It All Started Innocently Enough…
Over the coming months, we’re going to feature some of the very special cars and members of S2ki. Our inaugural victim is the flying burrito man himself, Sideways! Phil’s car is a legend, not just in the S2ki community, but throughout Southern California is many the Ferrari owner who’s felt the sting of being owned by what may very well be the fastest street legal S2000 in existence. Here’s Phil’s story in his own words…
The Mrs. was wanting a new Prelude and convinced me to stop by the local Honda dealer for a test drive the first Sunday morning in March, 2000. After a test drive we went to the showroom floor to talk with the senior sales associate. There on display was the first S2000 I had ever seen. It’s beautiful black form with red interior was roped off and no one was allowed to touch it. I had read about the S2000 is a magazine so I was aware of them.
I was asked by the senior sales associate if I knew what it was and I replied in the affirmative. I was told that the car belonged to a man that had put a deposit on it 6 months earlier and they had been trying to get in touch with him for 3 weeks unsuccessfully. While we were discussing the Prelude the sales manager decided to release the stunning black S2000 for sale. Knowing I would never put a large cash deposit on one and wait for six months I started lobbying the Mrs. right there and then. “It will be gone shortly so we need to act now.” An hour later the ropes went back up around it and it was mine.
A few months later I just had to add something to personalize it a little bit and when Comptech came out with the beautiful aluminum strut tower bar, I ordered one. It was such an innocent purchase and on a group buy deal too. This was my very first purchase. S2KI and S2000online didn’t even exist at this time.
I was so happy with the S and just loved driving it. Unfortunately I live in a tough neighborhood and nobody was accepting it. It did need a little more shine and a little more go so I started looking into ways to make improvements. I started by polishing some of the aluminum parts. The rear end and oil pan to start and then over the years, the intake manifold, valve cover, fuel rail and so on.
Mingster’s IDI offered a carbon fiber cold air duct for a reasonable price and that was followed by many other items like a cross brace and J’s 4.44s. Each seemed to make the car more personalized, quicker and more acceptable. Zaino did wonders for the appearance.
I met the tuning guru Shawn Church at the first major S2000 gathering held by Wanabe in West Los Angeles. Shawn was about to purchase a dyno.
Well, a couple years and several dynos later my S was up to 241rwhp and referred to by Shawn as a freak. I was a happy camper with the strongest S2000 around but still had this nagging feeling. I needed to be able to control it better. I picked up some light weight Regamaster wheels and racing tires. To help stop it I drilled and cryoed the brakes followed by racing pads, stainless lines and Motul 600 brake fluid. Finally after some track time with Speed Ventures I was learning how to drive my S.
The little horsepower increase was nice but still totally inadequate in my neighborhood.
I hooked up with Joe Alaniz for some head work, a group buy on the newly available Vortech supercharger and the new AEM EMS. That brought the S up to 361rwhp.
Much closer to acceptable in my neighborhood but still not quite there.
That was followed by larger injectors, smaller pullies, larger throttle body, intake porting, Toda headers, Amuse exhaust, brake improvements, carbon fiber parts, titanium parts, racing seat and so on.
To hook it up better I obtained larger 17 inch light weight Volk LE28s and installed Toyo 235-45 & 275-40/17 racing tires. I now go back and forth between the tire/wheel combinations.
Where is it at now?
Currently it is at 450rwhp, 265 lb ft of torque and less than 2600lbs. The S is accepted in my neighborhood after rousting some Chevys and Fords.
I am currently working with Jack Burns of Burn’s Stainless designing and testing an entire high flow exhaust system for supercharged S2000s.
The Mrs. no longer asks me to take her car shopping.
I frequently give advice to new owners to leave it stock. If only someone had given me that advice.
Fabulous cover photo courtesy of Drew Phillips http://www.drewphillipsphotography.com/ (there are more great pics of Phil’s car there under Autos/Honda)