Hidden artifact: Amuse S2000

Posted in Cars, People

Jacky Tse, owner of Jtune Automotive, is someone who NZ Performance Car is in constant contact with, because he has that many feature-worthy cars rolling in and out of his workshop. So when he uploaded to Facebook a photo of this almost-forgotten Honda relic wearing its new shoes, it was no surprise that we jumped on the phone straight away. What Jacky posted was the Amuse widebody-kitted Honda S2000 that the shop built back in 2009, which had seemingly vanished from the public eye.

Rewind the clock six years to when Jacky was working for Honda, and had a very good friend (who shall remain nameless), who owned the S2000 you see before you. Originally it was a low-km stock standard car, with nothing much in the way of modifications, until the day the engine gave up the ghost. This is when this wild aero-monster build was born.

Jacky was enlisted by the car’s owner to fully rebuild the engine at home in the shed, and this is where things got serious. You see, Jacky’s friend was not the kind of guy who opts for a simple rebuild, no — this friend wanted all-motor aural goodness.

Nobody in the world builds an angrier VTEC engine than Toda, so it came as no surprise that Toda components have been used throughout, including the extremely vicious VTEC-killer cams which eliminate the VTEC function entirely. The idea was to reduce the oil fluctuations that occur during VTEC engagement, to encourage more consistent lubrication in the engine’s bottom end. The VTEC-killer cams have a much larger duration and lift than a stock version. Given the cams’ duration and lift are more suited for high-rpm duties, it wouldn’t have made much sense to run with a conventional intake set-up, as this would have been a major restriction point, and power would have been severely hindered.

Instead, Toda recommended individual throttle bodies be used to make the most of the 305-degree, 13mm lift camshaft. With VTEC out of the picture, the cam and throttle-body set up put a huge dent in mid-range torque and response. To combat this, Jacky decided upon Toda’s 2200cc stroker kit, which aids torque production and bumps compression up to 12.5:1.

“Although the engine is a 2.2-litre, it still revs well past 9000rpm — even as high as 9500rpm — and it just doesn’t lose power,” Jacky explained.

Because this is New Zealand and you can get away with certifying crazy builds such as this, the S2000 had to have a few crucial modifications in order to remain legal. The exhaust system, a custom Jtune unit, contains a series of resonators and titanium motorbike mufflers to keep things muffled — we all know how loud Hondas can be with three-inch stainless steel systems.

A power tally of 190kW at the wheels was achieved with this set-up, which would be enough for most, but Jacky’s friend decided upon a nitrous oxide system to make things more exciting at the track. Both a 50hp shot and a 120hp shot can be used, bumping power up to 230kW and 260kW at the wheels, respectively. All of this is controlled by the HKS F-Con V Pro ECU and monitored by the HKS AFK unit (air/fuel ratio and knock monitoring).

“The 50 shot is a major increase in mid-range and top-end power, but when you hit the 120 shot, the car becomes wild; almost like an animal. We’ve done a few top speed tests with this setup, and it will exceed 260km/h with ease, which is the limit of the factory gear set,” Jacky told us.

Now the S2000 was making some serious and reliable grunt, it was time to make the S2000 appear as beautiful as the open trumpets sound on full song. Sure, a set of wide wheels, a low stance and a wing would have sufficed, but not to these crazy tuners. The duo wanted to make an impact on our local Kiwi car scene, so they decided on an Amuse widebody kit.

“We knew we wanted something Japanese, and the J’s Racing widebody kit was off the cards as they aren't available to purchase, unless you take your car to their shop in Japan. This was obviously not an option. We did a bit more research and decided the Amuse kit would look nice and also unique in New Zealand. With a price tag of $15,000 landed we were a bit hesitant at first, but made the purchase regardless,” Jacky explained.

With the wing and widebody arriving around the same time, they set to work making the required modifications to the body panels in preparation for the new aero. The kit was then sent off to an affordable panel beater to have the silver and black paint laid on before the final fitment. The new widebody is 65mm wider either side, resulting in a car they can no longer get on their car trailer. Stock S2000 front guards are already quite flat, wide and aggressive in appearance, but with this example parked up next to Jtune’s other S2000 track car, the differences in girth are staggering. The wing, which was also imported from Japan, was originally designed for an R34 Skyline, but a few measurements later confirmed would fit the S2000 with ease.

“During one of our high speed nitrous runs, one of the stainless support lines came off the wing resulting in the wing losing all of its rigidity. Doing well over 200km/h, this caused the arse end of the Honda to sway violently, something which we were lucky to back out from,” Jacky told us.

Today we are spoilt for choice when it comes too wide, low offset wheels, but in 2009 when they pieced the car together, these types of wheels were few and far between and commanded price tags that were out of many peoples price range, so they settled for a set of much smaller Volk wheels. When Jacky dusted off the S2000, changing the wheels was high on his priority list. He opted for a set of 18 by 10.5-inch Enkei RPF1s wrapped in 265/40 Hankook rubber, but once the S2000 starts seeing more track duties, some stickier tyres will be chosen. Spoon four-pot monoblock calipers combined with cross-drilled front rotors create the required amount of clamping force to pull the S2000 up under attack sessions, and upgraded pads and stainless lines down the back keep the braking neutral.

“The next thing for us was to find a suitable coilover unit, and as Redline Automotive is just next door, we made use of them and ordered a set of BC Racing coilovers with external reservoirs — BC’s top unit,” Jacky explained.

Unfortunately, once the spring rates were tested in the spring machine, the BC springs were found to be quite inconsistent, so a set of 16kg all round Swift springs were sourced from Japan to complement the 50/50 weight split the S2000s are blessed with from the factory. The result is an extremely neutral car, which throws off rookie drivers who aren’t used to the perfect weight split. Ikeya Formula arms are used throughout for fine tuning suspension setups, and the Cusco sway bars front and rear take care of any unwanted body roll. The time attack theme was carried through into the cabin, with a pair of Bride Vios III seats, Takata harnesses, a titanium gearknob and a four-point MSNZ spec roll bar to keep the soft top S2000 safe in a rollover situation.

Unfortunately, it was going to prove too expensive to send this monster back to China where the owner planned to live, so Jacky has been left with the responsibility of taking care of this weapon in New Zealand — a weapon Jacky plans to use, he told us: “I plan on contesting the vehicle in numerous time attack style events around the country and showcasing what we can do as a tuning company. I’m excited to see what it can do compared to our current shop S2000 Colin Abah drives.”

We are all for more time attack vehicles hitting our local circuits, and we hope Jacky’s S2000 becomes one to beat, with people all over building vehicles to challenge him with. We can’t wait to see what Jacky has in store for us next.

Tuning menu

2002 Honda S2000


  • Model: Honda F20C, 2000cc, four cylinder
  • Block: Toda 2.2 litre stroker kit (12.5:1 compression), Toda oil pan, lightened and knife-edged crank
  • Head: Toda VTEC-Killer cams, Toda valve springs, Toda cam gears, Toda rocker arm spacers, Toda heavy-duty chain tensioner, Skunk2 valves, Skunk2 retainers, ported and polished
  • Intake: 52mm TWM 2000 series individual throttle bodies
  • Fuel: AEM fuel pump, D1 Spec fuel pressure regulator, NOS direct port nitrous injection (120 shot)
  • Ignition: T.M.Works ignition coil, HKS M45i spark plugs
  • Exhaust: Berk Technology headers, custom Jtune 3-inch exhaust system, two resonators, titanium motorbike mufflers
  • Cooling: Spoon thermostat, Koya radiator, Trust Grex 16-row oil cooler kit
  • ECU: HKS F-Con V Pro
  • Other: D1 Spec ignition booster, custom vacuum tank with tap for brake boost, J’s racing engine damper, Innovative 65A mounts


  • Gearbox: Factory six-speed
  • Clutch: Toda
  • Flywheel: Lightweight Toda
  • Diff: ATS 1.5-way diff (4.77:1), J’s Racing driveshaft spacers


  • Struts: BC Racing ER series coilovers
  • Springs: (F) 16kg (R) 16kg
  • Other: Ikeya Formula arms, Jtune strut brace, Spoon cross beam
  • Brakes: (F) Spoon monoblock four-pot caliper, Spoon rotors, Endless MX72 pads, (R) Ferodo DS2500 pads, stainless brake lines


  • Wheels: 18x10.5-inch Enkei RPF1 (+15)
  • Tyres: 265/35R18 Hankook Ventus


  • Paint: Stock
  • Enhancements: Amuse wide bodykit, Voltex 3D wing, Voltex Type R wing, APR carbon fibre mirrors


  • Seats: Bride Vios III, Takata Harness
  • Steering wheel: Nardi
  • Instrumentation: Defi oil temp, water temp and oil pressure gauges, HKS AFK (air/fuel ratio and knock meter)
  • Other: Titanium gearknob, four-point MSNZ spec roll-bar, D1 Spec quick release boss kit


  • Power: 190kW at the wheels, 230kW at the wheels (50 shot of nitrous), 260kW at the wheels (120 shot of nitrous)

Driver profile

  • Driver/owner: Jacky Tse
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Auckland
  • Occupation: Owner of Jtune Automotive
  • Build time: Six months
  • Length of ownership: Six 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.