When most people think of the North American car scene, images of car shows at the Queen Mary, meets at In-N-Out, and track events at Willow Springs may initially come to mind. Seldom will Canadian-built cars be the first thought as defining factors in current trends and styles. The reason, however, that the Great White North tends to fade into the background is not due to incompetence, but rather their modesty and ability to keep secrets. To let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, Canada has more than a few incredibly well-engineered cars, which are neither documented in forum build threads nor attend car shows but are easily on par with many SoCal builds built simply for the enjoyment of ownership. Vincent Ong's S2000 is a great example of what Canada has to offer, proving that world-class Honda builds are definitely not restricted to the United States and Japan.
Vincent was originally born in the Philippines to a family of car enthusiasts. He fondly recalls being given toy cars and Tonka trucks to play with as a child. His father owned a bakery, but also had a garage where he kept his many cars; it was there that Vincent realized his passion for anything and everything automotive. To say that Vincent has oil in his blood is more than just a poetic way of describing his passion; it's actually quite literal. When Vincent was just 5 years old he was helping his father change a wheel when his hand slipped off the tire iron and created a sizable gash in his index finger. The cut eventually healed with little scarring, but to this day the oil that was on the end of the tool is still embedded within his skin.
After several years of living in Ontario, Canada, the Ong family moved back to the Philippines. This relocation, however, was a short stint. Upon realizing the pollution's effect on their health, the Ongs decided to check out British Columbia, Canada, where they have been calling home since.
A few years later, Vincent was finally old enough to start driving and choose a car of his own. Surprisingly, he chose to accept a hand-me-down '89 Camry. "It was beautiful," he says, joking about its condition but without a trace of regret, fondly recalling how much oil it leaked. Vincent says a refill was necessary every day when leaving for school. Still, Vincent understood the importance of doing well in school for the sake of his future career--and driving a Camry to high school was a small price to pay in order to build his dream car: the Honda S2000. Vincent's first experience with the S2000 was when his brother-in-law purchased one the first year they were available for sale. From the moment Vincent rode in the car, he knew he had to have one.
Vincent began purchasing parts for his future car prior to ownership, such as a titanium exhaust and a Spoon S-Tai front bumper. Waiting for the perfect car to become available for sale can be a frustrating experience, but Vincent endured, finally finding an '07 model with only 5,000 kilometers on the clock. The bumper and exhaust were immediately installed, and Vincent took his car out to the track. After the first session, he knew he was hooked, and although he found the S2000 to be very capable on the track in stock form, he knew the car was far from complete, especially in the aesthetics department. Vincent explained that "if you're having fun in a car, you might as well look good doing it" to which we wholeheartedly agree.
Soon after the first track day, BC Racing coilovers, RPF1s and RE11s, were ordered and installed. Vincent is adamant about doing all the work to his car himself, although he is the first to admit that he is anything but mechanically inclined. Everything Vincent has done to this car has been his first time with the specific task, from changing oil to repairing fiberglass and even the supercharger install. Vincent operates under the pretense that "if I can follow instructions, I can put a car together". The Spoon fenders on this car were actually a damaged set that he found used and took the opportunity to learn how to work with fiberglass. Of course, virtually nothing ever went smoothly. He confesses that many parts took him triple the time it should normally take to install, but he gained the experience that now allows him to help other people with their cars, which he quickly points out is just as rewarding as feeling the difference the parts make when driving the car.
The aforementioned Spoon bumper and RPF1s are no longer on the car (as you may have noticed). After several years of ownership, Volk Racing TE37s and a Voltex Circuit front bumper replaced them. Vincent admits that although he had his eyes on the Volks and Voltex bumper for some time, he chose to enjoy the Enkei and Spoon counterparts for as long as he could. It's in that same state of mind that he chooses to really enjoy the affect each part has on his car one by one, never purchasing and installing multiple parts at once. Vincent credits his parents for raising him well: "When you get clothes and stuff, you enjoy them as long as you can." I can imagine that this practice really makes the most of owning and modifying a car--especially when combined with the "do everything yourself" rule that Vincent has set for his time he shares with his car.
Living where snow and salt is a yearly occurrence, Vincent also owns an '07 Civic for the winter months. Nicknamed the Snow Bunny "because it's white and cute", it's the polar opposite of his S2000. Having a second car allows him to perform all of the major modifications to the S2000 while it's safely in his garage, so he takes advantage of this downtime to plan a project every winter. The quality of work Vincent puts into his car is unreal; the amount of patience he has is extraordinary, never settling for good enough or second best. A great example of this resolve is the original exhaust manifold that is still on the car after all these years; (he is waiting for a certain discontinued ASM header to pop up for sale). We can say without a doubt in our minds that there are very few people who put such deliberate thought into how they can enjoy their car as much as possible. From the short time we spent with Vincent, photographing and talking about his car, the attention to detail he puts into his car was obvious in the other aspects of his life, his daily grind as a civil engineer designing highways (perhaps this is why Canada has such nice roads!), and his passion for culinary arts. As you can probably guess from Vincent's attitude when it come to his car, it will be a work in progress until the day he no longer owns it. Until that day, we will definitely look forward to see what he does with it next.