Jackson Chen's '02 S2000
The majority of Honda builds are a resulting culmination of acquired knowledge through trial and error. Some owners have had multiple Hondas, tried different approaches (track vs. show, turbo vs. naturally aspirated), and gradually, over time, formed a systematic approach to a project car. In short, the learning curve is invaluable to future builds. Jackson Chen of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, was not fortunate enough to have this sort of experience on his build resumé. You see, he's never actually owned a Honda, or even a modified a car for that matter. However, he did have determination, persistence, and the help of several friends to transform his once stock S2000 into a neck-breaking, eye-popping, street, show, and track machine. The funny part is, Jackson's S2000 almost never happened.
The story begins in late 2006, when Jackson purchased the AP1 for his girlfriend at the time (now his fiancée). He researched cars that Stella liked, including the Honda roadster. "You know how most girls are, the S2000 looks nice and has leather seats; to them it's cute. But I was looking at the high output two-liter engine and rear wheel drive," says Jackson.
However, the Calgary winter weather is extremely harsh for six months out of the year so Jackson didn't put too much thought into purchasing a convertible. That was, until someone sent him an amazing offer for a low mileage, white AP1. "I drove the S2000 home top-down that frigid October night with a grin," he recalls. Although he won't admit it, the grin was because he knew that eventually the S2K would be his. After a few failed attempts at teaching Stella to drive the six-speed transmission, they traded keys. Jackson is quick to add a disclaimer. "We share everything anyways, so nothing is really mine or hers, but that is how it went down," he claims.
Originally, Jackson didn't have any solid plans. That is, until he saw the light with a bit of opportunity. After a year of driving the primarily stock S2K, someone managed to side-swipe the AP1 in a parking lot. Jackson seized the moment and decided to upgrade replacement parts. Wading through uncharted waters, Jackson eventually became acquainted with Nick Chow, who owned a heavily modified S2K. The friendship permanently altered the course of Jackson's S2000 from stocker to shocker ...and emptied roughly fifty G-notes from Jackson's piggy bank. "I never got a loan for any parts. I just worked my butt off to pay for everything up front," he confidently asserts.
As their friendship grew, so did the modifications for his S2K. As Jackson's pseudo-mentor, Nick helped guide him through parts selection. Jackson ordered an ASM I.S. front and rear bumper right around the same time Nick was installing a J's Racing widebody kit on his own car. Jackson couldn't help but instantly fall in love with the idea of a wide-body kit on his own S2K. Reaching the point of no return, he ordered ASM. I.S. widebody components from A&J Racing in Richmond, British Columbia. Within five months of the hit-and-run, Jackson sent his money pit and the new ASM purchases to Screamin Paintworks in Calgary for a full re-spray in OEM Grand Prix White. The face lift took about four months to complete. During the downtime, Jackson heeded Nick's advice, and ordered T1R suspension components that included their B-Max coilovers, driveshaft spacers, and front and rear anti-bumpsteer kit. He also slipped in some engine enhancements to make track days even more exciting.
Unfortunately, Jackson suffered a work-related injury. As he was lifting a pallet of empty kegs, one managed to tip over about twenty feet high and smashed his left hand between another keg. The hand took two months to heal after the surgery. "Honestly, I count my blessings every day. I mean, if that keg had been over to the right about a foot, it would have landed right on my head and possibly ended my life," Jackson somberly says. Nick and Autotech Performance owner Joe Lu stepped in to help Jackson while he healed. As soon as the AP1 arrived with the fresh paint, the duo installed all of the pre-ordered goodies.
With the S2000 finally finished, and in stellar condition, Jackson and Stella made plans to attend the Driven to Perform 2008 car show in Vancouver. The 1,200-mile round-trip almost never happened as well. Halfway to Vancouver, a tie rod snapped and the crippled S2K couldn't muster the last 300 miles. Having made plans with A&J Racing to install a Mugen hardtop upon his arrival, and his goal of the attending the massive show in jeopardy, Jackson decided to shell out a cool $2,000 to have his baby towed the rest of the way to Vancouver. The tow truck seated three and Jackson chivalrously opted for the center seat. "The gearbox was right between my legs, haha! It was the most awkward situation ever," Jackson chuckles. After the ten hour tow ride, Jackson and friends arrived at A&J Racing at 1:00am. The A&J staff was nice enough to stick around and wait for Jackson's arrival. Exhausted from the trying night, Jackson and Stella went to a nearby hotel and caught a few much-needed hours of sleep. Jackson returned the next day to find that the A&J Racing crew had not only repaired his suspension, but also sent the S2K off for a proper alignment, and installed the sexy hardtop.
As the harsh Canadian winter approached in late 2008, Jackson parked his beloved roadster for a lengthy hibernation. To offset boredom, he installed Toda individual throttle bodies and added a few other details. It's a pattern that Jackson has become accustomed to. To some, parking a project car that long would foster misery and long nights at the local bar. Jackson views the winter break as inspirational. "It's comparable to driving a new car again. You're excited and just want to drive away with it," he says. It's almost as if the downtime makes him appreciate his S2000 even more.
Jackson plans on continuing his voyage. "I have a wedding this year in September...which is cutting into my modification plans," he laughs. Perhaps Jackson's inexperience with Hondas and project cars enabled him to break from tradition and do his own damn thang. The first time.
Bolts & Washers
Toda individual throttle bodies
T1R exhaust manifold
T1R test pipe
J's Racing 60RS exhaust
AEM fuel pressure regulator
AEM fuel rail
NKG Iridium IX spark plugs
T1R ignition bridge
Spoon Sports radiator
T1R radiator hoses
J's Racing oil catch tank
Hondata K-Pro ECU
T1R B-Max coilovers
T1R driveshaft spacers
T1R front/rear anti-bumpsteer kit
Spoon Sports 4-Pot Mono-block front calipers
Spoon Sports stainless steel lines
J's Racing slotted discs
Seidoya N1-500 pads
Motul RBF-600 fluid
Wheels And Tires
17x9 Volk RE-30 (+52 offset)
215/45-17 Falken RT-615
ASM I.S. Design front bumper
ASM I.S. Design hood
ASM I.S. Design fenders
ASM I.S. Design over fenders
ASM I.S. Design carbon-fiber front canards
ASM I.S. Design rear bumper
ASM I.S. Design duckbill spoiler
ASM I.S. Design wet-carbon front lip spoiler
C-West carbon-fiber side mirrors
T1R side diffusers
Spoon Sports rear diffuser
J's Racing 3D Type-1 GT-wing
AP2 headlight/taillight conversion
Bride Gias driver seat
Bride Brix-II passenger seat
Spoon Sports steering wheel
T1R titanium shift knob
Friends who helped
Autotech Performance and Security
Speedtech Racing Development
Screen name or nickname
Building Hondas for how long
Your dream car
Honda NSX-R, Porsche 997 GT3 RS
Nick Chow's J's Racing S2000
What's playing in your iPod/CD/
MP3 player right now
Greatest movie of all time
Gladiator with Russell Crowe
It's hard to store a beautifully crafted vehicle for long periods during harsh winter conditions. It's not necessarily the snow or rain that keeps sleek and shiny rides behind closed doors for a winter snooze-it's what's added to the snow. City officials often add salt to snowy roads during the winter. The added salt raises the temperature of the snow. The snow then melts into water and the road becomes more navigable. However, the salt harms the structural integrity of vehicles by inducing rust. Rust is like automobile cancer and can ruin a car. That's why owners like Jackson, who have put in an ample amount of time, energy, and money into their car, opt for a daily driver in the winter. This way, the sheltered neck-breaker can get back to properly snapping necks when the winter clouds fade away and spring air brings drier weather.