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Road Grime: The Re-Awakening of an S2000 Enthusiast, Part Deux: ROAD TRIP!

  • Posted: 11-16-2016 12:00 AM
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You may recall my previous post in this series, I'd introduced you to the S2000 that I should have never bought, and decided that an AP1 was more fitting. I also figured out that 2003 was "the S2000 year to get," as far as AP1s go.

Before I move ahead there, I'm sure someone's wondering, "Why not another AP2? What's wrong with 2004-09?" Number one; price. I would have loved another 2006-09 car as they lend themselves to ECU tuning much better than other years (heck, I already have Hondata's lovely Flashpro), but finding a good one was going to be way out of my budget.

And the 2004-05? While there were certainly some good changes made for the 2004 model year, I'm just not interested in them. Honda softened the car up over the years. Without the incentive of the easily-tuned ECU of the 06+, I'll pass on the AP2 in favor of the more raw and radical AP1!

Now this is where things get tough. I've narrowed it down to just one Model Year, and had to make the search even more specifying a color. It has to be Sebring Silver. I'm not a crazy silver junkie, but that's just where I landed by process of elimination.

  • Berlina Black? Only if YOU want to come help me keep it clean. 
  • Grand Prix White? Already done that, plus don't forget about the interior color choices.
  • Spa Yellow? Awesome, just not for me.
  • New Formula Red? Too red.
  • Suzuka Blue? Too blue. Seriously. Blue interior, AAAGH!!!! Run away!!!
  • Silverstone Metallic? Looks awesome, but everyone else thinks so too, so they're everywhere.  

And there you go. A 2003, Sebring Silver for less than $13k, that doesn't have a history involving accidents, more previous owners than you can count on two hands, or a host of questionable modifications. Yeah good luck with that!

I looked at cars in Southern California and was not pleased. Most of the cars in my price range were pretty rough. Pick one, two, or even three of the deal-breakers from the previous paragraph and that summarizes my Socal S2000 shopping experience. It was time to expand my search beyond California. 

After several years of faithful Bring a Trailer readership, an out-of-state car purchase not only seemed like a completely normal thing to do, but an opportunity for adventure and excitement! Sign me up! And sign up I did. I located a great car in Chicago, and after many detailed pictures, emails, and phone conversation, I had booked a flight!

The plan was to work a full day Friday, grab a bite to eat and a quick nap, and head to LAX. I flew out at 10:30 PM for Detroit where i'd be marooned for a few hours while I waited for my connecting flight. Let me tell you, if you ever want to experience being the last person alive after the apocalypse, hop on a Red Eye to Detroit Metro Int'l. I HAD THE ENTIRE CONCOURSE TO MYSELF. It was simultaneously wonderful and creepy. This did however allow me to catch a good 90 minutes of sleep.

From Detroit it was on to Chicago. The flight was uneventful, and we landed right on time at about 9:18 AM. I was tired but so excited to see my new car, so I lept off the plane and threaded my way through the throngs of my fellow travelers, down to the curb to wait for the seller to pick me up.

And there it was... Watching the car come around the bend, HIDs burning bright and Sebring Silver gleaming in the sun was like Christmas morning. The car looked even better than in the pictures I had seen. This thing has 117k miles??? Really?!? 

Off to the bank! Not so fast. It turns out that a Cashier's Check just doesn't mean what it used to! When the seller tried to deposit my check, they told him the following:

  1.  They could not verify it, and refused to call my bank to verify it (per my bank's instructions). 
  2. He would not be able to verify it for a few business days, the funds were not guaranteed and it could bounce (I thought that was the whole point of a Cashier's Check!) and for all they knew it could be a high quality forgery. 
  3. He would not have any funds for 7 business days.

I almost went through the roof. I had anticipated (3) but had spoken with my bank who had assured me that if the check needed verification then a simple phone call could take care of it. So, surprise! We got to take a four hour detour to my bank's nearest location, so I could cash my own check. Awesome! 

I finally made it out of Chicago in the late afternoon, and, thanks to prehistoric banking practices, wayyy behind schedule. But the seller had been great, the car was great, and spirits were high as I set out to cross three states before my first break! Rather than narrate all thirty hours of my trip, I'll share some highlights and let the pictures do the talking:

The elixir of life! If you are reading in Cali, you understand the significance here. 93 Octane makes us poor Californian car enthusiasts weak at the knees. "Enjoy it while it lasts", I told the new-to-me S2000.

Rice Rockets come in all shapes and sizes. The riciest exhaust tip I have ever seen was found on a Duramax Diesel-powered Silverado in Iowa. The exhaust piping was of the stock diameter, finished off with this piece of clamped-on, slash-cut sewer pipe.

Dusk set in shortly thereafter, which limited my photography abilities. But 13 hours later, I finally made it to my hotel in Fort Morgan, Colorado. It was 4:30 AM, and the receptionist had actually filed me as a No Show by that point. 

After a brief nap, it was time to set out on the second leg of the journey...from Northeast Colorado on to Socal. I had been looking forward to this part of the trip in particular, as Colorado is home to some serious natural beauty, and with Fall in swing I was hyped.

This next section of Colorado was mind blowing. A serpentine stretch of I-70 runs parallel to the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon, providing incredible views. The road itself is an engineering marvel, with East and Westbound traffic divided either vertically or horizontally so as to co-exist with Mother Nature.

The latter two pics should give you a better idea. In case you were wondering, Dear Reader, I did in fact rappel down off the Interstate to snap a pic from the bike path below, then I jet-packed up to 1000' for the second pic, all while my autonomous S2000 continued on its journey. I then glided gently as a feather back down into the driver's seat.

Here we are, hurtling towards Utah.

Utah. If anyone every asks me if I've been to Mars, I will respond with "No, but I've been to Northeast Utah." I expect they'll respond with an understanding nod.

It's a weird place. Beautiful, but weird. Although there had not been time on this journey, I'd been hoping for a trip to Zion within the next year or so. Sadly, I had lost the light by the time I made it to most of the good stuff there. And let me tell you, there is a lot of good stuff!

I could see the light emitted from Las Vegas from at least fifty miles away. This blurry picture does a rather sorry job illustrating how ridiculous this seems at Midnight, especially after you've been plodding through the deep, dark black hole that is rural Utah for several hours.

This has ran rather long, I know. I applaud you if you are still with me, and appreciate your attention. But here we are, back home in my beautiful little beach community.

I will leave you with a little gem of irony. I had been worried about the weather in late October between Chicago and Socal. As it turned out, the weather was clear and calm the entire way until I got to Socal. One of the biggest storms of the year came through just as I was descending into Barstow. I could see individual lightning storms in Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties, all of which were flashing at different intervals. Before reaching a good vantage point for all of this I had no idea what was going on. I actually Googled "weapons testing mojave desert" because I had not been in tune with the outside world much in the last 48 hours and thought I might be getting nuked.

The storms were quite the light show. My awe made a turn towards terror coming down I-15 through the twisty, treacherous Cajon Mountain Pass at 3 A.M. when buckets of rain completely obscured my vision. Dodging semi-trucks and giant expanses of standing water in a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive, hyper-suspended sports car will certainly keep you awake.

But I made it! The calm after the storm, shown below.

You are safe now, in your new home, happy little S2000.

I hope you've enjoyed my tale of travels to pick up this great car. But realize now that the adventure is only just beginning. In future articles, I will begin to outfit the car with some upgrades that make it both more track friendly, as well as more appealing to the eyes and ears. I hope you'll join me!

About the Author

David Walker Since childhood, David has been fascinated by machines, particularly those that move from A to point B a little faster; be it land, water, or air. David attended a technical school and studied automotive technology with a focus on engine machining and assembly.


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