Super Street Network

 |   |  1993 Honda Del Sol - MR-SOL
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

1993 Honda Del Sol - MR-SOL

Matt Rodriguez
Oct 1, 2015
Photographer: Chad Burdette

The laughs were no doubt still ringing in his head as Tim Lilley, owner and builder of this one-of-a-kind del Sol, fired up his project for the very first time. Months prior, he'd purchased the shell from Tim Carter, a friend who had crashed the car and removed the engine. Thinking out loud during the transaction, Lilley told those within earshot of his plan to completely rework the two-seater for a mid-ship, RWD conversion. He adds, "They laughed and said, 'Yeah, right!' The next day I was cutting the back out and sending pics to show them I wasn't kidding."

1993 honda del sol nrg seats Photo 2/11   |   Notice the interior is mostly stock… That’s because you should be looking behind the seats!

If you automatically conjured up thoughts of Top Fuel of Japan's RR del Sol (CR-X in Japan) from about 15 years ago, you're not alone. Powered by a 500hp turbo B-series, the mid-engine-converted RR sent shockwaves through a drag-centric Honda community that was drooling at the very thought (the car even graced the cover of Super Street in June '01!). Though that particular car never catapulted itself to the front of the import drag racing pecking order of that era, it was, and still is, a technological marvel. A handful of homemade versions have surfaced over the years, but few match the quality and craftsmanship that Lilley has achieved.

1993 honda del sol relocated fuel tank Photo 3/11   |   Changing the car to rear-wheel drive meant relocating the fuel tank. This also helped with weight distribution.

Once he transported the shell home, Lilley spent every free moment he had tending to the intricate process of completely altering the intentions of Honda's engineers in order to create something truly one-off. He recalls, "I had a K20 to use as a mock-up motor. It stayed in the car to get all the wiring and fabrication done. I had it all done, up and running in about six months." The first and most obvious challenge is hanging the engine over the rear wheels. For this, Lilley had to design custom engine mounts. Once the engine sat properly, the transmission, in this case a K-series unit with PPG 1st and 2nd straight-cut gears, had to be situated with proper axle geometry in mind. Custom mounts were again required and upon completion, placed the Insane Shafts axles at the right angle to make this all work.

1993 honda del sol custom front lip Photo 4/11   |   1993 Honda Del Sol - MR-SOL

To increase the complexity of an already daunting task, Lilley chose to boost the K24 using a custom exhaust manifold with a Garrett GT35R and Tial wastegate and blow-off valve combo. Inside the bottom end of the 2.4L you'll find 10.5:1 Wiseco slugs and Blueprint/Eagle rods, while Supertech valvesprings and retainers secure the top end. ID1000cc injectors and a Walbro fuel pump help light the fire, and the entire orchestra is directed by Hondata's K-Pro with boost solenoid. The combination of parts and boost equates to more than 500 hp at the rear wheels, while a liquid-to-air intercooler with 3-inch piping helps to keep temperatures in check. It sounds like quite a bit to stuff into a non-existent engine compartment, but the finished product is shockingly well thought out. Organized and concise, every component has its own path, resulting in a space that looks much bigger than it actually is.

1993 honda del sol mid mounted k24 engine Photo 5/11   |   Built and boosted, mid-mounted K24. Oh yeah, and it’s rear-wheel drive, too!

Moving the engine and its components to the belly of a FWD car's anatomy required relocating the factory fuel tank. And since there was some vacant property available under the hood of the newly converted Sol, Lilley conducted a relocation of sorts not only in the name of packaging, but to help achieve a favorable front-to-rear balance as well. Not surprisingly, the space swap makes for some interesting reactions from those not familiar with the build. He adds, "I remember the first couple of times I took it to car meets out of town. People would ask what's under the hood and friends were like, 'Yeah, show them under your hood.' People were shocked to see what I had done." From what we understand, people are also shocked at the car's performance during impromptu meetings on the road-especially those with modified, high-horsepower Corvettes...allegedly.

1993 honda del sol varrstoen v3 wheels Photo 6/11   |   1993 Honda Del Sol - MR-SOL

As wild as the engine and its abundance of power appear to be, the exterior of the del Sol is the polar opposite. A fresh coat of white paint and aftermarket headlights are the only noticeable changes. No carbon-fiber accents, massive rear wing, or 5-figure Japanese aero. Even the wheels, which most would expect to be high-dollar, JDM rarities, are quite the opposite. The intent of Lilley's creation was never to be thrown into that group but rather to step away from the norm entirely. Clean and tidy with no overt clues as to what's going on behind the driver's head, other than the mysterious inlet bulge that now resides where the gas filler cover once was.

Setting out to completely re-engineer Honda's FWD two-seater and finding absolute success in the end is a feat in and of itself. To do it all in a mere six months is completely unheard of. However, don't think that just because he reached his initial goal, Tim Lilley is anywhere near being finished. "I'm planning to turn up the boost and tune on race gas here soon. I think the car will go 9s in the quarter-mile. That's my goal anyway."

1993 honda del sol air duct Photo 7/11   |   1993 Honda Del Sol Air Duct
1993 honda del sol gauge cluster Photo 11/11   |   1993 Honda Del Sol Gauge Cluster
By Matt Rodriguez
31 Articles
1993 Honda Del Sol - MR-SOL
Tuning Menu
Owner: Tim Lilley
Location: North Carolina
Power: 540 whp, 370 lb-ft at 15 psi on pump gas
Engine: K24 mid-engine swap; custom mounts, exhaust manifold, 4" downpipe and radiator; Wiseco 10.5:1 pistons; Blueprint/Eagle rods; Supertech valvesprings and retainers; Garrett Gt35R turbo; liquid-to-air intercooler with 3" piping; TiAL blow-off valve and 60mm wastegate; Magnaflow muffler; Walbro 450/e85 compatible fuel pump; ID1000cc injectors; Golden Eagle fuel rail; Aeromotive fuel regulator
Drivetrain: custom geared K-series transmission with PPG 1st and 2nd straight-cut synchro gears; EP3 and Accord 3rd-5th gears; custom Hybrid Racing shift cables; Competition Clutch twin disc; MFactory helical differential; Insane Shafts 1,000hp axles
Engine Management: Hondata K-Pro with boost solenoid
Footwork & Chassis: Ground Control coilovers with custom Eibach springs; Energy Suspension rear lower control arm bushings; Specialty Products adjustable upper ball joints; custom back-half with RSX subframe, lower control arms and custom knuckles
Brakes: Powerstop cross-drilled '98 CR-V rotors and calipers; '02 RSX rotors and calipers, Powerstop brake pads/span>
Wheels & Tires: 16x8" +25 Varrstoen V3 wheels; 205/50R15 Nitto Neo Gen tires (street), 225/50R15 Mickey Thompson Et Streets (track)
Exterior: Honda Taffetta white paint; custom front lip; clear one-piece headlights, side markers
Interior: NRG seats, steering wheel and quick-release
Thanks You: My wife Deondra; my painter Daniel Clark; Hardees Body Shop; Briley's Tire; Hybrid Racing; Insane Shafts
WWW: www.hybridracing.com, www.eibach.com, www.hondata.com, www.supertechperformance.com

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

From all of us at Super Street, we'd like to congratulate Phil on a job well done.
Sam DuDec 12, 2017
Ex-Lotus CEO Dany Bahar is back with a Lamborghini Huracan-based De Tomaso Pantera tribute called Project Panther
Angus MacKenzieDec 12, 2017
The Alfa Romeo 4C is getting an update for 2019, but sadly it doesn't include a manual transmission option
Alex NishimotoDec 11, 2017
The McLaren Senna is the next installment in the British automaker's Ultimate Series, packing 789 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque
Alex NishimotoDec 11, 2017
One of the sexiest S-chassis builds we've ever seen come out of Japan.
David IshikawaDec 9, 2017
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

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