Buying a Honda S2000 – Everthing You Need to Know

The Honda S2000 has all the ingredients of an exceptional sports car. Its engine is in the front, has rear-wheel drive, perfect 50:50 weight distribution and only two seats. It is one of the greatest cars Honda has every produced and arguably one of the best sports car of all time.

The S2000 is as desirable as ever and it is fast becoming a classic. If you are in the market for a S2000, you have a lot to choose from. However, while there are plenty of S2000s out there, you do need to be careful. This Honda S2000 buying guide will give you all the information you need to know to not be landed with a lemon.

Before we dive into the S2000 buyers guide section of this article, let’s take a look at the history and specifications of the car. If you already know about the history of the S2000, feel free to skip on ahead using the table of contents below.

The History of the Honda S2000

The world got a glimpse of Honda’s first roadster since the 1960’s at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995. Named the Honda Sport Study Model (SSM), the concept car was like many other prototype vehicles. It didn’t do a lot, but it did show what Honda had planned for the future.

The SSM featured a 2.0-litre inline-five-cylinder engine that delivered its power through the rear wheels. To stiffen up the body and improve collision safety, Honda developed a rigid ‘high X-bone’ frame design. Other notable features included the extensive use of aluminium to save weight and a 50:50 weight distribution.

Honda continued to wheel out the SSM for a number of years, hinting at the possibility of a production version. Then, in 1999 Honda unveiled the S2000.

Honda S2000 AP1 (1999 – 2003)

Honda was on a roll at the end of the nineties. The iconic NSX had only hit mid stride and they were having great success with their Type R Civic and Integra sports cars. However, there was one more sports car they wanted to release.

The S2000 was launched in April 1999 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Honda. It was the undeniable successor to the company’s famed S500, S600, and S800 roadsters, carrying on the tradition of being named after its engine displacement.

The car was given the chassis designation “AP1” and it featured the same front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout as the SSM concept. Driven by a 237 – 247hp (depending on the market) 1,997cc inline four cylinder DOHC-VTEC engine, the S2000 was no slouch. In fact, the F-series engine in the S2000 held the crown for the highest specific output of a normally aspirated engine for 10 years, only being dethroned when Ferrari launched the 458.

Honda achieved this impressive feat because of an 11.7:1 compression ratio, roller rocker valvetrain, variable valve timing and an impressive 1.82:1 rod-to-stoke ratio that let the 2.0-litre engine hit nearly 9,000rpm.

Special fibre-reinforced metal cylinder liners that had previously only been used on the NSX and Prelude were installed to reduce friction, along with molybdenum disulfide-coated piston skirts. Additionally, Honda’s engineers replaced the beltdriven valvetrain with a long-life chain that was less susceptible to failure.

The peppy VTEC engine was mated to a six-speed manual transmission and Torsion limited slip differential. Engineers fitted the S2000 with independent double wishbone suspension, electrically assisted steering and integrated roll hoops. Honda managed to achieve a 50:50 weight distribution by mounting the compact and lightweight engine behind the front axle.

Type V (2000)

Japanese buyers had the option of purchasing the Type V S2000 for the 2000 model year. The Type V featured a number of changes and upgrades over the standard S2000.

It featured variable gear ratio steering (VGS), a steering system that continuously changes the steering ratio based upon the car’s speed and steering angle. This was the first system of its kind to be implemented in a car and was designed to improve handling performance.

Honda also reduced the lock-to-lock steering ratio to 1.4 turns from 2.4, and all Type V cars came with revised damper units, stabilisers and limited slip differentials. Type V S2000s were given a special steering wheel and had a VGS badge rear of the car.

Honda S2000 AP2 or AP1 Facelift (2004 – 2009)

The 2004 Honda S2000 received some significant changes. Production was moved from Honda’s Takanezawa plant to Suzuka and a larger version of the F20C, the F22C1, was introduced for the North American market.

To create the F22C1, Honda lengthened the engine’s stroke by 6.7mm which increased displacement to 2,157cc. This increased peak torque by six percent to 220Nm, but, as a result, the redline was reduced from 8,900rpm to 8,200rpm. Peak power was the same, however, it was achieved at a lower 7,800rpm.

With the introduction of the larger F-series engine, Honda also changed the S2000’s transmission gear ratios. They did this by shortening the first five gears and lengthening the sixth.

Honda introduced the larger 2.2-litre F22C1 into the Japanese domestic market in 2006, with a power output of 239hp and 221Nm. The smaller engine F20C continued in all other markets.

The 2006 S2000 was also fitted with a new drive by wire throttle, new wheels, an electronic stability control system, revised seats and additional speakers in the headrests.

Honda S2000 Club Racer

While the S2000 didn’t get the Type R treatment, a few different performance versions were launched. One of these was the Club Racer that was designed as more of a track-orientated version of the S2000.

The S2000 Club racer was put on a diet and featured fewer amenities. There was a new exhaust system, a lower ratio steering rack, stiffer suspension, new wheels and Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres that were wider at the rear.

The body also underwent a number of changes in the pursuit of more performance. Honda fitted a new front lip and spoiler, and the folding soft top was replaced with a tonneau cover. The hard top that was optional on other models became standard on the CR and extra chassis bracing was fitted.

On the inside Honda continued the performance theme. Lights on the dashboard indicated when peak power was being produced and faux carbon-fibre was fitted to the centre console.

To save weight and lower the centre of gravity, the spare wheel was removed and the air conditioning and stereo systems were only offered as optional extras. Without the hardtop, the Club Racer came in at 41kg lighter than the standard S2000.

All up, Honda produced 699 Club Racer S2000s for the combined 2008 and 2009 model years

Honda S2000 Type S

The Japanese market received the S2000 Type S for the final two years of production. This was a more hardcore S2000 that underwent similar changes to the Club Racer, but was positioned slightly lower.

Like the Club Racer, the Type S featured a purpose built bodykit that provided much more downforce. It also featured similar weight saving techniques and shares the same wheels. Handling was improved via a new suspension setup, that was stiffer but more compromising than the Club Racer. Honda tuned the Type S for spirited driving on the roads of Japan.

Only 1,755 Type S S2000s were made and they were sold exclusively in Japan.

Ultimate Edition and GT Edition 100

Honda launched the Ultimate Edition (continental Europe) and the GT Edition 100 (UK) to commemorate the end of the S2000’s production. The GT Edition 100 was limited to 100 units and was made specifically for the UK market.

The two special editions were given a removable hard top, a Grand Prix White body colour, graphite-coloured allow wheels and a red leather interior with red stitching on the gear shifter.

Honda S2000 Specifications

Engine Model

F20CF22C1

Engine type

Naturally aspirated inline-4

Displacement

1,997 cc (2 L; 122 cu in)2,157 cc (2 L; 132 cu in)

Power

177 kW (241 PS; 237 hp) at 8,300 rpm (US & EU)
184 kW (250 PS; 247 hp) at 8,300 rpm (JP)

177 kW (241 PS; 237 hp) at 7,800 rpm (US)
178 kW (242 PS; 239 hp) at 7,800 rpm (JP)

Torque

208 N⋅m (153 lbf⋅ft) at 7,500 rpm (US & EU)
218 N⋅m (161 lbf⋅ft) at 7,500 rpm (JP)

220 N⋅m (162 lbf⋅ft) at 6,800 rpm (US)
221 N⋅m (163 lbf⋅ft) at 6,500–7,500 rpm (JP)

Redline

8,800 rpm / 9,000 rpm

8,000 rpm / 8,200 rpm

Bore & stroke

87.0 mm (3.425 in) x 84.0 mm (3.307 in)

87.0 mm (3.425 in) x 90.7 mm (3.571 in)

Compression ratio11.0:1 (US & EU)
11.7:1 (JP)

11.1:1

Valvetrain

16-Valve DOHC VTEC

Transmission

6-speed manual

Brakes

f: 300 mm (11.8 in) ventilated discs
r: 282 mm (11.1 in) solid disc

 

Buying a Honda S2000

Now that we have covered the history of the Honda S2000, let’s take a look at buying one. While the S2000 is a fairly robust and reliable sports car, a poorly maintained one can be trouble. Additionally, the S2000 encourages spirited driving so watch out for any crash damage.

Some S2000s will have a significant number of miles on them, while others may have extensive modifications. You need to decide whether a modified or higher mileage model is acceptable, or if you want one with low miles that is completely stock.

Let’s take a look at some things you should keep an eye out for when buying a Honda S2000.

Engine

We recommend you get familiar with what a stock S2000 engine bay looks like. This will help you recognise if anything has been changed or seems out of order. Aftermarket parts can cause headaches, especially if the car has not been tuned for them.

Some owners will change the exhaust system, headers and tuning to get more performance out of the S2000. Additionally, you may come across turbocharged or supercharged S2000s, which can be trouble. Another popular modification is to retune the engine and lower the VTEC crossover from 6,000rpm to 4,500rpm, which broadens the S2000’s peak power curve.

Ask the owner about any modifications and get them to show you any receipts for the work. While not always the case, a stock engine has usually suffered less abuse than one that has been modified. If the modifications have not been done correctly it can dramatically reduce the life of the engine and transmission.

Regular Oil Top Ups and Oil Changes are Important

The VTEC system works by allowing more fuel and air into the cylinders and expelling it through the exhaust valves more quickly. Almost no issues have been reported with the VTEC in the S2000, but it is important to check the oil level frequently.

Regular oil changes should be scheduled for every 6 months or 6,000 miles, and only use fully synthetic. Any 10W30 Synthetic oil should be fine, but remember that some will burn off quicker than others.

It is true that S2000s can drink a lot of oil, especially as they age. Some S2000 engines can use up to a litre of oil every 1,000 miles while others don’t drink a drop. When looking at looking at a S2000, ask the seller about oil use to try and determine whether the car is a drinker or not.

The high oil consumption in some S2000s has led to engines being damaged as their bearing shells break up from a lack of lubrication, so check for any knocking sounds. Additionally, if the oil level runs too low, the ECU will not allow the VTEC system to kick in, restricting the engine to 6,000rpm. If this happens, the ECU will need to be reset once the oil has been filled to the correct level.

Common oil-related modifications include the addition of a baffle plate in the oil pan to prevent oil starvation during track use. In addition to this, owners will often fit an oil cooler as the S2000’s engine tends to run quite hot when driven hard.

Other Engine Problems You May Encounter

If you hear a faint tapping noise from the top of the engine when cold starting, it could be caused by a sticking hydraulic pin. An oil change should fix this problem.

A bigger problem is if you hear a rattle when starting the engine. This indicates that the timing chain tensioner (TCT) needs replacing. This is a simple job and should be replaced every 100,000 miles or so. Failure to replace the TCT could lead to potentially disastrous consequences for the top end. Valve clearances should also be checked on a regular basis to make sure the engine is in perfect health.

When you are out for a test drive, check to see if the car hesitates when pulling away. If the car does hesitate, it could be down to a failed MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor on the top of the inlet manifold. Additionally, this problem can be caused by a dodgy lambda sensor. You may be able to clean the MAP sensor to fix this issue, but if it is caused by a failed lambda sensor, they will need to be replaced.

If the S2000 you are looking at overheats or has overheated in the past, expect major trouble in the future. On AP1 S2000s there should not be any more than three bars showing on the digital temperature gauge. AP2 models featured a different instrument panel, so these are okay up to seven bars.

Any misfiring is usually caused by blocked or dirty injectors; try a fuel additive to fix this, or, if that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the injectors. Misfiring can also be caused by one or more faulty coil pack.

Spark Plugs

Check to make sure the stock nkg PFR7G-11S are fitted and torqued correctly. A loose spark plug can be catastrophic for this engine. If the wrong plugs are fitted it could be a sign that the car hasn’t been looked after properly.

Transmission

With stock power the transmission and differential should last forever. The synchromesh lasts well, but may cause issues if the car has been modified. The short gearlever on the S2000 means that leverage is low, which reduces forces on the selectors if the driver is a gear masher.

You shouldn’t find too many issues with the clutch, but expect to replace it every 70,000 miles. If the bite point of the clutch is at the top of the pedal travel or it slips, it should be replaced. While not prohibitively expensive to replace, a worn clutch can be a bargaining point.

Modified S2000s with more power should have an uprated clutch. The standard clutch has a fairly easy life thanks to the engine’s relatively low torque output; increasing power and torque means a stronger clutch needs to be fitted.

Suspension and Brakes

Tyres are a big talking point among S2000 owners, especially on early models. When the car first launched it had a reputation for being twitchy and there was a lack of feel when steering. The original Bridgestone Potenza S-02 P205/55 R16 front and P225/50 R16 rear tyres took much of the blame for the S2000’s twitchy nature.

There are now a whole host of different tyres you can choose from that improve the feel and handling of the S2000.

New owners should have the suspension geometry checked and possibly modified. Uneven tyre wear is probably caused by suspension geometry that is out of whack and is a sign that something is wrong.

Repairs are complicated by the fact that the bolts running through the bushes of the suspension wishbones tend to seize. The only way to remove the seized bushes is to heat them up or cut them out. This problem also occurs on the radius arms incorporated into the rear suspension design.

The problem is caused by the bushes and bolts not being greased at the factory. Ask the owner and check the service history to make sure the suspension system has been adjusted correctly and greased. If the work has not been carried out, try to get a lower price as the job.

Annual suspension geometry checks are recommended and expect to hear some clonks and knocks from the suspension at around 80,000 miles.

Modifications to the Suspension

Some owners will have fitted aftermarket springs and dampers, so make sure these are to your liking. Additionally, Bumpsteer Kits are offered for those who want to make an early AP1 S2000 handle like the more stable AP2. These kits change the rear tie rods and reduce the amount of toe change, which helps to reduce the AP1’s tendency to oversteer.

The rubber suspension and drivetrain components can be replaced by polyurethane units, but at an increased cost.

Brakes

Along with seized suspension bolts, you may encounter seized brake calipers on the S2000. If the car pulls to one side when accelerating or braking or there is a sequel from the brakes, it is probably caused by seized brake calipers. Rebuilding them can be done at home, but many owners just replace them with new ones.

Check to see how much life is left in the pads, as replacing them will set you back a few dollars. If you can, get the owner to replace them before purchasing the car or get a discount.

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)

The VSA traction and stability system was available from 2006 and became standard from 2008. If the control system fails it is expensive to replace, so check that there are no warning lights for it on the dash.

Bodywork

The main things to be concerned about when it comes to the S2000’s body is rust and accident damage. Rust can rear its ugly head on these cars, so make sure you check around the wheel wells, front subframe, frame rails and quarter panels.

Honda’s rust protection from factory was minimal at best, and cars that are used all year round can corrode pretty quickly. Ask the owner if rust prevention has been applied on a regularly basis and carry on doing so when you own the car.

Rust around the rear wheel arch liners can creep up on you and any repairs to this area are often expensive and time consuming.

All S2000s came with an electrically operated soft-top, so check that it works correctly. While the soft-top mechanism is reliable, you may find that the roof fabric has torn above the side windows. Some owners may have wrapped the offending piece of frame with tape or created a plastic sleeve for it. Small holes and tears can be patched relatively easily, but larger ones will require a whole new roof.

Pre-2002 S2000s came with a plastic window at the back that has a tendency to fade or scratch. Replacement hoods will come with glass, which will fix those problems and is much more secure. Later model S2000s come with a glass rear window.

The soft-top’s catches can wear, which may lead to water seeping in between the roof and the windscreen rail. Additionally, worn catches may make a rattling noise. While this is annoying, it isn’t an expensive fix and you can easily replace them yourself.

Honda offered an optional aluminium hard top, which was standard on the GT S2000. You may come across an aftermarket hard top, so make sure it is installed correctly. If you purchase a S2000 GT, make sure the hard top roof and stand is included with the car as these are worth a fair bit of coin.

Walk around the outside of the car; are there any modifications or is the vehicle stock? Many owners have replaced the stock bumpers and side skirts with aftermarket parts that may or may not fit correctly. If the owner has replaced any of the stock parts, ask them if they have the originals

Accident Damage

Always look for the telltale signs of accident damage when looking at an S2000 or any car for that matter. Unaligned panels, large panel gaps and inconsistencies in the paintwork could be a sign that the car has been in a bender. Ask the owner if the car has ever been in an accident and thoroughly check all the vehicle’s paperwork.

We recommend that you check out any car when it is dry. Water on the vehicle can hide a multitude of sins, especially anything paint related.

Interior

The S2000’s interior is really nothing special, but that’s not a bad thing. It is as hard wearing as it is functional and you really shouldn’t find much more than the usual wear and tear on the inside. We do recommend you check the carpets for dampness as the hood often leaks near the screen pillars.

Many owners replace the radio with an aftermarket one, especially on older S2000s. If this has happened, chances are the clip fixings around the air vents have been broken when the new radio system was installed. Check that the trim around the housing isn’t flapping loose and make sure the radio works correctly.

When it comes to the rest of the interior, check for general wear and tear. Expect to see some wear on the seat bolsters of higher mileage cars and check the steering wheel for wear. Everything can be replaced, but a complete replacement interior will be expensive.

Electronics

The electronics in the S2000 are fairly bulletproof. Your main concern is modifications that have been carried out incorrectly, so always inspect any modified part closely. Check to see if there are any warning lights on the dashboard and operate all the controls to make sure they work.

Service History and Other Documentation

Always, always, always check the service history of a car you are looking to purchase. The service history will give you a good idea of how the S2000 you are looking at has been maintained. It will tell you important information such as how regularly the car has been serviced and whether there has been any significant repair work done. Receipts and paperwork for modifications should also be inspected closely.

If the owner is unable to provide the service history or refuses to do so, you should proceed with caution. An S2000 with complete service history will also be worth more money in the future.

In addition to looking at the service history, you can also take a look at websites such as CarFax (USA) and CarJam (NZ). These websites can usually tell you a bit more about a vehicle, but there is typically a cost associated with them.

Questions You Should Ask the Seller

Below we have listed some questions you should ask the owner or seller of the S2000 you are looking at:

  • How much oil does the car use?
  • What oil do you use in the car?
  • When was the last service and who was it serviced by?
  • Has the timing chain tensioner been replaced and if so, when was it done?
  • What parts have been replaced?
  • Has the suspension been adjusted and greased correctly? Any proof?
  • Has the vehicle been in any major accidents?
  • Has the car overheated?
  • What modifications have been made to the car?
  • Is there any money owing on the car?
  • Have you got any information on the previous owners and how they treated the car?
  • Has a rust preventative been applied regularly?
  • Does the car have any rust or has it had any repaired in the past?
  • Have the brake calipers seized at any point and when were the brake pads replaced?
  • How often do you drive the vehicle?
  • What spark plugs are installed in the car? (check to make sure they are nkg PFR7G-11S plugs)

There are loads more questions you should ask the seller, but we feel these are some of the most important.

Things That Should Make You Walk Away

Here are some things that should make you walk away:

  • Any mention or indication of significant crash damage
  • Overheating
  • Modifications with no paperwork
  • Stanced
  • Money owing on the car
  • Rust (may be fine for some but we would walk away from a car with rust)
  • Engine swaps
  • Any major engine issues
  • Transmission Issues

There are loads of S2000s out in the wild and we think that the it is not worth pursuing a car that has significant problems. You may be fine buying an S2000 with one of these issues, but we are not.

Where to Find a Honda S2000 for Sale?

Now you know about what to look out for when buying a S2000, let’s take a look at where to find one for sale. The S2000 was a popular car and over 100,000 models were produced. Finding one for sale isn’t going to be too hard, but finding a good one is going to be a little bit more difficult. Below we have covered everything you need to know about finding an S2000 for sale.

Buy a S2000 Locally or Domestically

Your local market is going to be the first place to look for an S2000. Looking at cars in your own city or town is great because you can physically inspect and test drive the vehicle before purchasing it. You can talk to the seller directly and get a good feel of how the car has been looked after. Additionally, you can take the S2000 you are looking at to your mechanic or a specialist to make sure it is not a dog.

While finding an S2000 for sale close to you is always the best option, it may not always be possible. Maybe there are no good S2000s in your area or you live in the middle of nowhere. The next step is to look nationally. This will broaden your search and you should be able to find more S2000s for sale.

The price of S2000s can vary dramatically depending on the year, condition and model (Club Racer, Type S, etc.). In our local market of New Zealand, we found S2000s for sale from around NZ$15,000 to around $50,000 for a low mileage late model example. Modified examples may be more or less expensive, but completely stock cars in good condition will probably be worth more in the future.

We recommend you don’t jump at the first S2000 you look at (unless it is a real dime of course). Exercise a bit of patience, there are plenty of S2000s out there and you don’t want to purchase one that will give you problems down the track.

When you have found an S2000 with potential, we recommend that you take it to your mechanic or a specialist. They will be able to identify any problems with the vehicle and will save you from buying a lemon. If the owner or seller is reluctant to let you do this, you should proceed with caution as they may be trying to hide any problems or issues with the car.

Best Places to Find a Honda S2000 for Sale

There are a range of different places you can find S2000s for sale. We have listed some of them below:

Auction and Classifieds Websites

Websites like Cars for Sale, Piston Heads, TradeMe and Craigslist are great places to start your search for an S2000. You will find a range of different S2000s being sold by private sellers, dealers and importers. You can easily compare prices of cars and it should give you a good idea of what you will need to spend on an S2000.

Dealers and Importers

Pretty much all dealers and importers will have an online presence and the majority of them will advertise their cars on websites like we listed above. They may also have their own website, so we recommend you check those out as well. Buying a car from a dealer is usually more expensive, but you may get better protection if things go wrong. Additionally, you may be able to get a warranty as part of the deal, which could come in handy down the line.

Social Media

Social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Reddit can be great places to find an S2000 for sale. Join one of the many enthusiast groups around and start your hunt. Alternatively, you could ask if anyone in the group has an S2000 for sale or knows of anyone who does. These are also great places to buy or sell parts and get advice on the car. However, you need to be careful as people do get scammed in these groups.

Owners Clubs

This sort of ties in with the above, but owners clubs may have their own website or they may not have a web presence at all. Owners clubs are a great place to find S2000s for sale. The members are often enthusiasts and they usually look after their cars well.

Contacts or Events

Ask around. See if anyone you know has a S2000 for sale or knows somebody who does. You can also try and go to local events such as car meets or races to see if anyone has an S2000 for sale.

Import a Honda S2000

If you are struggling to find a suitable S2000 for sale, you may want to consider importing one. The S2000 was sold in many countries around the world, but the best place to look at importing one from is of course Japan.

Exporting cars from Japan is big business as older cars become expensive to own and operate. There are loads of S2000s in Japan, some in good condition and some in bad. We are going to tell you everything you need to know about importing an S2000 from Japan below.

Importing a Honda S2000 from Japan

Importing an S2000 from Japan might seem a bit daunting, but it is really quite simple. The first thing we recommend you do is Google “import Honda S2000”. You will be greeted with a number of websites that have S2000s ready for export. These websites will let you search based on a number of different factors, including the year, model, condition and much more.

We recommend that you read up on any website or auction house you are thinking of using. Check for reviews and feedback from people who have used the service before. While you are unlikely to get scammed, it can happen. Here are some examples of websites you can use below:

Cars From Japanis one of the largest exporters of vehicles from Japan and has a 99% customer satisfaction rating.

Goonet Exchange – is another large exporter of used Japanese cars. They have been operating since 1977 and are one of the most trusted exporters.

Tradecarviewis based in Tokyo and they have one of the best online platforms for connecting Japanese exporters to buyers from overseas.

How Does the Japanese Grading System Work?

Japanese auction houses and car exporters all get their vehicles in roughly the same way. The difference between them is how much they are willing to tell you about the car, their grading system, and how much support they will provide.

Auction houses and exporters will provide what is called an ‘auction check sheet’, which contains most of the information you need to know about a car. Seeing as you can’t view the cars personally, you will have to rely on the auction check sheet and the other information on the listing to make a decision. If a company is not willing to give you an auction check sheet or they will not provide any additional information about the car, you should move onto another exporter.

You need to learn how to read an auction check sheet before making a purchase. The sheet contains information such as the make, model, condition and specifications. There will be a grade on the check sheet that tells you the overall condition of the vehicle.

The grade on the check sheet is important, but you should not rely on it to make a decision. This is because different companies have different standards and methods for grading cars. A grade 4 for one company might be a grade 3.5 for another company, so you need to be careful.

Some websites have different grading systems and you may not be able to view the check sheet on the listing. If this is the case, we recommend that the contact the seller to get more information about the car.

The grade system should be used to reduce the number of S2000s you are looking at and then use the check sheet or additional information to make a decision.

The Auction Check Sheet

Below you can see an example of a Japanese auction check sheet. In the top right corner of the sheet you will notice there is a number and a letter. The number indicates the overall grade of the vehicle, while the letter shows you the interior grade. The exterior grade of the car is usually included in the number grade; however, some auction houses may use a different system.

In addition to the two grades, you will also notice the other information on the check sheet. The check sheet contains all the information on the specifications of the vehicle and any comments from the inspector. There is also a car map on the check sheet, but we will get to that later.

What Does the Number Grade Mean?

  • Grade 7 to 9 or S – New car with delivery miles.
  • Grade 6 – Same as above but with a few more miles.
  • Grade 5 – Vehicle is in excellent condition with low miles.
  • Grade 4.5 – Overall condition is great, but may have up to 100,000 miles on the clock.
  • Grade 4 – Overall condition is good, but can have low or high miles.
  • Grade 3.5 – Similar to grade 4, but some work may be needed and they usually have more miles.
  • Grade 3 – Can be the same condition as grade 3.5, but with more miles. Alternatively, the car may have lower miles but require more work.
  • Grade 2 – Very poor condition car and may have significant mechanical or exterior issues. Not necessarily a right off, but you would have to be a brave buyer to purchase one of these.
  • Grade 1 – Is modified in some way (can be extensive or something simple).
  • Grade 0, A, R, RA – Some repair history that can be major or minor.
The Letter Grade

As we wrote earlier, the number grade is usually accompanied by a letter that indicates the interior grade. If there is an ‘A’ on the check sheet it shows that the vehicle is in exceptional or good condition. A ‘B’ means that the car is in average condition while a ‘C’ indicates that the vehicle is in poor condition. Grades below C indicate that the interior is in very poor condition.

The Car Map

The check sheet will also contain what is called a “car map”, which tells you all the information you need to know about the exterior condition of the car. It will show the location of any problems or damage to the vehicle. Any problems are indicated by a letter and a number. The letter tells you what the issue is and the number indicates the severity. You can read more about the car map in our “How to Import a Car from Japan” guide.

Remember to Check Your Country’s Importation Laws

Always check your country’s importation laws before purchasing a vehicle from overseas. Many countries have restrictions on importing cars under or over a certain age, so make sure you check. The Honda S2000 is still a fairly new car, especially later model ones and they may not be able to be imported.

Import from Other Countries

The Honda S2000 was sold in many countries around the world and you may be able to find one closer to home. It may be cheaper to import an S2000 from a country that is closer to you; however, remember that different regions received slightly different versions of the car.

Concluding this Honda S2000 Buying Guide

The Honda S2000 is one of the best sports cars of all time and has all the hallmarks of a true classic. While the S2000 is starting to get a bit old, there are still plenty of good examples to be found out in the wild.

Always check over any car you are looking at thoroughly. While the S2000 is fairly robust for a sports car, you can wind up with a lemon if you are not careful. Get yourself familiar with what a stock S2000 looks like both inside and out, and remember to not run into a purchase. A good S2000 will provide plenty of years of driving enjoyment and could be worth something in the future.

Now Read: Honda Civic History – Every Generation 

 

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