Archive for June 6, 2019

Pocket Rocket: Introducing the “Samba Green” 1993 Honda Civic del Sol Si

Posted in Del Sol, Road Trip, Utah on June 6, 2019 by tysonhugie

Odometer (del Sol):  88,292

Trip Distance:  800 Miles

So this ought to be a fun summer cruiser, right?  I put together a spreadsheet the other day of all the cars I’ve owned.  If we exclude temporary “project” cars and the like, the grand total comes out to 27 vehicles.

There are a few that stand out as unique:  My Infiniti I30 and Chevy Celebrity were my only non-Honda/Acura cars.  The SLX is my only 4×4.  And even though 22 of the 27 have had moonroofs, none have been a true “removable top” or convertible.  Enter the del Sol, which in fitting translation to English means, “Of the Sun.”  Because this one will actually let me feel some of that Arizona sun like no moonroof ever could.

Honda’s fun, yet economical two-seater CRX model lasted through 2 generations and 8 model years until it was discontinued after 1991.  Two years later, a successor was named and the “Civic del Sol” was launched in the United States in 1993.  Its top trim was the Si model, with a 1.6-liter, 125 horsepower 4-cylinder motor and 5-speed manual transmission.  It was Honda’s attempt at giving a roadster-like driving experience, many years before its legendary S2000 roadster came out.

The Civic del Sol model evolved over a 5-year lifespan, including cosmetic changes, powertrain changes, and even a name change (by dropping the “Civic” prefix).  At its peak, the del Sol sold over 25,000 units in the United states its initial model year, dropping each year for 5 years until only 5,000 were sold in 1997.  That kind of trend is sometimes typical for new model launches – as I recall, the Acura Legend had a similar linear sales decline over the 5 years its second-generation model was sold.

This is a fun commercial from when the del Sol first came out.

Samba Green is certainly one of the most polarizing colors that a conservative company such as Honda has ever offered on a production vehicle.  While my Aztec Green Integra is pretty wild itself, it can’t quite compare to the lime green hue of the del Sol.

This Samba came from the original (77-year-old, if you can believe it) owner named Fred who lived in northern Utah.  He kept it for 26 years and drove it during summertime in western Wyoming and northern Utah.  His maintenance records were painstakingly detailed, including a 14-page handwritten ledger kept in the glove compartment which documented every single fuel up and its associated MPG.

That’s some attention to detail I can appreciate!  When Fred decided to part ways with his del Sol in late April, my friend Jason in Salt Lake was the first to respond to a classified ad listing.  It wasn’t for about a month that I was able to make a trip to that area and pick up the car, so Jason and his wife were gracious enough to store it at their home for me.

The pick-up agenda coincided with an already-planned visit to northern Utah to visit friends and family members the last weekend of May.  I arrived at the Salt Lake airport and was picked up by the little green machine and Jason.  Our first stop was for some fine dining at a place called Lucky 13.  Shaun and Sunny decided to join us, in their Legend & TSX respectively.

I had a nice weekend traversing northern Utah topless and visiting family.  On Saturday I met up with some other local Honda/Acura fans at Legends Sports Bar.  In addition to Shaun coming out again, we had Talin in her MDX, Daniel in his Integra GS-R, and Nate in his Tacoma.

The del Sol’s buzzy 1.6-liter made the 800-mile trek from Logan, Utah, to Phoenix, Arizona with ease.  I made good use of my cassette tape audio adapter, and I took the top off after sundown near Wickenburg for the final hour or so of the trip.  I can definitely see why there is such a devout enthusiast following for these little cars!  Looking forward to seeing what kind of fun I can have with it!

Here is a short video and below are some additional photos of my new little green machine.

Original ad (redacted)

Photo from the ad

FaceTiming with Jason to see the car for the first time, from 700 miles away.

The car at Jason’s (with his Legend in the background)

Check out those green stripes on the seats!

Jason’s son has a future in automotive modeling.

Initial mileage at 87,170.

Getting new tires at Discount – gotta love how cheap tires are for 14″ wheels!

Already got ahold of some literature including a Car & Driver magazine from when the car debuted.

Incidentally, a friend of mine is pictured in the 1993 brochure!

New floor mats, soon to be installed.

Key handoff from Jason, even though he wasn’t technically the person I bought it from – he just held the car for me for a few weeks.

Visiting a park in northern Utah named after a relative.

Canyon cruise with Ryan and his 2001 Honda S2000.  Vastly different car, and superior in a lot of ways.

Visiting my friend Paige at the Parts Department at Jody Wilkinson Acura in Salt Lake.  I’ve known her since I was 16.

Rolling back home with a visit to mom, who wore the right color for the occasion.

Visiting my brother and his kiddos.

Home sweet home, tucked in!