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2002 Honda S2000 - Emotional Connection

He almost left the import scene after his Civic was stolen, Huy Nguyen rekindled his Honda passion by building a stunning AP1 S2

David Pratte
Oct 1, 2008

Unless you’re a cybernetic organism like the Terminator or Donald Rumsfeld, chances are you’ve formed an emotional bond to the things that have brought you the most joy in life, from your favorite toy as a kid to your first car as a teenager. That’s the beauty of being human – we’re capable of feeling a sense of connection to other things, animate or inanimate, and this enriches our lives in countless ways. For car enthusiasts like you and me, it’s the sound of a blow-off valve chirping or VTEC engaging that makes the hair on the back of our necks stand up, an emotional response that stirs the soul and inspires gross abuses of credit cards and education funds.

Modp 0810 04 2002 honda s2000 side view Photo 2/13   |   2002 Honda S2000 - Emotional Connection

Huy Nguyen is just such an enthusiast, a pioneer in the import tuning scene in Virginia, inspired early on by the lightweight fun factor available in timeless Hondas like the EF CRX and EG Civic. Having first built a B16a-swapped ’89 CRX Si and then moving on to a ’93 EG hatchback with plans to do a K-swap, that all changed two years ago when Huy picked up a 2002 Honda S2000 as a daily driver. "My intention was to leave the S2000 stock and heavily modified the Civic”, but when the EG was stolen right in front of his house, Huy was ready to call it quits on the whole spocom scene. That’s when he reconnected with old friend Harry Nguyen, who he met while working at Nu Image Auto Sports, and connected with Team Emotion in the process, leading to the creation of one of the sickest street-driven S2000’s we’ve come across.

"A few months passed after the EG was stolen and the S2000 was still stock. Then me and a couple of my friends decided to go to ’06 HIN Dulles, where I reunited with Harry Nguyen. That’s when I found out that he was running one of the hottest teams on the East Coast [Team Emotion]. He introduced me to a couple members from Emotion, including Jason Pham. I saw a few of Emotion’s S2000’s and I instantly caught the Import Bug again." With help from Jason and Harry, Huy suddenly found himself piecing together his dream machine, with the goal of building the ultimate street S2000. "I wanted a show car with the power to back up the looks."

Starting with the engine, Huy knew from the very beginning that forced induction was the way he wanted to go. "There’s only one place that I would ever consider taking my car, and that’s Inline Pro. These guys are known for having some of the fastest Hondas." Leaving the 2-liter F20C engine internally stock, the experts at Inline Pro hooked Huy up with one of their GT35R kits along with a few tweaks to the kit including larger 880cc fuel injectors and a bigger 800hp front mount intercooler to go along with the standard kit goodies like a 3mm headgasket, cast iron manifold, oil return kit, fuel rail, boost controller and blow-off valve. Mishimoto also hooked him up with one of their aluminum radiators, 12-inch cooling fan, oil cooler and fan switch, while Huy added a little JDM bling with an ARC cover plate, Spoon Sports valve cover, spark plug cover, oil cap and rad stay and ASM overflow and oil catch can. Tuned by Inline Pro using an AEM EMS, this internally stock F20C was now pumping out a seriously impressive 523whp and 318wtq at 18 lbs of boost on pump gas. That’s enough power to elicit an emotional response from even the most diehard V8 fanboy.

Modp 0810 01 2002 honda s2000 front view Photo 3/13   |   2002 Honda S2000 - Emotional Connection

After hooking his S2000 up with 18-inch three-piece Work Meister S1 wheels, an INGS hybrid body kit, 6-pot Endless brakes and Zeal Function B6 coilovers, all from Mike at Evasive Motorsports, Huy decided to take the exterior one step further with some seriously exclusive ASM body parts. Tommy from Go Tuning Unlimited ordered up the ASM vented aero hood, vented front fenders, rear over fenders, and antenna, helping give Huy’s AP1 the distinctive visual appeal it now has. Finishing off the unique JDM exterior is a bold Spoon Sports front bumper, a design with real aerodynamic benefits to go along with the emotion-stirring looks.

Satisfied with the looks and performance of his S2K for a few months, it wasn’t long before Huy decided he needed more before hitting the show circuit. That’s where Harry Nguyen from Emotion stepped in again, introducing Huy to Mike Ma from M2motoring. "Mike said he could help me out in the audio department, hooking me up with a few new products from Memphis Audio. Then Jason from J.Pham Garage made a custom fiberglass trunk box with floating amps.

With the I.C.E. taken care of, all that was left was for Huy to take care of a few interior details like a pair of Bride XAX II seats with matching Bride-wrapped door panels and center console, Spoon Sports steering wheel and shift knob, Works Bell short hub and quick release, and Takata short version harnesses. The full compliment of Defi gauges can’t be missed either, but it’s the Cusco 6-point roll cage that helps define the overall look of this amazing S2000, along with its incredible assortment of exterior and under-hood upgrades.

Modp 0810 05 2002 honda s2000 rear bumper Photo 7/13   |   2002 Honda S2000 - Emotional Connection

In just two years time, with the help of his Team Emotion homeys and the rest of his sponsors, Huy Nguyen has succeeded in transforming his passion for Hondas and for the import scene into this trophy-winning S2000. And just like any hobby that’s fueled by emotion, in Huy’s words, "as far as the car is concerned, I’m nowhere near finished. This winter I want to do a color change and rock some new wheels so that I can start ’09 with a fresh look."

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2002 Honda S2000

Engine:
F20C 2-liter VTEC inline-4

Engine Modifications:
Inline Pro GT35R turbo kit, 3mm Headgasket, 880cc fuel injectors, cast-iron turbo manifold, 800hp intercooler and piping, oil return kit, fuel rail, 3’’ race exhaust, and blow-off valve; Turbosmart 38mm wastegate, Walbro 255lph fuel pump, Mishimoto radiator, 12’’ fan, oil cooler, and fan switch; Spoon Sports valve cover, oil cap, rad cap and rad stay; Samco rad hoses, Buddy Club hose adapter, ARC cooling plate, Skunk2 battery tie down, ASM overflow and oil catch can; T1R battery, Amsoil engine, transmission and radiator fluid.

Engine Management:
AEM EMS and Inline Pro boost controller.

Wheels, Tires & Brakes:
Work Meister S1 18x9.5 (f) and 18x10 (r) wheels, Dunlop tires, Endless 6-pot big brake kit, steel braided brake lines, and brake pads; T1R titanium lug nuts.

Suspension:
Zeal Function B6 coilovers, Cusco anti-swaybars (f/r) and rear lower tie bar; Spoon Sports front X-brace, T1R halfshaft spacer and anti-bumpsteer kit (f/r).

Exterior:
ASM vented eero hood, vented aero front fenders, rear over fenders, and antenna; Spoon Front Tai bumper, INGS Hybrid rear bumper and sideskirts; USDM clear headlight diffusers.

Interior:
Bride XAX II, seat rails and black leather gradation wrapped door panels and center console; Cusco 6-point roll cage, Takata short version harnesses, Spoon Sports shift knob and steering wheel; Works Bell short hub and quick release, Defi Control Unit II and water temp, oil pressure, oil temp, EGT, and boost gauges; Alpine IDA-X001 head unit, Memphis Audio M1 10’’ subwoofers, MSQ5 5.25, MSQ6 6.5’’ component speaker system and MCD500 amplifier.

Numbers:
523whp and 318wtq @ 18psi (93 octane)

Special Thanks:
Harry Nguyen and teammates from Emotion. Jason Pham from J.Pham Garage, Ya Nguyen, and John Lee @ Inline Pro, Tommy Ha @ Go Tuning Unlimited, Mike @ Evasive Motorsports, Vincent @ Ignited, Mike Ma @ M2motoring, Brain Fox @ Foxmarketing, Ryan @ Mishimoto, Chris @ Hotstickers.com, Memphis Car Audio, Polo @ SwankVA.com D-Basf, Amsoil, Dunlop Tires.

By David Pratte
216 Articles

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