Tuned for the touge: Honda S2000

Posted in Cars, People

There are a ton of people who have been influenced by the latest stance movement, and have built their rides to sit static in a parking lot or show hall. For most this is enough, they’ve accepted their car park–bound fate and forgotten about power. But Sam Ruddlesden built his 1999 Honda S2000 to be capable of much more.

For Sam, this story started when he was 15 years old, when he saw his first Honda S2000 and knew he had to one day own one. Fast forward to 2012, and he was the proud owner of a Nissan Silvia S14, which saw him tearing up Nelson — and his well-earned dollar bills.

“In 2012, after getting sick of my S14 breaking every time I drove it, I thought it was time to move on — I wanted a newer, more reliable car.” Sam continued, “I was looking for a Mazda MPS, but I ended up finding a clean, 100-per-cent factory S2000 in Auckland. I had to buy it.”

The drive back from Auckland simply blew Sam away, the power and handling were phenomenal. It was safe to say he was in love. After a few months of driving the S2000, pushing it to its limits and finding its weak points, Sam found himself checking the internet for upgrades, and perving at stanced-out S2000s.

“I wanted to build the cleanest S2000 I could, something that could be comfortable and reliable, and have the ability to drive it to a show and it look as though it belonged there,” Sam told us.

Dead set on his goals, he ordered a set of BC BR series coilovers and a set of 17x8.5-inch and 17x9.5-inch Advanti Tenjins shod with super-grippy Nitto semi-slicks. Things were on a roll, and the more-aggressive front lip and rear boot lip were installed, along with the power-gaining CT Engineering Icebox and intake kit. After he’d set the coilovers up at his place of work, Tyreworld, it was evident they didn’t go as low as he would have liked, so engineer and good friend Tom Tyson was called in to modify them so they would go much lower.

After a hard night beating on the S2000 around his local touge, Sam managed to burn and melt the paint on the guards with the Advanti Tenjins due to the toothpick-sized wheel-to-guard clearance. Unfortunately, this all happened a couple of weeks before the 2013 4&Rotary South Island Champs, and time was running out, as Sam wanted to compete in the show.

To prep the car for the event, a set of 18x9.5-inch and 18x10.5-inch Varrstoen ES1 were purchased, but this proved to be a very bad decision, as the 10.5-inch rears made an even bigger mess of the rear guard during test fitting. Now a week out, Sam sent the S2000 off to the paint shop to get all four guards repaired with the Varrstoens still installed. A staggering seven degrees of camber and some very stretched tyres were needed to get them tucked up under the guard. The S2000 was painted just in time for the champs, and lucky too, as Sam took home Best Honda.

Something Sam missed after owning a turboed car was the abundance of torque, and as Hondas especially aren’t known for their torque, he wanted to address this issue. After a lot of research online and talking to a few guys in New Zealand that have gone turbocharged, the decision was made to supercharge the S2000’s F20C engine in order to get that low-down grunt he was missing.

CT Engineering had a very comprehensive, off-the-shelf bolt-on kit that suited Sam’s needs. Included was a centrifugal supercharger, an Icebox aftercooler, in-tank fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator, hoses, drive belts, a carbon-fibre lid, and the ACM control unit and wiring harness. The kit nets a solid 230–240kW at the flywheel, according to CT Engineering.

“I probably could have turboed it for less and made more power, but it’s different.” Sam explained.

Following a solid weekend, Sam and the crew had the supercharger kit installed after they had a few issues with the fuelling, as the kit was designed for a left-hand-drive model S2000. The supplied piggyback ECU was also binned in favour of a Haltech stand-alone, which was then tuned by NDT Developments, and made 228kW at the flywheel on 5psi of boost — bang on what the kit was advertised to make.

Sam decided to compete once again at the V 4&Rotary South Island Champs. He took it up a notch, and purchased some must-have S2000 parts, the J’s Racing–style rear diffuser and side diffusers. The Varrstoens were sold and the old Advanti Tenjins were powder-coated gloss white by the New Gate Company in Nelson, and fitted up to complete the new look. Sam managed to take out Best Engine Bay, which just goes to show the amount of time and effort put in by many to get the engine bay looking this unique and clean.

There are several more things planned for this seriously staunch S2000, but for now Sam is enjoying taking this Honda out into the mountains and toying with cars fielding twice the power — exactly what it was built for.

Tuning menu

1999 Honda S2000 (AP1)


  • Model: Honda F20C, 2000cc, four-cylinder DOHC VTEC
  • Block: Factory
  • Head: Factory
  • Intake: CT Engineering carbon cold-air intake, CT Engineering Icebox aftercooler
  • Supercharger: Paxton Novi 1220SL
  • BOV: Bosch bypass valve
  • Fuel: DeatschWerks DW200 intank fuel pump
  • Ignition: NGK Iridium plugs
  • Exhaust: 70mm de-cat test pipe, free-flow rear mufflers
  • ECU: Haltech Platinum Pro plug-in
  • Other: APR carbon-fibre cooling plate


  • Gearbox: Factory
  • Clutch: Factory
  • Diff: Factory


  • Struts: BC BR series coilovers
  • Springs: (F) 10kg (R) 10kg
  • Other: Front strut brace
  • Brakes: (F) Znoelli slotted and dimple-drilled rotors, Bendix pads (R) Factory


  • Wheels: (F) 17x8.5-inch (35) Advanti Tenjins, (R) 17x9.5-inch (35) Advanti Tenjins
  • Tyres: (F) 215/45R17 Nitto Neo Gen, (R) 235/40R17 Nitto NT05


  • Paint: Factory
  • Enhancements: J’s Racing–style rear diffuser, Downforce-style side diffusers, rolled front and rear guards


  • Seats: Factory
  • Steering wheel: Factory
  • Gear knob: Neochrome ball-type
  • Instrumentation: Auto Meter boost gauge
  • ICE: JVC head unit


  • POWER: 228kW at the flywheel on 5psi of boost

Driver profile

  • Driver/owner: Sam Ruddlesden
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Nelson
  • Occupation: Wheel-alignment technician
  • Build time: 1.5 years
  • Length of ownership: Two years
  • Thanks: Thanks to Tom Tyson (Munta), Sean, James, Logan, Josh, Daryl — my boss at Tyreworld, Gavin at Ridez Rodz and Restorationz, Landon and the guys at Collision Centre in Nelson, Brian Ingham at NDT Developments, Mikey and Alex from Loose Logik and Timeless Rides, lastly Mum and Dad for putting up with my cars over the years

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.