By now we're sure you've heard the news that 2009 will be the last year Honda will sell the beloved S2000. In order to properly say goodbye we needed two things: first we needed to find a stock S2000 so that we could get a feel for passion the engineers put into the vehicle and second we needed to find a perfect example of stock vehicle exaggerated. While the car has gained a cult-like following in the US the task was a little harder than we expected. We set out to find a perfect balance of track performance and simple yet shockingly good looks; we found the perfect applicant at HIN LA.
When the car first caught my eye I thought "wow, that's a clean-ass S2000." As the distance reduced while walking towards the car it hit me... someone finally painted a car flat white! It's an idea I've wanted to see in person for years and here it was in all its glory. Little did I know that the paint job had just been completed after a 26 hour road trip from the vehicle's native Texas. "After being in a body shop in Houston for over 2 months, and receiving the car in a horrible state, I immediately drove out to L.A. the next day with a trailer and my SUV for 26 hours straight to have it completely repainted 7 days prior to the HIN L.A. show." John tells us.
One look at the exterior of this car and you can tell that a real S2000 enthusiast built the vehicle. After owning two AP1s prior to this AP2, John had plenty of experience and knowledge going into this, his most capable S2000 thus far. While some of the parts from older vehicles carried over, he found out the hard way that some pieces, like his J's Racing exhaust, would have to be modified. The parts are all choice and the sight of the full J's Racing kit clad with a 4-layered ghosted graphics scheme is enough to make any s2ki member drool. But looks aren't the only thing this car has in spades.
An S2000 that isn't raced on track is a waste of a purpose-engineered vehicle, and John knows this which is why he's been honing his driving skills in an AP ever since. When shooting the car he told me "at the beginning of the year the car gets all pretty for the show season, then by the end of the year it will be so beaten up from the track that you can't even recognize it! I'll send you pictures!" Luckily for you I was able to shoot the car before the mayhem in a seemingly pristine state.
Continuing the theme of the S2000's inherently well-built engine, John did what most S2K owners do and only modded what was necessary. Unlike many turbo cars, the S2000 was tuned to a very high level from the factory and thus extracting more power is an art form. In fact most of the mods, like the J's Racing oil pan or the magnetic drain bolts are more of a longevity mod to ensure the engine lasts longer rather than makes more power. "If you plan on doing what I did" John says "make sure you upgrade your car with a purpose, upgrade your parts: pads, rotors, tires, aero after you start moving up in your driving level - as your speed increases, times on the track get better. Don't mod just to mod - mod with a purpose."
As John Mendel Executive VP of American Honda Motor Co. put it "The Honda S2000 is a true performance vehicle that provides customers with an exciting experience behind the wheel... Because the S2000 is a car designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, it can easily satisfy daily driving needs without sacrificing track-worthy performance." I must admit I can attest to this, while driving the stock vehicle you immediately feel the culmination of racing experience and technology beautifully fused together. While we're sure Honda is sad to see the S2000 go, there are prime examples like John's vehicle, that shine a light to carry on the roadster legacy for years to come. We think Honda would proud of the vehicle John has assembled, modified in all the right places to ensure added performance with little or no drawback. So until Honda releases the S3000, we bid the S roadster adieu. For more pics, checkout superstreetonline.com
2006 Honda S2000
Owner John Nguyen
Hometown Houston, TX
Daily Grind Businessman
Under The Hood 2.2L DOHC naturally-aspirated F22C1; J's Racing Circuit 70RS Titanium exhaust system, Tsuchinoko carbon-fiber intake system, carbon-fiber cooling plate, oil cap, radiator cap, magnetic oil and differential plugs, SPL baffled oil pan, oil catch can, coolant overflow tank; ARC heatshield/battery cover, spark plug cover; Koyo radiator; Berk Technology header and test pipe; Hondata intake manifold gasket; Enduratech carbon-fiber hood dampers; Hamp oil filter; Samco radiator hoses; Mugen dress-up bolts; Spoon Sports reservoir covers
Drivetrain Spoon Sports organic clutch plate, flywheel and pressure plate
Brains Hondata ECU Flash (Toda Spec)
Stiff Stuff Cusco 4-Point roll cage with harness bar; Zeal Function S6 aluminum coilovers with swift springs (7kg/mm all around); J's Racing front and rear strut tower bars; Cusco Type II front lower 3-point tie bar
Rollers Silver 17X9 +35 Enkei RPF1 with 255/40/17 Bridgestone RE11 tires; Buddy Club extended lug nuts (track) Gold 17X9 +35 Volk CE28N with 255/40/17 Falken Azenis RT-615; J's Racing lug nuts (street/show); H&R extended wheel studs
Stoppers Spoon Sports monoblock brake calipers; DBA rotors 482SL front & rear; J's Racing Stainless Steel Brake Lines front & rear; Cobalt Racing brake pads XR3 front, GTS rear
Outside Flat-white custom paint; J's Racing Type S Aero Kit: front fenders, front bumper w/ type 1 lip, side skirts, rear bumper, Type S carbon-fiber hood, carbon 3D GT Wing Type I, carbon-fiber canards, replica decals - 4 layered vinyl, J's Racing/ASM rear over fenders; shaved trunk lid; GT Motoring front and rear tow hooks; Craftsquare carbon-fiber mirrors; Mugen hardtop; Ricks2k clear side markers; Go Pro camera with mount
Inside Takata 4pt harnesses; Recaro Pole Position bucket seats; Buddy Club seat rails; JPM elbow pad, center console, door panels e-brake handle and door handles (all in black alcantara and Leather); Go Tuning A pillars and door pillars (both in black alcantara w/red stitching); J's Racing Titanium Shift Knob; MOMO Tuner steering wheel -350mm; NRG Quick Release with Short hub; Muz floor mats and trunk mat; modifry glove box organizer
Props Curt & Tony @ TracktimePerformance.com , Jeff & Rick @ Ricks2k.com, Greg & Jae @ GTMotoring.com, Bryan, Laura, Laurie, & BerkTechnology.com, Damon @ AsaaRacing.com, Gillman Honda, John Eagle Honda, Costas @ Digitalremix.net, Robert @ Falken Tires, Greg @ Underground Graphics, Tommy & Aaron @ GoTuning.com, and my teammates @ TWCompetition.com
www berktechnology.com; digitalremix.net; falkentire.com; gtmotoring.com; jsracing.co.jp; mugen-power.com; ricks2k.com