JDM Model Year Changes

From G1 Prelude

Throughout the 4 year production run, numerous changes were made either for engine performance, emissions or aesthetics. The items below are only for the JDM models.

Unfortunately in Japan, the model years are not as easily followed as most other countries. Japan was not known at the time to sell cars by their year or market them this way. The best way to identify the year of Prelude from Japan is to use it's Model # per the vehicles VIN. What's interesting is that due to a new model being released early or mid year, you'll find the years are conflicting with what the model actually is by simple succession. A great example of this is the XXR model being released in October 1981. It was registered as an '81 model but is new for '82. So some models can be different years. This is another reason why Japanese brochures are hard to follow as no Showa or fiscal year were stamped anywhere on them. The best clues are by interior pieces, colors and options. I've sourced a lot of my findings below from the Japanese parts book that lists out each individual model.


  • SN-100 (Released November 1978) Available for 10 Months
  • SN-110 (Released September 1979) Available for 7 Months
  • SN-200 (Released April 1980) Available for 1 Year, 6 Months
  • SN-300 (Released October 1981) Available for 1 Year, 1 Month


SN-100 Standard Features:

  • 1.8L CVCC Engine - Advance Stratified Charge Engine (689)
  • Electronic Ignition
  • Front-Wheel Drive
  • Four Wheel Independent Suspension (McPherson Struts
  • Rack & Pinion Steering
  • Negative Steering Roll Radius
  • Power-Assisted Front Disc Brakes
  • Dual Diagonal Brake Circuits
  • Optional Steel-Belted Radial Ply Blackwell Tires (175/70SR13)
  • Power-operated Sunroof with Sunshade (Certain Models had solid metal)
  • AM/FM Stereo w/ Unique Controls Mounted Beside Gauge Cluster
  • Maintenance Reminder System (Gauge Cluster)
  • Low Fuel Warning Light
  • Digital Clock
  • Cigarette Lighter
  • Glove Box Light
  • Two Speed Plus Intermittent Wipers
  • Rear Wiper Defrosters
  • Tinted Glass
  • Rectangular Headlights with Snow Drains in Grill
  • Trip Odometer
  • Day/Night Rearview Mirror
  • Coin Box w/ Lid
  • Stowage Boxes in Rear Seat Side Panels
  • Stowage Box in Center Console
  • Fully Reclining Front Bucket Seats
  • Full Carpeting
  • Combination Light Switch on Steering Column
  • Inside Hood Release
  • Remote Trunk Lid Release & Interior Light
  • Truck Stowage Boxes (X2)
  • Protective Body Side Moldings
  • Plastic Corrosion-Resistant Fender Liners
  • Vanity Mirror (Right Sun Visor)
  • Passenger Assist Handle

SN-110 Standard Features:

  • Includes all Standard Features for SN-100
  • Sunroof standard with smoked glass for all models
  • Sunroof switch relocated to dashboard (no longer above rearview mirror)
  • Power Antenna for XE models with integrated tube
  • Transmission Gear Ratio Changes Transmission Specs
  • New 3-Speed Fully Automatic Transmission replaced the 2-speed Hondamatic
  • Manual transmission uses new style synchronization rings
  • Drive shafts now feature constant velocity joint with a new ball structure joint on outboard and tripod joint roller on inboard.
  • Brake booster check valve pressed into vacuum hose, not exposed
  • Bypass solenoid valve relay added for the evaporative emission system, located in center dashboard
  • Front side marker lights on fenders were relocated closer to the wheel wells and more visible


SN-200 Standard Features:

  • Includes all Standard Features for SN-110
  • April 25 1980 saw the introduction of the CVCC-II Engine with revised intake and exhaust layout, alongside compression increase (PB2)
  • Standard Catalytic Converter
  • Baffled exhaust manifold is replaced with solid cast iron manifold
  • Combustion chambers redesigned to help maintain a uniform 8:8:1 compression ration with increased dish on pistons
  • Standard NGK spark plugs upgraded to a step hotter than previous year (B6EB-L11)
  • Transmission gearing ratios changed for auto and manual
  • Manual trans fifth gear updated design with new shift shaft added
  • Updated rear taillight design (round reflector changed to square)
  • Newer conventional dashboard layout including a new gauge cluster with separated speedometer and tachometer
  • New courtesy key light under steering column
  • New self-locking bolt replaces front/rear shock absorber pinch bolts and lower control arm pivot bolts (Resin pellet on threads)
  • Transmission has a magnetized drain bolt
  • Higher output coil that raises secondary voltage from 16_3KV to 22_4KV
  • Crank pully bolt torque raises from 16lb-ft to 82lb-ft
  • Coolant drain bolt in front of block added for 1981
  • Oil filler cap diameter increased and spring tension increased for easier removal on valve cover
  • Power Steering optional with automatic transmissions only
  • Fuse locations changed
  • Updated brake caliper and increased pad size (2nd gen civic calipers and pads)

SN-300 Standard Features:

  • Includes all Standard Features for SN-200
  • Updated Interior with new dashboard, gauge cluster, electronics and door panels
  • Electronic Navigator standard in all models with center console
  • CVCC-II engine update with a revised intake and exhaust layout to help isolate the exhaust valves and heat distribution (PC1)
  • New 9.3:1 Cylinder compression (1982 Honda Model Intro Book, may not be true)
  • Combustion chamber improvement with a 1.4mm lowered roof (increased compression) and intake/exhaust valve angles slightly changed (1982 Honda Model Intro, Book, may not be true)
  • Piston crowns modified to coincide with change in combustion shape. Deeper dished than 1981 models (PC2)
  • EGR now picks up exhaust gas from Cylinder #3
  • Newly added secondary fuel filter at carburetor (two fuel filters for 1982)
  • Carburetors feature a new float level adjustment window
  • Fuel Pump changed to new Vigor/Accord unit w/ flow sensor unit for electronic navigator system
  • Updated fuel sending unit with additional sensors for better low level alerts and to send to electronic navigator system
  • Revised manual transmission w/ new gearing and shift linkage (similar to 2nd gen accord transmission w/ hydraulic clutch)
  • Manual transmissions for 1982 do not require an engine oil cooler. New revised single stage oil pump used. (PC1)
  • Automatic torque converter housings have 3 dowel pins, compared to two (1981)
  • New double stage type oil pump used with automatic transmissions
  • Power steering pump changed from cast iron to aluminum for better heat distribution and increase in pump pressure (PB1)
  • Power steering effort changed from 6lbs to 4lbs at zero speed
  • Gauge cluster features extra digit for odometer
  • Revised brake dual proportioning valve
  • New stabilizer bar stopper added
  • Revised front grill with Honda "H" badge in center
  • H badge centered on rear trunk
  • Newer steering wheel (similar to 2nd gen Accord)
  • Revised rear seat layout including foldable section to enter trunk area for storage
  • Outer driveshaft & matching wheel-hub spline pattern changed to a larger diameter w/ different spline counts