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The Honda S2000 was in production from 1999 to 2009. It started life as the SSM concept, or the Honda Sport Study Model, at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995. The SSM was a rear-wheel-drive roadster powered by a 2.0 L inline five-cylinder engine and was designed by Pininfarina.
If you ask me, the SSM looks better than 90% of all new sports cars today, even a quarter of a century later. It was constructed with aluminum body panels and featured a perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
The concept appeared in several auto shows for years after its introduction, hinting at the possibility of a production version, which Honda announced in 1999.
The production version was launched on April 15, 1999 to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary and the name comes from its engine displacement of two liters, carrying on in the tradition of the beautiful little S500, S600 and the S800 roadsters of the 1960s.
Several revisions and facelifts were made throughout its life including changes to the engine, gearbox, suspension, interior and exterior.
Officially two variants exist: the initial launch model was given the chassis code AP1 which is very similar cosmetically to the facelifted version, known as the AP2.
The big changes to the AP2 happened under the skin with significant changes made to the drivetrain and suspension. Production of the S2000 closed down on August 19th 2009.
The S2000 was introduced in 1999 and is referred to as the AP1. It features a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout with power delivered by a 2.0L inline four-cylinder VTEC engine. It produced a power output of about 240hp and 161 lbf⋅ft of torque all connected to a six-speed manual transmission.
The AP2 version of the S2000 came out in 2004 and saw several significant changes some of which included larger wheels and tires along with a retuned suspension to reduce oversteer.
In addition, cosmetic changes were made to the exterior with new front and rear bumpers, revised headlight and tail-light design and new oval exhaust pipes.
The Honda S2000 was known for its exceptional specific power output of about 124 hp per liter or about two horsepower per cubic inch, which is the highest of any mass production, naturally aspirated engined car.
It also featured an innovative X-bone frame which Honda claimed improved the vehicle’s stiffness and collision safety.
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