Honda Civic Del Sol
The Honda Civic del Sol was a two seat, targa top convertible manufactured by Honda in the 1990s. Based on the Civic platform, the del Sol was the successor t...More »
Honda Civic Del Sol
The Honda Civic del Sol was a two seat, targa top convertible manufactured by Honda in the 1990s. Based on the Civic platform, the del Sol was the successor the popular Honda CRX. It debuted in 1992 in Japan and the United Kingdom, and 1993 in the United States. Not a true convertible, the Civic Del Sol featured a removable hardtop that stowed in the trunk and a retractable rear window for that "convertible" feel.
Initially, the car was offered in two trims. The base "S" model came with a 1.5 liter SOHC 16-valve four cylinder engine, with 106 bhp, and rode on tiny 13" tires and steel wheels. The uplevel "Si" model came standard with a 1.6 liter SOHC 16-valve four cylinder engine with Honda's VTEC technology, which gave it 125 bhp. The Si also came with nicer 14" alloy wheels, power side mirrors, cruise control, and an anti-sway bar for improved handling. On both models, the only options were a rear spoiler and custom floor mats.
Although the Civic del Sol looked and rode like a sports coupe, '92-'93 models didn't offer much of a power boost over the normal Civic. For 1994, this was addressed with a third, top-line model, the Civic Del Sol VTEC. The VTEC nameplate was used to describe a new DOHC engine with VTEC technology that produced 160 bhp, 35 bhp more than the Si engine. This led to confusion, because the Si also had a VTEC engine - SOHC, not DOHC. Further confusing matters, this naming scheme was different from the regular Civic line, where "Si" meant DOHC VTEC, and there was no "VTEC" model.
The del Sol was the first Honda to receive the DOHC VTEC engine in the United States, and it finally put the Del Sol on the performance map. For 1995, Honda revised the targa top seals, which on earlier models had been prone to leaks and noise.
In 1995, the Del Sol officially became its own model series separate from the Civic and it was renamed the Honda Del Sol, although the car itself was relatively unchanged. New refinements included a trunk release latch added near the driver side seat, a low fuel indicator light was added, and new seat materials were used. 1996 was rumored to be the last year for the Del Sol, although it would survive for one more year. Rumors persisted about poor quality, and the early leaking roofs and faulty auxiliary lighting (the bulbs burned out too quickly,) hurt sales. The rumors seemed confirmed when the 1996 front bumper was redesigned that eliminated the holes needed to fit auxiliary lights and low side vents were added. The base engine in the S model was increased to 1.6 liters at 106 bhp, resulting in a slight power gain. The Si engine also received a very minor power gain to 127 bhp. The top of the line VTEC engine remained unchanged. In 1997, the Del Sol underwent no changes, and was discontinued in the U.S., but survived one more year in Europe and Japan.
Because the del Sol was based on the Civic platform, owners are able to use much of the same aftermarket accessories, making the del Sol a popular candidate for modification. Popular mods include larger intake/exhaust manifolds, lower/stiffer suspension, cold air intake, additional sway bars, superchargers, turbos, and more - all using parts already designed for Civics of similar model years.
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