I bought my first post-marriage “fun” car in March of 2015. A (what I thought) was a nice example of a 1974 Porsche 914 2.0. After any number of thousands of dollars, frustrating afternoons stuck in parking lots looking for someone to help me bump start it and more thousands of dollars, I decided I was done less than a year after I bought the car.
But I wasn’t done done. Not really. I could flip the 914 for something else. Who just needs that kind of cash burning a hole in their pocket, right? But I needed a safe haven. Something new. But still something that I knew.
I’d grown up with Hondas. A 1989 Honda Civic Si, any number of Accords and CR-Vs, a glorious 1999 Civic Si and a 2003 Acura RSX type S. Outside of smuggling in a Type R, or breaking the bank for an NSX, there was really only one option. An S2000.
I’m not going to debate AP1 vs. AP2. I’m just going to say that I had the thrill of 8000 RPM redlines in the Si (and close enough with the RSX). I wanted more and the only way to get that was an AP1. I found the AP1 I wanted at a dealership in San Diego. No negotiating. Take my money.
I was jaded after the 914. I couldn’t attempt to start a car with a sense of dread. I forgot was it was like to have a car that wanted to go. That you’d push and instead of wheezing, it asked for more. It took a while to open up with the Honda. We took it slow. A short drive to the grocery store and then a longer drive to work. I was learning to love again.
And then it happened. Turning on to Highway 237 and North 1st Street in San Jose. Be first in line at the light. Make the left. Keep it in first until you’re physically on the on ramp. 5000 RPM. Now - to the floor. 9000 RPM comes quickly, so you shift one of the sweetest shifters ever made. Back to 6000. Again, 9000 comes pretty quick, but that just means you’re back to that beautiful gearbox. 3rd gear at 9000 is enough. Snick it into 6th.
It’s not the kind of whooshy, reality-bending acceleration of a super car of course. But it’s not half bad. And you can push it a little bit on normal roads without worrying about if you’re 100 mph over the speed limit. You can’t do that with a Turbo S.
After a quick systems check to see if the car was ready to explode like the 914 would have been, the car seemed happy. Like I had finally let it do what it was meant to do. In that moment, I had learned to love again.
6000 or so miles later, a cross country trip, some modifications. And the car and I are buds. It never let me down. It always brought a smile to my face. It’s a fun Honda. Who could need more?
But we’re buds that know that we need to part ways. Life can sometimes get in the way the enthusiasm of owning cars. And after purchasing our first home that has just one assigned parking spot, and not wanting to rent some random spot or park it somewhere outside of my control, it’s time to let someone else make a friend.
This little Honda taught me to love fun cars again. I went from a tired, broke, jaded car enthusiast after my Porsche. To an excited, joyous and reborn car enthusiast. It sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth. This car’s job, with me, is complete. And for that, I say thank you.
If you happen to think that this S2000 is your next car, then not only do I know that you’re getting a pretty incredible example of one of the finest roadsters ever created, but you’re also getting a car that has proved itself to be beautiful, reliable and really a great friend. Enjoy it. I did.