Today, the Miata and its Fiat counterpart are your best choices when it comes to lightweight convertible sports cars. However, cut back to a decade ago, and they had some major competition in the form of the Honda S2000. As with other Fast and Furious star cars, S2000 values have been on the rise. But you can still find some good deals, such as the one that’s this week’s Bring a Trailer bargain buy.
The Honda S2000 is an ode to the high-revving sports car
The Honda S2000 was sold from 2000 to 2010, with an update in 2004, Hagerty reports. The 2000-2003 cars are part of the AP1 generation, while 2004-2010 S2000s are AP2-generation models. But, while the AP2 cars have their pros over the AP1s, including the even sportier CR trim, the early cars are the most desirable. And that’s due to what was under their hoods.
The AP1 Honda S2000 has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that follows the contemporary Integra Type R’s recipe: lots of revs. With 237 hp and 153 lb-ft, the S2000’s engine makes more power per liter than the McLaren F1, Petrolicious reports. And it still has the highest specific output of any production naturally-aspirated engine. Plus, it redlines at 9000 RPM, Automobile reports. It’s because of the S2000 and the ITR that “VTEC kicked in, yo” entered the public consciousness.
Unfortunately for daily drivers, the AP1 Honda S2000’s engine doesn’t make peak torque until 7500 RPM, R&T reports. That’s why the AP2 cars have a 2.2-liter engine that ‘only’ revs to 8200 RPM—greater lower-end torque. But the S2000’s 6-speed manual—the only transmission offered—more than makes up for it. R&T says it’s “among the best ever built,” while The Drive calls it “one of the most satisfying experiences of modern motoring.”
The early Honda S2000s are more of a handful than the later ones, which benefit from revised suspension tuning, additional chassis bracing, and different anti-roll bars, Evo and R&T report. But they still feature 4-wheel independent suspension, a 49:51 weight distribution, and a standard limited-slip differential, Hagerty reports.
The 2002 Honda S2000 on Bring a Trailer
Like all Honda S2000s, AP1 or AP2, the 2002 example currently listed on Bring a Trailer is fairly minimalist. It has push-button start, a digital dash, power windows and top, A/C, cruise control, and a CD player.
However, the 2002 S2000 is arguably the best of the AP1s, Hagerty and Automobile report. Unlike the early AP1s, it has a glass rear window that doesn’t yellow with age. And while it doesn’t have all the suspension changes the AP2 received, Honda did tweak the S2000’s suspension slightly for 2002. Plus, the mid-2002 cars have upgraded oil banjo bolts, which means better engine longevity.
The 2002 Honda S2000 on Bring a Trailer isn’t perfect. Its body panels have several dings and scratches, and there are a few minor chips in the windshield. However, it has an accident-free accident history, and its underbody is clear of rust. Plus, within the last year, the current owner has changed the oil, replaced the valve cover gasket, adjusted the valves, and flushed the differential and transmission fluid.
Besides that, Bring a Trailer notes this 2002 Honda S2000 has less than 40,000 miles on the clock. And apart from some elastic convertible-top straps and new tires, it’s basically stock.
What makes it a bargain buy?
As of this writing, this 2002 Honda S2000 is listed on Bring a Trailer for $16,500 with 3 days left in the auction. Considering its condition, that makes its current price somewhat lower than average. Especially since it’s been regularly maintained and driven.
AP1 Honda S2000s tend to be valued higher than the AP2 models, except for the CR versions. One of those recently sold for over $70,000. In contrast, the average market value for a good-to-excellent 2002 model is in the $20k-$30k range, Hagerty reports. And lately, Bring a Trailer prices have been hovering in the $25-$35k range.
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