July 4, 2022

Honda’s reply to the MX-5 wasn’t to hitch it however beat it into submission with its astonishing S2000, providing 240 bhp from a race-bred four-cylinder engine with no turbo in sight. Right here’s our Honda S2000 purchaser’s information.

When an organization like Honda decides to construct one thing particular to shout about its 50 years in enterprise then you recognize the result’s going to be spectacular and so it was when the wraps got here off the S2000 in 1999.

Recent on the heels of the expertise showcase which was the NSX, the S2000 was in idea a type of grown-up Mazda MX-5, taking that automobile’s back-to-basics strategy however including considerably extra sophistication and practically double the facility output.

The center of the Honda S2000 was its engine: a 2-litre twin-cam four-cylinder into which the agency threw the entire of its accrued information over its half-century of existence, with most of the design crew taken from the F1 engine programme. The consequence was an influence output of 240 bhp which was achieved with out turbocharger or supercharger however by including the agency’s trick VTEC variable cam timing and letting it spin to a heady 9000rpm.

You may be forgiven for anticipating the consequence to be a lumpy, awkward unit to drive however in actuality it was as docile in on a regular basis use as a primary Civic and was additionally in a position to meet the strict California emissions laws. Preserve your foot in it till the needle hit 6500 rpm although and the change in character was beginning because the VTEC did its factor and the needle leapt to the 9000 rpm redline. At this level, the short-shifting six-speed field got here into its personal and the grip afforded by the double wishbone chassis was a lot appreciated.

The physique was designed to attain class-leading rigidity however the S2000 additionally weighed in at simply 1260kg, which means efficiency was energetic: 0-62 mph in simply 6.2 seconds and a prime velocity of 150 mph. Not dangerous going from a 2-litre four-pot.

All of which implies there’s nothing fairly just like the S2000. Sure, there are open two-seaters which offer related efficiency however none of them handle it with such magnificence of engineering and with out utilizing both a lot bigger engines or not less than one turbo. For that purpose alone, it deserves the standing of contemporary traditional and that’s earlier than you issue within the excellent Honda construct high quality and the neat styling which efficiently up to date the normal roadster form with out resorting to clumsy retro.

What’s extra, they’re presently startling worth however you’d finest be fast: these automobiles have all the time had a robust fanatic following and the demand for traditional, unmodified automobiles will shortly see values climbing.

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Honda S2000 historical past

Launched in 1999, the S2000 was supplied in UK-market kind as only a single 240 PS mannequin. Customary spec was beneficiant, together with an electrical roof, leather-based seats, HID lights and air-con. For the 2002 mannequin yr, the automobile obtained revised spring and damper settings to make it much less twitchy, a heated glass rear window within the convertible prime and minor beauty particulars: a brand new leather-based and alloy gearknob, silver stereo cowl, darker alloy wheels, chrome rings across the tail lights and bigger Honda badges.

In 2004 the automobile obtained extra main modifications, together with extra main suspension adjustments Together with a softer rear finish), revised bumper design and 17-inch wheels, whereas the VTEC ‘switchover’ was made smoother, with many homeowners reporting that these revised engines use much less oil. A welcome change for the 2006 mannequin yr was the change to a drive-by-wire throttle as a substitute of a mechanical cable, which permitted the choice of traction management. Many house owners pushing too onerous within the moist had found simply how straightforward it was to spin a rear-drive automobile just like the S2000 and this saved many from embarrassing spins. You’ll be able to recognise these automobiles at a look by the shortage of a gap within the centre of the headrests.

The ultimate change got here with the 2008 mannequin yr, which launched traction management as a typical characteristic and introduced extra adjustments to spring and dampers in addition to totally different alloy wheels with a wider spoke design. Manufacturing of the S2000 lastly led to 2009 after greater than 110,000 had been offered.

Honda S2000 purchaser’s information? Right here’s what to search for: 

Bodywork

For as soon as, we received’t be advising you to grovel underneath the automobile in search of structural rust, however as a substitute be in your guard for accident injury. It’s a strong, light-weight automobile pushed by its rear wheels and with pre-2006 fashions not coming with digital traction management they’re notoriously straightforward to spin, particularly within the moist on lower than good tyres. For that purpose it pays to make the same old checks of panel gaps, overspray and paint mismatch.

The electrical roof is mostly dependable too, though many don’t sit flush with the bodywork when lowered because the elasticated tensioning straps are likely to weaken with age. Substitute Honda S2000 roofs can be found which is able to make the hood fold neatly once more. If the roof catches on the display rattle at velocity, this may be right down to worn striker plates that are simply changed with later elements that are considered produced from tougher steel.

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Honda S2000 Buyers Guide

Engine

Contemplating its spectacular specification, the Honda engine is surprisingly freed from any points, with most issues being niggly fairly than elementary. A defective MAP (Manifold Absolute Strain) sensor could cause intermittent tough operating, ‘kangarooing’ at slower speeds and misfires within the VTEC rev vary however is well cleaned or changed. Corroded wiring to the ECU could cause tough operating issues which may be tough to diagnose. Different issues can embody failed oxygen sensors, consumption air temperature sensors and injectors however all are simply sorted and are easy DIY fixes too. A loud cam chain may be attributable to a failing tensioner.

Transmission

The gearbox within the S2000 was developed specifically for the automobile with the intention of constructing it gentle and in addition as slim as doable to ensure that the engine and field to take a seat way back to doable within the bodyshell. The design options light-weight gears working with a equally light-weight engine flywheel and is mostly a dependable unit though some hard-driven automobiles have proven issues with the synchro in larger gears. Some homeowners have reported that heavy clutch motion has been cured by fastidiously greasing the discharge fork by way of the aperture within the bellhousing utilizing grease on the tip of a chunk of wire.

Brakes

You’re 11.8 inch vented discs on the entrance with 11 inch strong discs on the rear they usually’re effectively as much as the automobile’s efficiency. If a automobile has uprated brakes, ask your self why: it may have seen a good few monitor days. Service elements aren’t too costly for a automobile of this calibre: a set of entrance pads is £47, though the entrance discs are expensive at round £90 every.

Tyres

The S2000 could be very delicate to the right tyres and the unique Bridgestone ES02JZ have been specifically developed for the automobile. These have been later changed for the 2004 mannequin by Bridgestone RE050s that are a effectively regarded tyre and a very good substitute for the originals that are now not accessible.

Honda S2000

Steering & suspension

With a view to cut back the parasitic drag from an engine-driven hydraulic pump, Honda went for electrical energy steering on the S2000. Derived from the NSX setup, it varies the extent of help in accordance with highway velocity and in addition makes use of a variable gearing ratio to offer progressively faster steering because the wheel is turned additional. It’s a dependable system and a dashboard warning gentle will inform you if one thing’s mistaken.

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The suspension is among the automobile’s few Achilles’ Heels although. It’s described as an ‘in-wheel’ design by Honda on account of the componentry being formed in order that many of the construction may be accommodated inside the usual 16-inch wheel, in flip permitting a decrease bonnet and rear deck.

In commonplace kind with the whole lot working correctly, the result’s beautifully balanced dealing with and a stunning taut really feel, however sadly many automobiles are affected by seized wishbone bolts the place they go by way of the centre of the metalastic bushes connecting them to the bodyshell. This isn’t an issue till a wheel alignment is required – and these automobiles are delicate to the right alignment. At this level you’ll uncover that the bolts can’t be moved and that Honda will provide solely a whole arm and never the bush individually. Many eager homeowners and specialists will grease the bolts with anti-seize to stop this occurring.

On the entrance finish, the castor or ‘compliance’ bushes can break up which turns into an MoT failure. Once more, Honda doesn’t promote the bush by itself, however aftermarket elements can be found.

Honda S2000 Buyers Guide

Inside

Actually? It’s a Honda you’re speaking about so when you discover any unfastened or rattly trim then it means somebody has been in right here becoming aftermarket stereos or alarms. In the event you do see an upgraded stereo, verify that it really works with the unique distant controls. What appears to be a squeaking dashboard can usually be the bonnet launch catch or the rear view mirror mounting.

In the event you discover a puddle of water within the passenger footwell, don’t assume the roof is leaking – it’s fairly possible the condensation drain from the A/C unit which has been kicked off. It’s a easy job to slide it again into place.

Honda S2000 Buyers Guide

Honda S2000 values

When simply a few years in the past, £5k may bag you a high-mileage S2000, you’ll be £8k now. People who fancy a automobile that’s barely much less tiresome will want £10,000, with the £12k+ mark opening the door to automobiles with round 50,000 – 80,0000 miles on the clock. It’s value noting that Honda proudly boasts that it has by no means had a guaranty failure on a VTEC system, so be sure to purchase on situation, fairly than mileage.

Be sure to try our evaluate of the S2k right here.

Tech spec: Honda S2000

Engine: 1997cc
Energy: (bhp/rpm) 240/8300
High velocity: 150 mph
0-60mph: 6.2 secs
Consumption: 29 mpg
Gearbox: 6sp man
Size: 4135 mm
Width: 1750 mm
Weight: 1260 kg

Phrases Paul Wager