We all know that building the perfect car takes a few key items— money, dedication, drive and, of course, a little luck can’t hurt. Beyond that, it also takes a keen eye for what looks and performs the best, an uncanny ability to source a hot part and a mind that won’t allow for any signs of quit, no matter how tough the going gets. In short, you’ve got to be as tuned in as your car. Nick Chow of Alberta, Canada, just so happens to be one of the lucky few with a gift for building automotive marvels, and one glance at his AP1 is all it takes to figure out that this is one guy who knows what a car wants and what a car needs (ignore the pop song lyric reference).
Back in the day, Nick was pushing an old Prelude with its fair share of mods. After seven years together, a mechanic’s mistake caused a sleeve malfunction, resulting in a blown motor. Nick dropped thousands to source a new H22 engine, but quickly burned out on the Prelude. “The whole stress of the engine build made me hate the car,” Nick explained. “I needed a fresh start.” But with so many options, he had no idea what to build.
It wasn’t until Nick dropped by local A&J Racing and first laid eyes on his friend Ben’s JGTC S2000 that he was completely smitten. “I fell in love right away,” Nick recalls. “It’s a well-balanced car, handles great on the track, plus it doesn’t look like a Miata.” Right then and there Nick decided to build one of his very own. “I had seen many of the super Taikyu S2000s from J’s and wanted to have the latest and greatest at that point,” Nick states.
Back in the early 2000s it wasn’t easy to come upon a used S2K. Nick had his work cut out for him when it came to sourcing, but there were other things to take care of first. “Instead of buying the car, I called Ben at A&J and ordered a full rack of parts before I even found one.” Deciding to stick with just a few parts manufacturers, he also got hooked up with a part sponsorship from T1R, making part sourcing that much easier.
For a while, Nick worried that he wouldn’t have a car to put all the parts on, but was eventually able to convince a friend to sell his S2K. With keys finally in hand, Nick sent everything over to the body shop for a full respray to ensure the car and kit matched.
For the time being, Nick was stoked to be cruising around in his roadster, until one day he got a call telling him the new J’s Racing wide fenders had just hit the market. Excited to throw a new part on the car, he jumped on them right away, but soon realized he’d have to pick up a more aggressive wheel set to match. “Finding a wheel and tire combo with the offset I wanted had barely been tested out at the time,” Nick said. “This was definitely the toughest part of the build.”
Deciding on a set of Volk RE30s, Nick figured in addition to his new wheels and fenders that a Mugen hardtop would be nice touch. “I really enjoyed the looks of the car in its OEM form, but the funny thing is I hated having the top down. I find the car more stable with the hardtop on,” Nick explained.
When 2008 hit, Nick found himself saddled with a mortgage on top of his other expenses—meaning he would have to sacrifice future mods for the sake of home ownership. Not wanting to give up, Nick went out and got himself a second job to prevent having to part with his car! With the extra cash, he swapped out his Bride seats for a set of Spoon buckets, changed over to a T1R 70REM exhaust system, upgraded his brakes to a T1R BBK and picked up his Volk RE30 rims. Another trip to the paint shop for a touch-up coat and Nick was ready to roll once again.
A young veteran in the Honda world, Nick Chow has plenty more up his sleeve in the coming years. “I recently installed a set of non-staggered Volk TE37s and replaced my Spoon seats with some Mugen S1Rs,” Nick says proudly. “This year the car should be seeing some significant suspension upgrades, gusset plates, steering collars, some OEM CR components and a more aggressive alignment for starters.” Regardless of what happens next, rest easy knowing that whatever Nick dreams up for his S2K will be out of this world clean, high performance related and one hundred percent badass.
The S2000: What you don’t know
With just shy of 113,000 models produced globally from 1999–2009, the S2000 isn’t just a superb example of automotive engineering at its finest, it’s also one of the top-performing naturally aspirated two-liter engines on the planet. Almost immediately after production, the F20C engine featured on the AP1 received the “Best International Engine” award five years in a row, from 2000 to 2004. In bone stock from, the F20C engine outperforms nearly every stock engine available (no surprise, since it came from the same factory as the famed NSX), the inline four-cylinder engine produces impressive horsepower numbers from a relatively small package. Honda—The Power of Dreams.
Bolts & Washers
Tabata TR236 dual core
Tabata thermo switch
Tabata 1.3 radiator cap
J’s Racing thermostat
J’s Racing Tsuchinoko intake piping
J’s Racing SPL 66mm throttle body
J’s Racing SPL valve cover
J’s Racing oil cap
T1R power header
T1R 70REM titanium muffler
T1R 70mm with O2 Sim catalytic converter
T1R ignition bridge
T1R voltage stabilizer
Exedy Organic clutch
Spoon Sports flywheel
4.57 Ricks Gears differential
Spoon Sports magnetic drain bolts
J’s Racing differential plug
T1R B52 coilovers
T1R 12K springs
Spoon Sports X-brace
T1R front and rear bumpsteer kit
T1R 2-piece discs
Seido-ya N1500 pads
T1R 4-pot calipers
J’s Racing lines
Wheels And Tires
Volk RE30 17x9.5 wheels, +40 offset Bridgestone RE-11 tires 255/40/17
Spoon Sports Kevlar bucket seats
Spoon Sports recliner
Bride RO bracket
Alpine Type R components
Pioneer head unit
MOMO Corse steering wheel with NSX-R horn button
HKB Steering boss
T1R Bmax titanium shift knob
AP2 center console
Lexus Truffle Mica paint
J’s Racing Type S aero system
J’s Racing Type S carbon canard
J’s Racing Type V CFRP hood
J’s Racing front overfender
J’s Racing Type 1 1,600mm wing with high leg
ASM rear overfender
Mugen FRP hardtop
JDM side markers
Ben at A&J Racing, Type One Racing, Joe at Autotech, Will and Jackie at Speedtech, Dan at Screamin’ Paintworks
Screen Name Or Nickname
Building Hondas For How Long
Your Dream Car
JGTC J’s Racing S2000
What’s Playing In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
Greatest Movie Of All Time
Young And Dangerous