"It all started at the 2000 Tokyo Auto Salon," begins RJ de Vera. It sounded as if he were about to embark on a Penthouse Forum narrative involving a Japanese car model, a utility closet, and some guy in a gorilla suit. But what we got instead was even better-the story behind his convertible S2000's creation and its ensuing meteoric rise to stardom. "Donny Kie of Versus Motorsport and I were hanging out at the VeilSide booth with Mr. Yokomaku [VeilSide president and designer]. Mr. Yokomaku had just won an award for his new S2000 Millennium design, and I was just drooling over it. I joked around and said that I was going to get an S2000 because I was so inspired. Mr. Yokomaku told us that he would build one with us if we wanted to do it. How could you say no to that?"
And if he had said no, we at Super Street would have lost all faith in the import scene, hung our heads in shame, and turned in our badges. Upon seeing the final product it's obvious why-it would have been a travesty to deny the world the blisteringly sinister curves of VeilSide's Millennium body kit. According to RJ, the look of the car is so unique that most people don't even recognize the vehicle as being an S2000. That's probably because they're scared of it and have run away to cry and suck their thumbs like weaklings.
It's no surprise then that RJ's convertible caught the eye of the creators of The Fast and the Furious. For a month and a half, the S2000 (which at the time was painted black) was on set, giving an Oscar-worthy performance as Johnny Tran's love-mobile. Of course, this wasn't the naked Twister party you'd imagine-the S2000 had to work for its money, burning through two clutches in the process. "There are a lot of actors who can't drive," explains RJ, who despite our best efforts, diplomatically refused to name names.
After filming was complete, the S2000's star power was undisputed. It drew the attention of the press from as far away as Belgium and France. The Honda also received a new paint job, getting a fresh coat of blue-to-red Chromaflair color-shift paint just in time for the media feeding frenzy generated by the film's release. The car appeared on Access Hollywood, MTV, and E! Entertainment. It was also called on to perform for ABC's 20/20 and for a feature in USA Today. And now the car is gracing the pages of Super Street, no doubt the greatest honor of all. We're sure RJ would agree, although when we asked him he just laughed in our faces, apparently overcome with emotion.
But this S2000 is more than just a pretty face, and it has an estimated output of 350 hp to prove it. This power is due in large part to a Comptech supercharger, which presides over the engine bay in polished splendor and is fatter than most babies. Running sidekick to the supercharger is a Vortec adjustable fuel regulator with a ready and waiting supply of increased fuel pressure.
So, what's in store for the future? "The car will be repainted black and redone with the Johnny Tran, ninja-star scheme," says RJ. "Then it will be shipped off to Japan to help promote The Fast and the Furious [known as Wildo Speedo, or "Wild Speed," in Japan]. From there it will reside in the VeilSide showroom until the 2002 Tokyo Auto Salon, where it will be in the booth from which it all originated."
And so RJ's S2000 will soon come full circle, returning to the very cradle from which it sprang. Could he have had any idea back in 2000 that the car had such potential? Who cares! All that matters now is that after various television cameos, news items, and Wildo Speedo, this car has become almost as big a household name as Gary Coleman. "I have never built a car that received so much attention," RJ enthuses. And without a doubt, this attention is very much deserved.