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.
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/.
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!
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.
Reading the new issue of Road & Track today, with a very speculative article (as is usual with Sam Mitani, the ”news” is all dated and appears to be not based on any actual research outside of reading Japanese car magazines and the web) about the new FT-86, the spiritual successor to the original AE-86. The FT-86, or whatever it will be named once it reaches production, is belived to use a 200 HP 2 liter engine with Toyota-style dual direct- & port-injection. The original AE-86 used a port-injected 130 HP 1.6 liter DOHC 4. Times haven’t changed much, but 200 HP for a likely 3000-pound car isn’t much.
Which conjured up a vision of a monster – why not put the state-of-the-art DOHC 2 liter engine into the original AE-86? By “state of the art”, we mean of course the Honda 2 liter S2000 engine: 120 HP/liter. We remembered having seen this done somewhere, several times in fact. It’s actually very common in Japan. The example below is an American swap, complete with the engine, computer, 6-speed manual, and dash gauges (closely slaved to the engine computer, they are very commonly reused in these swaps).
As you can see, it’s very clean and looks right at home. And the power-to-weight ratio is certainly far ahead of the modern FT-86… and may stay that way unless Subaru puts their turbocharged STI engine into their version of the car. Something that is being denied at the moment. Unfortunate.
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!
Borg Warner Turbo Systems is nearing release of the most advanced aftermarket turbocharger in the history of the industry. The new EFR line literally takes the turbocharger to new levels which couldn’t even have been imagined just a few years ago. It features:
- hot side: titanium-aluminide turbine wheel – half the weight of the typical inconel wheel with the benefit of extremely low inertia
- cold side: forged aluminum wheel with advanced aerodynamic optimization
- cast stainless steel turbine housing
- integrated compressor recirculation valve – allows a blow-off valve to be easily installed with modification of the compressor housing
- integrated boost control solenoid mounting pad with optional integrated swivel-type wastegate
- dual-row ceramic ball-bearings
- wide range of options and A/R ratios
Full Race Motorsports has kits planned for March 2011 release including the S2000, Evo X, Porsche 996/997, Honda CRZ, and the Subaru WRX and STI. The kits have enormous potential for any type of racing, as well as street-driven cars.
Crank up your volume and watch this introductory video from Borg Warner. Full-screen recommended!
The Octane Report (always a great read) has more story including images of pre-production test EFRs on the S2000 and other cars. Note the dual-scroll housing with dual blow-off valves: another advantage of this design and the upcoming kit.
Start your reading with the Technical Overview from Borg Warner: http://www.turbodriven.com/files/pdf/efr_technical_data.pdf. Then read and download the Borg Warner EFR Turbochargers Technical Training Guide here: http://www.full-race.com/articles/efrturbotechbrief.pdf.
A new era of performance turbocharging is about to begin. For S2000 owners, this presents an opportunity to realize the full potential of the engine. We’re going to look at this once it’s available for HPDE events. The only remaining question is tuning, since we have a requirement in our county for fully operational OBD-II for the yearly emissions check-up. We’ll be back with more information once the kits are released into production.
The Motor City blog in Detroit posted these images yesterday that left us “cold”. This is obviously an enthusiast – note the “Nurburgring” license plate. And he is apparently so die-hard that he is compelled to use his summer car no matter what. He does have snow tires, and his S2000 is equipped with an excellent heater and (defeatable) traction control.
But look at this own “top” sticking out over windshield header – the one thing he is not equipped with is a hat.
Enjoy the pics, and be glad it’s not you. And remember, driving enthusiasts, that it’s perfectly ok to drive an old “winter car” during the snow months.
The “Motor City” blog is a good read in summer or winter. Follow them here:
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