Starting Off On The Right Foot | Matty Ferguson’s Honda S2000

Finally. I get to write a feature after the 23 months consisting of Japan stuff, a load of event coverage, a brief bit about an MX-5 specialist and his R33 GT-R, some more car shows, and most recently the introduction of Civik. So yeah, alot has occurred since my last and debut feature I decided to kategorize as a ‘Fokal Point’ article, which some of you might remember involving Josh Harbour and his R32 GT-R. If not, you can catch up on that here.

One of, if not the primary, reasons for me signing up to a WordPress subsription and purchasing a web domain was that I wanted to be able to share my experiences on this planet as a carboy. But I’ve always known – even if not consciously – that the reason magazines and online blogs appealed to me so much were the inspirational glimpses of the people behind the assembly of metal, glass, rubber and plastic.

Yeah, the cars are cool and all that, but the journey people go through alongside their personalised mode of transport is what always captured and captivated my attention. At the end of the day, our vehicles are just the medium through which we convey our feelings brought on by how the car drives or what the vehicle represents.

So when Hamza and I were taking a stroll along the paddock of Croft Circuit during Mimms Honda Day in July of this year, I nearly twisted my vertebrae beyond repair when my eyes were magnetically drawn to Matty’s Honda S2000. The way the car just sat there next to a bright red Audi R8 and managed to detract all of the German supercar’s presence, I knew instantly this roadster deserved more than a one-take glance.

The upload count of shots posted up in the threepart blog should provide clear indication of how much of my interest was piqued by this two-seat Honda from 1999. After the show was done and over with, going through the images from that day, I realised how much Matty’s S2000 stood out to me.

Why, you might be wondering?

Well, I’m gonna let the photos show you exactly why this S2000 is an up-and-coming build that’s about to get even sicker than it already is.

We’d arranged to meet in his hometown near Darlington, somewhere I’ve only been once, and that was for a company training workshop, but that’s besides the point.

I scoped out a location to shoot Matty’s car in that wasn’t too far from where he was based. Early that morning I headed straight to our agreed meeting point, where I was having a little pre-shoot scout. Matty messaged me and invited me to his house as he was still cleaning up the motor since he didn’t find the time to the night before.

I drove over to his, parked my car up and we chit-chatted as he went over his favourite points on the car.

Turns out the evening before that morning was a bit of a episode involving Matty’s friend’s seized brake caliper off of his Mini Cooper S. He almost thought his bone was broken/fractured in his ankle, due to a caliper piston rewind tool going haywire from being used in conjunction with an impact drill (not recommended).

It is what it is though, shit does and will happen. We weren’t working to a strict schedule or nothing, it was a Saturday after all, and I think 8am on a weekend is like 6am on a weekday, so early enough as is.

An S2000 is a highly-versatile chassis, and that is mostly down its outright good-looks. You don’t have to do much to the car in the cosmetics department, since Honda’s designers did a grand job on perfecting the exterior of the car to a point where there isn’t an angle from which you’ll grow tired from looking at it.

Matty informed me of the date he took ownership of his 2005 model-year, hardtop S2000, and I was kinda taken aback by how recent I’d thought it was: June 2020. For some reason, I felt as if the car had been carefully crafted over a longer period of time, going through a couple phases before this one. But, no. Matty bought the Honda in factory trim, still wearing its original coats of Silverstone Metallic, with the only visible modification being a K&N Cone Air Filter.

The S2000 has always appeared cartoonish when viewed from the front, head-on. It’s as if the design engineers intentionally gave the car a personable character.

Now, there’s not much to say about Matty’s car, and that’s in no way me being dismissive, of course. The fact I don’t need to say much about the car, theres’s no need for me to be throwing all these fancy adjectives up just for you to take more notice of the details, so that in and of itself speaks more volume than I ever could. I mean, if you can’t appreciate this awfully simplistic method of modifying, then maybe you’re expecting too much.

Understandably so, with the amount of things we’re bombarding ourselves with via social media, you can’t help but be desensitized to anything that’s truly relatable. Until, perhaps, you stumble across something like this car for the first time ever, IRL, no filter, no bullshit promo, no hashtags. Just a real enthusiast showing how he likes his cars by putting together an example that is undeniably well-finished.

Obviously, I don’t mean finished in the literal sense, as whilst I was snapping away with my DSLR on this random research building’s carpark, Matty told me of his vision and this is most definitely not that, yet.

But let’s stick with what we have in the present.

What exactly are we all looking at here?

The “elephant in the room”, for me anyways, certainly has to be the non-Honda body colour. Initially, I’d assumed the “Tahitian Green Pearl” paint code was nabbed from the CR-Xs and EF/EG Civics, and pasted all over the S2000’s panels, but that colour is much more vibrant in retrospect. This shade of blue-green remains quite deep and subdued under direct sunlight, and frankly, the Honda pulls off Emerald Green miles better than the sourced-from Citroen C4 Cactus ever could.

By the way, the colour change was the very first alteration Matty chose to make to his car once he became its rightful owner. Although, from what he told me, it was a bit of a nightmare back-and-forth scenario with the bodyshop not completing the job to a standard you’d expect for the respray of a modern classic sports-roadster. Putting the past aside, the car’s bodywork was of course refinished properly and retrieved back to the hands of its owner for further tweaks to be made.

Fortunately, the low-hanging fog that morning muted all but our immediate surroundings, and the photos came out better than I’d imagined they would. I’m going to come across as arrogrant, but I have to admit that this is the best work I’ve produced thus far in my life as a person with a camera.

Back to the subject in fokus…

Once Matty got his whip back in the home garage, the tone was set for him to begin riffing off and enhance what was already at that point a great-looking car in its new lick of paint.

S2000s weren’t all that tip-toey off the showroom floor with their factory-spec suspension and ride height. Most definitely not as bad as a standard MX-5, but still, there’s always far too much tyre-to-arch clearance with standard cars, unless you’re buying a 911 GT3 or similar.

Matty selected a set of coilovers made by MeisterR, a company that has bases in the UK & USA. The choice Zeta CRDs have brought the ride height to a very acceptable distance to the ground, and tightened up the existing well-balanced chassis giving the driver just enough tactile feedback without compromising usability on the road, helped by the 9kg(F) & 7kg(R) spring rates.

By the way, the owner isn’t some up-and-coming YouTube sensation or a Forex trader’s prodigy. Yeah he’s a young guy in his early 20’s, but he’s still studying part-time whilst working a full-time job in the civil engineering sector. And he hasn’t rolled his car into a garage, tossed them the keys and demand for them to turn it into some kind of Insta-famous riceboi machine. Matty and his pals have all chipped in and carried out the work themselves, that includes fine tuning the suspension to get it cock-on without the tyre chafing against the inner arches and busting a tyre.

So, as you can see, not much is “going on” under the bonnet where the F20C engine resides. Time and resource will eventually come around for the owner to invest some of his attention to the powertrain, but all in good time. As it sits currently, the only alterations made to the engine are its Invidia Q300 catback stainless exhaust system allowing the F-series to emit it’s waste gases freely, but keeping the neighbours happy(ish) with a high-flow catalytic converter made by Berk Technology / Magnaflow.

Oh yeah, and if you didn’t spot it, an oil cap from Spoon Sports keeps a lid on things.

As Matty propped up the vented OEM bonnet, immediately grasping my attention was this piece sitting right on top of the Koyorad “Half-Size” aluminium thick-core radiator. If you’ve followed my Civik blog series, you’ll know that I was a bit miffed how my J’s Racing pressure cap wouldn’t fit onto my Koyorad rad. I was baffled as to how Matty’s fits and why I don’t have the same luck as him, haha 😦

15+ year old rubber most likely were not in the best of condition, so Matty went and chucked on some Spoon Sports polymer hoses for piece of mind.

I can imagine those of you who happen to be S2000 owners too, are interested in Matty’s choice of wheel and their fitment.

And if you happen not to show intrigue, are you okay? The flow-formed RG-D2 wheels by Yokohama Advan are a difficult option to discount when configuring your dream build, regardless of the chassis, they look great on everything! Matty chose to fit up a set of staggered 17″ wheels, 8J at the front, with 9J in the back, offsets measuring ET44 and ET45 respectively.

And I can’t not mention one of the greatest tread patterns of all time, courtesy of the Yokohama Rubber Company. AD08RS compound has been equipped to deal with everything input by the hands and feet of the driver, matching up to the staggered wheel sizing with 225/45 and 245/40 tyre specifications.

The Advan wheels’s polished lips gleam as they offset the Racing Hyper Black spoke faces.

Efforts have been made by Matty to ensure that the car appears as low as possible, without giving off that “stancey wanker” vibe. He’s done a damn good job if you ask me.

How is this car still relevant as ever? Honda, bring back an affordable high-performance FR two-seat sportscar, please, before you go all “Greenpeace” on us petrol-junkies.

Back onto the subject of the aero trim applied to the exterior of the car. A carbon fibre ducktail partly left bare to exposed the weave when viewed from the rear, carbon fibre sideskirt extensions made for an FD3S RX-7, and the smoothed OEM “AP2” front bumper & original lip spolier. A Voltex rear diffuser made of CFRP wasn’t in the best of shape so Matty chose to remove it from the car in case the damage went any further, but you can see it photographed here, if you so please.

Without sounding cliche, sitting passenger whilst Matty directed the S2000 through fast and slow B-road bends, I could sense a link between man and machine where both were in harmony as G-forces pulled the ~1270kg mass dynamically whilst the four tyres maintained grip throughout.

I jumped out the car to take a few panning shots as Matty zipped past me on a country lane. Thought I’d get some practice shots in with the local wildlife behind me.

The car isn’t crazily loud, but it sings a tune you wouldn’t want any other way.

When something looks as good as it goes, a sense of temporary bliss comes into effect. This was one of those moments.

Before we called it quits, Matty suggested a cool photo-opp spot not too far out in the countryside.

We drove up to a pair of electric gates that opened automatically, rolled right through all the way down this long-ass driveway, realising that we may or may not have been trespassing, haha.

We weren’t doing no one any harm, so I got Matty to position the roadster in the middle of this random household’s driveway, and let the shutter release.

Next thing we know, a lady in a new Land Rover Defender enters the premises and I’m thinking we’re about to get booted out or maybe worse! But Matty must have done some sweet-talking as I heard her compliment the Honda that was on her private property. She was 100% cool with us being there, we kept off the grass, and that was that, she just carried on for another 5-miles (exagerrating lol) to her doorstep.

Buddyclub LED Sequential Tailights complete the rear-end without over-doing it. To be honest, it’s probably not far off a “modern-day” interpretation of the S2000, similar to what we saw at TAS 2020 with Honda’s 20th Anniversary Concept, only this has nicer wheels…

That’s all I have to say about Matty’s S2000 right now. It doesn’t “break the internet” (yet) nor does it need to (yet). I’m positively sure that the evolution of this vehicle is in its infancy under the careful and particular owner.

Keep an eye out, is all I need to say, both right here on soulfokus.net and Matty’s IG @mattyfer5.

| B O N U S G A L L E R Y |

Japanaholik’s Journal | Spoon Sports’ TYPE-ONE

The morning after our first day in Tokyo, we awoke early welcomed by the scorching sun at around 8:00am, and it was only going to get warmer. A lot of people dislike the muggy climate, but it really doesn’t bother me. Anything above 20 degrees should be bliss for us Brits.

A combination of bus and train travel landed us drop dead centre in Shinjuku Station: the world’s busiest with about a billion commuters and travellers passing through annually. Managing the maze the train stopped at, then finding out Type-One was not open yet, I figured we might aswell hang around near the station and check out the shops in the vicinity.

I found a camera equipment store – a few were dotted about the area outside the station, actually – but it wasn’t open for an hour, so I killed a bit of time in an arcade. (Some of the following photos were taken with my new Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8 – 4 lens I bought for a steal of a price).

These places are nuts, you will see full-blown RPG-adventure game stations being button-bashed to death by teens and salarymen alike. I suppose its an escape from bitter reality for some people, thats why gaming is so addictive. I clocked one race on Wangan Midnight and saved the rest of my change for the countless train tickets I’d have to buy during the rest of the trip.

After strolling through the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo at peak-hours (which is pretty much all day and night) we hopped back on a train to Suginami, heading west out of the capital.

Spoon Sports, for those who may not know, is the holy grail when it comes to tuned and modified Hondas. If I were to give my ranking of the Japanese automakers, Honda would easily occupy one of top three positions. I used to own one, albeit a very lukewarm, slow model of the FN / 8th generation Civic (Type-S).

Here is a photo of it pre engine failure due to me driving through a “puddle” (flooded waste water drain) with a cold-feed air intake kit that sounded the dogs bollocks, up until it snorted the sewer system up, bent a rod and then proceeded to spit it out through the block.

Okay, it wasn’t from the glory days of Hondas such as the DC2 or EK9 Integra and Civic, but the chassis was very sharp and made you work that 1.8L engine; a proper momentum car. It was decent and for a decade year-old model, it still looks modern today.

Anyway, as we all know, the aftermarket sector of the automotive industry is huge when it comes to anything with a ‘H’ badge. But Spoon Sports springs to mind, often when a VTEC addict wants to get a move on. Spoon is known for the highest in precision and durability when it comes to their performance parts. Tatsuru Ichishima, the founder of the company, started up racing Civics and testing out his bespoke suspension and engine components live on the battlefield, so you can be guaranteed said parts will take plenty of use and abuse.

Spoon Sports Type-One isn’t just a typical tuning centre with over the counter parts available to the public, but they also offer their customers education on how specific components will affect the overall feel of the car. I don’t know if they still do, but the company did deliver ‘Engine Lectures’ to those who wanted to brush up on their skills and understanding of engine and suspension tuning.

The S2000 you see above was Team Spoon’s weapon of choice when entering the Super Taikyu endurance race series in Japan during the year 2000’s campaign. Fast forward from then, the No. 95 car has progressed and now sits as shown. It features an assortment of visible parts, including the fastback hardtop made by Mugen (if I am not mistaken), Spoon aero-mirrors, Spoon V2 front bumper, and Spoon S-Tai(kyu) bonnet and rear bumper, Spoon Monoblock brake calipers, and wheels by Prodrive (which suit the car well, maybe its coated in bronze) just to name a few.

There were two technicians tending to a customer’s EK9 Civic Type-R, I didn’t want to distract them as they were working so I just snapped away and they seemed fine with it. They are probably used to seeing a lot of visitors, particularly foreigners, so its just another day in the office for them.

Honda’s new sportscar, that is not the mental NSX, is the S660. These things are so sick, I regret not hiring one out when I was there. Mid-engine kei cars are the shit for real, and I can imagine them being a bit lairy at first when set up with track-ready suspension and tyres due to its short wheelbase, but I would 100% daily drive one.

The ground floor is the where the clean room is situated and can be very blatantly seen through the front glass screen as you approach the shopfront. Technicians are busy working away meticulously with the world passing by in front of them. Interesting how this area of the garage isn’t tucked away in a corner in the back, I could imagine this would really test your fokus and concentration skills.

Not much was occurring downstairs. A couple of S2000s and a demo FK7 Civic resided on the shopfloor not being worked on, so we decided to dip out of there and quit being a nuisance haha. I reckon I took enough decent photos whilst there, but Spoon Type-One is definitely a shop I would return to, on the off-chance they would have the NA2 NSX there for me to shoot!

I’m done here, so keep an eye out for the next entry in this Japan series. Hope you enjoyed, as always, I appreciate your time.

Japanaholik’s Journal | Rough World Koncept

Well, here we go again. Usually I grow tiresome of repetitiveness in life in general, but visiting Japan for the third time felt almost like the initial venture. I cannot put exactly into words how landing in the country makes me feel, but something along the lines of “exciting freedom”. I kind of knew what to expect in terms of the unique culture and lifestyle that Japan is rich in, but there is always something you see or experience that makes you realize how amazing the country is. Through these following posts, I will try and convey my feelings as truthfully as I know how, because my end goal with all of this is to just express myself, and present what I find that makes the Japanese automotive scene and culture in general so interesting.

Me and the old man went over this time round, so I made sure I planned the two weeks out so that it wasn’t all car-related activities. We landed on my birthday, 23 years old, man, its a weird age. Like the bridge between post-teenager and young adult.

Anyway, I am gonna let the photos tell the story for the most part, and what’s better than to kick this series off with the undoubtedly freshest and ballsiest classic-Porsche craftsman, Nakai-san.

We stayed at a family-friend’s home in Fujigaya, Kashiwa, Chiba Pref., which is a small rural area about an hour’s drive from Tokyo. Little did I know that the RWB HQ is based literally down the road from where we stayed for the majority of our time in Japan. Knowing this, I headed straight there on day #2, armed with both my D500 and D5100 Nikons.

We went around the last corner as per Google Maps and boom, Porsche Carrera 993s & 964s wedged onto the forecourt as efficient as possible utilizing every square inch of space. Luckily theres some land beside the medium-sized industrial unit, so I dumped the car next to a row of Carreras.

Hesitant to just barge in, especially since I didn’t even give Nakai a headsup, I tried for the front door but it was locked, so I took my time and gawped at how crazy his machines are.

Next thing, I saw a blue kei car with a dropped ride-height and multi-spoke wheels roll by and I locked eyes with the driver*, who just happened to be the man himself (*maybe pissy since I think I parked in his space). He spun his car around and parked up, whilst I was nearly shitting a brick, because if it were anyone else he might have told me to scarper. But he just greeted us and kindly invited us in.

I didn’t stay at RWB for long as it almost felt like I was in his house. The place, which acts as Nakai-san’s workshop/bodyshop/hotel/bar, is like a mini-museum with so much of the history of Rauh-Welt Begriff kept on display. To see that it all started from messing about with AE86 Corollas, this global icon has turned the heads of Japanese-car enthusiasts (including mine) and made old Porsches seem cooler than I had once believed. With his next project being the 996 chassis, I wonder how far he will go with the 911 lineage in the years to come.

Leaving Nakai-san’s natural habitat, we headed back to the house, just because I didn’t have much planned whilst being situated in Chiba.

But, on the way back, I came across a familiar signpost: SEED. I remember stopping by this place the first time I visited. I like how common high-performance tuning garages are, but in a very Japanese sort of way, most of them look like your average, run-of-the-mill service centres to the untrained eye. Though, once you spot the HKS or Greddy posters/banners, or the four-wheeled eyecandy for that matter, its reason alone to take a closer look.

SEED Race Car Engineering, is a do-it-all garage, catering towards highly-modified domestic models ranging from MX5 Roadsters to GTRs. The place was jam packed, but unfortunately most of the photos I took had either bad light or a lot of ISO noise, so I won’t embarrass myself by uploading them.

A short entry, but this is just a taste of whats to come once I get my ass into gear and sift through the GiGs of material I have stacked on my desktop.

Scroll for the bonus gallery…