Why have we had to wait so long for this test to be run? As the hosts of Everyday Driver say, the FR-S world is full of hype. No one would dare to say anything negative about it when the usual magazines do their usual kowtow road tests and sing its praises.
But in this test, a test the usual car magazines can’t do (because they would risk their press credentials and advertising revenue), a car designed in the mid-nineties, which went on sale in 1999, beats it hands-down. With clear results so there shouldn’t be any controversy.
Of course owners will always find controversy. But personally, as an owner and driving enthusiast, and as a driving instructor who has put significant miles on all three ourselves, we enthusiastically agree with the results of the test.
Trackforged of Portland Oregon, United States, has done what only the factory attempted once: Built a V-6 powered S2000. The engine is a J32A2 engine from an Acura TL-S, with 260 HP and 323 torque. It’s currently running on the factory ECU, but future plans include a special AEM computer. The engine is also running with the factory transmission. With only 25 pounds of added weight, and the engine even further back in the chassis, the “S3200″ will retain all the great dynamics it’s known for.
This is an interesting swap - for areas of the United States where emissions checks are a requirement (like ours), this swap – if done with the factory computer – could yield an emission inspection legal all-motor S2000. With the option of going forced induction later on. Lets hope that Trackforged puts the swap parts into production!
The following videos show the engine in the car and running as of August 2012. That, of course, is not enough: the swap must be completed with further engineering, a final wiring harness, possibly (hopefully!) provisions for the stock dashboard instruments (very closely tied into the original S2000 computer), parts that are able to be put into production, instructions written, parts mass-produced and stocked, and more. This takes a major investment in time and money and is not a fast or easy process (and any vendor who suggests it is should be avoided by you). So we’re looking forward to seeing more of these parts when they are ready.
Trackforged also has a cold air kit under development for ITB s2000s, and also has great experienced with turbocharged S2000s. Trackforged is clearly one of the best and most experienced S2000 shops in the country.
Follow our swap posts using the “Engine Swap” tag or category below.
We’ve covered various S2000 swaps before, particularly the Supra 2JZ-GTE engine swap (also here and here) that to date has produced the wildest S2000 ever. V-8 swaps are starting to become more common, probably because the S2000 offers a better platform for a V-8 swap than does a Miata. It’s slightly larger and it’s also a considerably more rigid platform.
But in both cars, anything above the original 4 cylinder engines is going to torque the chassis far beyond it’s design spec. Trips down the dragstrip will be a torsional nightmare for sheet metal integrity. And trips around a roadrace circuit will play havoc on parts such as spindles that were never designed for such torque. But those factors are not of primary consideration for engine swap enthusiasts: it’s the technical challenge and the sheer power that are the main attractions.
So here is what is probably the ultimate S2000 swap: a Viper V-10 engine. This swap is in progress right now, and you can follow the story over at www.V8S2000.com. We’ve saved some of the supplied pictures for the sake of posterity.
Be sure to follow our Engine Swap posts via their category and tags. We’ve got a considerable set of swap stories, and are always looking for more.
What to do with your lowly 92 horsepower Civic hatch? The usual and most popular swap route is a 1.8- or 2-liter VTEC DOHC 4, and the extreme route is a Chevy small block and rear wheel drive. This particular swap took the middle ground, but still the road less travelled. How about an Acura V-6 - pulled from its wrecked donor in an apartment complex parking lot!
We spotted this swap in person at Texas World Speedway, where it completed a weekend open track HPDE event. All in all, a very nice and clean swap with even more potential.
Follow our series of engine swap posts using the “Swap” tab below!
This is the full Best Motoring Special Number 8, introducing the Honda S2000 at it’s worldwide launch in 1999. It’s one of our favorite videos from our personal collection, and has now been made available in full on the new Best Motor TV (the rebirth of Best Motoring) site. It combines very rare video of the introduction of the S2000 to the public on 4 October 1998 at the F1 race on Twin Ring Motegi, along with special documentary videos of Motoharu Kurosawa (Gan-San to the rest of us), driving a final production prototype in France, Germany and on the Nurburgring.
The S2000 was a game changer in it’s time… and Best Motoring created on of it’s most extensive videos to introduce it and to communicate Honda’s thoughts about it’s design and purpose.
And we’ll venture our opinion, based on our ownerships as well as our extensive drives: The S2000 was without a doubt the inspiration for the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ… and as a pure driver’s car it blows the Miata into a ditch. And after all this time it’s still a better car than any of them.
Set your video to full screen, sit back, enjoy this hour-long video, and remember the S2000:
We originally ordered two copies of this video from Japan for our library, and have showed them to S2000 fans and to the local S2000 club. Nobody knew what to expect when we started this video, but they were soon captivated by it. It’s part of what we call our “S2000 Shrine”, a collection of S200 memorabilia currently numbering >150 items. That’s the impact this car made on us and we were an original owner of a model year 2000 S2000. Read more about our experiences on our site http://s2000enthusiast.com/.
Honda will introduce this ”Small Sports EV” electric concept at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show. We’re shocked, and it’s beautiful.
We’d given up on Honda when the S2000 replacement was cancelled, preceded by the cancellation of the wild V-10 powered new NSX.
But we’re also very disappointed in Honda because the company formerly known for its engine technology as well as it’s practicality and reliability and fallen significantly and steadily behind the engineering curve in recent years. Looking over the current line of engines, we’d ask where the independently variable intake and exhaust timing is, as well as variable valve lift and direct injection. Don’t even mention 6-speed automatic transmissions, which have just barely appeared in their highest-end luxury cars. Nearly everybody else has that engine technology very nearly across the board, and 6-speed automatic transmissions are in the process of being wholesale replaced by 7-, 8- and even 9-speed automatics. We won’t even ask Honda about a dual-clutch transmission.
The only engine left of any interest to enthusiasts, the Acura RDX turbo 4 cylinder, is saddled with outdated port injection and a lowly 5-speed speed automatic. Resulting in atrocious gas mileage. And is due to be cancelled next year. What might have been an “EcoBoost” type of engine, to compete with Mazda, Hyundai, Ford, GM, and BMW, is already dead and out of the plan. A better-engineered version might have powered a Civic S-Type or next-gen S2000, and it could have provided up to 35 MPG in those light and efficient cars.
With this new concept, there might be hope for some sort of Honda rejuvenation… perhaps along the lines of Toyota with its new FT-86 themed sports car. When that car appears next year (and we also know the idea of a new Supra is being explored), we will see a Toyota that recognizes and celebrates the joy of driving as well as the responsibility of environmental conservancy. Of course, Toyota has a dynamic leader (and experienced driver in sports car racing series) in Akio Toyoda – something that Honda is conspicuously missing. And Toyota is growing a new generation of enthusiasts engineers with the LFA project and some of the recent work in the Lexus LS-F and the new G series. Honda’s S2000 engineers have all retired, and the next NSX project is weighted down with political “green” undertones.
Only time will tell if any of the Japanese automakers can find their own way forward.
Well, (unfortunately) not yours. This is Mathol Racing in Germany in their full-race S2000.
But how would a stock S2000 on the Nurburgring compare? Who else to ask but Gan-san himself, driving around the ‘ring in the prototype S2000 in 1999. Yes, it’s faster than an NSX!
Wondering how to drive your NSX like Arton Senna? Ride with him and find out!
In followup to our last post, there’s always the question of what happened to the S2000 after it’s engine was removed for use elsewhere. But most of the time the car had been wrecked.
But sometimes not. This time a Chevy small block has found a new home in the engine bay of an S2000. And not just any engine – it’s an LS7! Yes, this is a 505-HP S2000!
The last time we saw a Chevy LSx swap, it was never completed. This one certainly isn’t the first or only, but it does appear to be clean and well thought-out. It’s even got a wide-body kit, and the dry-sump system was retained. See the video for the car with the newly-transplanted engine, minus front fenders and cap:
YouTube is full of videos of V-8 S2000s: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=v8+s2000 – and there is even a forum specifically for this: http://www.v8s2000.com. Apparently V-8 Miatas are old news… the new news is V-8 S2000s. With better chassis integrity, more interior room, and enough room under the hood for the swap.
It’s always terrific to see creativity in action and this is a great example. A walk ac ross a parking lot to a local Barnes and Noble stopped us in our tracks… what at first looked like an S2000 with a front spoiler had the wrong proportions. But wait, it’s a modded Civic with AP2 S2000 headlamps!