The del Sol is arguably one of Honda's quirkiest cars. Introduced in 1992 as a successor to the CRX, the Sol meshed the Civic platform with the CRX's sporty, two-seater vibe. Honda even added a targa top to help the little machine feel more like a Porsche. The design could only have come from a desire to whip through Japan's narrow residential tracts. God help you if you met the wrong end of a commercial truck. The del Sol lasted only four model years, a victim of hit-or-miss reliability and a top that reportedly let in a bit too much of the outside world. But the del Sol's placement on the Honda performance map can best be summed up with a simple phrase: dual overhead cam VTEC B16A. Dogged by lukewarm numbers from the first model year's SOHC VTEC motors, the del Sol grabbed instant attention - and affection - when the Si model was released with the legendary dual bumpstick B-series. Jim Healis, owner of this sweet '94 del Sol, had a roommate who owned a del. The first time he rode in it, Healis says, he was sold. On his way to California to take a new job, Healis stopped in Utah to visit family when he spied the '94. He ended up paying more than he should have, he says now. But at the time he admits he just had to have it. It was black, DOHC and OBD I - everything he'd been looking for.
The new job allowed him to pay off the car loan early and get started on mods. Healis hit up Diablo Motorsports in Northern California for a suspension upgrade involving Ground Control coil-overs with Eibach springs, Koni shocks in back and DC Sports upper strut bars front and rear.
Not until bolting on an AEM cold-air intake did Healis grasp the engine's potential, and six months of engine rebuild research ensued. Healis planned something that would remain naturally aspirated but achieve higher compression. It would also have to last another 10 years.
Healis took the del Sol to Livermore, Calif.'s Terry Tinney Performance Motor to have the engine bored out to 1605cc and compression bumped to 11.24:1. TTPM also balanced the reciprocating assembly, as well as the flywheel and clutch. Up top, TTPM milled, ported and polished the cylinder head, while Diablo assembled a near-total Skunk2 valvetrain comprising camshafts and gears, valve springs and titanium retainers. Finishing touches include an AEM fuel rail and fuel pressure regulator and A'PEXi VTEC controller.
Kumho tires wrapped around Konig wheels keep the Sol stuck to the ground, while Brembo cross-drilled rotors and Axxis pads on stock calipers bring it to a halt.
Healis only recently decided to bring the Sol out for shows. Before doing so, Diablo installed an Alpine/JL Audio audio system to complete the show package. The immediate results were worth the effort, as the del Sol bagged three quick trophies in del Sol and Best Honda-VTEC categories.
But neither shows nor motorsports are Healis' main focus. For him, the car is simply a very enjoyable machine to pilot on trips to Vegas, around curvy streets in town or on the everyday trip to the office.
1994 Del Sol
Owner: Jim Healis
Reppin': San Jose, CA
Go: B16A (bored to 1605cc), Honda PR3 pistons/rings, 11.24:1 compression ratio, Skunk2 intake manifold/cat-back exhaust, AEM cold-air intake, fuel rail, fuel pressure regulator' B&M fuel pressure gauge, A'PEXi VAFC VTEC controller, DC Sports 4-to-1 header, Integra Type R flywheel, ACT heavy-duty pressure plate with Street/Strip disc, crank/flywheel/clutch/piston/rod balancing, Skunk2 Stage 1 camshafts/valve springs/titanium valve retainers/adjustable cam gears, milled cylinder head (.020-in.)
Show: Hose Techniques vacuum hoses, DC Sports spark plug cover, oil cap, battery tie down
Rims & Rubber: Konig Traffik 15-in. wheels, Kumho Ecsta Supra 712 tires (205x50x15-in.)
Stance: Ground Control coil-overs w/Eibach springs, Koni Yellow shocks, DC sports front/rear upper strut bars
Resistance: Brembo cross-drilled rotors, Axxis Ultimates pads
Outside: Honda JDM badging, Civic front lip
Inside: Momo shift knob/shift boot/e-brake handle and boot/Tuning pedals, Wet Okole seat covers
ICE: Alpine 7998 receiver/CHA-S6346-disc changer/TUA-T020XM XM Satellite receiver/MRV-F540 4-channel amp/MRD-M500 mono amp, (2) JL Audio 8W6 subs in Stealthbox/XR-653CS 3-way components/XR-650CX coax speakers
Diablo Autosports: 925/371-7222
Terry Tinney Performance Motors: 925/447-1820