Imagine this once prevalent nightmare. It's the new millennium. You're a major Honda-head and you need a new fix. The Civic and Integra/RSX have decided to give up their wishbone suspensions and familiar engines, the NSX is out of your reach and you can't find a rear-drive sports car with the big "H" anywhere. You ponder ending it all and just taking your girl out on a Honda lawnmower fitted with a Honda outboard motor. At least you'll stay in the family.
Then suddenly your dreams become a reality. Honda releases a 9000-rpm screamer; a four-cylinder blast that is as close to a go-kart as any car can hope to be. The two-seat, double-wishbone suspension, rear-drive roadster that packs 240 bhp is exactly what you were waiting for. Mike Wasser of Chantilly, Va., was thinking that exact same thing when he picked up his 2001 Honda S2000. The "beautiful lines, high-revving VTEC motor, and brilliant projector HID headlights" of the S2000 were just some of the many features that drew him to the car. But Wasser is a pioneer and could not let a screaming Honda lie still.
Wasser initially started out small with his project. A cold-air intake, DC Sports stainless-steel header and Espelir full stainless dual exhaust were installed on to the car. But pioneers are pioneers for one reason: to explore the unknown. Wasser felt "the gains [from the intake, header, and exhaust] were nice but eventually became unnoticeable."
Forced induction of the motor was the next step. Boosting such a new car was a risky step, but Wasser had done his homework. He took the car to well-known supercharger manufacturer Vortech Engineering and received the first production S2000 supercharger kit, which featured an air-to-water intercooler. Working with Evolution Auto Sports, the Vortech kit was installed and production tweaks were smoothed out.
As if supercharging wasn't enough of a power boost, Wasser also hooked up the Honda with a nitrous system. Twin 5-pound Nitrous Express bottles combine to give either a 35- or 50-shot of nitrous. The S2000 resists implosion through a series of cooling system upgrades. A C&R Racing aluminum radiator combines with a Spoon Sports thermostat, thermostat switch and oil filter cap to help keep the engine in one piece. Dress-up pieces under the hood include a polished valve cover, RM Racing polished fuse box cover, VTEC controller cover and battery tie down.
For a car as well engineered as the S2000, drivetrain and suspension upgrades remain simple and few. Even with highly boosted levels of power, Wasser only put on a few choice mods to contain all those horses. A Clutchmasters Stage IV clutch and flywheel send the power out to a J's Racing final gear set and KAAZ limited-slip diff, contained within a Comptech differential housing (all cryo treated).
The excellent suspension underpinning the S2000 has proven itself repeatedly at race events, and Wasser sought to beef up its legs for running against Corvettes and Vipers. TEIN CS coil-overs hold up the car, while a Spoon X-brace prevents the frame from folding into a paper crane during supercharged fun. Stopping power is now anchor strong thanks to a Wilwood four-piston big brake kit, slotted rotors, and stainless-steel brake lines. Covering that beautiful brake system is a set of Racing Hart CPF Tuner-R wheels in graphite black, 18x7.5-inches in the front and 18x8.5 in the rear. The contact patch around those rims come courtesy of Toyo Proxes T1-S tires, sized 22/40-28 in the front and 255/35-18 in the rear.
With the roadster now ready to haul ass, smoke tires, flatten the hills and straighten the curves, Wasser turned his attention to smoothing out the body on his new lady. A full C-West body kit was sourced and installed, subtly accented by the 18-in rims and the height adjustment ability of the TEIN coilovers. A J's Racing carbon-fiber hood now hides the engine, and is held down with a set of Sparco hood pins. APR Performance carbon-fiber side mirrors now let Wasser merge with style. For nighttime cruising, the S2000 can now be easily spotted by police with a Streetglow gold series underbody lighting kit and white light strobes. Final exterior touches were added with genuine Honda equipment fitment in mind, an OEM hardtop combined with a carbon-fiber trunk lid pressed right out of an OEM mold.
With his car now turning heads, taking names and showing taillights, Wasser began working on his "office." An A'PEXi S-AFC meter and Auto Timer help control engine management and longevity. Readings of automotive health are displayed through A'PEXi boost and EGT gauges. Driver comfort was addressed with Bride Brix seats using Takata 5-point racing harnesses. Very business-like. A leather console cover, rear aero screen and Voodoo Racing titanium shift knob were added, all with S2000 engraving.
A man's office is his sanctuary, and he might as well be entertained. Wasser created a small S2000 audio garage sale with the stock pieces, and Creative Car Tunes in Mechanicsburg, Pa., built a system grand enough that he could open a club in his trunk. A Sony MEX-5DI CD/XM/MP3 headunit was installed with a XT-XM1 satellite radio receiver and Terk XM satellite radio antennae. The hundreds of available channels and songs are sent out to Audiobahn 6.5-inch carbon component speakers. Seat shaking is accomplished with three Audiobahn 10-inch aluminum subwoofers in a custom fiberglass enclosure. Powering all that equipment is an Audiobahn 1000/3 rack-mount amplifier and a 200/2 rack-mount amplifier, and supplying the amplifiers is an Optima yellow top battery and an Audiobahn 3 farad capacitor. The sound quality is accented and rattles are removed with a Dynamat Xtreme sound dampening kit.
All the work that has been poured into this S2000 has been noticed and recognized. In 2003 the awards won include: Best of Show at Import Xpression (Dulles, Va.), first place S2000 at Super Tuner Night (Virginia Beach, Va.), first place two door at NOPI Race Wars (Maryland International Raceway) and first place best two door mild at Import Xpression (Allentown, Pa.). Together with his team, ISS Elite, Mike Wasser and his S2000 are coming to steal some trophies from you. Better start packing.