13th Nov2015

A Superb Roadster

by Michael Chandler

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

I’ve said it many times before: the Honda S2000 is the best Miata ever made.  It has near perfect weight distribution, has an amazing engine and gearbox combination, and (to me at least) looks much better.  It never got the stigma of being a “hairdresser’s car”, but it never really changed much over the course of its ten year life.  And Honda axed it in 2009, and left rear wheel drive behind them.  Thankfully, S2000s are rather widely available, and there is a huge aftermarket for these cars.  Jonathon Esmeyer’s S2000 is an excellent example of a well done street car, that’s inching closer to becoming a track day terror.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2 Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-8 Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-9

 

The car has an OEM+ look to it.  While there are plenty of options as far as widebodies, flares, and monstrous wings, Jon went far more subtle.  A Greddy Gracer front lip and a Speedhunter’s tow strap are the only changes made to the front of the car.  An OEM hardtop and decklid spoiler are the other big noticeable modifications to the exterior, or at least the ones you notice at first glance.  It’s when you look closer that you notice the little details, like the smoked S2000 CR side markers, shorty antennae, and badges redone in black chrome.  Getting closer makes the carbon fiber single exhaust cover and ForbiddenUSA carbon side strakes readily apparent.  These little details add up to that OEM+ look.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-10

Lowering spring can do wonders for making an S2000 more ground bound, but coilovers are the way to go for the burgeoning track day hero.  Since Jon plans on taking this thing to more NASA HPDE events, he went with the ubiquitous KW Variant 3 coilovers.  To help stiffen the chassis further than it already is, a Cusco front lower cross brace and a Comptech rear lower tie bar have been installed.  And to eliminate the vibrations coming from the driveline because the car has been lowered, a set of Megan Racing driveshaft spacers were added, along with Megan’s anti bump steer kit.  eXedium differential collars help minimize the amount of flex in the OE differential bushings.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

Stoptech slotted rotors are gripped by Axxis pads on all four corners, with brake fluid delivered to the calipers via Agency Power lines.  A good set of wheels and tires can do wonders for any vehicle, and this roadster is no exception.  Desmond Regamasters aren’t a foreign sight on a Honda, and the Marquis Promada Brights look amazing with the Silverstone Metallic paint of the car.  The wheels measure 17×8 +35 in front, and 17×9 +38 in the rear, and are covered in Hankook Ventus V12 tires, 225 width in the front and 245 width in the rear.  Don’t focus too much on the tires, stickier meat is on the way!  All of that is held on KICS Leggdura lug nuts.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-19

How do you make an incredible engine better?  Some would say “leave it alone”, but the rest of us would say “add more power”.  And that can only mean one thing: forced induction.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-16

A Science of Speed supercharger kit, based around a Paxton Novi centrifugal supercharger, was chosen to up the power.  The heat exchanger upgrade box was checked when the kit was ordered, and one of their ported throttle bodies made its way into the box as well.  A Comptech Ice Box was modified to work with the supercharger setup, but the Berk header, high flow cat, and HKS exhaust didn’t require any modification.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

 

A Mishimoto radiator with slim fans help keep the boosted mill cool, while a plastic intake manifold gasket help keep intake temperatures cool.  A PasswordJDM Kevlar cooling plate makes sure that radiator gets all the air it needs.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-21Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-20

 

The interior has the same OEM+ feel that the exterior has.  A MemoryFab Kevlar bucket seat on Buddy Club seat rails replace the factory red seat.  Yeah, red seats.  They’re pretty bad ass.  The optional titanium shift knob one could get from the factory has been replaced with an Aspec titanium knob (heh), and the shifter has been extended with a Moddiction shift knob extender.  The interior is dripping with Go-Tuning suede products: elbow pad, A-pillars, sun visors, shift boot and e-brake cover.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

Jon doesn’t have any concrete plans for the car, aside from more track days and driving the car whenever he can.  He has no plans on making it a trailer queen, so be prepared to see this thing prowling the streets and cruising to the track for years to come.

Supercharged S2000 feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-18

 

Mazda’s Miata is entering its 4th generation, having been in production for 26 years.  Honda’s roadster was only built for ten years, 1999-2009, and lasted two generations.  In those ten years though, it rivaled Mazda’s grip on the roadster game, and may have even surpassed it.  It represents a time when Honda was building fun, rear wheel drive cars alongside their front wheel drive selections.  As we bring Honda Week to a close, I can’t think of a better car to close the curtain.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
12th Nov2015

Classics Never Go Out of Style: Integra Type R

by Michael Chandler

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-20

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What we have here is, arguably, the best front wheel drive sports car ever made.  Perhaps one of the best sports cars to come out of Japan in the late nineties.  It was light, it was agile, it made 197 horsepower from 1.8 liters.  It was the thing of legends: a giant slayer made by the same people who made humble econoboxes.  From 1997-2001, skipping 1999 entirely for some reason, Honda sent a little over 3800 of these glorious cars over here.  And my friend Jeff has one, and has had one as long as I’ve known him.

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2

He’s kept his build simple.  So simple that he ditched the supercharger that was on the car when he bought it.  I think the car is better for it.  “Why fix what isn’t broken?  It came with many interior, exterior and performance upgrades from the factory.”  Indeed it did Jefferson, indeed it did.

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-12

He’s kept the exterior mods to a minimum.  A Seibon carbon fiber hood replaces the factory metal piece, and a Shark2 antenna replaces the bigger OEM aerial.  The wiper for the rear window has been deleted, and some S2 Carbon Works winglets add a little something extra to the front end.  Interiorwise, the car hasn’t really been changed much.  You aren’t seeing any pictures of it, because I always think that the interior is 99% OEM and unchanged.  That’s wrong, because I always forget about the AEM UEGO wideband and oil pressure gauge in the gauge cluster bezel.  ALWAYS!

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-13

Anywho, the Integra Type R was already a brilliant handling car from the factory.  Other Honda owners would clamor for OEM ITR springs, struts, chassis bracing, and other suspension bits to improve the handling of their cars.  The only thing not OEM on Jeff’s car are the H&R springs.

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-3

A set of Highland Bronze powder coated Kosei K1 wheels are on, instead of the OEM wheels.  The Kosei’s measure in at 15×7, with a +35 offset.  Those are wrapped in a set of 205/50 Yokohama S.drive tires, which provide plenty of grip for some spirited driving.

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

Under the Seibon hood is the ultimate version of Honda’s B series of engines: the B18C5.  1.8 liters, twin cam, variable valve timing, with hand polished intake and exhaust ports.  It has higher compression, lower friction pistons compared to the Integra GSR.  It has a single port intake manifold, and a larger throttle body.  The camshafts have higher lift, and longer duration.  Everything about this engine is better than the B18C1 in the GSR.  And Jeff has done nothing to any of that.

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

He’s added a Comptech Icebox intake, and replaced the header with a JDM 4-1 piece.  Between the header and the Tannabe Hyper Medalion exhaust is a high flow catalytic converter.  The combination makes for a sound that isn’t the raspy garbage people think of when they hear “modified Honda”, it sounds good.  An Exedy clutch replaces what would be, at the youngest, a 14 year old clutch.  A B&M fuel pressure regulator and 255 lph Walbro fuel pump are still around from the supercharged days, but why replace two fully functioning parts?  Crome engine management runs inside the P30 ECU.

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-9

A carbon fiber spark plug cover sits atop the classic Wrinkle Red valve cover.

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-16

“What makes a great Integra Type-R isn’t what’s done to it, it’s what isn’t done to it.”  That quote has guided Jeff in his build, and it’s a good one.  The Integra Type-R will live on as a classic, an example of the epitome of how good a front wheel drive car can be.

BONUS IMAGES

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-14

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-17

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-18

Integra Type-R feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-19

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.