The Pepsi Lude


This is a 2001 Honda Prelude SH. More importantly, this particular SH is the infamous Pepsi ‘Lude, aka the Swoosh Lude, aka the Starsky and Hutch Lude.

I hate that car. Hate it.

Many years ago I had just moved to OKC, my life and income were stable enough for me to afford a proper car, so I got a pre-owned 98 BMW 328is. I loved that car.


Back to having a decent performing car and some spare time, I returned to Autocrossing. If you haven’t tried auto crossing, you really should. It’s a really affordable way to have fun in your car and meet like-minded gearheads.

I was running with the local SCCA chapter in OKC, and that was the first time I met Chris. Chris was and still is the embodiment of the Midwestern all American boy. At the time he was in his early 20’s, a student at Oklahoma State University and a genuinely pleasant person to know. He was also annoying talented behind the wheel. You will be happy to know the only thing that has changed is he graduated.

Chris drove the Pepsi Lude. Watching him was exasperating. His tires wouldn’t even squeal. He was smooth, composed and efficient. There was no drama, he simply put the car at the very limits of its abilities, and started from there.

On paper our cars were very close, he had 135 horses, I had 138. He weighed 2600 lbs., vs. my 2954 lbs. I was a wise, experienced 30 something with a lot of experience. He was a smiling, polite and helpful 20 something who was new to this thing. We should have been very close.

Nope, we weren’t. Not once, not ever. I blame that car. See, Chris is too nice a person, a dear friend and he used to babysit my dogs when I went out of town. So it’s that car.

Years have passed; Chris and I have raced together and against each other. We have stood on podiums and experienced the exhausting heartbreak of coming up short. We have worked together professionally and I routinely crash on his couch when I am Oklahoma.

But every now and again, the long ago sold Pepsi Lude will show up in a parking lot around Oklahoma, and my buddies will waste no time in sharing this with me. It still annoys me. My BMW was traded for another BMW and eventually the first two 911s. So while both cars are gone, the Lude still antagonizes me. Even though I haven’t autocrossed in years, and the last time I did, I set the fastest time of the day (FTD) against Chris (I had a much better car).

One day I will win the lottery, and I will find that Lude. Then I will crush it into a cube and use it as art in my garage.

And Chris being Chris, will probably laugh about the whole thing.


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