Honda introduced the S2000 in ’99 and shut its production down in 2009. It might seem strange to some to treat the S2000 as a modern classic, considering its newest examples are barely just a decade old, but the rear-drive Honda roadster was a special treat for Japanese car enthusiasts. That’s why, according to Hagerty, the price for low-mileage concours-quality examples of S2000s has risen nearly 30 percent in the last five years.
That doesn’t mean you should go buy heavily modified, million-mile example for a premium. Hagerty clarified that prices on lesser-quality cars have been flat over the past five years, but as enthusiasts are priced out of the market for the best examples, that's likely to change.
If you’re not familiar with the ins-and-outs of the Honda S2000, let’s get you caught up. We already mentioned that the car was sold from 1999 to 2009. Honda split the S2000 into two generations: AP1 and AP2. The first generation, AP1 cars ran until 2003. From there, the updated AP2 cars finished the S2000s production run.
The first-generation cars used an all-aluminum 2.0-liter I4 engine rated at 240 hp and 153 lb-ft of torque. Oh yeah, that 240 hp happened at an ear-splitting 8,300 RPM. The engine was mated to a six-speed manual transmission that fed power to the rear. Among other upgrades, the AP2 cars got a slightly larger engine — 0.2-liters larger, to be exact. The 2.2-liter I4 lost 100 RPMs in peak revs but gained peak torque at a lower RPM. Horsepower stayed the same.
If you are planning on buying one of these special Hondas, you should know that yours probably won’t be stock. Like most high-performance cars, the S2000 was a perfect platform to make sharper with aftermarket parts. Different suspensions, exhausts and differential gears are all common. That means the odds of finding an unmolested car is rare, and you’ll likely pay a premium for it.
Hagerty notes there are some issues that you should note: Check any S2000 thoroughly for rust and frame damage. You’ll want to check the wheel wells for rust, as well as the front subframe and frame rails. Basically, you’ll want to put whatever S2000 you plan on buying on a lift and give it a solid once over before laying down any cash, though that's good advice for any potential purchase.