Though spoilt for choice with cars sold in India, there aren’t many affordable convertibles on sale here unless you buy a Mini or the Audi A3. If you wouldn’t mind a used car, then you have a lot more choice, which brings me to what my next car could be. Without a doubt, it has to be an open-top sportscar that is easy to maintain and has oodles of character. I thought of the Mazda Miata first, but I didn’t want one with a 1.6L engine and finding a 1.8L is like finding a needle in a haystack. I’ve been looking at Z3s, SLKs and CLKs. I’d love to own a Porsche again too, but good examples of a 987 or a 981 Boxster would break the bank. After even considering an MR2 Turbo Targa Top, I decided on something with a naturally aspirated engine. But just as I was running out of options, I saw a photo of a shiny Honda S2000 on Instagram and I’ve been hooked on to the idea of owning one ever since.
The S2000 is one of my all-time favourite cars. I was lucky to drive one in 2004. The fabled 9,000rpm redline engine, the highest for any production vehicle back in 1999 when the S2000 was introduced, is something every petrolhead must experience at least once. After all, the S2000 was Honda’s self-given 50th birthday present and testimony of Honda’s engine prowess and VTEC technology.
They say the engine is considered to be the heart of any sportscar and this is where the S2000 gives its owner serious bragging rights and supercar owners a complex. The 2,000cc four-cylinder pumps out a mighty impressive 120hp per litre, which is still amongst the highest ever for a stock naturally aspirated engine.
The sharp Japanese lines and the shark-like nose styling really work for me. I particularly like front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive sportscars like the S2000. Best of all, the S2000s came only with six-speed manual transmission! Even the sweet-handling chassis was designed by engineers who worked on Honda’s original, legendary NSX.
Of course, the S2000 isn’t going to be stress-free – there were a couple of known gremlins on earlier models which if attended in time with the right updates ensure that the car runs trouble free. Nonetheless, even though it is a high performance car, from all the research I’ve done, I believe it is largely as reliable as a Honda can be. Honda kept ironing out the niggles over the years, but I wouldn’t shy from buying an earlier model for its innate character.
Truth be told, I’d stick to buying the F20 series-engined 2L cars, and not the F22 2.2Ls that were sold later, for its legendary 9,000rpm engine redline and horsepower per litre. Finding a good S2000 is going to be a challenge as, unfortunately, only a few of these were ever imported, probably because of import bans and homologation rules. So, if you are reading this and know someone with an S2000, or have one for sale, please get in touch with me. You’d be finding a thoroughbred future classic a good home and tonnes of TLC!