November – 2019 Fong Xiong from Conover, NC
First, I want to say thank you to my lovely wife and parents. Without them, this build would have never been completed nor be where it is today. My name is Fong Xiong and I am Hmong. I currently work with my dad at Xiong’s Import Auto Services in Conover, NC. I graduated from Catawba Valley Community College in Automotive Systems Technology in 2010. My Honda Del Sol, also known as “Project Tristan,” started back in 2010. I have built a few Hondas prior to the Del Sol but never to this caliber so it was a huge learning process for me. I grew up around a huge car scene back in the early 2000s which lead me to today.
My 1994 Honda Del Sol Si was given to me by my father who bought it in 2007 to hopefully restore and drive but he lost interest. The car sat in the back of his automotive shop for nearly 3 years before I decided that I wanted to build a Del Sol – a Honda vehicle that many enthusiasts did not care much for, compared to the coupe and hatchbacks. The vehicle was in a rough shape such as moldy interior due to leaking targa top seals, blown airbags, rusted gas tank, mismatched panels and lastly, the vehicle was automatic. I pushed the Del Sol into the garage, snapped some pictures and jacked it up onto stands. Never would I have thought that it would take me another 4 years to finally have it road worthy. I chose the name “Project Tristan” because during that time, I was married with no kids but had hoped to pass it down to my first son – who I would name Tristan.
I spent countless hours around school and work to wrench on the Del Sol. Every dollar I was able to spare went into it. I had inspiration and motivation from seeing other Del Sols from Eibach, Weksos and other huge JDM car meets from the West Coast. Juan Lemus’s captiva blue Del Sol was one of many that I kept up with. I had a game plan for building my Del Sol: keeping it clean, converting to five lugs, possibly auto crossing, adding JDM/EDM goodies, and making it stand apart from others. I sourced parts from all over the world. The rarest part on the car would be the JDM yellow front lower fog lights – complete with switch and wiring. I did majority of the work such as tucking, shaving and painting the engine bay, building and assembling the engine and transmissions, customizing the interior, and then modifying the suspension to utilize 5×114 wheels.
Four long years, I was able to finally have the car ready to attend its first car meet locally. It had a high compression D16Y8 with a stock Z6 transmission, fresh paint and wheels. Wanting more power, I built a turbocharged D16Y/Z6 Vitara engine. Joseph Davis at Redline Performance tuned it and produced 280hp. Went through numerous problems of blown head gaskets to cracked ringlands, so I finally saved up and re-did a whole new D16 engine with forged internals, upgraded the camshaft and valve springs, built an LSD Y8 transmission with Mfactory gearing and Syncrotech syncros, then got it retuned locally by Will at Raw Performance, producing 320hp. Two years later, I gave up the single camshaft engine and finally upgraded to a turbocharged B18C1 – my current set up today that produces 424hp 332tq, tuned by Justin at Custom Kings.
It’s been a long journey, but the greatest thing about it is being able to meet and make friends and family along the way. Some of the car clubs I will always remember is CarolinaHondas, Team SolGood, the Low^Function Crew, and now OldSols. Thank you to Brad and OldSols for reaching out to me and nominating Project Tristan as November’s Del Sol of the Month.