2001 Honda S2000 Page 1

Some thumb-suckers in the automotive media have criticized the Honda S2000 for its lack of a clock and its plastic back window. We think they’ve missed the point, maybe just a wee bit. How often does a purists’ sports car come speeding around the nearest apex anyway?

Let’s get a few things straight. For starters, if you’re driving this car with the top up, the storm outside better have a name. That plastic back window does an excellent job of protecting from the elements of the occasional rain shower while saving weight – and saving balding pates from getting slick with water. (You know who you are.) If it’s just drizzling, you shouldn’t even need it.

So what if there’s no clock? Forget about time. Get behind the wheel, rev the engine and leave your mortgage payments and killer Palm Pilot apps behind in the garage. We’re talking prime back-road motivation here, not some urban commuter hamster wheel.

No, we’re definitely, not talking hamsters, unless they’ve been burrowing near Chernobyl. With a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter (no typo, smart guy) four-cylinder linked to the rear wheels, Honda engineers started with the right ingredients for a real spine-tingler. Throw in excellent weight distribution and a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that shifts gears more sweetly than Heather Locklear, and you’ve got one tasty piece of machinery.

Two snug-fitting leather covered seats and only the most necessary controls fit into the cockpit. While the interior is more intimate than a heart-shaped bed in the Poconos, this 6’ 5" writer easily accomplished a 100-mile journey with little fatigue. And despite the nonadjustable three-spoked steering wheel, the driving position was near perfect.

Flying wedge

The S2000 has all the elements of a classic roadster, including the right proportions. The long hood and short rear deck are elemental, the rest of the sheetmetal more functional than fabulous.