What can be better for a car aficionado than carving a mountain road in an open roadster on a pleasant sunny day? While almost any convertible would make such a drive enjoyable; those looking for an extra adrenaline rush of a high revving exhaust note and slamming their own gears require a special car.
One such car is the Honda S2000. While the standard S2000 is one of the greatest sports roadsters in its own right; the folks at Honda sprinkled additional performance magic dust on the limited edition “Club Racer” CR model. This factory tuned car may be a little too harsh on the mountain or canyon road, but it feels at home on the race track as its name suggests. Major manufacturers don’t often release such track focused cars for general sale, and this makes the CR even more exciting.
So what makes this roadster a top performer in the twisties? The S2000 is all about the numbers. It all begins with the front mid-engined and rear wheel drive chassis that allows for the 50:50 front/rear weight distribution. Then, there is the high revving 4 cylinder 237 hp VTEC motor that lies at its heart. In fact, this car should really be called S2200 CR since its using a torquier 2,157cc engine that was around since 2004.
The compact and lightweight motor has one of highest specific output for a naturally aspirated production engine. Only the Wankel rotary has higher horsepower output per liter. The Club Racer’s overall curb weight is 51 lbs less than that of a standard S2000. The car’s 94.5 inch wheelbase is shorter than any of its competitors and allows the driver’s bottom to be right next to the drive wheels, which further enhances the cornering feel.
The Club Racer model is distinguished from its standard brethren by: stiffened suspension, quicker steering, unique wheels with wider stickier tires, a removable hardtop that takes place of the standard folding soft top, and tuned front and rear aero bodywork among other tweaks. Although, Honda claims a drastic reduction in high speed lift the enlarged front splitter/spoiler and the huge rear wing appear somewhat adolescent. No matter, the CR is a laser sharp focused version of one of the best critically acclaimed and celebrated roadsters of all time. Did I mention that the chief engineer for the S2000, Shigeru Uehara, is the same guy who brought us the NSX?
Honda had originally planed to produce between 1,500 and 2,000 CRs, but when all was said and done the records show that only 699 of them reached the US market. Out of these, just 59 cars were delivered that had the A/C and audio system delete option. The CRs came in four exterior colors: white, yellow, blue, and black. There were just 90 cars in the “Grand Prix white” color, 140 in “Rio Yellow pearl”, 200 in “Apex Blue pearl”, and 269 in “Berlina Black”. Refer to this page for further production number breakdown. This truly is a limited edition car.
The S2000 CR is an ultra rare factory tuned car and its desirability and rarity combine to make it an interesting collector’s item. A country wide used car search yields just five CRs with between 10K and 35K miles and an average asking price of $28,000. This average price is higher than that of the base S2000 of the same vintage, and this will continue since CRs are so rare.
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Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.