Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Doesn't Downing make a dashing figure in his delightful Del Sol?

Downing’s Del Sol a delightful drive

Retired BJ printer Hugh Downing looked like a movie star as he tooled his 1995 Honda del Sol convertible onto 1970s State Desk reporter Paula Stone Tucker’s home in The Villages, Florida.

Actually, it belongs to his wife, Sharon Downing, but she’s visiting their son, Mark Downing, in Erie, Pennsylvania, so Hugh got his turn behind the wheel before Sharon flies back to Florida on Sunday.

Sharon purchased the Del Sol for $18,000 in 1995. When sales went from 25,748 in 1993 to 21,075 in 1994 to 14,021 in 1995, 8,489 in 1996 and 5,603 in 1997, Honda saw the handwriting on the wall and discontinued the model.

The 5-speed Del Sol has a removable metal roof that you plunk in the trunk. It’s more like a giant sun roof than the usual convertible with the retractable top that leaves nothing but the windshield to block the wind.

“It’s been a good car,” Hugh said, “and quite fast.” Hugh said he once got it up to 90 or 95 mph, “then I got scared.” Even though they are 20 years old I found 1995 Del Sol's selling for $4,000. Apparently they have a small but devoted following.
Hugh and Sharon, who wed in 1960, have been living in The Villages for 15 years.
Paula and John Olesky get together with the Downings when they winterize to escape Tallmadge blustery days. Hugh and John played golf together every week when Paula and John were renting in The Villages January-March 2015.
Paula liked The Villages so well that she bought a home there, which she is fixing up. That’s what she was doing in June when Hugh drove up to help out with a few things.

The Downings lived in the city of Medina during Hugh’s BJ days. They had three houses there, one at a time, including one they built on three-fourths of an acre.
Then came the lure of The Villages, where you have to be 55 years old to buy a house, and where every day is playday – golf, free concerts and dancing in several town squares every night of the year, card games, pickleball (ping pong paddles on a tennis court), 2,200 clubs for every hobby imaginable.

It is Disneyland for senior citizens. There are 114,000 residents with 50,000 golf carts that are used to get around the town and around the 47 golf courses. I’ve been to 52 countries and 43 states and I’ve never seen anything like it.
More about the Honda Civic del Sol:

It was a 2-seater front-engined, front wheel drive, targa (removable metal) top. Based on the Honda Civic platform, the del Sol was the successor to the Honda CR-X. It debuted in 1992 in Japan and the United Kingdom, and 1993 in the United States.

Starting with the 1995 models, Honda dropped the 'Civic' name from the del Sol in the Americas. In Europe, the del Sol tag was dropped in 1995, and the car was known as the new CR-X.

Production and sales ended with the 1997 model in the U.S. and 1998 elsewhere, with a total of about 75,000 vehicles sold in America.

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