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 |   |  2007 Honda S2000 AP2 - …Sting Like A Bee!
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2007 Honda S2000 AP2 - …Sting Like A Bee!

Only the best right from the very beginning.

Jonathan “JT” Thompson
Mar 21, 2012
Photographer: Matthew Jones
Htup 1204 01+2007 honda s2000+cover Photo 1/8   |   2007 Honda S2000 AP2 - …Sting Like A Bee!

In 2009, to the dismay of many loyal Honda fans, the big H chose to cease production of the celebrated S2000 roadster. As with most automotive subjects these days, rumors began circulating about Honda’s engineering team possibly working on adapting specific elements of the S2K into an all-new vehicle. Similar rumblings were heard when the first versions of the CR-Z began surfacing, and though many tagged the Hybrid as a modern-day CRX, the similarities are strictly skin deep.

With the disappearance of Honda’s topless sports car, S2000 enthusiasts are capitalizing on the low entry price and endless aftermarket support, essentially scooping up the best of the best from parts warehouses worldwide. One such aficionado, Tae Min Chang of Georgia, was well ahead of the curve when he purchased his yellow AP2 right off the new car lot back in 2007. This was no impulse buy, as Chang had dreamt about owning an S2K ever since their introduction.

For the next three years, Chang enjoyed his AP2 in primarily stock form, and when the urge to mod was too much to resist, he gave in to the very basics like aftermarket wheels and a front lip. That is until the unthinkable happened: a collision that resulted in both front- and rear-end damage produced a settlement check from the insurance company that would ultimately serve as the true starting point for this build. Add to that check some additional “supporting” funds from his 60-plus-hour per week job, and Chang estimates the build total lies somewhere in the neighborhood of $25K. Where did all of that money go, you might ask? Chang adds, “The project philosophy was quality with performance, not one or the other.” An extensive amount of research, almost bordering on obsessive, is carefully put into each and every upgrade chosen for the roadster. In doing so, he’s rarely forced to revisit the proverbial drawing board, which is important, and has enabled the project to move forward faster than most. Heavy hitters like J’s Racing, Mugen, and Spoon Sports received Chang’s business at one point or another, the eager builder opting for only the best rather than relying on short-term stints with subpar upgrades that would ultimately end up in the dark recesses of his garage. An authentic Mugen front lip and extremely high-priced hardtop add some flair to the yellow exterior.

Already blessed with world-class handling, not much is needed to improve upon the S2000’s footwork. TEIN Mono-Flex coilovers were added along with J’s Racing’s lower camber joints and driveshaft spacers, and that’s the extent of the car’s suspension list. Simple yet effective, rather than complex and overdone is the name of the game. Those classic Volk TE37 rollers are forced to a halt by Spoon monoblock calipers and would typically be a straight bolt-on. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with Chang’s setup. “The brakes are cool, but I had to do so much to get them to work. I put the calipers on and went for a spin, and they were rubbing against the wheels. I tried some generic spacers, but it still wasn’t working. I spent a month working on a solution and in the end, ended up adding a new set of spacers and grinding down the OEM studs.”

Those 17x9 Volks look great, but they would stick out like a sore thumb (literally) without the proper fender work. Chang contacted Zen Motorsports of Suwanee, Georgia, for a custom setup that’s every bit as functional as it is aggressive (see sidebar).

Although the car is used as his daily driver, Chang got a taste of track action with his high-revving two-seater last year and is hooked. With the speed bug having sunk its teeth firmly into his neck, he’s now toying with the idea of boost. While many don’t have the funds that Chang does to apply to their build, he offers a bit of personal advice, “You don’t always have the best of everything, but do what you can with what you have. In the end, it’s really all about just having fun.”

Overfenders And Zen Motors
Overfenders have become quite common in the S2000 community. Chang knew he wanted an aggressive wheel setup that would require far more wheel clearance than the factory arches could safely handle, so he turned to the crew at Zen Motors to perform a custom setup. Run by owner Dan Kang, Zen Motors has been around since 2008 and is located in Suwanee, Georgia. The shop is a one-stop location for all of your automotive needs. From turbo and hard-core motor parts to fresh paint and body—these guys do it all.

In regards to the custom fenders, Dan states that it’s crucial to ensure you trust the job to a shop that truly understands bodywork. He warns that an average mechanic should not be trusted with such a skill-intensive modification. At Zen Motors, a job like this can cost as much as $1,300 for parts, labor, and paint. Dan stressed one other point: Do tons of research before purchasing the desired wheel and tire setup. Some combos are simply too extreme and could possibly rub regardless of overfenders. Something that can leave a sour taste in any enthusiast’s mouth. “Not reinventing the wheel can actually be very smart,” he (pun-intended) says.

Htup 1204 08+2007 honda s2000+exhaust Photo 8/8   |   2007 Honda S2000 AP2 - …Sting Like A Bee!

Bolts & Washers

Original F22
Password:JDM intake
J’s Racing SPL exhaust manifold
GReddy SE exhaust
J’s Racing CAT Killer
ARC heat shield
Spoon Sports ignition cover
Password:JDM cooling plate
Password:JDM radiator stay
Spoon Sports radiator hoses
J’s Racing oil cap
J’s Racing oil catch can
J’s Racing radiator cap
T1R ground wire kit
Hondata FlashPro
TEIN Type Flex coilovers
J’s Racing lower camber joints
J’s Racing driveshaft spacers
Spoon Sports monoblock brake calipers
Power Slot cross-drilled/slotted brake rotors
EBC Red Stuff brake pads
Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
Wheels And Tires
Front: 17x9 Volk TE37, +40 offset, 225/40-17 Dunlop Direzza
Rear: 17x9 Volk TE37, +22 offset, 255/40-17 Dunlop Direzza
Mugen front lip
J’s Racing carbon-fiber hood
J’s Racing hood rain guards
NRG carbon-fiber hood struts
Mugen hardtop
ASM rear overfenders
Password:JDM canards
Custom shaved front bumper
Custom painted rear bumper
Bride Vios Low Max seat
Bride seat rail
Custom headliner
CTR shift knob
AEM wideband gauge
AEM water temperature gauge
Speed of Sound dual-gauge pod
Chang family, Jae, Gabe, Kevin, Scott, JeongKi, Chammin, Kun Tae, Bouli Ramanou, Zen Motors, Number 2

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Dry cleaner manager
Favorite Site
Screen Name
Building Hondas
15 years
Dream Car
Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R
Inspiration For This Build
Car accident
Future Build
Something with a turbo


EBC Brakes
Sylmar, CA 91342
J's Racing USA (Performance Partners International)
Torrance , CA 90501
Tein USA
Downey, CA 90241
Torrance, CA 90503
AEM Power
Hawthorne, CA 90250
By Jonathan “JT” Thompson
11 Articles



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