The “S” Stands for “Special”

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The following article was written by an S2ki member back in 2001. While the S2000 has changed a bit since then, its essence and history remain the same. Many of us at S2ki thought this little homage was so well written that it deserved repeating here on the front page.




Yes I know it stands for Sport but it really could stand for special also. I also know most of you old timers know what makes it special but for some of the newer members and for those who may be sitting on the fence about purchasing one I thought I might recap some of what makes the S2000 such a very special automobile. 


Honda has been in business over 50 years (as has Porsche and Ferrari) and most of those years were spent competing at the very highest levels in motor sports, first with motorcycles, then with automobiles. Also like Ferrari and Porsche racing is in their DNA. Mr. Honda himself was a racer and a fanatic about building engines. He named the company “The Honda MOTOR Company” after all. Almost to the day he died he would don a white lab coat and be found in the HONDA R&D building tinkering with the new engine technologies and mixing with his young engineers. He made it a policy to send his young promising engineers to the different racing programs HONDA was involved in. He believed in proving the superiority of his products on the world stage of international competition. He believed that racing improved his products and more importantly, his young engineers. To this day The CEOs of Honda are all promoted from the ranks of engineers, not bean counters. HONDA has amassed an unbelievable amount of race wins and championships in all types of racing. There is even a saying about HONDA; “HONDA enters…HONDA Wins”. Many people believe (and I am one of them) that HONDA builds the best engines in the world. HONDA is the largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines in the world.

THE S2000 Overall

Designed as the car to commemorate Honda’s 50th anniversary.
Derived from the SSM (Sports Study Model) Prototype show car.
Designed by the same engineers who designed the Championship winning (6 times in 9 years) F1 engines for such greats as Prost, Piquet, and Senna.
Designed by the same engineers who designed the Acura NSX
Hand assembled in the same factory (Honda’s Premier Tochigi Plant) as the NSX.
Limited Production.
Only Front Engined Rear Wheel drive Honda Roadster available since the S800.
Has been on Car & Drivers 10 best list for nearly every model year.
Named to Road & Track’s Best both model years
The Engine has been named by Wards as one of the 10 best both years of production.
Has a perfect reliability score in Consumer Reports as well as rated as a best buy and named most fun to drive.
Is consistently compared to cars that cost upwards of $20,000 more and beats them.

The Car

SUPER rigid high center backbone X Frame design. Derived from a Colin Chapman design (Lotus). Is as rigid as many coupes. This allows a stiffer more highly tuned suspension without the worry of chassis flex.
Four wheel double wishbone suspension which is derived from the NSX design.
Showa gas Shocks with the rears having a remote reservoir.
Four wheel disc brakes with ABS.
Special design Bridgestone S02 tires.
Electric boosted power steering.
Integrated roll bars both behind the passenger compartment and in the windshield frame.
Excellent crash worthiness.
Recaro Seats.
Alloy pedals perfectly placed for Heel/Toe shifting
50-50 weight distribution. The S2000 is really a mid engine design with the engine mounted in front of the driver but behind the front axle.
Dual airbags.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights.
Big Red Starter Button!
All controls within fingertip reach of the Steering Wheel.
A minimalist design geared towards giving the driver the closest thing to experiencing a Formula type single seat race car for the street.

The Engine and Running Gear

The highest specific HP per liter, naturally aspirated production piston automobile engine in the world. 120HP/liter.
The highest revving production piston engine (car) in the world. 9000RPMs
Quite possibly the best engine size & weight per HP ratio of any naturally aspirated piston production engine.
With all this performance it is still rated as an LEV
VTEC on both intake and exhaust.
Forged pistons
Forged Rods
Forged crank
Hollow Cams (for lightness and oil flow to the valve springs)
Valve springs and main bearing material derived from the championship winning CART Engines.
Roller valve train
carbon fiber/metallic ceramic cylinder liners.
Chain/gear driven cams
Split cam gears for zero backlash and low noise
Hand welded and formed stainless headers
Nut less rod design
Girdled main bearing carrier with cast iron inserts.
Tapered wristpins for light weight
No balance shafts
Individual Coils for each cylinder
Die cast aluminum block
Die cast finned aluminum oil pan
Die cast finned aluminum Transmission case
Die cast finned aluminum differential housing
Torsion (torque sensing) LSD
Pressure fed oil circulation in transmission
Just about the best shifting 6 speed ever made.
Ferrari-like RED Valve Cover.


0-60 in under 6 seconds
1/4 Mile in under 14 seconds
60-0 in under 115 feet
Slalom at over 70 MPH
Skid Pad over .9 G

Well that is just some of what makes the S stand for Special. I am sure many here will add to this list. For those who don’t own one yet let me just say that all of the above adds up to the most engaging automobile I have ever driven. This is a true “Driver’s Car” and it is indeed very, very special because of that.

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