Lee Harris is a Honda fan to the core. "I have always had a thing for Hondas going back to when I was 15 and I got my first car-a modest 1990 Civic DX hatch," says Harris. "I went through a number of Hondas until the Si Coupe came out and I had to get one. I liked that car so much I still have it; they just beg to be driven fast and fixed up.
"It was all cool until one day in 2001 when I was at the local dealership. I was excited to discover that Suzuka blue metallic was being added to the S2000 line-up-a color that really hooked me. I went back the next week with a deposit."
On January 14, 2002, Harris got the call he was waiting for. "So what was I going to do now that I had the most coveted Honda on the planet (except the NSX, maybe.)? Well, change it, of course."
The first things on the hit list were the factory air box and stock wheels. "I wanted wheels that I didn't have to see on every other Honda out there. Veilside's Andrew Racing wheels came to mind and I went to its Web site and found the nearest dealer, Evolution Autosports in Chantilly, Va., was six hours away. I got very lucky calling them," says Harris. "They are also into the S2000. In fact, one of the owners has one and enthusiasts bring their S2Ks to Evolution for tuning. Jeff steered me in the right direction; I ordered 18x8 and 18x9 Andrews, scored an Injen cold-air intake and a Spoon X-brace."
Like that popular fast food burger, Veilside wheels are only made after you order them. This meant Harris had a two-month wait for the hand-fabricated gems. He made excellent use of the down time by running through his extensive modification list. JDM headlights and side-markers were installed, a set of Tein CS coil-overs to provide tunable dampening and adjustable ride height and a cat-back exhaust were added. There are a lot of systems on the market, but Harris really liked the Tanabe system he put on his Civic Si, so he went with a Tanabe Super Racing Medalion setup.
Then the focus turned to body tuning; Harris was again enamored with Veilside, ordering a full-tilt body kit. He found himself in "hurry up and wait" mode. About three weeks later, his wheels arrived and Harris was really up on the boost. He got off work early, drove to Evolution, picked up the wheels and hung out for 30 minutes and got back home at 3 a.m. He shod the Andrews with Michelin Pilot Sports and he was flossing, big time. Then, while waiting for the sheetmetal upgrades to arrive from Japan, he looked for a painter and Peter Colvil's name kept coming up. So he arranged to have Covil lay the color and while it would take some time to get the Honda back, Harris was assured the car would be ready for the NOPI Nationals in September.
"It seemed anytime I was waiting for something to happen with the car, I would get more ideas and I ended up spending even more money," says Harris. "I thought, 'What does a 120-hp-per-liter engine need? Yep, more power.' So a Nitrous Express 50-shot system was wired up. The bottle was way too plain so I sent it to my friend Marvin Shivnarain at Artist Technicians to have it color matched.'"
The car was chilled out with some hard-hitting ICE (In-Car Entertainment) by Randy McLemore at Custom Car Hi-Fi who went all out, in fact installing the last monitor in the visor in a hotel room the night before NOPI. Rolling into Atlanta Motor Speedway, the S2K was flexing an Alpine DVA-7996 head unit that features a CD, DVD and MP3 player. Four Excel 5-inch monitors were scattered throughout the interior and the audio portion of the program was handled by Alpine separates in the doors, 4x6s in the headrests and two JL subwoofers. The speaker array was driven by a pair of Autotek MX-4500 amps.
Everything came together for the NOPI Nats and the car was a big hit. After the show, Harris couldn't resist temptation anymore; he had been jonesin' for boost and finally gave in to the craving. Evolution Autosports installed a Vortech supercharger kit and the drop-top became an instant hell-on-wheels ride. Factor in a Mugen header and a Clutch Masters clutch to lay down the power and Harris was down the road with an ear-to-ear grin on his mug.
The manner in which Vortech's centrifugal blower generates power in relation to engine speed is a perfect fit for the high-revving FC20 powerplant. The Vortech package includes a V-2 SC-trim blower with Super Quiet technology and an aftercooler. An A'PEXi V-AFC gives Harris the power to command where the VTEC effect hits but beyond that, all tuning is handled by the proprietary Vortech strategy. Harris estimates his mods add 110 extra ponies to the mix and that's before putting the squeeze on the engine with the nitrous system. That's some serious fun.
The S2000 is continuing to be a go-to platform among Honda fanatics and with a growing parts pool and falling used prices, it's no surprise. Our question for Harris is, "What do you do once you have reached the pinnacle of one's obsession?"