You got a velour sweater and a gift certificate to the Olive Garden for your twenty-first birthday. Edgar Mendoza, he got himself a barely used S2000.
It's exactly what he'd wanted, he says, since the car came out 10 years before and ever since he was first exposed to Hondas by his dad, who introduced his boy to things like D-series engines and cold-air intakes. It's what led to an Integra GS-R and all sorts of mods that helped prepare Edgar for that anniversary roadster.
For Edgar, that S2000 had to be three things, though. It had to have been owned by just one person; it had to be entirely original; and it had to be red. You think that Edgar's living in a small town halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles would've expanded the used-S2000 pool, and you'd be right. The first one he went to scope out was his. "It was love at first sight," he says. "I bought it, dropped the top, and drove it three-and-a-half hours back home from LA." Three-and-a-half hours of which he spent planning things out like forced induction kit he'd later bolt on, as well as the exterior changes and interior upgrades that would make his S2000, well, his.
When the S2000 was first introduced, the idea of forced induction was essentially blasphemous and, in fact, many scoffed at the very thought of modifying the car's ride height for fear of undoing all that Honda's engineers had developed for the FR marvel. But that was then and this is now, and if you jump on your little Google machine and enter S2000 turbo or supercharger kit, you're met with a laundry list of options. Edgar chose Science of Speed's supercharger kit; a true bolt-on affair that SOS proudly notes doesn't require any cutting, drilling or bending of the S2000's factory metal. An Invidia Q300 exhaust system and test pipe help move those spent exhaust gases along while AEM's V2 management makes sure there's no miscommunication with the S2K's F20.
Take a glance at Edgar's spec list and you'll notice that instead of coilovers, he went with something a little different by matching S2000 CR model shocks to Swift Sport Spec-R springs for his roadster. Advan Racing RS wheels in black add contrast to the bright red paint and up front, slightly hide a set of Project Mu calipers.
Despite Edgar's ending up with the first S2000 he'd go and see, he was a whole lot more discerning than what it sounds like. "I chose the '01 model because it's what Honda intended the S2000 to be," he says. "Later models got traction control, the suspension got softer, and they added another cup holder. Even though it's more convenient, I wanted to own what Honda [originally] intended the S2000 to be." Original but not without his own touches he'd add over the course of the last six years.
You won't be surprised to hear that thieves suck just as bad in Central California as they do everywhere else, which is why nowadays this S2000 gets driven mostly on the weekends and to places where Edgar's able to keep a watchful eye on it. For Edgar, there's just too much at stake here, and we're not just talking about things like all of those Spoon Sports bits underneath the hood, but the intangibles, like the half-decade he's spent getting the car how he wants. Or the trouble he went through to find a body shop that'd meet his expectations. "I live in a small town, [so] finding a reliable paint-and-body worker is very hard," he wants you to know. "I went through three painters to find one I was okay with, and [I] still wasn't very pleased." He goes on to talk about a nightmare that involved his Voltex wing that was clear-coated right over its decals.
It's the S2000's heritage and S600 roots that attracted Edgar to the car in the first place, along with the less-is-more approach that Honda applied. It's no velour sweater, but for Edgar, there was no better birthday present he could've given himself.