Daily Slideshow: J-Series AP1 Does Things a Little Differently
How about an S2000 that has lots of torque, perfect weight balance, and Honda power?
Coming Full Circle
Chris Dornon isn't some big name car builder. In fact, he's a seasoned photographer, one who's taken impressive shots of a wide variety of machinery for the likes of Super Street and Honda Tuning. And yet, Dornon has built what easily ranks as one of the most impressive Hondas we've seen in quite some time. And, rather ironically, his AP1 now graces the pages of the very publication he's shot photos on behalf for a half decade.
Hitting the Trifecta
We know what you're asking - what, in a world ripe with modded Hondas, sets Dornan's ride apart from the crowd? Well, for starters, how about the fact that it has a J32A2 Honda V6 under the hood? The idea for the unusual swap came from one perceived problem with the F20C. "The only real hang-up of the S2000, in my eyes, was its lack of torque," Dornan explained to Super Street. "So we thought, 'How great would it be to have a little more torque, ideal weight balance, and factory Honda reliability, all in one?"
Making the Impossible Possible
As clean and sanitary as the engine transplant turned out, it might seem like an easy task. But nothing could be further from the truth. After all, most J-series engines were mounted transversely. They're also a little taller than the C-Series V6s, which meant certain clearance issues in the S2000. The direction of the intake manifold also necessitated a redesigned oil pan and delivery system that wouldn't starve the engine under acceleration. With a redesigned oil setup and a flipped intake plenum, Dornan was able to make it work with no problem.
Fabrication Skills Required
Of course, that wasn't the only hangup in making this formerly traverse engine work. New coolant lines had to be fabricated, as did custom ceramic-coated headers, Y-pipe, and stainless steel exhaust. Then it was on to making the S2000's stock transmission work with an engine it wasn't designed to. Dornan figured out that an Acura MDX starter, coupled with a modified engine/trans adapter plate, solved his problem. Of course, using a transmission with a short final-drive ratio with the torquey motor also meant that a gear swap was needed.
And that explains why you don't see more J-series swapped S2000s on the road. But Dornan is pretty happy with the results of his labor (and probably multiple headaches). Plus, successfully working through difficult problems like these have given him the confidence to push forward with bigger, better plans for his build. And isn't that what the world of tuning is all about?