Super Street Network

 |   |  2007 Honda S2000 - Hard Work Pays Off
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

2007 Honda S2000 - Hard Work Pays Off

Building Honda's anniversary roadster proper, and on his own dime

Aaron Bonk
Jan 2, 2017
Photographer: Chad Burdette

Tae Min Chang wants you to know something right away: He isn't rich, nobody in his family is either, and he grinds it out six days a week at a dry cleaners just to build the sort of S2000 you wish you had.

2007 honda s2000 volk racing te37 wheels Photo 2/19   |   2007 Honda S2000 Volk Racing Te37 Wheels

Pressing dudes' pinstriped shirts isn't glamorous and it won't get you laid, but for Tae, it's enough to give him the sort of Honda roadster he'd always wanted. It just took a little time. "When the S2000 showed up on the market, I was amazed," he says about the AP1 chassis that was introduced in '99. "I went to the dealership to find out how much one would cost, and it came out to $800 a month and [another] $700 for insurance." No amount of wool pants waiting to have Diet Coke stains cleaned off of them was gonna cover that, which meant Tae would have to wait.

It took seven years, but by the time Honda's AP2 roadster with its slightly larger engine was already in full swing, Tae was able to afford his own—and a brand-new one, too, mind you. For three years, the car remained bone stock—a sharp contrast to the fourth-generation Accord he'd owned previously that'd been stuffed with a twin-cam Prelude engine and just about every bolt-on you can think of. It'd take a bonehead behind him and a little bit of body damage by way of the car's front and rear ends to change Tae's mind-set on all of this, though. "The damages were minor and only the bumpers were replaced, but I wasn't happy [knowing] that my car wasn't perfect," he says. "And so it began."

2007 honda s2000 js racing type v hood Photo 6/19   |   2007 Honda S2000 Js Racing Type V Hood

And by "it," Tae means the process of building up that S2000 for a Honda Tuning spread and then a few years later ripping it all apart and going for it again. Some of the parts survived the overhaul, like the staggered TE37s, and some weren't so lucky, like the Password:JDM intake that was tossed for the Vortech supercharger. "I wish I was smarter back then," Tae says about his old H-swapped Accord and the Vortech blower he's got now, "because I would've just boosted it instead." As far as the S2000 goes, it's a mod that's proven to be a smart move for Tae, a guy who performs much of the work himself. But things like remedying a bent rod or a melted piston—both of which aren't likely to occur by way of that supercharger and its moderate amount of boost—quickly overstep the bounds in which he's comfortable. "I can do anything bolt-on and maintenance-related, but when I can't do a job, I always turn to Dan Kang at Zen Motors," he admits.

2007 honda s2000 vortech v3 supercharger Photo 7/19   |   2007 Honda S2000 Vortech V3 Supercharger

Tae's DIY attitude's gotten him pretty far, though, handling most of what you can see himself this side of any body mods and tuning. Speaking of body mods, Tae's S2000 began shedding its low-key demeanor once boost was applied. "Now that I had the power," he says, "my exterior didn't really balance it out." That's when Tae found out about the Circuit Garage rear over-fenders, an addition that he says he didn't want, but needed, and is what he says led to what he calls "stage two." Call it whatever you want, but this second phase started with those widened fenders permanently grafted onto the body and ended with a darker-yellow exterior, a Sorcery front bumper, Spoon Sports fenders up front, and a massive Voltex wing out back.

2007 honda s2000 bride gias ii sport maziora seats Photo 8/19   |   2007 Honda S2000 Bride Gias Ii Sport Maziora Seats

"I love the race car look, but I still try to [remain] simple yet aggressive with my car," Tae says about the approach he took. He also wants you to know that he's no show car weenie and that this AP2 racks up the miles. "My car is never on a trailer unless it's broken. I drive it whenever I can, even to Walmart to get groceries," he says. "I don't believe in building a car that can't be enjoyed on a mountain run or a track, either."

It's a solid approach and one that Tae's continually trying to perfect. "I'm always at home trying to get the perfect wheel gap but maintain good driveability and without sacrificing performance," he says. "I try to make my car look good but at the same time perform just as well if not better. It's all about balance. My car isn't the fastest or the best handling; I built it for longevity, and I think that's the key to moving forward."

2007 honda s2000 sorcery front bumper Photo 12/19   |   2007 Honda S2000 Sorcery Front Bumper

Tae still doesn't have loads of money and it still doesn't matter. "I'm not some rich kid who has this awesome rich family. I work six days a week to save up for what I enjoy," he says. "I like to think that if you work and pay for [things] yourself, it means more than being powered by mom and dad."

Honda Tuning April '12

2007 honda s2000 honda tuning feature car Photo 16/19   |   2007 Honda S2000 Honda Tuning Feature Car

Before boost and with less aggressive aero, Tae was featured in our beloved sister mag Honda Tuning. It's encouraging to see that he's continued to take his build to another level four years later!

By Aaron Bonk
347 Articles
2007 Honda S2000 - Hard Work Pays Off
Tuning Menu
Owner: Tae Min Chang
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Occupation: dry cleaning
Engine: Vortech V-3 supercharger; J's Racing header and catalytic converter delete; GReddy SE exhaust; Spoon Sports radiator hoses and engine mounts; ARC radiator, cooling plate, heat shield, radiator cap, oil cap, ignition coil cover; Password:JDM radiator stays, fender washers, and valve cover washers; J's Racing valve cover and oil catch can; LHT Performance brake master cylinder brace; custom polished brake master cylinder reservoir cap
Footwork & Chassis: Eibach Multi-Pro R2 coilovers; J's Racing camber joints, axle spacers; Cusco rear tie bar, ladder bars, front lower chassis brace
Brakes: Spoon Sports calipers; Project Mu HC+ pads and front rotors; Power Slot rear rotors; Challenge steel-braided lines
Wheels & Tires: 17x9" +40 front, 18x11" +18 rear Volk Racing TE37 wheels; 255/40R17 front, 295/30R18 rear Falken Azenis FK453 tires; Project Kics R40 Iconix lug nuts
Exterior: Sorcery front bumper; Password:JDM canards; J's Racing Type V hood; Spoon Sports fenders, rear diffuser; Circuit Garage rear over-fenders; Feed-style RX-7 side diffusers; Mugen hardtop; OEM CR tonneau; Voltex Type 7 GT Swan Neck spoiler
Interior: Bride Gias II Sport Maziora seats, Type-RO seat rails; custom seat bolster protectors; Cusco four-point harnesses; Racing Factory Yamamoto harness bar; Key's Racing steering wheel; Works Bell quick-release adapter, steering wheel hub; J's Racing titanium shift knob; Honda Access floor mats; Science of Speed gauge pod; AEM Electronics air/fuel ratio, boost gauges

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

New video pulls back the curtain on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R, teases with exhaust note
Kelly PleskotMar 24, 2017
The 720S may have stolen the spotlight lately, but McLaren wants owners of its older Sports Series models to know they haven’t been forgotten.
Ed TahaneyMar 24, 2017
Falken Tire boosts involvement in Formula D for 2017 with six-car squad and as series' Official Tire Sponsor
Bob HernandezMar 23, 2017
Maybe not a full AMG but more than a great car.
Colin RyanMar 23, 2017
Could this mid-engine Ferrari prototype preview a new V-6-powered Dino? Take a look at the spy shots here and decide for yourself.
Kirill OugarovMar 23, 2017
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP