This is why you want a Honda S2000

Photograph Courtesy Honda

Think the Honda S2000 is too new and too common to be collectible? The model–well, its show car predecessor–first appeared at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, while Graham Rahal, Bobby’s son and an accomplished racer in his own right, recently sold a track-ready, last-of-the-line S2000 Club Racer for $200,000. 

But that doesn’t mean they’re all six-figure cars. Depending on color, condition and time of day, an honest, standard-issue S2000 currently sells for $25,000 to $50,000–so more or less what you’d pay for the typical classic roadster. 

The S2000 first appeared for the 2000 model year, with the basics as well as the model designation recalling Honda’s roadsters of the ’60s. This one, though, was thoroughly modern, with a 2.0-liter four making 240 horsepower–give some credit to the 9000 rpm redline.  

The S2000 also received a power top, close-ratio six-speed box and double-wishbone suspension all around. Think of it as a slightly plus-size Miata.  

The one to watch here–and the one that’s been fetching top dollar–is the S2000 Club Racer, the competition-tuned model released for 2008. They’re easy to spot: factory removable hard top, factory front spoiler, factory rear wing. The CR was also stiffer and lighter, but thanks to the day’s automotive industry crisis, only about 700 were built before the S2000 run ended in 2009. 

The CR that Rahal recently sold? Just 123 miles from new.–David S. Wallens 

Why You Want One

• Real performance credentials, with SCCA autocross and road race titles to its credit.

• Honda reliability in a package that can cruise Monterey.

• All the good stuff comes standard: limited-slip diff, six-speed box, alloy wheels and high-revving engine.

• A milestone, kind of: It featured a push-button start before it became all the rage.

• Standard models got a/c, power windows and cruise control.

Changes Over the Years

2000: Honda returns to the roadster market with its S2000. 

2001: An option (finally) joins the order form: a removable hardtop.

2002: A mid-cycle refresh updates the taillights while swapping out the rear plastic window for a glass one.

2004: A 2.2-liter engine replaces the original 2.0, although output remains at 240 horsepower. Wheel diameter grows from 16 to 17 inches. New bumpers and lights, too. 

2006: New design for the wheels, while stated horsepower drops from 240 to 237.

2008: The track-ready S2000 CR joins the lineup.

2009: The S2000 leaves Honda’s menu without a replacement.

Shopping Advice

Alex Doan
Ballade Sports

Generally, the cars became more refined every year, but if you’re looking for the most reliable car, aim for a 2004-’05 model. Those came with the 2.2-liter engine, which lacks some of the complications of the last few versions.

If you want an S2000 that will take more kindly to modifications, target the 2006-’09 cars. They came with drive-by-wire, wide-band oxygen sensors and reflashable ECUs. They’re a little more prone to engine problems, though, as Honda leaned out the target fuel mixture to make more power.

Since these cars are popular modification targets, be sure to check for any electrical tampering, even if it’s just an aftermarket stereo or alarm. It’s not a problem if done right, but there are a lot of hack elec-tricians out there.

It’s common for an S2000 to experience some timing chain stretch. This typically causes the timing chain tensioner to wear out and start making noise. We offer an upgraded timing chain tensioner and an adjustable drive gear that can offset timing by 1.5 degrees and help the engine run more efficiently. It’s literally one of the first things we put on cars coming through our shop.

The bushings that tend to degrade most quickly are the front compliance bushings. 

Engine and differential mounts are common wear items, so keep an eye on them. Other parts to check are the clutch master cylinder and the differential itself. These cars tend to wear out the ring and pinion within.

If the carpet is worn out in your S2000, a Honda Access premium four-piece floor mat set from Honda UK is a great way to freshen up the interior appearance. The mats cover everywhere that a driver or passenger would touch. They can only

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CrustyRedXpress (Forum Supporter)
CrustyRedXpress (Forum Supporter) New Reader
12/21/22 8:30 p.m.

These are so good.

9000 RPM redline, bolt action shifter, and it had the same project manager as the NSX and Integra Type R (Shigeru Uehara).

Last of the Golden Age Hondas? Probaby.

Toebra Dork
12/21/22 8:43 p.m.

Man I loved the S2000 when they came out. 


Then I drove one, and did not like it at all.  Might be the only convertible anything I have ever driven and did not care for it.  Great seats, but not possible to find a comfortable seating position.  I honestly could not believe it, a Honda that I did not like.  Miata fits me like a glove though, go figure.

5/22/23 8:49 p.m.

In reply to Toebra :

Hey how tall are you?

Looking to potentially purchase one, but someone insight on why it wasn't comfortable would be nice!


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