The considered four-wheel steering seemingly conjures photographs of quick European machines – Porsche 911s and Bentley Flying Spurs and such – however those that grew up on ’80s and ’90s imports will let you know that rear-steer help wasn’t all the time relegated to the luxurious area. The Honda Prelude Si 4WS, such as this one for sale on Cars & Bids, was one such instance.
Certain, it may be a beige (strictly talking, it is really gold), front-wheel-drive Japanese coupe with an computerized transmission, nevertheless it’s a comparatively pristine instance of the engineering that helped Honda’s comparatively easy Civic and Accord platforms thrive within the post-emissions period of Nineteen Eighties transportation. Its 2.0-liter B-series engine solely made about 135 horsepower, however due to its compact footprint and Nineteen Eighties-grade metal unibody, it solely had about 2,500 kilos to maneuver round. With its high-performance tires, this gave it a severe edge in dealing with. The 1987 Prelude Si famously knocked off a number of high-profile sports cars in a Road & Track slalom check.
On the time, four-wheel (aka rear-wheel) steering was a little bit of a fad. Honda and Mazda each dabbled in mass-produced, front-wheel drive automobiles with rear-end steering programs. The Mazda 626 Turbo, which additionally foreshadowed the present crop of fastback sedans, was Hiroshima’s entry into the area. Nissan’s HICAS system was provided on the 240SX/Silvia, 300ZX and varied iterations of the Skyline (and its Infiniti equivalents, the place relevant).
Probably the most bold software of four-wheel steering was in all probability GM’s Quadrasteer, which was meant not as a efficiency enhancer however as an answer for bettering the low-speed maneuvering of its full-size trucks by steering the rear finish round tight corners. It was an costly (~$2,000) and complex resolution that was in the end discontinued in 2006, however a recent Ford patent suggests we may see the thought return. We have already seen the flexibility afforded by electric powertrains on this regard.
Whereas R&T‘s conclusion that “4ws will probably be an accepted commonplace function, as gasoline injection, radial tires and, to a lesser extent, ABS brakes” could have the whiff of bitter dairy about it, the re-emergence of the function in high-end luxury cars and the shift towards electrical motors would possibly simply show them proper but.