In 2015, SEMA's Battle of the Builders got a taste of new blood in the form of a bright orange Integra Type R that seemingly raised the bar that week for import performance builds. Much more than just wheels, a wider body, and a K-series engine swap, the DC2 sports high-level, motorsport-inspired wiring, a drive-by-wire conversion, and a sequential transmission that could be snapped into gear via custom paddle shifters. The owner and builder, Ryan Basseri of Rywire Motorsport Electronics, who was already a mainstay in multiple facets of street, show, and competition motorsports vehicles, elevated his status considerably with his efforts.
Just 12 months later, he was back, this time campaigning a joint project with Big Mike on his '92 Prelude Si. Again, respect and recognition that accompanied the finished product was overwhelming, especially when you consider the company one keeps at that build level.
Here we are in 2017, and once again Rywire is back, this time with a '00 S2000 build. The car had been collecting dust at the Rywire facility for quite some time. The engine had been fully built a few years ago but hadn't been turned over yet; some of the interior, like the 'cagework, had begun but it was a long way from being anywhere near a finished project. That all changed rather quickly once the plan was laid out for a shot at the Battle of the Builders. Here's a quick rundown of the Rywire-built AP1.
That cheesy smile might look familiar, but it's the front and rear fenders and side skirts that might have you scratching your head. To start off, the front is in fact a genuine Mugen SS bumper, and if you're really familiar, then you recognize that the upper portions have been widened significantly to meet the fender perfectly, but also that there's an additional detail line just in front of the wheel that flows with the smiling grill and rids the SS bumper of its somewhat blunt sides. Follow that custom widened front fender down to the hand-made flanks and slip right over the rear quarters, which also gained considerable girth. The process, performed by Casale Designs, was lengthy but in the end granted the AP1 not only a one-off look but also a perfect fit to boot.
Move around to the rear of the car and you won't find a chassis-mounted wing hovering in line with the roofline, but rather a short, upturned trunk lip. Of the entire kit, this is actually my favorite piece. The original 3-piece Mugen wing is ... it's an acquired taste, and one that I could never full get used to. Its middle portion, connected to the trunk lid, seemed perfectly sized, however the side pieces, which mount to the quarter panels, ran far too long for my liking and looked a little awkward. With this customized version, the sidepieces have been effectively lopped off and shorted by about 11 or 12 inches. The stubby sides give it a modern look but still hold enough of the original Mugen design so that those in the know can spot it from a mile away. At all four widened corners you'll find bronze Volk Racing ZE40s in 18x10 and 18x12 covered in Toyo R888s, and up front you can't miss the StopTech big brake kit. Originally factory grey, the entire car now sports a complete color change.
Though the exterior is very well done, it's the engine bay that most will gravitate to for any Rywire build. The heart of the roadster is a fully built 2.5L stroker with large Kinsler ITBs and 8 staged injectors. You'll notice the bay isn't shaved smooth and retains most of the factory holes, but there a bit of material was added in the form of dimple die frame inserts that were welded in place prior to paint. Like all Rywire builds, XRP hoses are used throughout the bay, and I probably don't have to tell you who did all of the custom wiring, and brake and fuel lines throughout the entire car.
The dimple die theme continues into the cockpit, with roll cage gusseting and interior panels that cover the void left behind by the deleted soft top. Also long gone are the factory leather seats and steering wheel, replaced by harness-laced Recaro seats and suede Mugen steering wheel.
The result of sleepless nights and way too much decision-making is an ultra-clean S2000 that sits on the crest of the widebody craze currently sweeping the automotive bubble but does so in its own unique way. Truth be told, this build isn't on the same level as the Rywire Integra, but it took pieces from that build, along with Big Mike's Prelude, and combined them into one incredibly well-built S2k.