First generation Preludes had a rather weak inline 4 cylinder engine making 72 horsepower. It was matched with a 2 speed automatic or 5 speed manual transmission. You can understand why most people who could drive stick bought the manual.
The first generation was out after 1982, and in 1983 the second generation car was a considerable upgrade. The engine was still an I4, but it could now make 100 horsepower. In some markets a 16 valve DOHC engine was offered.
The third generation came in 1988. The top engine option (there were a total of 3) made 140 horsepower. It was much sportier than the previous generation, with many people calling it a "Baby NSX," due to the fact that it had many of the same styling cues as the Acura NSX, which was sold as the Honda NSX in some foreign markets.
By the fourth generation, which started in 1992, the Prelude was becoming a bona fide sports car. The top engine option was now a 195 horsepower I4, considerable output for a 2.2L engine. The final generation featued only minor upgrades on the fourth.
These cars were well-received during their run. It was named to Car & Driver's Ten Best a total of 10 times. They sold well to an American car-buying public that became more and more comfortable with the idea of Japanese sports cars during the nearly 25 year history of the car. These cars are also popular in the car modifying scene. As you might imagine, there are still plenty of them on the streets today. If you are looking to buy one, I suggest looking on eBay. You can also find parts there. I'm talking hundreds or even thousands of listings for every mundane part you can break on one of these.