Think of an updated Honda CV-X, only with a targa top.
The Honda CR-X remains a beloved little coupe to this day, though Honda has long been out of the three-door hatchback business. Small and sporty coupes have, for all intents and purposes, become fairly niche. Yes, there is the current Civic Si coupe, but it's a much larger car than its ancestors. While the CR-X was dropped from the lineup back in 1991, Honda didn't completely give up on the front-wheel-drive sporty car idea just yet. Instead, the automaker felt some updates were necessary.
The result came immediately after the CR-X's demise, and it was called the del Sol. In Spanish, 'del Sol' means 'of the sun.' It's not just an exotic-sounding name because the Honda del Sol featured something the CR-X never did: a removable targa top. Built on the same platform as the Civic and Acura Integra at the time, the del Sol went on sale in North America for the 1993 model year. Just two trim levels were offered, S and Si, each with its own engine.
The entry-level 1.5-liter inline-four produced 102 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque. A more powerful 1.6-liter had 125 hp and 106 lb-ft. But it was in 1994 when the best engine became available, a VTEC trim level that includes the 1.6-liter four with 160 hp and 111 lb-ft. All de Sols were FWD only. With this higher output and 2,500-pound weight, the del Sol VTEC instantly became something unique for those who appreciated Hondas. And, of course, the del Sol came standard with a manual transmission, this time a five-speed unit. Buyers could opt for a four-speed automatic but given Honda's reputation for its excellent manuals, this made little sense.
Honda updated the del Sol for both 1994 and 1995 with features like standard dual airbags, a redesigned targa top due to leakage problems, new alloy wheel designs, and standard power steering on the Si and VTEC trims. A more extensive refresh arrived for 1996 that included revised front and rear-end styling and the elimination of the 1.5-liter engine in the base S trim. Both the Si and VTEC also received updated engines.
Unfortunately, this is where the updates essentially stopped because Honda ended North American market del Sol production the following year. Japanese and European market production ended in 1998. And that was that. The Honda del Sol only had a six model year lifespan. Its most direct successor, the CR-Z hybrid, didn't arrive until 2010 but it wasn't nearly as fun to drive. In 1999, the S2000 hit the market but it was quite a different animal than the del Sol.
In many ways, it's easy to forget about the del Sol's existence, given that it was sort of sandwiched between the CR-X and CR-Z with a touch of S2000 in between. There's also a fairly decent supply of used del Sols out there and we just so happened to find a great one for sale on Craigslist.
This 1995 VTEC example is claimed to be all original with 153,000 miles on its clock. The seller, who happens to own a mechanic shop, bought it off its first owner after it failed a California smog test. He has since made the necessary repairs. Both the engine and five-speed manual have been confirmed to be original. There are a few exterior scratches but nothing major. Inside is an aftermarket Pioneer stereo. Also notice the Greddy exhaust tip with a Magnaflow muffler. Its $7,000 price might seem high but this is somewhat of a rare find.