By on July 25, 2013

10 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs the owner of a much-loved 1992 Honda Civic (unfortunately, I’m not the only one who loves fifth-gen Civic hatchbacks), I know how hard it is to find parts for my V8-hauling hooptie at my local self-serve wrecking yard. The 1992-95 Civic has become to the 2010s what the ’57 Chevy was in the 1970s: the affordable car with great performance potential that all the 24-year-olds want. That means that these cars get picked clean within minutes of showing up at a low-price/high-inventory-turnover wrecking yard. The two-seat Del Sol version of the Civic is even harder to find in such yards; in fact, this is perhaps the third Del Sol I’ve seen in my last five years of junkyard crawling.
08 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has about as much flesh left on its bones as the remains of a roadkill squirrel after a month on a highway median.
03 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTo carry the ’57 Chevy analogy further, the 102-horsepower D15B7 engine is about as desirable to Honda guys now as was the 235 six to shoebox Chevy freaks in, say, 1976. A good, reliable engine, but pretty much worthless. My own Civic is getting a B18C1, just as soon as I knock out Items 1 through 48 on my Hell Project To-Do List.
02 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf this car ever had a custom leather interior, it’s long gone now.
04 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDuring my Generation X slacker period in the early 1990s, with recession raging, I took a temp job driving brand-new ’92 Del Sols from a dirt field at the Port of Richmond to a trainyard a couple miles away (the return trips took place in an Econoline with no doors). I had this job for about a week, and I drove about four plastic-wrapped new Del Sols per hour with no lunch breaks, which means my lifetime driving experience includes approximately 160 Honda Del Sols. In other words, I have driven more Del Sols than any other type of car.
06 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSoichiro Honda died at just about the same time I was driving Del Sols, and I often wonder if he knew what a betrayal the replacement of the beloved CRX felt like to the generation of young drivers who worshiped the zippy little Civic two-seater. As Chrysler learned with the Neon, cuteness in a car equaled showroom death in post-Gulf War America, and the Del Sol was sickeningly cute. Fortunately for Honda, the Super Cub helped keep the company afloat.

No mention of the incredible driving-fun-per-buck ratio of the CRX in the ads for its successor.

Though, as always, the Japanese-market ads were more fun.

Still, the Del Sol was no CRX, and sales weren’t so great.
07 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMeanwhile, Acura had no V8 to compete with its rivals, and Honda’s amazing 15-year run of success faltered.

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44 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Honda Del Sol...”

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I don’t think I’ve ever spent more time staring at a picture completely bewildered as I did with the “Custom Leather Interior Inside” pic.
    I seriously can’t think of what someone could possibly think to make that seem like a good idea. And this is coming from someone who put Super Street logo decals on his Pontiac Sunbird.

  • avatar

    The del Sol (“of the sun”)! My first car was a ’93 Si 5-speed. The sun did indeed do a number on the horrible Milano Red paint.

    I was a teenager and loved the uniqueness of the car: 7,200rpm redline, targa roof system, power rear window and LOOK OUT – rear disc brakes! As a teenager, I also hated that it was impossible to make out with your girlfriend in it.

    It had it’s share of odd failures. Now that I look back on it – my “over-engineered” E46 has been far more durable and reliable than that little Honda was.

  • avatar




    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Give Crabs a couple more minutes and you’ll meet her. Just finished tracking her down from that lipstick tube he found under the driver seat.

      • 0 avatar

        I know this girl! She’s now married with two kids, lives in Seattle and drives a Forester. (Literally. I know a girl who had one of these, but she probably won’t turn up in Crabspirits’ story. It’s the girl who had it after she traded it for an Impreza, who will end up in the story.)

  • avatar

    My Son was just entering his ‘ Fast Honda ‘ stage when these came out and he thought it would be the *perfect* long distance tourer for Pops….

    I thought it cute as a button but in the end , I’m not an open car kinda guy .

    His first get CRX was amazingly fun and fast too after he modded the hell out of it .


  • avatar

    Ah the Del Slo. There are still a few tooling around out here. One with a bass-boat sparkly paint job. It has a turbo, but judging by the trail of blue smoke, the seals are gone.

  • avatar

    The thing I remember best was one of the commercials for this car. I was about 9 or 10 at the time, I’d say. There was a direct overhead view of a beach towel, lying on the sand. A woman walks up in a bikini and sits on the towel, over top of the drivers seat. About that time the towel morphs into the car, and she buckles up and drives away.

    And DEL SOL came up on the screen.

  • avatar

    My wife bought a Del Soak brand new in 1993. Kept it for 10 years/100K miles and in that time the only mechanical failure was an ignition module. Not a bad little car.

    Its real Achilles heel was its complete inability to keep rain on the outside of the car, which is where I prefer it to be.

    • 0 avatar

      Ha, del Soak. Mine was a ’93 and leaked only in the heaviest of rain storms. ’93 was early in the model’s life so I’m sure leaky roofs were not uncommon.

  • avatar

    A friend of mine had one of these in the 16V VTEC Si version. We took it to an autocross at a small site that was barely big enough to get into second gear.

    It’s the first car I had ever autocrossed (and the total number is somewhere in the 50’s or 60’s) where I could actually feel the chassis twist.

  • avatar

    To me this is the poster child for the moment Honda jumped the shark.
    First this, then the ’92 Prelude with Oldsmobile-like dash, and the general downward spiral into product obscurity. I’m not knocking the product quality of the later models, it’s just that to me, the mid-80s to early 90’s Hondas had a freshness and uniqueness that was gradually lost as time marched on.
    To me, the last straw was the Civic reverting to struts instead of double wishbones.
    I don’t think it was co-incidental that turning point came just as the old man passed.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      I think you’re calling the “shark jumping” too early. Honda still made good cars well into the early 2000s (2002 Civic Si, 2004 Euro Accord (Acura TSX), 2000 Honda S2000).

      Was the ’92 Prelude not seen as a good car in the US? In Europe, it’s probably viewed as the best looking and best performing Prelude.

    • 0 avatar

      Car companies are not in the Entertainment business.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    The power rear window idea needs revisiting.

  • avatar

    Awhile back, Crab and I travelled to a local junkyard for some parts hunting. While their we stumbled upon an incredible example of the little Del Sol’s safety.

    What we saw was a del sol with horrendous damage from a rear end collision. The tail-lights were pushed to the C-pillars! Awestruck, we found the targa roof to be intact with minimal damage, and the passenger compartment appeared to have only shrunk a few inches overall.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’d like to know how heavy the vehicle which caused the damage was going, and its velocity. Wouldn’t be so impressive if it were a Corolla traveling 20 mph :)

  • avatar

    Nice to know that dirt lot in Richmond is now one big paved patch. I was out there last spring checking out the U.S.S Red Oak, and drove by a huge number of Japanese vehicles still waiting to be loaded into the trains. That’s when I realized how much the new RL had a far-too-BMW rear end.

  • avatar

    I actually owned one of these, a 16V VTEC Si which I bought new after getting an attempted screwing by a Mazda dealer on a Miata R. The Del Sol hung around for a year or so but the bug for a new car sent me to BMW for an M3. After getting the “cold Shoulder from BMW, I wound up trading the Del Sol for a ’92 Mercedes Benz 400SE! Now ain’t that a switch? But the little Honda was decent enough if you kept the revs up and it did have the little VTEC “bump” in the top of the rev range. Sounded good inside the car but really didn’t do too much. Ah, such fond memories. I did finely get a Miata in ’93.

  • avatar

    Matt was real gravitas.

    “This is gonna be so sick”, said John as he finished cutting the handmade stencil. Meanwhile, Matt was opening a package. The box was characterized by the air mail stickers and cardboard material as a product of China. Matt pulled the product out of the package to inspect. John looked up from his scissorwork, paused, then proclaimed loudly “SICK!” Matt held up the counterfeit seat cover proudly. The center of which was emblazoned with a huge “SPARCO” logo that violated numerous trademark concerns. The seat cover was constructed of a black material somewhere between pleather and packing foam. Matt continued to proudly wield his new $35 Ebay purchase, nodding “Yes”.

    John masked his finely-trimmed stencil to the hood and shook the rattle can. “Oh my god.”, yelled Matt while stepping away from the open door of the Honda, as if horrified and unable to look. “I’ve just pimped it. It’s…it’s just too good.” John continued to shake the can, checked his partner’s handiwork, and commented “WHOOOOAA!” The paint was applied to the stencil. The stencil has hurriedly lifted. A free “Sparco” sticker was applied to the windshield. Modifications complete, their work would surely not go unnoticed. The two boys stepped back to admire their modifications. Of prominence was that incredible hood. CUSTOM LEATHER INTERIOR INSIDE.

    They laughed. They laughed long and hard. They discussed the subtle nuance of the Impact font used, and how it put everyone on notice. This rolling joke of a car exemplified their sort of self-depreciating humor. They were having fun with cars.

    Matt’s mom came into the utterly destroyed garage space to dispose of some garbage. As the boys stood there giggling, she noticed the hood. She cocked her head to the side to read it, looked at the custom leather interior, shook her head, and said “You boys….” As Matt and John laughed heartily, she thought of what a shame it had been that her son had taken what was once a pretty nice car, and rendered it into a terrible eyesore. The Del Sol was once bright red, with nary a dent. There was some peeling clearcoat sure, but it was an OK car went they bought it. “Oh well. At least they aren’t somewhere smoking up, or worse.”

    Deep down, Matt thought it was a shame as well. It was a very nice ride, juxtaposed against the other sleds of his peers in the high school parking lot. That was before he gained motoring experience abruptly, losing control on the icy offramp, and taking the life of a road sign with his hind quarter. Later, the passenger door was no match for the heavyweight door of some unseen SUV in a parking lot. The car rapidly deteriorated from a cherry to chewed hamburger. It was smashed, adorned with a Samba Green door, and slathered in a dollop of poorly applied Bondo. It was hoped that the Mad Max style, flat black treatment would help the car regain it’s mojo. The job was disappointing, with runs and poor coverage. When the reactions were unfavorable or nonexistent, Matt simply stopped taking the car seriously. They had spent all day in the junkyard, and cleaved a B18A1 from an Integra. The hot motor made it as far as the checkout counter, where they were told it would be $250. Having only $216 to his name, Matt left it to swing from the engine crane. It was a good thing. After more research, he found that he would also need the transmission, clutch, wire harness, ECU, motor mounts….. It was clear that he didn’t have the know-how, skills, stamina, or finances needed for this Chip Foose grade transformation. His car would be a piece of crap. He resigned to that fact, and embraced it.

    On Monday morning, the “Del Slow” was in full effect in the school parking lot. It parted the sea of loitering teens as the second-hand 15″ subwoofers thumped L.L. Cool J’s The Boomin’ System from the trunk. Much like the Batmobile, it had taken on the persona of it’s owner. Funny, humble, likeable, popular. His girl, Laura walked over and laughed. “No way am I getting in that thing again.”, she remarked before giving Matt a proper smooch. The Honda was a big hit with everyone…well, except for one guy apparently.

    It was sometime around 4th period when the Honda was covertly brutalized in the parking lot. Matt was stunned to find the crime scene after class. The trunk lock had been wrenched free. “I bet they took the subs.”, he thought. He lifted the loose lid. “Yep.” As an added bonus, it would appear the fiends delighted in beating the shit out of every body panel. Crumbled bondo lay on the ground. It was personal. The crime was reported, but was mostly ignored in a “Well, that’s what you get” or “Who cares?”-sort of enthusiasm. There would be no justice.

    Something inside Matt died that day. He became more serious. He was depressed about how cruel the world could be to those that didn’t fit their mold. This was the work of hatred. He had never been hated before. Laura left him. To some onlookers, it appeared that Matt matured, grew up, but really his spirit was crushed.

    Matt’s parents were sympathetic and understanding, however. He was a good kid. It would appear the little misfit was actually going places in life. At his graduation party he was rewarded. His dad handed him another beer.
    “Hey, go see what’s in the driveway.”
    “Oh shit. No way.”

  • avatar

    First, in the 70’s, Tri 5 Chevys started to get too rare [clean ones] and expensive. They were the ‘kids car’ of the 60’s. By early 70’s, “18-24 y/o Hot Rodders” moved on to the plentiful supply of used 60’s Novas, Chevelles, Camaros. [I list only Chevys to compare to 57’s]

    2nd, the current Civic is more like the 90’s Accord, so can’t compare. Try the Fit for comparison.

  • avatar

    Also, 92-95 Civics are harder to find in good condition. 1995 was 18 long years ago, and most are getting parted out. The 92-5 Civics seen here are beat up four door DX/LX with cheap mods, bondo, and primer. The Si’s are now to valuable to ‘cut up’. Sound familiar?

    The Subaru WRX of the past 10-13 some years, is now the “57 Chevy” or “69 Camaro” for today’s ‘tuner’. Mitsu EVO’s are getting too rare/expensive, etc.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I remember before these came out in 92. Some of the car magazines were speculating that this would be for better or worse Honda’s Porsche 914. Then when it did arrive it was just a shorter Civic with a removable top and not as fun as a CRX.

  • avatar

    i hated that car! i still remember the crx and late-80s hondas, when this thing came out in europe i was a child and to me it was such a mistake, to my eyes it was ugly and the worst honda on the market.
    now that time is passed i look the “del sol” with the nostalgia of the days in wich honda made cars you really Wwanted to DRIVE.
    the europe lineup was civic, civic coupè, integra, accord, prelude, legend, nsx. it was probably the best linup a carmaker ever had, even if something had rover origins.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember the same thing. So wanted the early ’90s CRX, with it 16v high revving engine and cool back glass that had a vertical panel in that awesome fastback you could see through so you could park it. The del Sol always seemed like such a cop out and a car without a purpose. The CRX had a backseat, was far more sporty, and if you wanted a two-door coupe, the Civic, Accord, and even the Prelude gave you that option without losing performance or style. Even Honda couldn’t figure out what to do with it in its usual strong marketing campaign that normally worked on the pragmatic functionality of a Honda product; none of which the del Sol embodied.

      • 0 avatar

        *The CRX did NOT have a back seat.

      • 0 avatar

        As a past owner of a 1986 CRX (stolen! %^@#$%!!!)I can verify that this car, at least as sold in the US, had no backseat. However, I could accommodate additional passengers on short hauls (eg,to the bar) who were willing to sit the storage area, whose floor was a bit higher than that in the passenger area. Said passengers would have to crouch or recline because of the lack of headroom. Now that I’m middle aged and drive a Volvo wagon, I cringe at the safety risks of this practice. On the other hand, riding in the front seats of the car also entailed safety risks.

        I still wonder what Honda was thinking with the del Sol? Was it lot more expensive than the CRX, with a higher profit margin? Did it test well with the young female demographic? Why wouldn’t one just buy a civic with a sunroof?

        Thanks for the CRX commercial. I forgot that the wonderful Burgess Meredith did the voiceovers.

  • avatar

    The sad thing about these pictures for me is that the Del Sol is sitting nose-to-nose with a bright red 1990 Acura Legend coupe– my favorite Acura of all time. I wish I could find a clean red ’90 LS coupe with the buttery tan leather interior- 5 speed please! I hope the one in these pictures has been hit hard in the side or back and wasn’t relegated to the junkyard because of a bad clutch or broken timing belt.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I have a co-worker who has had one of these for at least 15 years, maybe longer not sure. He’s had it reprinted in his school colors during his ownership. Say what you will about the merits of this car, it makes me smile to see it and consider that a now middle aged guy still loves his Japanese sport/economy car. More poignant for me after wrecking my 96 Miata that I bought new, last year.

    • 0 avatar

      I have owned one (black 97 VTEC) since new,
      and it is really more of a Japanese 914 or X1/9,
      only with lots more chassis flex.
      Targa top fans do not have many choices..

      Perhaps the Civic is unlike most others,
      but any sedan with sunroof that I have driven
      is pretty unpleasant when open a highway speeds.

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