“Applying his considerable experience as well as tapping into industry contacts developed along the way, Vince Harjono has transformed the often overlooked Honda Del Sol S into a super clean street-driven two-seater equally capable of taking home trophies from local car shows, laying a beating on muscle cars at the drag strip, or getting the party started with its high quality collection of I.C.E.”
For those of us truly immersed in the tuner scene, the lure of building a new project car is always there, lurking just beneath the surface of our day-to-day lives, no matter how nice our current project car might be. For people with no interest in automobiles or modifying them, taking a perfectly good transportation device and turning it into a gutted land missile or rolling boom box probably seems about as rational as Courtney Love before her third Margarita. But for true enthusiasts for whom modifying cars has become an integral part of their lives, the joy is in building, customizing, and personalizing the machines that inspire us most. For some the dream is to build a 9-second Supra, for others it’s to build a trophy winning Impreza showstopper like this month’s cover car or a time attack widebody EVO8 like Buschur Racing’s beast seen in this month’s Redline coverage. But regardless of the dream it’s the process of conceiving a project and seeing it come to fruition that nourishes our souls and makes all the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication worthwhile.
Vince Harjono is definitely a real enthusiast, having built no fewer than three Hondas before acquiring the 1993 Del Sol S you see before you. Applying his considerable experience as well as tapping into industry contacts developed along the way, Harjono has transformed the often overlooked Del Sol into a super clean street-driven two-seater equally capable of taking home trophies from local car shows, laying a beating on muscle cars at the drag strip, or getting the party started with its high quality collection of I.C.E.
Having been a Honda guy from day one, Harjono’s love affair with modifying his rides began with a EK Civic hatch he bought in 2000 as soon as he got his driver’s license, a car he quickly sold to build a more affordable EG hatch which he later got too good an offer on to refuse. After that he built a 4-door DB8 Integra, but as fate would have it this Del Sol fell in his lap just as his interest in the Integra was waning since he’d completed a full JDM conversion on it and was looking for a new challenge. Having inherited the Sol from a friend, it sat in Harjono’s garage for a month before he tore it apart, did the suspension, lip kit, rims, and audio, but was still rockin’ the stock D15 engine.
Satisfied at first, like so many enthusiasts before him it wasn’t long before he needed more to satisfy his tuner soul. The D15 was pulled in favor of a JDM GS-R swap, but just a few short months later even the mighty B18C wasn’t cutting it. Having been smoked by a friend with a K20 in an EK coupe (who had two passengers onboard!), Harjono knew that his little targa top two-seater needed some serious iVTEC 2-liter lovin’ under the hood if he wanted to be on the leading edge of the Honda scene.
Acquiring a complete K20A2 swap, Harjono spent the next two months thoroughly revamping his fourth Honda project car, and in the process nurturing his soul by building his “end all and be all” machine. The engine bay redo started with the usual prep required for a K20 transplant, including removing the passenger side engine mounting points so that the HAsport mount kit could be bolted in place. With the K20 hanging in its new home, a Hybrid Racing K-series conversion harness was used to tackle the otherwise daunting task of getting the latest generation of Honda 4-cylinder high output engines to communicate with an OBD-1 chassis like Del Sol’s. Using all new OE connectors, the Hybrid harness interfaces perfectly with the factory dash harness and K20 engine harness while maintaining full functionality of the EG gauge cluster. Taking his wiring job to the next level, Harjono tucked as much of the wiring as possible including relocating the battery and fuse box and slickly installing an Ignited kill switch in their place, giving his Del Sol’s engine bay a totally uncluttered ‘hot rod’ look.
If you think all it takes to do a K-series swap is a custom mount kit and wiring harness, guess again. Among the many non-standard parts required for ownership of a living and breathing K20 in an EG chassis is a Suja 1 braided stainless clutch line. This seemingly simple item is necessitated, like so many other parts needed for a K swap, by the fact that the K-Unit flips the transmission to the driver’s side of the engine bay. Other hurdles to clear include how to deal with the fuel return system not normally used on a K-powered car like an RSX or TSX, an issue Harjono dealt with simply by ordering up a Golden Eagle fuel rail, Hybrid Racing braided stainless fuel lines, and a AEM fuel pressure regulator that accommodates the Sol’s return system.
With the fuel and spark taken care of, all that was left to sort out before oodles of linear iVTEC horsepower could be enjoyed was to hook up the intake, exhaust and cooling systems. On the intake side Harjono opted for a Fujita short ram intake designed for the RSX, while on the exhaust side a custom header was built using a Burns Stainless merge collector. For those in-the-know, a Burns merge collector is a serious piece of go-fast voodoo that allows exhaust gases from each cylinder to merge smoothly and escape to the atmosphere via a Fujitsubo Power Getter catback, Vibrant Performance metal core catalytic converter and Ultra Quiet resonator while robbing the engine of as little power as possible. With a Koyo full width aluminum radiator and Samco hoses completing the coolant system’s loop, Harjono plugged in the Hondata K-100 ECU and rolled the local DynoJet to the tune of 205whp and 150 ft-lbs with his internally stock K20A2. Making that kind of power out of a fully built B18C was a major challenge only a few short years ago, which just goes to show how big a step forward the K-unit really is. With this challenging engine swap completed in fine style, the rest of the build came together comparatively quickly and easily. After having Velocity Autobody coat his Del Sol in Titanium Grey Metallic paint, including the Mugen front bumper and M-Speed side and rear skirts and rear spoiler, Harjono installed all new OE moldings, strips and fasteners as well as an OptionAero OE style carbon fiber hood held in place with OMP hood pins, one-piece black chrome headlights featuring an Ignited 6000k HID kit, JDM EG2 side markers and fog lights, and a Golden Eagle tow hook. Completing the striking exterior package is a set of gold 17-inch Rays Engineering Gram Light 57C, which Precision Rim Repair enhanced by custom-machining a polished lip onto. With Buddy Club Racing Spec coilovers, a full compliment of SPC control and camber arms, JDM DC2 front and rear sway bars, Energy Suspension bushings and an ETD traction bar system, this Del Sol now has all the right ingredients to allow the Fuzion ZRi 205/40-17 tires to put that naturally aspirated K-juice to good use.
This little Honda isn’t just a trick engine swap and pretty face though, with interior and audio upgrades to match the under-hood and body improvements. With a decidedly JDM influenced cockpit, Harjono’s Del Sol keeps the clean and purposeful theme going strong with Recaro SRII reclinable seats, a JDM DC2 ITR Momo non-ABS steering wheel, JDM EK9 CTR shift boot, and Spoon titanium shift knob. Complimenting the carbon hood and front strut tower bar is a WoodView carbon fiber dash trim kit, while the black Alcantara wrapped door panels mimic the Recaro’s texture perfectly. And when he’s stuck in traffic and the roar of his K20 can’t be let loose to nurture his tuner soul, Harjono can always fall back on the impressive sound system Innovative Audio installed, including a Pioneer head unit, JBL 6-channel amp, Infinity component and coaxial speakers, JL Audio subwoofer and Tsunami 1.2 farad capacitor, all housed in custom fiberglass enclosures.
Having won his class at SCN Montreal and representing SPC at SEMA IAS, there’s little question that Harjono has fulfilled his goal of building his version of an “end all be all” project car. Having kept costs down by picking up a lot of the parts on internet forums and eBay and by doing a lot of the wrenching himself with the priceless support of his boys at A.R.T. Motorsports (where Joee and Pat gave him free access to their shop), there’s little question that, whether he knows it or not, Harjono has built a perfect example of what Honda’s little targa top two-seater can become and in the process has inspired dreams and nurtured more than a few souls. And so it would seem that you really don’t have to make a trip to the south to find some seriously tasty Sol food!