The S2000 has accessories galore on offer from several vendors. While the quality of vendor-manufactured accessories may vary, there is no doubt that Honda offers some of the best looking and functional (or in the very least, appearing to have some function) accessories for the S2000. The front lip, rear spoiler(s) and the side strakes multiply the visual appeal of the car. However, there is one accessory that we think is the king of them all and that is the OEM aluminum hardtop. You are probably sharpening your blades right now and preparing for a lynching as retribution for this blasphemy, after all the S2000 is a roadster and any proper roadster must always be driven top-down with a wide open grin so that bugs may splatter freely onto your pearly whites. Hear us out though and give us the benefit of a fair trial.
As much as the S2000 is fun to drive with the top down, there are times when one has to drive with the top up (especially during winter months or in inclement weather). Anyone that has driven with the top up has noticed that the interior feels claustrophobic. Massive blind spots are created with the top closed making lane changes an exercise in caution and luck. The OEM hardtop, by virtue of its design, is not only surprisingly roomier but also eliminates the blind spots to a great extent and gets as close to driving top down, in terms of visibility, as can be. With the hardtop on, wind and road noise are significantly reduced and one can actually hear the engine as it revs up to the limit, reducing the need for an aftermarket exhaust. The hardtop is a blessing for those that have no choice but to daily drive their S2000 during the winter because of the visibility it provides and because it protects the cloth top from the elements.
Those planning on driving their car on track, may find that some groups won’t allow the S2000 out on track unless it comes equipped with a hardtop or a roll bar or both. The days of open-top roadsters being raced without a shred of safety have long since passed. Several track instructors would be unwilling to ride in a convertible so getting a hardtop may not be an option for some if not most of us who drive on track. In the interests of your safety, it is always better to have both a roll bar and a hardtop should you have plans to track your S2000.
The hardtop is constructed using aluminum and weighs 44 lbs. It is well finished on the interior with soft padding and, by virtue of its clever design, adds more head room to accommodate a helmet, but the real visual impact it makes is on the outside – with the hardtop on, the S2000 appears like a whole other car. Gone is the friendly and sunny roadster attitude as the car now appears more lean, mean and muscular.
There is little wonder that, for reasons of function and form, the demand for hardtops today is higher than the supply. The few, if any, new ones that can be found command a premium price. For most of us, the only recourse may be to buy used. We can only hope that Honda keeps a supply of the OEM hardtops coming into the market so that, in the future, anyone considering purchasing the S2000 for track duty is not turned off by the lack of a hardtop on offer from the manufacturer. Perhaps they can take a page out of Mazda’s playbook and continue offering the hardtop to S2000 owners, especially those who seek to drive on track. More than anything, it will be the presence of the S2000 on track that will build its reputation and sustain its legend, and for that reason we think the OEM hardtop must always be available.
For the ease with which it can added and removed, for its ergonomics, for the manner in which it enhances the visual appeal of the car and for its help with making the S2000 compliant for track duty, we declare the OEM hardtop to be our favorite accessory.
Do you think or feel otherwise? Feel free to let us know in the comments section.
Images courtesy of Triple-H & Mark355