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2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

New Jersey accountant uses his lifelong love of cars to build the ultimate S2000

Joey Lee
Oct 28, 2011
Photographer: Eric Tong

As you get older, you realize how much your childhood impacts your everyday adult self. Obviously, this can be a good or a bad thing, but there is no doubt that what you did when you were younger played a role in who you are now. You will find out that you continue to do the things that you loved as a kid as an adult, just on a much larger scale. When you were a child you may have gone to random places in your neighborhood to discover areas that you had never been. You then grow up with a fascination for discovering new places and travel the world. In your adolescent years you may have found yourself doodling on a restaurant place mat or constantly drawing on whatever was around you, and grow up to be an artist. There are indications early on in life that drive and motivate you to do what you love in your later years, whether it be as a simple hobby or as a profession. As an automotive enthusiast, you probably grew up always having cars or something car-related around you that made you appreciate automobiles—and probably also inspired you to pick up this issue of Import Tuner. For New Jersey native Richard Arcilla, his love for cars was most certainly what motivated him to build this incredible Honda S2000 that you see before you.

Impp 1111 04 o+honda s2000+roll cage Photo 2/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

“I’ve always had a passion for cars.” Richard says. “Even at the young age of 4, I collected all different kinds of Matchbox cars. My mom would buy me water-based paint kits to change the color of the cars and everything. I even had the Matchbox garage with the car wash bay so it was like having my own little detail shop.”

Just knowing that Richard had the Matchbox car wash set has probably triggered an intense sense of jealousy that laid dormant from your childhood. As a kid, having the cars themselves was expected, but having the matching car wash was almost a bit of a pipe dream. You would go to the store and beg and beg for hours for the car wash set, the parking garage, or the LEGO gas station—and not get any of them. You knew one kid on the block who had one of them and you probably hated him; Richard was that kid. If you were jealous then, we hope you’re not an S2000 owner, because you’ll be more envious now than ever. In terms of S2000s, this custom Lamborghini Yellow, Amuse GT1-armored S2K is the childhood equivalent of every Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and LEGO set you never had all rolled into one. Richard wasn’t always the enviable kid on the block though. As he got older, he found himself being the envious one.

Impp 1111 05 o+honda s2000+engine Photo 3/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized
I told myself that I would just lower the car and get wheels but I just couldn't stop.

“When it came to real-life cars, I believe my cousins were my main influences growing up. They had an AE86 Corolla, Jackson Racing–supercharged Prelude, and a CR-X SiR. You would probably find me riding shotgun in their cars, because I always begged them for a ride every time I would go over to their house. I later discovered the whole Japanese or ‘JDM’ style of tuning when I met my good friend Jesse Chuck from Chuck Motorsports. He introduced me to Rob at Fizz Autosports in New York, and I was hooked after that.”

Impp 1111 06 o+honda s2000+afi intake manifold Photo 4/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

Family and friends created his interest in Japanese cars, but his first build was actually a very non-Japanese BMW 330i. The ’03 Bimmer had baller HRE wheels, body kit, and all the fixings, but the S2000 he purchased as a daily driver was just screaming to be modified. “I always loved the S2000 chassis ever since it came out in 2000. The overall look of the car is just timeless, and it’s evident in its 10-year production run. It’s just a great looking car. I told myself that I would just lower the car and get wheels but I just couldn’t stop.”

Richard credits Japanese Best Motoring DVDs and a Playstation 2 copy of Gran Turismo for really pushing him to take his S2000 to the next level. The Powerhouse Amuse widebody S2000 on the television screen led him to build his own stateside interpretation of the car. Many would get the Amuse replica aero kit, paint it the OEM color, and call it a day but not Richard. He not only sourced himself a legit, real deal Amuse GT1 kit, he also modified it to his own liking by adding custom carbon-fiber canards and side skirt vents. Instead of painting it the OEM S2000 color or reproducing the silver or white of the original Powerhouse Amuse demo cars, he had the entire vehicle painted a three-stage Lamborghini “Giallo Orion” Yellow with an added touch of green pearl. If the custom yellow hue and widebody aren’t enough to capture your attention, Richard also added a plethora of other exterior rarities like an authentic Mugen hardtop (with legit serial number) and First Molding JGTC side mirrors. To fill out the added space of the widened fenders and quarter-panels, Richard went against the grain of the typical Volk CE28Ns used by Amuse and opted for aggressively sized 19x10 Advan RS-D wheels front and back. Sitting behind the black-faced Advans are four-pot Project Mu stoppers on 14-inch front discs.

Impp 1111 07 o+honda s2000+breather Photo 8/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

“The exhaust presented some issues after the installation of the kit.” Richard says. “You can’t just go out and purchase an off-the-shelf aftermarket exhaust, because there isn’t one that’s made specifically for the Amuse GT1 kit. The end of the exhaust actually routes through the rear bumper of the kit, and I ran into a lot of exhaust/muffler guys who weren’t willing to make one for me. Eventually, I found Don at Straightline Performance who built a true dual exhaust for me. That whole ordeal was a minor problem in comparison to what I went through dealing with the engine bay.”

Impp 1111 08 o+honda s2000+arc spark plug cover Photo 9/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

In the larger Civic/Integra community, full engine bay customization has become all the rage in the last couple of years. Engine wire harness “tucking”, deleting unnecessary items, and shaving of engine bays have almost become a standard. Within the smaller S2000 subculture, engine bay customization has not become a popular and/or necessary modification. S2K guys still have their eyes on Japanese aero parts, aggressive wheel fitment, and Vortech superchargers. Shaved and tucked S2000 engine bays are few and far between and almost unheard of. There are a couple enthusiasts here and there who have attempted and accomplished something similar but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that they haven’t done it to the extent that Richard has. What made the “tuck and shave” even more painstakingly difficult was the GT3076 turbocharger and all the fixings that came from boosting the F20C motor.

“The most unique aspect of my build has to be the engine bay. I haven’t seen too many S2000s with shaved engine bays and a custom wire tuck so I went to the extreme to have the cleanest engine bay possible. The engine harness is custom made and rerouted along with the fuse boxes to the interior or hidden inside the fender liner. The whole bay was smoothed-out with corners squared-off, holes TIG-welded, and everything sanded down. It literally took 100-plus man-hours of labor just to get the engine bay how I wanted it.”

Impp 1111 09 o+honda s2000+interior Photo 10/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

Where the engine bay sees subtraction as a positive, the interior of Richard’s S2000 is transformed with a number of additional aftermarket components. The stock seats have been removed in favor of Bride Gias Low Max seats. The Bride gradation material is also transferred to other sections of the interior including the center console, door panels, and even the floor carpet, where additional “Hyper Black” material is added to wrap around the base points of the blue six-point Cusco rollcage. The rear partition where the original convertible soft top once occupied has been deleted and a custom audio enclosure wrapped in black suede and yellow stitching now sits in its place.

“I call this S2000 my ‘Bumblebee.’ ” Richard says. “It’s been with me for five years and has treated me well through thick and thin. I am very happy with what I built and accomplished with this vehicle, and honestly never thought that it would have turned out this way initially when I first purchased it. There were moments during the build process when things got difficult, especially with the engine bay work and waiting on parts to come in from Japan, but I learned to be patient. There were times when it would take four to six months just for a particular part to arrive. Being patient is critical, though, when it comes to these extensive builds. As people have said: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ ”

Impp 1111 10 o+honda s2000+bride seat Photo 11/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

Behind the Build

Name.
Richard Arcilla

Age.
28

Hometown.
Closter, NJ

Impp 1111 12 o+honda s2000+rear Photo 12/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

Occupation.
Accountant

Build Time.
5 years

Feedback.
richarcilla@gmail.com

Hobbies.
Traveling, collecting Nike SBs, watching movies, and playing Playstation 3

Motivation.
“It has been my passion to build something unique and something I could be proud of.”

2001 Honda S2000

Output: 850 hp & 650 lb-ft

Engine ’01 Honda 2.0L F20C; AFI intake manifold, twin-scroll manifold; GT3076R turbocharger with twin-scroll housing; 3-inch downpipe with V-bands; Tial 38mm MVS wastegates (2x), 50mm blow-off valve; Garrett front-mount intercooler with black powdercoated intercooler piping; Inline Pro fuel rail; AEM 1052-UEGO, Platinum Edition fuel pressure regulator, boost solenoid; K&N turbo filter; Injector Dynamics 1,000cc/min fuel injectors; Walbro 255-lph fuel pump; NGK Iridium spark plugs; custom dual 70mm exhaust with MagnaFlow mufflers; Skunk2 VTEC solenoid cover; Spoon Sports valve cover signed by Ichishima-san, reservoir socks, radiator stays; ARC oil cap, cooling plate, gradation engine cover, radiator, radiator cap, radiator hose endcap; Samco Sport radiator hoses; FAL custom-fit slim cooling fans; (25x) 10mm Mugen license plate bolts in engine bay; Top Secret carbon-fiber hood dampers; Custom wire-tuck

Drivetrain ACT HDD Street-spec clutch, lightweight flywheel

Impp 1111 11 o+honda s2000+rear Photo 13/13   |   2001 Honda S2000 - A Dream Realized

Suspension KG/MM 32-way racing-spec adjustable coilovers; Comptech front, rear sway bar; Spoon Sports crossbrace; GT-Spec mid-brace

Brakes Project Mu front four-pot big brake, 14-inch slotted floating front brake rotors; Stoptech rear slotted brake rotors; Endless stainless steel brake lines

Wheels & Tires 19x10 +15mm Advan RS-D; 255/30-19 Yokohama S. Drive; Project KICS Neo-chro R40 lug nuts

Exterior Powerhouse Amuse GT1 widebody aero kit with custom 1x1 carbon-fiber fins, canards, and bumpers; three-stage Lamborghini Giallo Orion with green pearl paint; custom shaved engine bay; Weber Sports carbon-fiber hood; Mugen carbon-fiber hardtop (Serial No. 75); Voltex Type-2 carbon-fiber wing with standard stands; GTM carbon-fiber 1x1 lip spoiler; First Molding JGTC carbon-fiber mirrors; shaved antenna; AP2 headlights; JDM clear side markers, black trunk badge

Interior Bride Gias Low Max Maziora seats, Low Max seat rails; carbon-fiber trim; Zoom carbon-fiber rearview mirror; J’s Racing shift knob; black suede shift boot with yellow stitching; AP2 center console with Bride upholstered armrest in Hyper Black; Password:JDM carbon-fiber center console; Cusco six-point rollcage with harness bar; Takata safety harnesses; Works Bell steering wheel hub, quick-release; Personal Grinta suede steering wheel with yellow stitching; gutted soft top

Electronics Defi Control Unit II Ver. 2.0, BF Imperial PSI 60mm boost, fuel pressure, oil temperature, water temperature, and EGT gauges; AEM UEGO wideband; Valentine radar 1.8V; JVC KD-AVX2 head unit; Focal Utopia 136W speakers, crossovers, 27wx 11-inch chrome-plated subwoofer; Audison VRx 1.500, VRx 4.300; Optima Yellow Top battery relocated to trunk; Viper 791xv alarm with remote start

Gratitude First and foremost, I want to thank my girlfriend, Cindy R. Avetria, of eight years for her support and sticking with me throughout my mod addiction; “Bubba”; my family and friends for their support, especially my parents; everyone who worked on this project: Chris at Done Rite Auto Body, Jeff at JDV Motorsports, Jesse at Chuck Motorsports, Ben at Idealistic Designs, and Jeff at Evans Tuning; the Dteknic family for their support back when my S2K was still a pipe dream; my team, AutoConcepts Elite; the S2KI metro community; TDmotorsports; The Speed lounge; Eat Sleep Race; and Rema Tip Top North America

Sources

By Joey Lee
243 Articles

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