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2003 Honda S2000 - Amongst Kings

The 8-sec race car that's actually a street car ...

Sep 18, 2014
Photographer: Ravi Angard


As I sit quietly watching in absolute amazement while Gabe Ellingsen's AP1 blasts 8-sec quarter-mile passes on YouTube, I come across a clip of the car driving much slower than its personal best of 168 mph. Still fully suited in its appropriate race attire, including livery, sticky footwear, and anchored parachute, the Spa Yellow roadster, with wifey in the passenger seat, cruises gently down a city street just like any other S2000. The couple ends up ordering lunch at a drive-thru and off they go, further cementing the fact that the world's fastest street-legal S2000 is every bit as "streetable" as that neighborhood guy who floors it onto the freeway everyday on his way to work with a few minor bolt-ons.

2003 honda s2000 weld racing wheels 02 Photo 2/10   |   2003 Honda S2000 - Amongst Kings

Before the 8-sec passes and prior to his relationship with world-renowned tuning shop, King's Performance, Gabe spent a year searching for the perfect S2000 to purchase. Though he lived in Oklahoma City at the time, his hunt led him to a Subaru dealership, a state away, in El Paso, Texas. A one-owner, Spa Yellow beauty with little more than 42,000 miles on the clock, it had absolutely no signs of modification—it was perfect. After reviewing the incredibly detailed pictures of the entire car, top to bottom, courtesy of the salesman, Gabe made the trip to Texas for a testdrive. He recalls, "I knew I would take it home for sure. They had it parked out front, clean, with the top down. We took the car out for a testdrive. It ran absolutely amazing, and I fell in love with the car even more." Not even a half-mile off the dealer's lot in his newly acquired roadster and Gabe put phone to ear, immediately ordering a number of bolt-ons that found their way onto the car just a week later.

For the next 12 months, Gabe was content with the car—until he started taking note of King's Performance, Red Star Motoring, and the achievements of one Pepo Besosa. After deciding to get a little more serious with the build, Gabe's AP1 attended IFO Oklahoma in 2011, and again in 2012 with a best of 11.33 at 135 mph after having a shop work on the car. Respectable, but based on the mods being used by the roadster, its owner had expected more. He adds, "The car was struggling with its performance. Fernando Reyes from King's Performance spoke with me daily about letting them take on the project and to join their team. One night, at literally like 2 a.m., I called Fernando and said, 'When can you pick up the car?'"

2003 honda s2000 garrett GTX4202R 06 Photo 3/10   |   2003 Honda S2000 - Amongst Kings

Reyes sent a transport truck to pick the car up, and in just two weeks time, using the exact same setup from IFO, albeit with the King's Performance touch, the car improved drastically, netting a best of 10.01 at 145 mph. Later that year, after the shop began digging deeper into the build, they made the trip to World Cup Finals and let it be known that the car was to serve as a contender, blasting an 8.9 pass, then later, in December of 2012, improving upon that time with an 8.79 at 158 mph. After each event, data was logged, adjustments made, and the King's Performance crew squeezed even more potential out of the AP1. In 2013, during Drag Mania, Gabe's S2K set a new record of 8.52 at 168 mph, and all eyes were on the yellow Bullet. Gabe says, "King's Performance was able to prove that the project could do exactly what we intended. They began getting sponsors for the car. Many people claimed the car wasn't street legal [or streetable], so we made a video (as mentioned earlier). The car is still fully insured and legal to drive on the streets with current tags in Oklahoma."

Breaking the 8-sec barrier in a Honda, street car or not, is remarkable, but what's the secret? Take a look at the spec list and you'll see that the majority of the mods are King's Performance (KP) made goods, or parts built to King's specs. With a long roster of loyal customers including a few 8-sec S2000s, the crew at King's has long perfected its recipe for speed. Gabe's setup starts with an F22C block complete with Benson open-deck sleeves, KP custom rods, and KP-spec CP pistons. A Garrett GTX4202R snail abuses the Supertech valvetrain fitted KP Stage 3 head and is fueled by KP2000 injectors. Under the watchful eye of an AEM Series II, the result is over 1,200 hp—almost comical when compared to the 215hp the car made during Gabe's first year of ownership.

2003 honda s2000 OEM front lip 04 Photo 4/10   |   2003 Honda S2000 - Amongst Kings

Whether your loyalties lie with front- or rear-wheel-drive performance, putting the power to the ground is key. Anticipating quadruple digits from the F Series mill, King's opted for a Ford 8.8 conversion with modified LSD, and KP-spec 5.9 axles from the gurus at Drive Shaft Shop, and run after run, the combination has held up.

From showroom stock, to mildly tuned, and eventually running respectable numbers—Gabe's S2000, with the guidance from King's Performance, was transformed into an absolute monster. "The next step is to break our 8.52 record. When that happens, we'll be required to run a 25-point certified rollcage. We'll try to fit the 'cage inside while reducing as little as possible to the interior. We want to keep the car in its original state and fully capable of still driving on the street without issues."

Bolts & Washers

Hasport U88A mounts
Benson open-deck sleeves
KP spec CP Pistons
KP custom rods
KP Stage 3 head
KP spec Supertech valvetrain
KP Stage 3.5 turbo kit
Garrett GTX4202R
KP twin scroll ex manifold
King's Performance intake manifold
Skunk2 90mm throttle body
KP custom intercooler
TiAL Q blow-off valve
Dual TiAL MV-S 38mm wastegates
KP 4-inch downpipe
Okada Ignition Project coils
KP 2,000cc injectors
Dual Bosch 044 external pumps
KP inline fuel filter
KP lines/fittings
Full Blown Motorsports XXL rail
Full Blown Motorsports fuel regulator
KP 5-gallon fuel cell
KP Custom radiator
Skunk2 radiator hoses
KP-spec GForce four-speed
GSR H Pattern Dog Box
King's Performance S2000 adapter
Competition Clutch triple disc with hydro bearing
Competition Clutch flywheel
KP Stage 3 Ford 8.8 conversion
KP-spec 1,000hp LSD
KP-steel driveshaft
KP level 5.9 axles by Drive Shaft Shop

2003 honda s2000 F22C engine 03 Photo 8/10   |   2003 Honda S2000 - Amongst Kings

1,200 whp/749 lb-ft torque

KP Spec coilovers by BC Racing
Full Blown Motorsports LCA bushings
King's Performance alignment kit

Stoptech slotted discs
Hawk Racing pads
Goodridge stainless braided lines
Stroud parachute

Wheels & Tires
F: 15x9.25 Weld Racing
R: 15x4.5 Weld Racing
F: 25x4.5 Mickey Thompson
R: 26x10 Mickey Thompson

2003 honda s2000 NRG steering wheel 09 Photo 9/10   |   2003 Honda S2000 - Amongst Kings

Engine bay bodywork by 809 Autoworx
OEM front lip
Rockstar Garage hardtop
Seibon carbon-fiber hood

AEM air/fuel, boost, oil pressure gauges

Kirkey aluminum race seat
Sparco window net
Stroud parachute
Simpson Racing harness
NRG steering wheel and quick release
GForce shift knob

Thank you to everyone at King's Performance: driver Gerardo Guardiola, tuner and shop owner Sergio Reyes, owner and manager Fernando Reyes, my wife Rachel Ellingsen, fabricator Ricky "Pop" Vasquez, tech Jerson Correa, tech Victor Fernan, Edward Pagan, team members, etc.

2003 honda s2000 stroud parachute 07 Photo 10/10   |   2003 Honda S2000 - Amongst Kings

Owner Specs

Daily Grind

Favorite Site

Screen Name
Rollinx25 or Gabe

Building Hondas
19 years

Dream Car

Inspiration For This Build
Red Star Motoring owner Pepo Besosa

Future Build
'99 Integra all-motor true street legal car driven by my wife

The Kings

When the Reyes family opened the doors to King's Performance in 2009, their goals weren't hard to decipher. In fact, their mission statement includes the line: "We are driven by the desire to make things go really fast." Simple enough. To do just that, the shop incorporates intricate engine building, complete tuning services, and a cutting-edge fabrication department. Their resume includes Hondas, GT-Rs, Evos, luxury, and exotics, and just about everything in between. From basic bolt-ons to hard-core race builds, this group does it all. You can find video footage of a number of cars they've had a hand in, including Gabe's Yellow Bullet, by simply searching their name on YouTube, or visiting their website:


Garrett Turbo
Denver, CO 80216
Competition Clutch
Conyers, GA 30012
Driveshaft Shop
Salisbury, NC 28147
AEM Electronics
Hawthorne, CA 90250
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