My Newest Project Is a Honda S2000 With 300,000 Miles on the Clock

Brian Silvestro
·4 min read
Photo credit: Brian Silvestro
Photo credit: Brian Silvestro

Cars with high mileage don’t bother me. A six-digit figure on the dash might seem daunting at first, but you soon realize that if a car with so many miles on the clock is still on the road, that means it’s been taken care of. Otherwise it’d be in a junkyard due to neglect or abuse. Mileage was the main reason I was able to get such a deal on my latest project: This 300,000-mile S2000.

I’m Sorry, How Many Miles?

Yes, you read that correctly. This Honda has been driven from the earth to the moon and then some, and it shows. The paint is faded, the interior is tired, and there’s a ton of rattles. There’s a hole in the (likely original) soft top, and there’s rust starting to develop on one of the fenders, despite the car being from a southern climate. It’s rough.

Photo credit: Zach Bowman
Photo credit: Zach Bowman

There are some bright spots. The previous owner claims the engine and transmission were rebuilt at around 275,000 miles, though he didn’t have any receipts to back it up. I’m inclined to believe him considering the amount of oil the naturally aspirated two-liter F20C burns: around one quart every 1000 or so miles. If this engine were original, it’d be drinking a whole lot more. If you’ve ever owned or had to deal with an early AP1 S2000, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So How Many Mods Does It Have?

Very few, shockingly. You’d expect a beat-up S2K with this many miles to be modded into the ground with Fast and Furious-style graphics and tacky add-ons. But this one has lived a fairly tame life, as far as I can tell. It arrived totally stock save for a cold-air intake and a set of eBay-quality aftermarket coilovers (which I've since replaced with a set of new KW V3s). The exhaust, engine, interior, wheels, and brakes are all factory.

Photo credit: Zach Bowman
Photo credit: Zach Bowman

I prefer an OEM look and feel to my cars, so this is all good news. Of course, seeing as how there are a few things that need to be replaced and updated, I’ll likely turn to the aftermarket for some parts; I predict a set of sportier seats in this car’s near future, for instance.

Now, the Most Important Question: How Does It Drive?

Here’s the kicker: This S2000 drives wonderfully. Everything is tight and dialed, with no major flaws to be found in the steering, suspension, or drivetrain. I thought for sure all of the bushings would be blown out and the car would ride terribly. But no, it’s perfectly normal.

Sure, there are a few things that need attention, but this is already the best-driving car I’ve ever owned (sorry M5). There’s a reason these cars are steadily appreciating in value; they’re truly excellent from behind the wheel, even with this many miles on the clock.

What Exactly Does it Need, Then?

Oh, a bunch of stuff. Make no mistake, this is definitely a project car that’ll require a good bit of time and money to be ready for track duty this summer.

The main issue right now are the brakes. The pads are well past needing replacement. Same goes for the rotors and the fluid. I’ve ordered a bunch of replacement parts meant for high-performance applications, and I’ll be installing them soon.

Photo credit: Brian Silvestro
Photo credit: Brian Silvestro

Then there’s the VTEC. It simply doesn’t activate... at all. There’s a solenoid on the side of the engine that’s supposed to kick in when you reach a certain rpm, but for some reason, the one on this car doesn’t work right now. I haven’t really looked into it as it doesn’t affect how the car drives, for the most part. It could be as simple as a blown fuse somewhere.

As far as livability goes, the top should probably be replaced soon. That hole I mentioned earlier isn’t getting any smaller, and I don’t think black tape is a good long-term solution. Plus, the metal top piece makes some crazy noises over bumps with the top up. So I’m sure there’s something broken there, I’m just not sure what.

Then there are the seats, which are mounted a bit too high for my tastes. They’re also falling apart. My dream would be to source a set of red Recaro Pole Positions, though it may be more cost-effective to buy a set of used OEM seats off Facebook Marketplace. I also might just ignore them until I fall through.

Wait, You’re Actually Going to Track This Car?

Of course! It’s an S2000. It deserves some track time. And it’s far better suited for track work than my M5. Once I get the bigger issues sorted out, I’ll be out lapping in no time. That’s when I’ll discover any real issues with this car.

Stay tuned.

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