Super Street Network

 |   |  1997 Honda del Sol - JDM K20 Swap
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

1997 Honda del Sol - JDM K20 Swap

Rebirth of a getaway car

Brian McGurk
Jun 9, 2014
Photographer: Quickworks

Sunshine, great weather, and convertibles: For many outside of California, that's exactly what they think about the West Coast, and DeeJay Beck, of Hayward, California, built his first Honda del Sol to take advantage of just that. "It was lowered, fresh paint, wheels; it looked good but it was really slow," he says. Sporting a stock D15, he wasn't exaggerating and that became painfully obvious one summer day. DeeJay recalls, "My girlfriend and I were playing hooky and driving to Santa Cruz when I saw this lowered Civic, and we started messing around in traffic." What he thought was just two car guys messing around on the road was anything but. "We got stuck in traffic, and these guys were pissed," he says. "They started yelling at my girl and when I yelled back, it got bad." Bad is in reference to the four occupants of the car hopping out with the intentions of starting some serious trouble. "The four began smashing on my ride, and came after my girl and I," he says. Realizing he was stuck, DeeJay acted quickly, got out of the path of their blows, and after trading paint with at least two other cars, the couple and the car were safe. DeeJay felt that if his car had a little more "go," the situation may have been avoided entirely.

1997 honda del sol K20A 01 Photo 2/7   |   1997 Honda Del Sol K20A 01

With his first Honda del Sol down for the count, DeeJay was on the hunt for a replacement, but he wasn't going to settle for the same underpowered single cam. Instead, he was on the hunt for a more suitable canvas. "I knew what I wanted to build," he says. "I wanted the best del Sol Honda made, and that was what I got." The '97 del Sol VTEC sports a factory B16 and rather tired OEM Cypress Green paint. Some fresh body panels from Honda and a new coat of color were first on the list, but the result wasn't what DeeJay expected. "The body shop didn't listen to me and tried to match the color," he says. "It's not Cypress Green Pearl, but it's close, and I think it looks cool."

Hp 1997 honda del sol type r style lip 03 Photo 3/7   |   1997 Honda del Sol - JDM K20 Swap

When reassembling the Honda del Sol, he wasn't content leaving the interior alone. He wanted it subtle, only replacing the driver seat with a Buddy Club P1 variant and upgrading the wheel and pedals. The B Series version of the del Sol was definitely faster than its D15 counterpart, but, in reality, the B16 just wasn't enough for him. DeeJay began stockpiling parts for a K20 swap. Why a K Series rather than just boosting the B? "I come from an old muscle car family," he says. "Bigger is better, plus I like the naturally aspirated thing." DeeJay sourced a JDM K20A engine locally and got right to work. The intake system was upgraded with an RBC intake manifold and larger throttle body, while the OEM exhaust system was ditched for a Karcepts header and custom piping—a must when dropping a K into an older chassis like the Sol. A bigger engine warrants more fuel, so R Crew goods replaced the factory fuel lines and fuel rail. Once the engine was in, DeeJay had a Walbro fuel pump waiting in the wings. With all the pieces lined up, the engine swap was essentially a simple process of unbolting the old heart, installing a set of Hasport K-swap mounts, and bolting everything back together with the new 2.0L. The new engine called for new axles by way of Drive Shaft Shop, and Hybrid Racing provided a new shifter and transmission cables to shift crisp and precise.

Hp 1997 honda del sol personal grinta steering wheel 04 Photo 4/7   |   1997 Honda del Sol - JDM K20 Swap

Deejay admits that his last Honda del Sol was lowered more for fashion than for performance, a fact he realized when his prior build struggled to maneuver out of its own way. Not wanting to make that mistake again, he upgraded all of the suspension components with Skunk2 parts, and replaced all the tired bushings with Energy Suspension polyurethane. To help put the power to the road, a set of Volk Racing TE37s wrapped in Dunlop Direzza Star Specs were added, and the car was complete.

Hp 1997 honda del sol volk racing TE37 wheel 07 Photo 5/7   |   1997 Honda del Sol - JDM K20 Swap

The build that DeeJay took on was somewhat of a response to the guys who tried to jump him. To make sure it never happened again, it evolved into not only a great getaway car, but a great all-around performer. If you happen to see him on the road, don't expect him to play around on public streets. He made it very clear that he learned his lesson, and adds, "You never know who you're f***ing around with." Words to live by ...

Hp 1997 honda del sol K20A engine 05 Photo 6/7   |  
A K20A replaces the factory B16.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
K20A (ITR)
Hasport mounts
Hondata K-Pro
Karcepts intake
OEM TSX throttle body
Karcepts throttle body spacer
Karcepts 4-2-1 race header
RBC port/polished intake manifold
MagnaFlow muffler with custom piping
R Crew fuel rail
R Crew custom fuel lines
Walbro 255-lph fuel pump
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
OEM DC5 (R) transmission
Hybrid Racing transmission cables
Hybrid Racing K-swap shifter
Drive Shaft Shop axles
Koyo DC2 full core radiator
R Crew radiator hoses

Suspension
Skunk2 Pro C coilovers
Skunk2 alignment kit
Skunk2 rear LCAs
Password:JDM front shock tower bar
J's Racing rear shock tower bar
ASR rear sway bar
Energy Suspension bushings
ASR subframe brace

Resistance
Hawk HP+ brake pads
OEM DC2 brake upgrade
Super Blue brake fluid
Steel braided brake lines

Wheel & Tires
16x8 +32 Volk Racing TE37
205/45-16 Dunlop Direzza Star Spec

Exterior
Type R "style" lip
Custom front splitter
Custom rear diffuser

Interior
Buddy Club P1 seats
Custom cabin bar
Personal Grinta steering wheel
FA5 Civic Si shift knob
Razo Pedals
Razo Mirror

Props
Johnny Ngo at N1 Concepts
Jei Chang at Blacktax for my tune
Christian Perez at The Street Fighter Compound

Hp 1997 honda del sol type r style lip 06 Photo 7/7   |   1997 Honda del Sol - JDM K20 Swap

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Video game software quality assurance

Favorite Site
shoryuken.com

Screen Name
Buttons

Building Hondas
10 years, give or take

Dream Car
NSX Type R

Inspiration For This Build
The four guys who jumped me on the freeway in 2007.

Future Build
'01 MR2/S electric power steering conversion in my del Sol. Stage 2 engine tuck, repaint jet black.

OEM is best

"I don't want special stuff, that's ridiculous," DeeJay says. When asked about why the mostly OEM upgrades to his K Series, DeeJay tells us that he simply doesn't want to work on his car all the time. That's not to say he's lazy, but he doesn't want to order special tools, parts, or training for his build. He adds, "I love the fact that I can get everything I need at an [auto] parts store." At its core, a del Sol is essentially a Civic, a point DeeJay was quick to make. On the other hand, he also pointed out that it's not really a Civic. He explains, "It's like you get all the bonuses from having a Civic, without driving the same car that everyone does. I like that." Although DeeJay loves his OEM parts, he's going to have to travel outside the brand for his next mod: an electronic power steering conversion using parts from an MR2. When confronted with the affront to Honda he states, "I know ... I don't want to talk about it."

Sources

Hybrid Racing
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
225-932-9588
http://www.hybridracing.com
Hondata
Torrance, CA 90503
310-782-8278
http://www.hondata.com
Koyo Cooling Systems
Irvine, CA 92618
949-727-7054
http://www.koyorad.com
By Brian McGurk
47 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

After taking some time off from the Honda game Robert Tellez is back with a build that has plenty of options for progression
RodrezNov 16, 2018
The new BMW Z4 only exists because Toyota wanted a new Supra.
ManufacturerNov 15, 2018
The Subaru WRX STI Diamond Edition features a yellow body kit - complete with front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser - and 349 ponies under the hood
Kelly PleskotNov 14, 2018
Jaguar gave its rally F-Type a full roll cage, ripped out most of the interior, and added auxiliary lights to the hood
Collin WoodardNov 12, 2018
The one car that caught our attention the moment we stepped into VIP Fest 12 and not only held it, but had us coming back for another visit (or three) as the day continued
RodrezNov 9, 2018
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP