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 |   |  2001 Honda S2000 - Modern Day Roadster
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2001 Honda S2000 - Modern Day Roadster

Driving Home The “Less Is More” Theory

Jul 1, 2009
Htup 0907 01 o+2001 honda s2000+front Photo 1/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K

The S2000 is arguably one of Honda Motor Company's best ideas yet. The two-seater convertible reintroduced that classic roadster appeal with its front-engine, RWD configuration, and with an emphasis on superior handling and high-revving fun. Not only did it draw the attention of die-hard Honda fans the world over, it created an entirely new following, one which included enthusiasts that had written off the Honda name years ago, assuming the company only offered grocery-getter Civics and a far too expensive NSX. Such individuals were surprised to find an affordable sports car when it was unveiled in late 1999. Upon its introduction, the majority of new owners strayed from aftermarket upgrades. Some felt that the car was perfect as-is, believing that altering things like suspension and engine components would actually hinder performance. The engine was believed to be “too efficient,” and that it simply “couldn’t benefit from upgrades.” Hogwash. As is the case with most new performance cars, once the rumor dust settles, the fun begins. But it didn’t take long for some S2000 enthusiasts to go completely overboard. Street cars sporting massive wings and wide body kits that flirted with Fast & Furious territory did their best to emulate the race versions they’d seen in the magazines. But J.P. Martinez of San Jose, California, took a different approach. He carefully chose quality parts that he knew would enhance the already sleek look of his car…without overdoing it.

Htup 0907 05 o+2001 honda s2000+bride logo Photo 2/21   |   The Bride seat is one of the ligthest and safest seats on the market conforming to the safety standards of Japanese circuit racing

Browsing S2000 prices while surfing the waves of Craigslist in search of parts for his GS-R sedan was a sort of ritual for J.P. He’d always been infatuated with the sporty two-seater, but pricing at the time kept him apart from his true love—that is, until he came across one listing in particular from a local dealership. With a price that was simply “too good to pass up,” he paid a visit to the lot and to the ’00 Silverstone Metallic drop top. After two days of haggling, the price was settled upon, and J.P. drove off a proud owner of his own Honda convertible. Having already owned and modified a few Hondas, J.P.’s head quickly filled with ideas. “My cousin had been a long-time S2K owner and, after talking with him, he referred me to The forum was great, it taught me so much about my car, and I met a bunch of new people over there,” he says. Perhaps even more important are the forum classifieds that gave him access to undeniable bargains.

In the past, J.P. would begin his builds from the inside out, tackling the interior first; his S2000 was no different. “Being that I have an AP1, I tracked down some of the nicer AP2 interior upgrades to swap out. I liked the look of red and black in the cabin, so I used those colors as the foundation and just ran with it,” J.P. says. With a pair of fireball red Bride bucket seats drawing immediate attention, bits of red and black sneak into every crevice of the car’s interior.

Htup 0907 06 o+2001 honda s2000+red door inserts Photo 6/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K

Among the most popular of upgrades for the S2K is the hardtop conversion. Whether OEM or aftermarket, it’s more often than not at the top of most S2000 fans’ wish lists. J.P. went through a bit of turmoil and an interesting chain of events in order to secure his Mugen cap though. He originally found an OEM hardtop online, which he planned on buying. His recently acquired Volk Time Attack rims would fund the piece, which were sold to a friend the night before he was to make the purchase. Everything was set in place until he got a call from the seller stating that the top was no longer up for grabs. Frustrated by the sour deal and the fact that he’d just sold his new wheels, J.P. returned to the keyboard in search of hope. “I was bummed. I couldn’t believe this happened. There was no one selling any hardtops in my area at a reasonable price, so I just decided to venture out and look around the SoCal area—something I never do,” he says. As luck would have it, a fellow forum member had a Mugen hardtop for sale at an incredible price, and J.P. left that night on a six-hour mission down south. “I got there and he even had the guys at High End Performance help me install it. He mentioned he had some extra bars that he didn’t need and he threw those in for free! I was ecstatic; I couldn’t believe how well things worked out,” J.P. says.

J.P. modified his S2000 with a mix of tasteful upgrades that complement the car’s sleek lines. His changes include parts as simple as OEM interior bits yet as complex as a nearly impossible-to-find Garage Defend front bumper. The car is proof that careful planning can lead to a one-of-a-kind build, even if you are on a budget.

Bolts & Washers

Password:JDM carbon-Kevlar ram-air intake
Password:JDM carbon-Kevlar heat shield
ASM cat-back exhaust
T1R test pipe
Comptech reinforced 4.77:1 cryo-treated differential
ASM radiator shroud
Password:JDM radiator stays
Password:JDM fender washers
Mugen license plate bolts

Htup 0907 09 o+2001 honda s2000+carbon kevlar Photo 10/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K

KW Variant 3 coilovers
T1R half shaft spacers
Whiteline H-brace
Cusco rear lower tie bar
Cusco rear shock tower bar
J’s Racing front strut tower bar
J’s Racing engine torque dampener
J’s Racing heat shield
Motoklass front anti-bumpsteer kit

Centric OEM replacement rotors
Fedorro 2500 pads
Spoon Sports 4-pot calipers
Motul RBF-600 fluid
H&R front extended studs
Frank Goeske custom-built front spacers

Rims & Rubber
Front: 17x7.5 Volk CE28 (+50 offset)
Rear: 17x9 Volk CE28 (+63 offset)
Front: 225/45-17 Bridgestone Potenza RE01R
Rear: 255/40-17 Bridgestone Potenza RE01R
Project Kics Neo Chrome lug nuts

Htup 0907 16 o+2001 honda s2000+c West mirrors Photo 11/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K

Garage Defend front bumper
Mugen FRP hardtop
Downforce carbon-fiber side diffusers
Asuka carbon-fiber trunk lid
C-West carbon-fiber mirrors
APR mirror bases
Top Secret rear diffuser
Z-Tec single exhaust cap
J’s Racing CFRP hood
Agency Power antenna
Backyard Special Honda emblems
Clear turn signals
Clear sidemarkers
GTM front towhook

Bride Zeta III seats
Taitec passenger seat rail
Mugen driver seat rail
Mugen rollbar
Key!s 325mm steering wheel
Works Bell short steering wheel hub
Spoon Sports shift knob
JDM Modulo AP1 titanium shifter console trim
JDM ITR seatbelt receptacles
JPM Accessories shift boot and elbow pad
GT Motoring e-brake handle
GT Motoring door handles
Rick’s S2K center console cover
Muz one-piece floor mats
Alpine head unit
Lucid custom speaker adapters
Focal front speakers
AP2 tweeter pods

Owner Specs

San Jose, CA

Htup 0907 04 o+2001 honda s2000+garage defend front bumper Photo 15/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K

Daily grind:
Fighting cubicle monsters

Favorite website:

Building cars for how long:
Since 2004

Favorite kicks:
Nike Dunk SBs

Dream car:
Lotus Exige S

Build inspiration:
Brothers, Neil, and Vince Martinez

Favorite Movie:


The term “roadster” has long been used when referring to cars without roofs, and side or rear windows. During the hot rod era, Model Ts and early ’30s Fords lent themselves to the “hot rod roadster” label, with homegrown builds being brought to life in garages across the country. In more recent times, the roadster label has been used to describe two-seater sports cars with retractable or removable roofs and typically of RWD layouts. When Honda of America released the S2000 to U.S. buyers in 1999, it was termed by the media as “a modern day roadster” and hailed for its front engine, RWD, topless chassis. Drive one and you’ll see why.

Htup 0907 10 o+2001 honda s2000+top down interior Photo 16/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K
Htup 0907 19 o+2001 honda s2000+spoon sports calipers Photo 17/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K
Htup 0907 08 o+2001 honda s2000+password JDM heat shield Photo 21/21   |   HTUP-090700-034-40-S2K


Anaheim, CA 92806
Project Kics
Santa Fe Springs, CA
By Rodrez
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