You putting together the perfect car will never happen fast. At least it shouldn't. Considering over time what you like about it and what stinks about it before reworking it will never be a bad idea. Kam Nouri spent about 13 years doing just that.
For Nouri, in '01 and just out of dental school, the thought of building a car was as new to him as the S2000 was to Honda. "I'd always wanted to modify a car, but I never had the chance," he says about other life obligations—like school, for one—that kept him from modifying anything else he'd owned, including his beater of an old '87 Civic sedan.
And then the S2000 happened. And the BMW M3. "I wanted an M3 but thought it was a little pricey for me at the time," Nouri says. "The uniqueness of the S2000 is what really attracted me to it and how Honda was able to do more with less." More with less as in generating the most horsepower per liter out of any production engine of its time. More with less as in giving drivers world-class handling at a reasonable price.
"I didn't want to do a kit type of car, like [with] a Spoon or a J's Racing [theme]," he says about what went through his mind as he began accumulating parts. "Something like that is too generic and wasn't what I was looking for." Shortly after buying the car, Nouri got himself an AEM intake. Later, he ordered up a set of Volks and TEIN suspension. The car remained, more or less, in that state for years; all the while, Nouri continued collecting all sorts of big-ticket and hard-to-find bits. "I just started collecting parts," he says, "but I never installed them." Instead, the process was a whole lot more methodical. Yes, at some point an ARC shift knob was screwed on, as was a pair of Spoon calipers, but the build's current state wouldn't take shape for another decade or so. "The car as you see it now," he says, "happened when all of the parts were in."
It was a game of patience and self-control for Nouri and one in which aesthetics always followed performance. "My goal was function," he says. "I didn't do anything for looks. The car was built for canyon runs and the track." It's exactly what he says he'd imagined the perfect S2000 to be, and despite the car's Voltex bumper, J's Racing aero, and details like titanium wing mounts, this S2000, as Nouri puts it, is most certainly not a show car (even though it did win Best Honda at last year's SpoCom Anaheim event).
Not that there's anything wrong with that. This AP1 does show face at the occasional Los Angeles-area meet or car show, but Nouri isn't scoring the sort of high-dollar and hard-to-find Japanese parts for this roadster with the sole purpose of doing anything in which the engine doesn't have to be turned on.
Speaking of that 2.0L F-series, here, Nouri's gone on to make his better by way of the later and larger-displacement F22C1's lower half with Supertech goods occupying the original cylinder head and an HKS GT supercharger bolted on out front with its high-boost pulley. The whole setup's reliable enough to be driven daily—which it did for roughly 180,000 miles—but since its '14 transformation, it gets used mostly for the occasional canyon drive or track day.
If you must compare this S2000 to anything, Nouri prefers you'd do so by way of Lamborghini's Super Trofeo race cars. Bear with him for just a minute because it's a comparison that's a whole lot less outrageous than it sounds. "These are race cars," he says about the Super Trofeos, "which look as good on the outside as they do on the inside." They're what gave him inspiration for things like the car's carbon-fiber-and-alcantara interior. "Weight reduction, aero, grip, and power were [the] primary goals," he says about the Lamborghinis and his Honda. "It had to not only look good but stand out from the sea of modified S2000s."
"I took the best parts from the best companies and built what, in my mind, was the best car," Nouri says. "It took a while to figure it out but, eventually, it just took shape."
It might've taken Nouri 13 years to get his S2000 how he wanted it, and it really doesn't matter. For Nouri, this S2000's going no place anytime soon. "I'll never sell this car," he says. "It's more valuable than the sum of its parts. It's a sentimental car for me and, besides, one of my daughters has already claimed it as her future car." Here's to another 13 years.