Your whole life you've been conditioned to want more. Whatever iPhone you've got will always be pond scum compared to whatever Apple's currently saying you need. And driving around in the Civic hatchback with factory vinyl seats you bought when you were 18 will never appease your 30-year-old self. The world's conditioned you that good enough is never good enough and, for the most part, you give in.
But not Jackie Law. For 12 years he's owned, tweaked, overhauled, and redone the same S2000 in spite of the temptation to move on to something like, oh, say an NSX. "The NSX was always a car that I'd wanted," he says, continuing, "and also a [Type] 997 911, but I was never able to give this car up for a new project."
Not being able to give up the AP1 model roadster goes beyond the dollars and man-hours Jackie's put into it, doing things like swapping its native 2.0L engine for the later-model F22C1, and fitting it with a large-frame Precision turbo. It's more sentimental than any of that. For Jackie, it'd almost be like putting a member of his family up for sale: "I've thought about selling it to try something new, but I always get scared and end up keeping the car."
A little fear isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's what's convinced Jackie to deliver the AP1 through a series of obvious changes that've culminated into a front bumper and rear diffuser from Voltex, a custom Spoon Sports hood, TE37s, and oversized AP Racing brakes. And then there's the not so obvious, like the rigid collars from Spoon Sports that tighten up the chassis, and the one-off bracket that holds the Weldon fuel pressure regulator in place—the sort of details somebody who wasn't in it for the long haul probably wouldn't go to the trouble of addressing.
But details matter. Except they don't happen on their own. For that, Jackie looked to nearby A&J Racing, who carried out the sort of work he wasn't able to. "Most of the work was done by me and some friends," he says before pointing out one of those big jobs he wasn't interested in doing. "After pulling the motor once in the garage, I knew I never wanted to do that again."
Speaking of plucking engines out, it's the F-series that drew Jackie to Honda's two-seater platform to begin with. "I've wanted the S2000 since it came out," he says. "I was a big fan of the 9,000-rpm redline, and I wanted something I could beat on at the track." Which it proved to do for nearly four years until the smaller-displacement F20C1 began to show its shortcomings. "It's slightly underpowered," Jackie says about the original S2000 engine that prompted him to turbocharge it, blow it up, and then move on to the 2.2L replacement. "The same season I blew the motor," he says, "I swapped in an '05 F22C," of which he says is now good for 420 whp.
Just because Jackie isn't down with cherry-picking engines in his garage anymore doesn't mean he's been hands-off with everything else. "Almost everything on the car I've broken once or replaced," he says. He also prepped it for paint on his own, which, by all accounts, wasn't any easier than any engine changeover. "It was a learning process for me, as I've never done it before," he says about the preliminary bodywork, which was "one of the bigger challenges," but made possible thanks to a bit of guidance from the professional who'd later lay down the paint. "My body guy, Kevin, was kind enough to teach me as I went, and he looked over all the work, making sure I was on track," he says.
Jackie might just be erring on the modest side when painting his mechanical abilities, though. He's been doing all of this since '03 and had been studying up by way of magazines and forum threads even before that, preparing him for the handful of Hondas he'd later modify. "I learned a lot back then," he says, before pointing out he'd also worked at Speedtech Racing Developments, a tuner shop located in Calgary. It's there where he cut his Honda chops, preparing him for things like the S2000, even the '06 TL he mobs around in when those Canada winters don't accommodate that roadster of his so well.
Jackie knew what he was getting into when he laid down the money for the '03 Honda some 12 years ago. "I knew it was gonna be a long-term project," he says, and he knew that, at some point, every corner of that S2000 would've been tampered with. "I think I'm finally happy with the car," he says. "What it is today is pretty much what I wanted it to be." We should all be so lucky.
In the Beginning
Before the things like an F22 swap, forced induction, and Moonrock repaint, Jackie and his topless AP1 were regulars at the track. Oh, and he was even published in Honda Tuning May '10. Welcome back, Jackie!