For the 1984 model year, Honda began selling a two-seat version of the third-generation Civic known as the Civic CRX. Perhaps this was in emulation of Ford’s two-seaterization of the Escort, known as the EXP and LN7, which first hit American showrooms as a 1982 model, but the copycat ended up being far more successful than the original here. The CRX w as fun to drive while getting shockingly good fuel economy
I daily-drove CRXs for years and loved them very much (other than the nightmarishly complex “Map of the Universe” tangle of vacuum lines on the CVCC versions, especially when trying to pass California emissions tests). Like many CRX aficionados, I never could warm up to the del Sol.
It seemed to be trying too hard to be lovable, while its predecessor earned love by just being a better car than any of its rivals. By the time the del Sol hit our shores, Soichiro Honda
The fifth-generation Civic (the basis of the del Sol) was a masterpiece of engineering, my personal favorite of all the Civic generations. The del Sol was built just as well as its hatchback, sedan and coupe siblings (and its first cousin, the 1993-2001 Acura Integra), but perhaps those car shoppers who might once have considered a two-seater were moving on to more truckish cute machinery by 1993. In any case, the rare CRXs I find in junkyards nowadays get picked clean right away, while most del Sols go the the crusher’s cold steel jaws with most (non-mechanical) parts still present.
For 1993, the base del Sol got the very reliable but not-so-powerful 1.5-liter engine, rated at 102 horsepower and 98 pound feet. That’s what we have here, and it’s very unlikely that any junkyard shopper will be buying such a commonplace plant. The 1993 del Sol Si got a VTEC-equipped 1.6 with 125 horsepower and 106 pound-feet, and that
An automatic was available, but this car has the five-speed manual.
Someone yanked the instrument cluster before I got here (the tachometers on these cars often go bad once they hit age 25 or so, so junkyard clusters are worth money), so we can’t know how many miles were on it. I find plenty of discarded members of the fifth-generation Civic family with better than 300,000 miles, and this car might well have been a member of that not-so-exclusive club.
It appears to have been in good shape prior to the crash that did it in.
Interestingly, the extremely low sequence number in this car’s VIN (plus the June 1992 build date) shows that it was one of the very first U.S.-market del Sols ever built. There’s a good chance that it was in the first shipment of del Sols brought across the Pacific.
In fact, there’s a chance that I drove this car when it was fresh off the boat and still covered with protective plastic. The early 1990s were grim economic times in California, where I was living at the time, and at some point during the summer of 1992 I took a temp job driving brand-new Hondas and Acuras between a storage yard at the Port of Richmond
There would be just enough time to extract the owner’s manual from the glovebox, get the radio security code off the back cover, enter it into the radio, find a good station
Drive it with the roof off at 130 mph!
Take the roof off 912 times during a 30-month lease.
In its homeland, the del Sol was still a CR-X… and it gave you 2Way Paradise!