The name Del Sol is Spanish for 'of the Sun'. The Civic Del Sol was introduced by Honda shortly after their small, sporty, two-door-seater CRX ceased production. The Civic Del Sol was a fun little convertible sports car that had the appearance of a mid-engined supercar but retained the traditional front-engined and front-wheel drive configuration. It was based on the reliable Honda Civic and the standard 'S' featured a 1.5 liter SOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine. The 'Si' version was equipped with a 1.6 liter SOHC four-cylinder engine with VTEC technology. The 1.5 liter engine produced just over 100 horsepower while the 'Si' version was good for 125 horsepower. Thirteen inch wheels came standard on the 'S' version while the 'Si' rode on fourteen inch alloys.
The highlight of the Del Sol was its removable hardtop that stowed in the trunk while the rear window was retractable, enhancing the convertible sensation. Even with the hardtop in the trunk, there was still cargo room for luggage. To make the Del Sol appear even sportier, Honda offered a rear spoiler. The other optional equipment was floor mats. Standard equipment included cruise control, anti-sway bar, and power side mirrors.
The Del Sol was instantly popular. For 1994 Honda increased the performance by offering a Del Sol VTEC which came equipped with a 1.6 liter DOHC B-Series engine that produced 160 horsepower. Safety was improved with the introduction of ABS standard on the VTEC version. 4-wheel disc brakes and dual airbags were standard on the Si version.
For 1995, Honda made the Del Sol its own model series. Little was changed both mechanically and aesthetically from the prior years. Minor improvements such as low fuel indicator light and new seat materials were just some of the changes. Little was changed for the following year. The bumpers were restyled slightly to eliminate faulty auxiliary lighting problems. The base S model engine was enlarged to 1.6 liters and gained four horsepower. The Si saw a small boost in power as well, now producing 127 horsepower.
1997 was the final year of production for the Del Sol. The Del Sol had a successful career, lasting from 1993 through 1997 in the United States. In other countries, production lasted from 1992 through 1998. The 160 horsepower engine provided ample power for the small car and with the convertible feature; the car was fun to drive. It was plagued with problems such as a leaking roof and faulty auxiliary lighting that had its bulbs burn out rather quickly. In total less than 75,000 examples were produced for the American market.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2005