In May of last year, the pbskids staff picked up an AP1 for a video program called Week to Wicked. The premise of the production revolves around one vehicle, modified over a five-day period. Well, it's more like four days, since there's production, various product ads to cut, and more, along with not missing a beat in our normal day-to-day duties that involve putting together a print magazine, maintaining pace with our digital content, and an extremely busy social media schedule. Our goal was to address as many different parts of a build as possible, without running out of time.
We found a few S2000s online that seemed to be good candidates and ultimately landed on a private seller's '01 model. The earlier chassis was preferred simply because it's cheaper and our budget was limited. With around 130K miles on the odometer, the car was driven extensively to make sure it was up to par—and a quick diagnostic check at Sportcar Motion confirmed it was worth the asking price.
Suspension was the first area to focus on as the week got underway and AST Suspension supplied its 5200 Series Club Sport coilovers with external canisters. They feature a two-way adjustable shock based on the company's competition three-way shock setup. Adjustable in both compression and rebound, they're tame enough for the street yet fully capable of supporting track days and, in fact, the compression adjuster is an evolution of the same one used for the American Grand-Am series.
To back up the new shocks and coils, Energy Suspension provided its world-famous polyurethane bushing kit. With almost two decades on the chassis, the factory bushings were in dire need of replacement, and Energy's polyurethane kit not only outshines the performance of the factory rubber, but it will also outlast it. Areas like the upper control arms, front and rear sway bars, and differential mounts were all upgraded, and the very moment you hit the street, the difference can be felt. The AST 5200 and Energy Suspension combo drastically tightened up the roadster's turning ability, straight-line control, and overall ride quality.
Honda's F20C makes an impressive amount of power from a naturally aspirated 2.0L, and there are plenty of bolt-ons available. Unfortunately, they don't make a significant difference. Boost is typically where most owners look to make additional grunt.
GReddy's S2000 turbo kit was available for years, but more recently, the group revamped it, strengthening the exhaust manifold and replacing the original turbo with Garrett's GTX2867R Gen II turbo. The kit doesn't require modification other than trimming a little plastic, delivers some much needed midrange the F20C in naturally aspirated form simply can't, and it's packaged nicely and includes everything you need to make the transition to forced induction pretty seamless. Best of all is the C.A.R.B. exemption, a major concern for some, especially SoCal residents.
We were much more concerned with making the car more fun to drive rather than hunting for a big peak number that would tax the weathered F20C. In traffic, on surface streets, and entering/exiting freeway ramps is where this car will spend 90 percent of its life, and those environments are far more exciting with the "whoosh and shuffle" of GReddy's turbo kit.
No more downshifting and finding the gear that will jump into high-cam mode in search of sky-high revs in order to generate some power—just give it some gas and the GTX2867R Gen II does the rest, managed by GReddy's E-Manage system and overseen by a Profec electronic boost controller. To keep tabs on air fuel ratios, we also installed AEM's X-Series wideband sensor and mounted the gauge to the radio door.
We added GReddy's RS Race 3-inch cat-back exhaust, which is a direct fit and produced in 304 stainless-steel tubing. It doesn't use a resonator in the exhaust path, though there is a silencer option to help control sound. The exhaust tip is removable and you can opt for a variety of replacement options to customize the look.
The entire turbo kit and exhaust only took a day to install and, by the next day, it was ready to fire up. That is, after we added fluids. JX Nippon Oil & Energy created ENEOS, an oil brand that's well known and used by OEMs and enthusiasts in Japan. We saw the ENEOS Racing Street line of oil introduced at SEMA 2017. Intended for vehicles that will see spirited driving, including track time, it offers stability at high temps, helps resist oxidation and sludge, and even offers cold-start protection.
The clutch had been replaced at some point by the previous owner and wasn't showing any signs of slipping, but the additional power would change all that, so SPEC Clutch stepped in to offer a solution. We provided the expected range of torque and the SPEC crew selected their Stage II SH002 clutch kit and matched it with their lightweight flywheel (SH00A) that weighs in at just 7.95 pounds. The Stage II system is capable of holding all the power and more but isn't much stiffer than stock—an ideal package for a car that sees plenty of street use. Engagement is sharper and far more precise than the OEM clutch, and the new flywheel eases acceleration, especially from a dead stop. Not surprisingly, we haven't seen any sort of slippage from the Spec unit in place and it's poised to take whatever we throw at it.
Konig Wheels answered our call to ditch the skinny stock wheels and jump up to a 17x9-inch rear and 17x8 front using its Ampliform model in Dark Graphite Metallic. There were a number of Konig wheels to choose from that would work great with our S2K, but it was the sleek, mesh-inspired Ampliform that really caught our eye. Using Konig's Flow Formed technology we get a strong, lightweight wheel that looks right at home on Honda's two-seater.
Falken's Azenis FK510, an ultra high-performance summer tire, is perfect for a project like this. Hybrid undertread materials, a 4D Nano Design, and high-performance compounds deliver the grip we're after while not sacrificing ride quality and still carrying great wet weather traction and enhanced tire wear.
We added some more contrast to the build with a carbon-fiber hood and trunk. Unlike standard carbon pieces that carry a high-gloss finish, the dry carbon pieces we received from Seibon Carbon come with a matte appearance.
The stealthy look is accompanied by serious weight savings, and the precision pieces offer a factory-like fit and accept all OEM hardware. The only adjustment needed is drilling a few small holes if you want to include the OEM third brake light, which we did.
PUT SOMETHING ON
To keep the body safe while it sleeps in the MotorTrend Tech Center, Covercraft provided a custom car cover complete with the Week to Wicked logo and original rendering. The inside of the cover is incredibly soft and won't leave surface scratches when it's installed or removed, and the material has a little bit of stretch to keep it form fitted. With "pockets" designed specifically for the S2000's mirrors, bumpers, and antenna, it fits better than an OEM cover.
Once the Week to Wicked program was complete, the S2000 didn't really have any future plans lined up. It's been great to drive on the street, and the only issue so far has been a dead OEM battery, which we replaced with Odyssey's AGM-style PC925. Slightly bigger than stock, it fits the factory battery location but to give the positive terminal a little more breathing room, we re-drilled the battery tray and clocked it slightly.
I simply can't leave the car as is. A week just isn't enough time, and I want to clean it up further, so I volunteered to take over the build solo in order to take the look and feel of the car a bit further. The multiple cracks in the front bumper, the sneaky overspray and the fender dings from the car's previous life are driving me crazy, and they'll be addressed—along with some other updates I have planned. Stay tuned, there's more to come from this project in 2019.