In our many travels over the years, we've covered the globe and have seen some really impressive custom built automobiles - from Honda S2000 to Datsun 510. Japan never disappoints, Canada has quite a bit of cars that capture our attention, and, of course, the good ol' USA provides some of the best builds the world over. Within our vast country, we've witnessed a variety of different styles that come from various regions; the most notable areas are states like California, Florida, the tristates, and Texas. This is, of course, looking at it from a very broad spectrum. Within these states are major cities that are heavily populated with enthusiasts and some that are not. We try to keep our scope as wide as possible, but there are times when you see some really cool builds from areas that leave you scratching your head and looking at maps to see if they really exist.
Tom Syhachack and his AP2 S2000 are no strangers to us. Over the past couple of years, we've had the privilege to see its gradual progression to its current state. Tom has always been an eager guy who is always willing to pass along info on his build whenever asked. We enjoy his enthusiasm. When we finally had a chance to ask him some personal questions about himself and not the car, we were surprised to hear about his background. It is always important to know the owner as much as the car because it helps us appreciate the process that much more.
Texas is the place he calls home but the city from where he originates is relatively unknown to us. "I grew up in a small town called Rosharon, which is basically on the outskirts of Houston," Tom says. "It's a small country town with just grass, trees, and a lot of empty roads. I grew up with a bunch of car guys and that is where my love of cars developed over the years."
To say that Rosharon was a small town would probably be a gross understatement; the entire town has less than 1,200 residents and is just a little over three square miles large. By comparison, a major city like Houston houses over 2 million people. You wouldn't think that such a small town could produce such an eye-catching S2K like Tom's, but not only does it still reside in Rosharon, the entire car was also built inside his garage.
"All my friends modified Civics and Integras growing up so I always just gravitated toward Hondas. I've owned a few over the years but I wanted to try to build an S2000. I liked the fact that it was rear-wheel drive, affordable, and, well, because it was a Honda." Tom recounts. "I started modding it right away and through the years, I developed this idea that I wanted the car to be different than all the amazing S2000 builds I saw online from the West and East Coasts. I saw other S2K guys really pushing the envelope with the aero modifications and wheel setups but no one really put time into transforming the engine bay."
As the Texas import scene continued to evolve, so did Tom's Honda S2000. He was from a small town but had big dreams for his car. More events were popping up in that region, and media attention was being devoted to the Lone Star State so he was as motivated as ever. His game plan was a simple, but ultimately time-consuming one: He would keep the exterior alterations of his S2000 to a bare minimum, and devote all of his time into remaking the engine bay. It sounded easy enough but cleaning up the engine bay on these Honda roadsters is anything but. The complexities of it are actually one of the main reasons why you don't see as many cleanly executed bays like you would on say a Honda Civic or Integra.
"It wasn't an easy task at all, especially since I was doing everything in my garage. I had to create custom brake lines to reroute them in a way where they wouldn't be visible and the Texas climate didn't allow me to just remove the A/C completely. I had to modify those lines as well and hide them. For the main engine wiring harness, there was no aftermarket, off-the-shelf harness for purchase at the time from companies like Rywire, so I had to alter the factory one. I cut and extended the harness so I could tuck it up under the front fenders along with the fuse box. What took the most time was shaving the engine bay and making it as smooth as possible."
One can only imagine what casual onlookers in his town thought watching Tom sand down his engine bay. Many were probably left wondering if the car even ran with literally nothing but the motor floating over the engine compartment. Everything else that was left in was either polished or coated in a gloss black finish to contrast against the bright red exterior. Not many power-adders were implemented since the bay is so naked; you won't find a turbo or supercharger here. A Fujita cold-air intake replaces the cumbersome OEM airbox and a Skunk2 Racing header drives exhaust gases out through an HKS exhaust. As promised, the outward appearance of his AP2 is equally as simple, but it is not without its aero enhancements; the face has been outfitted with an ASM bumper and the factory ragtop remains tucked away like his engine harness as a Spoon Mooncraft-style top provides cover. The rear half of his car has a much beefier appeal than its factory counterpart with the addition of ASM rear fender flares. The added room from the flares offers just enough space to house the aggressive 18-inch Volk Racing TE37SL wheels. A J's Racing rear diffuser further complements the rear, mounted to a factory AP1 rear bumper.
The cockpit of Tom's S2 matches the minimalist theme carried over from the engine bay and exterior. Bride Ergo II seats keep Tom and his girlfriend, Anita, snugly in place while overall driving position is improved with a concave Vertex steering wheel mounted to a Mugen hub. With his interior being mostly black in color, the signature green tone of his Takata safety harnesses and blue hue of the Cusco bolt-on 'cage add a sharp, attention-grabbing, contrast to the build.
Though Tom's S2000 is quite simple as a whole, we were impressed with the overall execution of his project. Oftentimes, less is definitely more, especially when it comes to modifying Hondas. When the hood is closed, you honestly wouldn't think that he had devoted so much time into customizing the engine bay to the extent that he did because the exterior is relatively modest. You would expect other S2000s with hoards of expensive aero to have an engine bay like Tom's, but it is indeed the complete opposite. Furthermore, the fact that he performed all of his modifications, minus paint, inside a small garage in a town no one has ever heard of earns him a ton of respect. We often forget that great builds come from all walks of life. This is for the guys/gals from towns like Rosharon and other places that are often unseen. Your work is not going unrecognized.