Previews - 2004 Honda S2000

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    2000 + 200 = 240: S2000 gets a bigger engine and more usable power

    [​IMG]

    By MARK VAUGHN
    (08:30 Oct. 06, 2003)

    There are significant improvements to the 2004 Honda S2000, but you have
    to push a little to find them.
    Indeed, after several laps of the Spring Mountain Motorsports Park road course out in the desert near Las Vegas, we were searching our senses to notice.

    Yes, there was more torque from the 200 new cubic centimeters of displacement added when the 2.0-liter normally aspirated four-cylinder engine was stroked. Yes, the car’s rear felt better planted with its revised suspension tuning and 17-inch wheels and meatier Bridgestone RE 050 tires—215/45 front, 245/40 rears. And yes, the new transmission ratios and better shifter feel were evident, too. There was even more room in the cockpit than before—a half-inch more hip and shoulder room. But was that all?

    “Ask Mr. Uehara, the chief engineer, to take you out for a couple laps,” said a Honda guy.

    Uehara? That was a familiar name. Where had we heard it? We asked Uehara-san if he was available for a tour of the track. He bowed humbly showing much reserve. We asked several times, not sure if he understood what we wanted. The translator said he had agreed, and the engineers who seemed to be hovering around him like novices said he had agreed. But it was a few, somewhat awkward minutes before we actually got in the car. Why had the Honda guy suggested this? Then, oh man: Uehara nailed the throttle and wailed up through the gears, smacking redline in each one like he designed the whole thing.

    “More torque,” was all he said.

    [​IMG]

    He entered the very first turn, a long right-hand constant-radius sweeper, at what seemed like about 20 mph faster than we had been driving through it all morning—faster than anyone had ever driven through the thing ever for all we could guess. Who knew the S2000 could go this fast?

    Then, in mid-turn, at what we had assumed was the limit of adhesion, Uehara lifted off the throttle and sawed the wheel back and forth a few times. Despite the new revised spring, damper and antiroll bar rates, increased body rigidity, enhanced suspension bushings and optimized rear toe settings, we expected to swap ends and start bouncing backward across the gravel runoff area, dust and rocks flying, lizards leaping, jack rabbits fleeing for their lives. But no, the S2000 just kept on gripping the hot pavement.

    “Revised suspension means better control of lift-throttle oversteer,” he said.

    Then we remembered: Uehara was Uehara, the father of the S2000, the father of the NSX and the former chief engineer of the Honda F1 efforts.

    He kept it up for three more laps, doing a magnificent job of heel-and-toe downshifting into each turn, nailing the throttle on the way out and making the S2000 yelp with pleasure.

    When we pulled back into the paddock, “Thank you,” was all he said.

    No, thank you, we said.

    We had seen the light. We were ready to snatch the pebble from his hand. We got back into another 2004 S2000 and had at it. Yes, it goes quicker than we had assumed. Yes, it has more torque. Yes, it shifts better. So, this was how you’re supposed to drive this thing!

    We stayed out all day, trying to take all the tread off all the cars. It was great.

    [​IMG]

    2004 HONDA S2000
    ON SALE: October
    BASE PRICE: $32,900
    POWERTRAIN: 2.2-liter, 240-hp, 161-lb-ft four-cylinder; rwd, six-speed manual
    CURB WEIGHT: 2835 pounds
    0-60 MPH: 5.9 seconds


    [​IMG]

    -----

    A Better Sports Car Through Compromise

    [​IMG]

    By John Pearley Huffman
    Date Posted 10-01-2003

    The moment Honda's S2000 hit the market as a 2000 model it was clearly one of the most uncompromised sports cars made available to U.S. buyers in decades. It only sat two and those two could only be so wide. Unlike every other Honda —except the motorcycles, the Acura NSX and some lawnmowers — it had rear-wheel drive. The chassis was stiff (so was the ride) and it handled with the immediacy and precision of a raw nerve sliced open by an expert surgeon. The six-speed transmission's throws could be measured in single-digit microns and the normally aspirated, DOHC, 16-valve, 2.0-liter four made an unfathomable 240-horsepower thanks to Honda's famed VTEC variable valve timing technology, a super-lightweight reciprocating assembly, a dizzying 9,000-rpm redline and the sacrifice of virtually all usable low-end torque. It was an easy car to love, and a tough car with which to live.

    For 2004, Honda has significantly updated the S2000, with most of the changes aimed toward civilizing the car a bit for everyday driving. The engine has grown, the redline has dropped, the transmission's gear ratios have been jumbled, the shifter action has improved, the cockpit is slightly roomier and the chassis subtly revised. Can an S2000 with built-in concessions to comfort and practicality — compromises — be as fully satisfying as a sports car? There will be an answer.

    The modifications to the 2004 S2000's external appearance are slight but worthwhile. Up front the nose has been reshaped with a wider air intake below the bumper and new clear lens, projector headlights above it. Out back the rear bumper cover has been tweaked to appear closer to the ground, dual exhaust tips are now an oval shape instead of round, and the taillights incorporate three LED elements in place of the two conventionally illuminated lamps used previously. Throw in the new 10-spoke, 17-inch wheels wrapped by wider Bridgestone Potenza RE 050 tires and the latest S2000 is effectively updated — in terms of appearance.

    The real substance of the S2000's evolution lives most profoundly under the hood where, though it's still basically the same all-aluminum engine design (under a new cover plate), an increase in crank stroke has swollen displacement from 2.0 to 2.2 liters. Beyond that the compression ratio has been raised from 11.0 to 1 to 11.1 to 1 and the VTEC system has been tweaked so that the point of transition to the high-speed cam profiles has been lowered. The longer stroke knocks 800 rpm off the redline to keep piston speeds reasonable, but in exchange there's a bit more peak torque (161 pound-feet up from 153) and that peak occurs at a friendlier 6,500 instead of 7,500 rpm. There's no more horsepower — the engine still maxes out at 240 ponies — but that now happens at 7,800 instead of 8,300 rpm.

    [​IMG]

    It's not just that the engine's power and torque peaks have moved downward, but supplies of both across the rev range have increased. Between 1,000 rpm (just off idle) to 8,000 rpm (200 rpm short of the redline) available torque and horsepower are consistently up between 4 and 10 percent, and there's even some real heft as low as 3,000 rpm. Puttering from mall to work to home, the 2.2-liter engine is far friendlier than the 2.0-liter and yet retains most of its eagerness to leap for the redline. The VTEC system's operation seems a bit less abrupt in the revised 2.2, but the engine still snarls as it reaches the juicy center of its power band at around 6,000 rpm. Honda claims that 0-to-60-mph times slip down to "less than 6.0 seconds" with the new engine, and since Edmunds has had previous S2000s scooting to 60 in as quick as 5.8 seconds the carmaker is probably being conservative. The new S2000 feels quicker and likely hits 60 in about 5.5 seconds.

    To get the most from the engine, the six-speed transmission's ratios have been juggled, with the gearing now slightly lower in the bottom four gears, a tad higher in fifth and unchanged in sixth. New carbon-fiber synchronizers have been added to every gear except reverse and while they may improve shift quality, that improvement must be very slight. After all, the S2000 transmission already sported one of the world's quickest and most precise shifters. The final drive ratio remains entrenched at 4.10 to 1.

    Further civilizing the 2004 S2000 is a revised driving environment. This is still a very close-coupled cockpit, but new deeply sculpted door panels add a few millimeters of hiproom. New aluminum-looking (it's really plastic) trim for the radio cover furnishes a performance edge and there's now a second cupholder aboard, effectively doubling the car's commuting range. The steering wheel is still tiny in diameter and rides low in the driver's lap, but the instrumentation behind it is more readable than before, with the sweeping digital tach having less space between its segments and its companion digital speedometer easier to read. Some purists argue that traditional mechanical instruments would be better, but current open wheel race cars use a display similar to the S2000's, so it's tough to fault Honda for creating an authentic performance ambience.

    [​IMG]

    The S2000 cockpit isn't built for transcontinental cruising; it's built for attacking the road in bursts, thrusts and parries. And by that standard it's dang near excellent. Snugged down into the driver seat, the S2000's controls all fall readily to hand. The aluminum shift knob now has a band of leather wrapped around it for comfort and the thick rim of the steering wheel provides a perfect grip. This is still a tight fit for anyone who wears a 42 Regular or larger suit, but incrementally better than previous S2000s and at least tolerable for journeys up to about 200 miles. After that, put the S2000 on a trailer and tow it with your Suburban.

    Fiddling with the S2000's finely balanced chassis must have been daunting for Honda going into the 2004 updating. The structure itself has been stiffened with new gusseting at the front crossmember joints, some additional fixing points for the stiffening rod at the rear and additional reinforcement of the rear wheel arch bulkheads. The front suspension has been more precisely located with new brackets for the upper control arms. However, the S2000 was already an admirably solid machine and discerning any fortification through the seat of the pants is probably impossible.

    To accommodate the new, larger tires (the previous S2000 ran P205/55R16 front and P225/50R16 rear tires while the new edition's Bridgestones measure P215/45R17 up front and 245/40R17 out back) the steering ratio has been lowered from 13.8 to 1 to 14.9 to 1 and the electric power steering reprogrammed accordingly. The double wishbone suspension design at each corner remains but the front spring rates are up 6.7 percent and they've dropped 10 percent in the back along with a 1.8-millimeter thinner rear anti-sway bar. Of course the shock tuning is new and the brakes get new pad material, a new master cylinder and a new ABS system incorporating "yaw control logic."

    On a racetrack, the revised suspension, bigger tires and slightly better brakes let a driver push the new S2000 deeper into corners while the richer torque curve is more forgiving of gear selection screwups coming out of them. The original S2000's oversteer came on pretty suddenly, but the limit transition is more manageable and smoother in the updated machine. An expert might hustle the original, less forgiving S2000 just as quickly around some tracks as the updated car, but for most of us the new car will be quicker and safer.

    [​IMG]

    Track performance is something every prospective S2000 owner should consider, because there's little reason to buy one unless it's going to spend some time on a race course. Even the tamer, more civilized, 24-pound-heavier 2004 edition of this hard-edged car is not an easy machine to live with day in and day out. It's not easy to get in and out of (particularly when the quick-dropping power top is up), it doesn't coddle either the driver or passenger and, while the engine is much easier-going than before, it still needs to spin with urgency and a banshee wail to extract maximum performance. The 2004 S2000 (Shouldn't it be the S2200 now?) may be more compromised than previous S2000s and that makes it even more lovable than ever, but it's still the least compromised new sports car for sale in North America. It's easier to live with but it's still not easy to live with. If you want something even tempered and relaxed, buy a Porsche Boxster S.

    Honda doesn't expect the $32,600 price of the 2003 S2000 to go up much with the change to the 2004 model, and this car remains a startling value. Its closest competitors are all much more expensive (that 2003 Boxster S, which offers similar performance, starts at $52,365) and often less satisfying in their purity of purpose, if not in creature comforts. If you really want to add a pure, unalloyed sports car to your fleet, why spend more?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. bioyuki

    bioyuki Ich habe Angst

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  3. Soltaker

    Soltaker 03-18-2015 #NEVERFORGET

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  4. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    Wait wait wait, more torque and more usuable hp makes it faster?

    WHO WOULDA THUNK IT!!!!
     
  5. 1BadZ

    1BadZ Uber :Aug2000: GM Nazi

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    Honda Es Duce Triple Zero!!1
     
  6. HeyItsJojo

    HeyItsJojo New Member

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  7. spooky

    spooky OT Supporter

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    Interior = :yum:
     
  8. Ghost Load

    Ghost Load i'll see your kidcarson and geekboy and raise you OT Supporter

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    yeah right then you stalk me
    cliff notes? how much more torque. and i wasn't aware of any torque in the first place.
     
  9. jk

    jk Guest

    I want one.
     
  10. HeyItsJojo

    HeyItsJojo New Member

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    Uhera thought the people were asking "what does this car lack?"


    he responds "more torque" :hs:
     
  11. 4bangin

    4bangin Ballet of Violence

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    I'd love to have one. So many people talk shit about them, yet few of them have actually owned one.
     
  12. spooky

    spooky OT Supporter

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    :mb:
     
  13. bioyuki

    bioyuki Ich habe Angst

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    To this day, the S2000's performance envelope puts it in a class of few. To improve the dynamic performance without upsetting the superior balance and overall execution of the car would require careful thought. The stated goals were:

    Improved Acceleration
    Sharpened Handling
    Enhanced brake performance
    Improved man-machine interface.


    To address these items, Honda's approach was to use both tried and true methods as well as technical innovation.

    Improved Acceleration

    To improve acceleration, the old adage "there's no replacement for displacement" was applied. Through the use of a longer stroke (increased to 90.7mm from 84mm), the motor's displacement was increased from 1997cc (2.0L) to 2157 cc (2.2L), resulting in basically a 500rpm shift of the horsepower curve (to the left, on the rpm scale), meaning the new motor basically makes the the same power as the older F20C, simply 500rpms sooner at basically every point on the curve. Compression has been bumped up a tenth of a point to 11.1 (from 11.0:1) and the valve timing has been altered to further enhance mid-range performance. On paper, the numbers translate to 240hp at 7800 rpm (vs [email protected] rpm) and 162 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm (vs 153 lb-ft @ 7500 rpm).

    It might seem trivial to simply lengthen the stroke of a given motor, but there are several major design details to consider. Foremost in this case are the increased loads acting on the piston sides. In the 8000+ rpm neighborhood where the S2000 takes residence, these become quite significant, resulting in unstable piston movement. To mitigate this phenomenon, Honda has improved the accuracy of the cylinder machining process to an extremly high level. Borrowing a technique from race engine building programs, Honda used a dummy head honing technique to simulate the cylinder bore deformation that occurs when the cylinder head is bolted to the block (imagine the bore diameter enlarging slightly and with irregularity as the cylinder bore is compressed). In other words, the bores are honed while a dummy head is bolted to the block. This technique results in bore deformation that's reportedly less than 25% of the deformation on a block which has been bored using normal methods.

    The enlarged displacement results in a 6-10% improvement in horsepower and torque from 1000 to 8000 rpms. For Honda this improvement alone wasn't enough. A tighter secondary gear reduction ratio (1.206 vs 1.16) is specified to provide a bit more snap off the line and to better match the characteristics of the new motor. This results in effectively 4% shorter ratios for 1st through 4th gears while the 5th ratio is effectively 1% shorter. 6th is effectively 2% longer, for a slightly more relaxed cruise speed. Due to the additional torque of the new 2.2L motor (and possibly due to real-world issues with the 2.0L drivetrain), the S2000's transmission features a redesigned clutch, clutch case, and differential.

    To reduce the "impact torque" of a high rpm clutch dump, the new clutch has an additional orifice at the sleeve cylinder, which reduces the torque reaction acting on the drivetrain. The clutch case has incorporated additional rib reinforcements to reduce vibrations and noises generated by the drivetrain. The additional ribs have improved clutch case rigidity by approximately 10%. The differential has been beefed up considerably as well. By moving to an FCD material (from FC), the case rigidity was improved by 40% while the overall case strength was increased 20%. Gear fatigue resistance was also improved by 5% through a change in the shot peening method for the drive pinion gear.

    Real World Results

    What is the impact of these manifold improvements to the S2000's drivetrain? By Honda's own figures, the car offers substantially better acceleration in each gear, offset only slightly by the reduced top speed potential in each gear (in the older car, thanks to the slightly taller gearing and extra rev capacity, you're able to hold a gear a bit longer, resulting in better acceleration during that brief period where the '04 must upshift while the '00-'03 is able to remain in the lower gear). In time-to-speed terms, Honda claims the new car can accelerate from 20-50 mph in 4.5 seconds (using only 3rd gear), vs 5.1 seconds for the outgoing model.[b/] In the 15-45 mph (2nd gear only) sprint, the '04 runs 4.5 seconds vs 5.0 seconds for the outgoing model.

    While Honda has broken down "Dynamic Performance" into 4 categories, "Improved Handling" was not specific enough, so they list three targeted areas of improvement in the Handling category:

    Performance at and near the limit
    Sensitivity to external forces
    Controllability
    Dynamic Components


    Perhaps the most obvious visible change to the '04 S2000 is the handsome new 17" wheels, wider in front and rear (by 0.5" and 1.0" respectively), wrapped in wider tires. In the front, 205/55R16s were replaced by 215/45R17 tires. In the rear, 245/40R17s bumped the incumbent 225/50R16s. Both changes are key contributors to the '04 S2000's extended cornering limits. The tires are now Bridgestone Potenza RE050s, replacing the former model's Bridgestone Potenza S-02s. The new tires feature a completly different tread pattern, intended to improve the balance in performance between dry and wet conditions.

    As it turns out, the tires were the easy part. The suspension and steering tuning have been substantially revised to best take advantage of the additional grip and also to exorcise any of the perceived ills of the current setup.

    In terms of spring and damper tuning, up front the spring rates have been increased by nearly 7%, while in the rear they've actually been softened by roughly 10%. Damper rates have been adjusted accordingly. The front stabilizer bar is unchanged, while the rear bar has been reduced in diameter by 1.8mm.

    To enhance steering feel and accuracy, the suspension geometry was altered slightly, lowering the steering knuckles by 1.5mm. The EPS (Electrical Power Steering) system features an optimized steer response gain, while the software was updated to improve steering linearity and agility. The steering gear ratio was also changed to match the new suspension and tire characteristics. Increased rigidity of the steering gearbox supporting mounts results in improved steering precision as well.

    One of the "features" of the outgoing S2000's rear suspension was its tendency to exhibit bump steer at the limits. Honda's engineers have attacked this issue from several angles. The first was to reduce the rear bump toe-in. At a 50mm bump deflection, toe-in has been reduced from -0.19 degrees to -0.05 degrees. Secondly, the rear roll center was lowered from 101mm to 92mm. And finally, the initial toe-in setting has been slightly reduced, further improving the linearity in response.

    These enhancements result directly in improved roadholding under full suspension compression or during severe body roll situations. Obviously, this greatly improves dynamic stability.

    Static Components

    A suspension designer's task is greatly simplified if he can count on excellent chassis stiffness. While in a practical sense, a perfectly rigid chassis is impossible, it's always possible to design ever stiffer chassis, with the tradeoff usually involving packaging, cost, and weight concerns. Honda's engineers have tweaked the S2000's equation a bit, resulting in an improvement in overall body rigidity of approximately 10%. This is no mean feat, given the existing S2000's world-class stiffness. This was achieved through the use of additional reinforcements or bracing at various locations in the chassis, including a new cross brace at the very front of the frame (positioned horizontally, in front of the radiator), reinforcements at key crossmember joints, additional fixing points to existing braces, and reinforcements to the rear wheel arch bulkhead. Additionally, the front suspension upper arm brackets were strengthened, further benefitting handling.

    Results

    Handling related improvements are comprehensive. Honda claims improvements in overall stability, steering accuracy/effort/feel, bump steer characteristics, wet performance/hydroplaning, high-speed stability, smooth ride comfort, choppy ride comfort, and at the limit controllability.

    As mentioned earlier, a key to the S2000's brilliance is its superb overall balance. Thus, it follows that if you improve acceleration and handling performance, to keep a balanced package you must also address the braking performance.

    To this end, the S2000's braking system has seen several evolutionary improvements. Much like the other areas of improvement already discussed, these improvements were designed not only to improve braking performance in an objective sense, but also to improve overall feel, and thus driving enjoyment.

    To improve fade resistance and stopping power at and near the limit, the brake pad material has been changed from a non-metallic compound to a new metallic compound. While a change in pad material is generally enough to impact measured performance, it can also result in a change in brake pedal feel. As such, the '04 S2000's brake master cylinder ratio has been changed from 6.5 to 6.0, resulting in an increased feel of rigidity and "build-up" quality (Honda's term) in the normal driving range. Honda claims less pedal travel is required than previously to provide braking power in the "normal" working ranges. "Build-up" quality is defined more or less as follows: Assuming brake pedal force is constant, braking force actually increases (more stopping power) in the latter stage of brake application, resulting in additional driver confidence and peace of mind during spirited driving.

    The new pad material (Jurid632) provides greater frictional stability in high-temperature operating ranges, resulting in superb anti-fade characteristics. Fluctuation in braking performance remains relatively small even after the pads are cycled repeatedly.

    The ABS system has been improved through the use of split-regulation yaw-control logic for improved stability on split-μ surfaces when the ABS is triggered. Furthermore, though more powerful than before, the system (consisting of the CPU and modulator) has been downsized for both precious space and weight savings.

    Honda contends (and rightly so) that all the improvements in objective categories can go virtually unrecognized if the man-machine interface isn't optimized as well.

    In this sense, many refinements to the '04 S2000 were effected not only for a directly measurable performance benefit, but also to improve the feel of a component or system of components.

    A good example of this is the new carbon fiber synchromesh for all gears except reverse. The new synchronizer design features a brass ring with a carbon fiber element bonded on the inner surface, resulting in simplified mechanical components, increased synchronizer capacity, improved abrasion resistance, and reduced weight. The weight reduction and increased capacity of the synchronizers directly results in a "smoother and quicker shifting feel". Further enhancing shift feel quality is a reduction in the load acting on the disc spring. This particular tweak results in reduced shift knob operational load as well as reduced harshness as compared to the current model.

    Another example of improved feel is in the operation of the throttle and the relationship to actual vehicle acceleration. To this end, pedal travel was shortened and pedal effort increased. By reducing the diameter of the throttle body drum, pedal effort is increased approximately 10% at the completely shut end, and 6% at WOT. This was done partly to reduce the occurance of accidental throttle input such as when the driver encounters a road undulation. Accelerator pedal travel was shortened by approximately 10mm.

    A final area of subjective improvement on the S2000 is in the horn note. A spiral double horn unit replaces the current (puny) flat double horn

    Article from TOV
     
  14. If only that new engine was put into the old design :hs:
     
  15. Buck-O

    Buck-O Guest

    :rofl::werd::rofl:

    The moral of the story...

    Japanese Auto Designers know how to drive...Autoweek...does not.
     
  16. Letifo

    Letifo Moderator

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    An expert might hustle the original, less forgiving S2000 just as quickly around some tracks as the updated car

    not necessarily

    but yeah, that's sweet. I'd take this one over the last one, they're both great cars though (speaking from no personal experience at all.)
     
  17. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    I'd pimp it.
     
  18. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    That's just the peak number. The band might be wider and earlier.
     
  19. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    :bigthumb:
     
  20. Buck-O

    Buck-O Guest

    It makes a shit load of difference when its across the entire power band.

    Peak power numbers mean nothing unless you can see them plotted on a dyno chart.
     
  21. pixel804

    pixel804 yabba dabba do

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    i wonder if that engine will fit into a lotus elise - instead of using the type-r engine
     
  22. BlaXicaN

    BlaXicaN OT Supporter

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    wow. i've always wanted an s2k. once i get my degree u can count on me buying one of these badboys.
     
  23. Seifer

    Seifer Abort your Babies!

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    i love the way it looks, i just wish they would make it with a real motor.
     
  24. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    It has a good engine. It's a great little sports car.
     
  25. DefBringer

    DefBringer Guest

    fuck that, cram a turbo buick motor in there!
     

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