The S2000, among the last of the pure roadsters

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The S2000 is a roadster, a car Honda designed to connect the driver with the purity of man, machine and the curving road ahead, and with that in mind, everything about the car was designed to elicit a pure, direct driving experience.

There are similar cars, the MX-5 and Boxster immediately come to mind, but by the time the S2000 came along, neither stayed as true to the roadster ideal as the S2000 as they accommodated the masses with such frivolity as power hard tops and automatic transmissions. Great cars to drive are they, but they are not distilled like the S2000 was to focus on the driving.

Even the S2000 succumbed to a bit of this, with its power top, stability control and even a nod towards a cup holder, but it really was the last of the pure roadsters, designed an built for a particular owner that delighted in that connection between man and machine and who was willing to work to draw that connection out. No options, no luxury packages, no accommodating the casual driver. Simply one last, great effort to reconnect with an unadulterated driving experience.

If Honda had offered an automatic S2000, it would have sold more cars, possibly many more, as only about 5% of new cars bought today are even sold with manual transmissions. When you see an S2000 on the road, you know its owner is distinct from the driving masses – he or she knows a bit more about cars, a bit more about driving.

What Honda eventually presented the world, and what has been experienced by a truly lucky few, is a car that more faithfully adheres to the roadster ideal than any car since the original Miata, and that has not been seen since. With advancing technology and a human population less attuned to driving and the joy that can be had by it, it likely will be the last pure roadster we will ever see.

Everything about the car, from its mechanics to its cockpit, is designed to connect the driver with the road, to empower that driver, to deliver joy in every way possible through control, feedback, and immersion. Notice how you can control everything from the radio to the air conditioner from your hands’ perch on the steering wheel. Feel how the car moves around you in corners as you are tucked into its tight seat and cockpit. Listen to the engine’s scream as it runs to redline with an eager fury. Smell the oil, gas and rubber during a drive, knowing that the S2000 is alive and working for your pleasure. Few cars can claim such an elemental connection nowadays, fewer still can deliver it in such a pared down, honest manner.

During the S2000’s production run, just over 112,000 were built worldwide. During its decade of production, over 500 million passenger cars were built. If you have an S2000, know you have one of the rarest cars on earth, and one of the last of the pure roadsters. Enjoy it.

An original write up by Saki GT

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