When Honda introduced the del Sol to the United States as a replacement for the popular CRX in 1992, they soon teased performance enthusiasts with a DOHC VTEC version of the two-seater. Powered by the now-popular B16A engine, the del Sol boasted sports car-like styling inside and out and, with revving capabilities of up to 8000 rpm, produced an impressive 160 hp. So why did the del Sol only survive a meager three years on dealership floors? The real truth is locked away somewhere at corporate headquarters and we are left to assume that the performance-hungry Honda simply couldn't match sales division expectations. Unfortunately, its rapid demise only left a small number of vehicles on our highways and an even smaller percentage that have been enrolled into a huge Honda performance aftermarket.
Eric Lamarca of Chula Vista, Calif. is one of a dedicated few del Sol owners that have explored every alley of the import aftermarket after acquiring his 1995 B16A-powered Honda. The flamboyant ride was built to showcase the product line of Lamarca's employer, Injen Technologies, of Pomona, Calif. We had to ask, why so green? Lamarca told us, "to be different, but also to ensure that the car makes an impact wherever it's on display." Well, it certainly does that. His ride caught our attention at several industry events and we had to lock down a photo shoot with the extravagant Honda.
Where else to start but the blazing sheet-metal mods? Jocson's Autobody in National City, Calif. was enlisted to apply its metal modification magic to the del Sol. The factory bodylines are almost unrecognizable now that the Honda sports a full ground effects kit. Along with installing the kit, the crew at Jocson's also massaged in MR2-style side vents and equipped the rear end with a GT-R wing. With the hardware in place, the Honda went into the paint booth for five coats of wild PPG lime paint.
In contrast to most modified imports where interiors usually set off the opposite end of the color spectrum, Lamarca kept up the lime green insanity by opting for an almost identical "lime cooler" green vinyl upholstery. Apollo Interior Trim Works in Alhambra, Calif. reworked the factory del Sol seats and the rest of the inner compartment with the glaring green vinyl. Ichiban provided the stock steering wheel replacement and accompanying accessories, while Injen's carbon-fiber-look gauges relay engine info.
Speaking of engine info, a look under the hood of Lamarca's ride reveals plenty of performance clues. In fact, not only does the del Sol turn plenty of heads in cruising mode, it actually has the muscle to back up any instigation. Down the quarter-mile, the lime green Honda has posted several low 13-second e.t.s at more than 102 mph in full street trim.
Injen Technology's R&D department stripped down the 1.6-liter block, then reassembled it with high-compression Civic Type R pistons, shot-peened connecting rods and a high-speed balanced crankshaft. The ported-and-polished cylinder head incorporates a three-angle valve job, factory-issue valves from an Integra Type R, Web Cam valve springs and Civic Type R camshafts. The higher-compression powerplant relies on a Spoon Sports-modified ECU with 310cc injectors and a Holley in-tank fuel pump supplying additional fuel. Further mods under the hood come in the form of an Injen Tec cold air intake system and a DC Sports header mated to a Eurox exhaust system. Transferring the power to the wheels is a Japan-spec Integra GS-R transmission with a factory-issue limited slip differential, Clutch Masters high-performance clutch and lightened flywheel.
The performance aspect doesn't end there. The factory suspension has been completely reworked and the del Sol boasts aggressive cornering characteristics and a way-lower stance with Tokico shocks and VIS coil-overs fitted in all four corners. Lamarca also installed front and rear Type R sway bars and a Mugen upper strut tower support to further reduce any chassis flex. Enkei stepped in and outfitted the Honda with 17x7-inch Arashi wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes T1-S rubber and stopping power has been enhanced with the addition of a cross-drilled and slotted brake upgrade.
We will be the first ones to admit that this Honda's loud lime green skin may not be everyone's ideal of a customized street car. But you have to admit, given its purpose we'd say Lamarca can consider his accomplishment a job well done. The del Sol sports it all--it practically grabs show-goers by the throat and can accelerate quickly enough to embarrass many a high-dollar sports car.