands" lol.
    I quipped "she got it in the divorce"....

    RIP Bud. He recently succumbed to liver cancer.
    John 3:16
    "Never shoot a gatling gun wearing sandals" -PK

  9. #129
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    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Always an interesting ride, Mr. Fixer. Thanks for sharing...

  10. #130

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    But for the Grace of God, I wouldn't have made it out of my 20's Scout.

    Everyday after the 40th birthday seems like a bonus day. 13 bonus years later I suddenly got word that Bud had gone to meet our maker.
    John 3:16
    "Never shoot a gatling gun wearing sandals" -PK

  11. #131
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Awesome read as always, in fact i could read your posts all day long

  12. #132

    Default Re: So... Once Upon a Time...

    Enjoyed reading your life stories bykfixer, thanks for sharing part of life memories with us.

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