The Honda Del Sol - A Sports Car Icon

Honda Del Sol

The wind whipping through your hair, the sun warming your face, and the exhilarating rush of the open road – these are the defining sensations of a truly unforgettable driving experience. For many car enthusiasts, the Honda Del Sol embodies this perfect blend of open-air freedom and sporty performance. 

This iconic convertible, with its sleek design, nimble handling, and engaging driving dynamics, carved a unique niche in the automotive world, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to resonate with drivers today.

A Sun-Kissed Successor: The Birth of the Honda Del Sol

In 1992, Honda introduced the Del Sol, a two-seater convertible that succeeded the beloved Honda CR-X. While sharing some similarities with its predecessor, the Del Sol carved its own path with a distinct personality. Its sleek, aerodynamic design, featuring a removable hardtop and pop-up headlights (in earlier models), exuded a sense of sporty sophistication.

The Del Sol's appeal transcended its stylish exterior. Under the hood, a range of peppy engines, including the now-legendary VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) option, provided a thrilling driving experience. The VTEC technology allowed the engine to adjust its valve timing and lift at higher RPMs, resulting in a significant boost in power and a truly exhilarating acceleration experience.

Beyond its impressive power, the Del Sol excelled in handling. Its lightweight construction and well-tuned suspension delivered exceptional agility, making it a joy to navigate winding roads and carve through corners. 

This combination of power, handling, and open-air driving made the Del Sol a dream machine for enthusiasts seeking a car that delivered equal parts exhilaration and sunshine.

The Del Sol's popularity wasn't just about performance; it also offered a level of practicality that appealed to a wider range of drivers. Unlike some high-maintenance sports cars, the Del Sol was known for its reliability and relatively affordable upkeep. This combination of affordability, sporty character, and open-air driving made the Del Sol a compelling choice for those seeking a fun and reliable weekend cruiser.

Unveiling the Honda Del Sol: A Look at the Generations

The Honda Del Sol enjoyed a relatively short but impactful production run from 1992 to 1998. While its lifespan may have been brief, the Del Sol left a lasting legacy through its two distinct generations, each offering unique features and contributing to its enduring appeal.

1992-1995 Honda Del Sol (Honda CR-X del Sol in some markets):

This first generation of the Del Sol, launched in 1992, captured the hearts of enthusiasts with its innovative design and sporty performance. Here's a closer look at its key characteristics:

  • A Head-Turning Design: The 1992-1995 Del Sol featured a sleek and aerodynamic body with clean lines and a flowing silhouette. The removable hardtop, a signature feature, allowed for a convertible driving experience while maintaining a coupe-like look when installed. The iconic pop-up headlights (later replaced with fixed headlights) added to the car's sporty character.

  • Thrilling Performance: Under the hood, a range of engine options catered to different driving styles. The base model offered a 1.5-liter engine, while the more performance-oriented Si trim came equipped with a 1.6-liter VTEC engine. This VTEC technology, a key feature for many enthusiasts, delivered an impressive power boost at higher RPMs, transforming the driving experience from spirited to exhilarating.

  • A Driver's Delight: The lightweight construction of the 1992-1995 Del Sol, coupled with its well-tuned suspension, resulted in exceptional handling. The car felt nimble and responsive on the road, making it a joy to navigate corners and carve through winding paths. This focus on driver engagement cemented the Del Sol's reputation as a true sports car.

1996-1998 Honda Del Sol:

The second generation of the Del Sol, introduced in 1996, saw some notable changes while retaining the core elements that made it a beloved sports car. Here's what this generation brought to the table:

  • Evolved Design: The 1996-1998 Del Sol adopted a more aggressive design language. The iconic pop-up headlights were replaced with fixed units, resulting in a sleeker and more modern look. The overall design remained sporty and aerodynamic, maintaining the car's distinct personality.

  • Performance Refined: While the engine options remained largely the same, Honda further refined the performance characteristics of the Del Sol. The VTEC technology was optimized, and suspension tuning was tweaked to provide even sharper handling and a more responsive driving experience.

  • Introducing the SiR: This generation saw the introduction of the SiR model, positioned as the ultimate performance variant of the Del Sol. The SiR boasted a slightly more powerful engine, upgraded suspension components, and a sportier interior with bolstered seats and a revised instrument cluster.

Beyond the Basics: Key Features and Specs

In addition to the generational highlights, here's a closer look at some key features and specifications that contributed to the Honda Del Sol's overall appeal:

Honda Del Sol

  • Interior Design: The interior of the Del Sol offered a balance of sportiness and practicality. The driver-centric layout emphasized performance with a focus on essential driving controls. The convertible design meant limited rear passenger space, but the front seats provided comfortable and supportive seating for the driver and passenger.

  • Storage Solutions: While not known for its cavernous cargo space, the Del Sol offered some creative storage solutions. A small trunk compartment accommodated essential items, and additional storage compartments behind the seats were available for smaller belongings.

  • Special Editions: Throughout its production run, the Honda Del Sol saw a few limited-edition releases with unique features and cosmetic updates. These special editions further fueled the car's collectability among enthusiasts today.

The Enduring Legacy of the Honda Del Sol

The Honda Del Sol's impact on the automotive world extends far beyond its short production run. Here's how this iconic convertible left a lasting mark:

A Niche Well Carved: The Del Sol carved a unique niche in the sports car market, offering a compelling combination that resonated with a new generation of enthusiasts. Unlike some high-maintenance sports cars, the Del Sol delivered a delightful blend of open-air enjoyment, sporty performance, and relative affordability. 

This accessibility made it an attractive option for those seeking a fun and practical weekend cruiser. Enthusiasts could experience the thrill of a convertible top-down adventure without sacrificing on performance or breaking the bank.

Inspiring Future Designs: The Del Sol's success served as a blueprint for future generations of sporty convertibles. Its focus on driver engagement with responsive handling and a lightweight construction set a new standard for open-air driving experiences. 

Car manufacturers took note of the Del Sol's winning formula, with its emphasis on driver enjoyment and its convertible design elements influencing future generations of sports cars. 

This influence can be seen in the development of other convertibles that prioritize a balance between performance, practicality, and open-air thrills.

A Collector's Dream: Today, the Honda Del Sol enjoys a dedicated following among car collectors, particularly those with a passion for Japanese sports cars. Well-maintained examples, especially those from the first generation featuring the iconic pop-up headlights, are increasingly sought after. 

The car's limited production run, combined with its unique features and undeniable connection to the golden age of sporty convertibles, fuels its growing collectability. Owning a well-preserved Honda Del Sol is not just about possessing a car; it's a chance to own a piece of automotive history, a symbol of an era that prioritized driver engagement and the pure joy of open-air motoring.

The Captivating Appeal: A Timeless Classic

The enduring appeal of the Honda Del Sol lies in its ability to deliver a truly engaging driving experience. It's a car that prioritizes driver enjoyment, offering a responsive handling that puts a smile on your face and a convertible top that allows you to connect with the open road.

Beyond its performance capabilities, the Del Sol embodies a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era of automotive design. Its clean lines, classic proportions, and distinct features evoke a sense of timeless style that continues to resonate with car enthusiasts today.

The Honda Del Sol may no longer be in production, but its legacy lives on. It remains a testament to Honda's engineering prowess and their ability to create a car that delivers equal parts fun, practicality, and timeless design. For those seeking a sun-soaked adventure on the open road, the Honda Del Sol will forever hold a special place in the automotive hall of fame – a true top-down, thrill-up sports car icon.


The Honda Del Sol's story is one of innovation, performance, and a dedication to creating a truly enjoyable driving experience. It offered a compelling blend of open-air exhilaration, sporty handling, and a touch of practicality, making it a desirable choice for enthusiasts seeking a fun and reliable weekend companion.

Throughout its production life, the Del Sol went through two distinct generations, each offering unique features that contribute to its overall appeal today. From the pop-up headlights of the first generation to the performance enhancements of the SiR model, the Del Sol consistently delivered a package that excited drivers.

Honda Del Sol

This iconic convertible carved its niche in the automotive world, inspiring future designs and leaving a lasting legacy among car collectors. 

With its timeless design, engaging driving dynamics, and connection to a bygone era, the Honda Del Sol remains a top-down, thrill-up sports car icon that continues to captivate enthusiasts to this day.

Does the story of the Honda Del Sol rev your engine and awaken your desire for a thrilling open-air adventure? Share this article with fellow car enthusiasts who yearn for the nostalgia of a classic sports convertible!

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Ray Edward

I believe that cars are more than just machines. They're symbols of freedom, adventure, and possibility. They're the vehicles that take us on our life journeys, and they're the source of countless memories. That's why I love writing about cars. I want to help people appreciate the beauty and power of these machines, and I want to inspire them to explore the world on four wheels.

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