In the world of Honda tuning, Spoon Sports has earned a reputation for offering the highest form of service and products. Not an easy thing since Honda already builds its engines to very high standards. Think of the B18 or K20 units from Civic and Integra Type Rs and the FC20/22 from the S2000 that push out well over 100 hp per liter. How can you possibly improve on this without compromising longevity and usability?
We've all heard stories of people bolting on pod filters and large bore exhausts to their Integras and S2000s in the pursuit of power gains when, in actual fact, they were achieving the exact opposite. You certainly can't disrupt the fine-tuning and precise balance between intake and exhaust on high-compression naturally aspirated engines. It's precisely this way of thinking that has pushed Spoon to further fine-tune these powerplants, rather than "disturb" their natural balance.
As soon as we heard that Spoon and Type One had just finished putting together its latest demo car we headed straight to their workshop in Tokyo. We were greeted by Mr. Ichishima who immediately got down to business by taking us to a few floors of Spoon's headquarters where the engine building area is located. We were allowed to snap away and follow the build process of an FC20 motor, which was being carefully assembled by Naoki Yoshida, the head of the engineering department. Yoshida showed us a few interesting parts like F20C and K20 dry-sump kits, prototype exhaust manifolds, finely polished heads and talked us through some of the parts and work Spoon does. We were shown where the Spoon suspension kits are assembled and how the fine attention to detail that the company is known for even extends to the careful matching of springs according to their weight so that a full four-damper kit offers the best performance and feel when used on a customer's car. You will only find this kind of attention to detail on race cars.
A short drive from Spoon headquarters is the Type One workshop, a two-story building where Spoon cars are built, kept and looked after. We were taken upstairs to the main work area where "our car" was waiting for us. Sitting in a dark corner of the shop the new S2000 demo car greets us with its impossibly purposeful looks. Spoon has never done anything like this, they have always preferred to stick to the simpler side of tuning and have until now never given much attention to the over-the-top body kits. But their latest effort is simply stunning-a true testament to the quality and style of their work. This S2000 creates such a visual impact it takes the mind a few minutes to digest all the details and lines of the race car-like the body kit. This kit has been made up to give the customers of Spoon a chance to bring the company's race pedigree to the street. It all begins with the aggressive front bumper straight from the Super Taikyu S2000 race car, which features a large central air intake to bring cooling air to the radiator, while a cold air intake brings a fresh breeze to the airbox thanks to the carbon air-guide inside the engine room. Large foglight reflectors take center stage in the whole bumper assembly, while on the side are small intakes to channel air to the front brakes.
Complementing the aggressive bumper is the vented hood that helps extract hot air from the engine bay thanks to its gill-like air outlets. The front fenders marginally widen the car but it's their design that significantly alters the S2000 presence. Their Super GT-like open section on the door side is the selling point of this kit because of the very visible higher fender line that work its way toward the rearview mirrors. The rear fenders are widened in a more crude fashion with riveted over-fenders. The rear bumper features a prolonged profile with a somewhat angular design feel and has been combined with two large square openings on either side that work hand in hand with the carbon lower diffuser to expel air from under the car. A large GT-style wing finished off the rear section of the car but it's the Spoon coupe roof that plays a big part in completing the look of the new kit. Closing up the S2000 with the shell-like cover totally transforms its profile and brings it one step closer to the Super Taikyu car that uses the exact same part. A set of 17-inch matte-bronze Volk Racing wheels contrast the pure white body perfectly and, shod with sticky Bridgestone Potenza RE-01Rs, this S2000 has plenty of grip to play with.
Fine-tuning is Spoon's specialty and the yellow-topped F20C sitting in the engine bay perfectly illustrates this. Almost everything looks factory, only a few details like the carbon-Kevlar plug cover and air guide hint that this is no ordinary Honda engine. Take a close look and you will notice the skillfully welded exhaust manifold that connects to the twin-exit main N1 exhaust system. Most of the work, however, has been done to the engine, which has been carefully rebuilt with painstaking attention to detail. All engine components have been finely balanced and fitted with finer tolerances assuring the best possible performance at all engine revolutions. The head has received a healthy dose of polishing and a new set of high-lift camshafts that help extract more power, 275 hp at 8,600 rpm to be precise. The engine, like the gearbox, is mounted on harder bushings. As soon as you crank the engine to life the vibrations are quite evident. The gearbox itself has been rebuilt by Spoon and mated to specially designed flywheel and clutch assemblies. The propeller shaft, like the driveshafts, has been changed for Spoon versions with a lighter weight and revised spacers. The rear differential has been binned in favor of a Spoon item and the whole diff assembly sits on harder bushings, guaranteeing less play in the driveline. Even the steering has been finely tuned with low friction bearings for a more natural and direct feel. Adjustable Spoon dampers have found their way into the car and feature 14 kg/mm springs front and 12 kg/mm springs rear. Spoon released an important new product that addresses the lack of stiffness in the front upper arm suspension mounts. To stiffen this critical area a high-tension steel frame has been developed and then welded into position to guarantee a solid mounting point, which has no problem taking all the abuse the suspension throws at it. Taking care of braking are the trademark blue Spoon monoblock Nissin-made front calipers. Mated to high-friction Spoon pads, they offer strong braking with no sign of fade.
The full S2000 widebody kit is already on sale. Log onto the Spoon (spoon.jp) and Type One (typeone.jp) websites for more information.