JACKIE LAW’S ’03 HONDA S2000

NO PART-OUTS, NO UP­GRADES; WHEN ONE BUILD IS ALL YOU NEED

Super Street - - Contents - WORDS Aaron Bonk PHO­TOS Andy Chan

Your whole life you’ve been con­di­tioned to want more. What­ever iphone you’ve got will al­ways be pond scum com­pared to what­ever Ap­ple’s cur­rently say­ing you need. And driv­ing around in the Civic hatch­back with fac­tory vinyl seats you bought when you were 18 will never ap­pease your 30-year-old self. The world’s con­di­tioned you that good enough is never good enough, and, for the most part, you give in.

But not Jackie Law. For 12 years he’s owned, tweaked, over­hauled, and re­done the same S2000 in spite of the temp­ta­tion to move on to some­thing like, oh, say, an NSX. “The NSX was al­ways a car that I’d wanted,” he says, “and also a 997 911, but I was never able to give this car up for a new project.”

Not be­ing able to give up the AP1 model road­ster goes be­yond the dol­lars and man­hours Jackie’s put into it, do­ing things like swap­ping its na­tive 2.0L en­gine for the lat­er­model F22C1 and fit­ting it with a large-frame Pre­ci­sion turbo. It’s more sen­ti­men­tal than any of that. For Jackie, it’d al­most be like putting a mem­ber of his fam­ily up for sale: “I’ve thought about sell­ing it to try some­thing new, but I al­ways get scared and end up keep­ing the car.”

A lit­tle fear isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing. It’s what’s con­vinced Jackie to de­liver the AP1 through a se­ries of ob­vi­ous changes that’ve cul­mi­nated into a front bumper and rear dif­fuser from Vol­tex, a pro­to­type Spoon Sports hood, TE37S, and over­sized AP Rac­ing brakes. And then there’s the not so ob­vi­ous, like the rigid col­lars from Spoon that tighten up the chas­sis and the one-off bracket that holds the Wel­don fuel pres­sure reg­u­la­tor into place— the sort of de­tails some­body who wasn’t in it for the long haul prob­a­bly wouldn’t go to the trou­ble of ad­dress­ing.

But de­tails mat­ter. Ex­cept they don’t hap­pen on their own. For that, Jackie looked to nearby A&J Rac­ing, who car­ried out the sort of work he wasn’t able to. “Most of the work was done by me and some friends,” he says be­fore point­ing out one of those big jobs he wasn’t in­ter­ested in do­ing. “Af­ter pulling the mo­tor once in the garage, I knew I never wanted to do that again.”

Speak­ing of pluck­ing en­gines out, it’s the F-se­ries that drew Jackie to Honda’s two-seater plat­form to be­gin with. “I’ve wanted the S2000 since it came out,” he says. “I was a big fan of the 9,000-rpm red­line, and I wanted some­thing I could beat on at the track.” Which it proved to do for nearly four years un­til the smaller-dis­place­ment F20C1 be­gan to show its short­com­ings. “It’s slightly un­der­pow­ered,” Jackie says about the orig­i­nal S2000 en­gine that prompted him to tur­bocharge it, blow it up, and then move on to the 2.2L re­place­ment. “The same sea­son I blew the mo­tor,” he says, “I swapped in an ’05 F22C,” of which he says is now good for 420 whp.

Just be­cause Jackie isn’t down with cherry-pick­ing en­gines in his garage any­more doesn’t mean he’s been hands-off with ev­ery­thing else. “Al­most ev­ery­thing on the car I’ve bro­ken once or re­placed,” he says. He also prepped it for paint on his own, which, by all ac­counts, wasn’t any eas­ier than an en­gine changeover. “It was a learn­ing process for me, as I’ve never done it be­fore,” he says about the pre­lim­i­nary body­work, which was “one of the big­ger chal­lenges,” but made pos­si­ble thanks to a bit of guid­ance from the pro­fes­sional who’d later lay down the paint. “My body guy, Kevin, was kind enough to teach me as I went, and he looked over all the work, mak­ing sure I was on track,” he says.

Jackie might just be erring on the mod­est side when paint­ing his me­chan­i­cal abil­i­ties, though. He’s been do­ing all of this since ’03 and had been study­ing up by way of mag­a­zines and fo­rum threads even be­fore that, pre­par­ing him for the hand­ful of Hon­das he’d later mod­ify. “I learned a lot back then,” he says, be­fore point­ing out he’d also worked at Speedtech Rac­ing De­vel­op­ments, a tuner shop lo­cated in Cal­gary. It’s there where he cut his Honda chops and be­came pre­pared for things like the S2000—and even the ’06 TL he mobs around in when those Canada win­ters don’t ac­com­mo­date that road­ster of his so well.

Jackie knew what he was get­ting into when he laid down the money for the ’03 Honda some 12 years ago. “I knew it was gonna be a long-term project,” he says, and he knew that, at some point, ev­ery cor­ner of that S2000 would’ve been tam­pered with. “I think I’m fi­nally happy with the car. What it is to­day,” he says, “is pretty much what I wanted it to be.” We should all be so lucky.

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