Home » It’s Harder To Make A Great Affordable Car Than A Great Expensive Car: Cold Start

It’s Harder To Make A Great Affordable Car Than A Great Expensive Car: Cold Start

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Continuing our Cold Start theme of “Great cars that just don’t or can’t get made anymore” after yesterday’s salute to the Dodge Viper, let us turn to another car that is often on my mind: the Honda S2000.

I would’ve bought an S2000 by now, but besides the fact that we lost so many good ones in the Tuner Wars (RIP), the damn things simply refuse to go down in price. This is a common trend with popular cars that never got a true second-generation model: see also the Toyota FJ Cruiser.

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Honda S2000 2004 1600 2e

But if you ask me what the best sports car of the last 20 years was, I’ll always say it was the S2000. Yeah, seriously—the best of them all, and you could make a very long list of great contenders for that title. To me, it’s because of the S2000’s price tag around $30,000 when it was new in the early aughts.

Thanks to rampant inflation, that’d be almost $50,000 in today’s dollars. (Depressing, I know.) But 20 years ago, that price was expensive-ish—more so than a Mazda Miata or other options—but still quite attainable. And the S2000 offered a driving experience that, to me at least, very few cars have been able to match.

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Honda S2000 2004 1600 12

You have to be a certain kind of person to enjoy it. Infamously, it’s not a straight-line car; it’s a high-rev corner car, and we Americans broadly don’t define performance that way. Yet it took the Miata playbook and added a far greater degree of athleticism, coupled with one of the best manual gearboxes Honda’s ever built—which, for Honda, is saying a lot. It also never came in an automatic version, ever. That’s another benchmark for a truly great sports car, at least at one time.

You could spend a lot of money on a performance car and there’s no guarantee you’d have as much fun as you would in the considerably more affordable S2000. I’d take one over many six-figure options in a heartbeat.

Honda S2000 2004 1600 20

So between the attainable price, the roadster body, the high-revving four-cylinder engine and the lack of compromises, it’s just the kind of car we don’t get today and may not get again. And trust me, I get and believe in the shift to zero-emission vehicles and electrification that’s happening now. But EV batteries present possibly insurmountable challenges around weight, and the lack of weight is a key ingredient for any great sports car. I hope Honda—or Lotus, or Toyota, or Gordon Murray, or some startup, or anyone—can find a way to overcome this someday.

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Honda S2000 2004 1600 30

And I hope we find a way back to truly great affordable cars. Or, hell, just affordable cars, period. In the meantime, can someone do anything about those S2000 prices? Please and thank you.

All photos: Honda

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Ronald Pottol
Ronald Pottol
8 months ago

As a tall fat person, I could enjoy a Miata, it took some doing to fit in the passenger seat of an S2000. Not designed for 6’4+ people.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
9 months ago

I was witness to the loss of an S2000 when they first came out. It was just a toddler of a car at that point, poor thing never even got old enough to fight the good fight in the Tuner Wars.
Early collateral damage back when the battles were just beginning I guess.

The twenty something manager of my local Burger King had a brand new one for a couple months. Yeah, a couple months and no, he didn’t sell it.

The sun had just settled in behind the Uintas, cloaking the Smiths/Shopko strip mall parking lot in the sepia toned darkness of dusk in the desert.

I was in my Pontiac waiting for my fine fry cook cronies burger flipping shifts to end.
Closed sign goes up, lights turn off, employees exit.

Twenty something manager with his twenty something BK manager pride decided he would show off his brand new ride.

Man that thing could redline!
Pretty fast in a straight line.
I never thought it could fly.
It did though…

He must have been going at least fifty miles per hour when he hit the parking lot island dividing the Smiths/Shopko blacktop.

He was fine. But I still get night terrors about the poor S2000.

Alana Marquis
Alana Marquis
9 months ago

I own the Other American Honda Convertible, aka the del sol. The S2000 was a great car and so was the del sol, I’d say a del sol (especially the VTEC trim with a B16A2/3) is a good budget S2000 if you’re looking for one. But both are damn good convertibles and it’s a shame that Honda won’t make another convertible like this, they’re truly losing out. I agree that Honda’s shifters just hit different, shifting my grandmother’s Saturn SC1 felt like a bucket of rocks after shifting my del sol. The open air experience definitely adds a lot of fun to the driving experience. VTEC gives you plenty of revving and power to use at your discretion, and handling is on point. Overall, Honda’s convertibles are fun, reliable, efficient, sporty little cars. Honda has all of the pieces to make another great convertible, now if only they could just do it…

Myk El
Myk El
9 months ago

I’ve driven a couple of different Honda’s with manual transmissions. I agree they are pretty good on the whole. My question is what makes them better? What did Honda figure out others still seem to struggle with?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
9 months ago
Reply to  Myk El

They were designed by a team of people that didn’t regard driving as an annoying chore to be tolerated?

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

No, most automotive design engineers care about designing something great. It’s budgets and testing.

Honda will spend more to get the gear shift perfect, whereas other manufacturers stop spending when there aren’t any more problems.

Then they test them and test them until they get a solution that’s still perfect at the end of testing. Other manufacturers stop improving when things get to the end of testing with no failures.

The last system I designed for an OEM (not a gearshift) beat all the technical targets, but was at least one more iteration from perfect. They wouldn’t pay more when they already had what they wanted. And that’s why I don’t have one as a trophy hanging on my garage wall.

Lokki
Lokki
8 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Shift quality has a big deal in the Japanese market because manual transmissions are a major part of the market. Further a very large percentage of the population lives in a major urban area. To cut to the chase, you are constantly shifting gears. When I lived in Tokyo (actually Kunitachi on the Chuo-sen) my office was 16 Kilometers from our apartment. If I drove, there were 38 intersections where you would (likely) have to stop and shift into neutral and then run up through the gears.

That’s a hell of a lot of shifting. A clunky shifter would become very annoying very quickly and in a market where owners don’t keep cars very long would probably impact sales of a maker pretty quickly.

Wally_World_JB
Wally_World_JB
9 months ago

Ok so sports cars aside, I just picked up my Maverick XLT Hybrid that I ordered last September. $30k out the door with options (heated seats/steering wheel, hitch+4pin), tax, tags, whatnot.

I submit that as a good, cheap car. Or truck. Or trucklet. Whatwvwr. It does its intended job quite well at a remarkably low price.

Ryan L
Ryan L
9 months ago
Reply to  Wally_World_JB

I love the Maverick but i can’t help but shed a tear that 30k is perceived as a remarkably low price.

Foobajoob
Foobajoob
9 months ago

I bought my 2002 S2000 with 22K miles on it in January 2020. Pretty happy with the way that timing worked out. Favorite car I’ve ever owned.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
9 months ago

My neighbour bought one of these new as a retirement gift to himself. Due to retiring, he never used it to commute. He mostly used it to drive about a hour out of town in the summer to his sailboat. He always said it was as much fun getting to his boat as sailing it.

Also, this is peak Honda interior. I’m not a fan of digital speedometers, but otherwise this is well executed.

Bennett Alston
Bennett Alston
9 months ago

I normally don’t like a digital dash either. But the s2k’s is actually super responsive, which is usually my biggest gripe with them, and the tach is super useful and easy to see which is important sincr the car is all about that power band

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
9 months ago

A friend of my dad’s just had his S2000 totaled (not his fault, someone sideswiped him) and is trying to figure out what to replace it with. There was never much that was comparable, but now there’s even less.

Incidentally, my dad said it was a funny conversation among the neighbors, because none of them are car people, so the suggestions were just completely off-track.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago
Reply to  Jason Roth

Suzuki Cappuccino with a Hayabusa swap?

Torque
Torque
8 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I saw a Cappuccino about a week ago driving w/local downtown suburbs traffic it definitely made me do a double take & of course made me smile

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
9 months ago
Reply to  Jason Roth

That is a tough one. But I’ll bet one could find a Fiat 124 Abarth Spyder for a pretty reasonable price right now. He’d just need to get used to having torque…

[Edit: Wait, the S2000 was plenty torquey, what was I thinking of? The Del Sol?]

Last edited 9 months ago by Mr. Fusion
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Fusion

Those Fiat 124s sold like crap but prices are still like new car.

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Wow, that’s surprising for a Fiat. Maybe it’s just because there are so few of that particular model out there.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

They’re gorgeous, too

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Jason Roth

May I suggest a slammed Daihatsu Charade with significant camber on the non-driven rear wheels as a replacement?

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
9 months ago

If you’re over 6′ tall, an S2000 is useless to you, unfortunately. Very cool cars, but I couldn’t even remotely fit in one.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
9 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

Headroom isn’t a problem with the top down.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
9 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

It’s not head room, it’s leg room.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
9 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

Makes sense. I don’t recall legroom being a problem, but I’m strangely proportioned so headroom is a more of a problem for me.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
9 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Yeah, it’s a bummer. I was very excited about them when they first came out, being in my 20s with my first pretty-well-paying job. But then I got in one and attempted to test drive it. *sad face*

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
9 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

I feel your pain. I tried driving a Supra when they came out and found I could not fit in the driver’s seat without tilting my head sharply to the side (I had days of neck pain after a 5 minute test drive). I tried to drive a Viper and found I couldn’t get in the car at all. I’m not even particularly tall (maybe 6’2″), but due to my strange proportions I sit up very high and can’t fit in most fun cars (at least those with a fixed roof or cars with the top up; I have driven an S2000 a few times, but it occurs to me I have never driven one with the top up). It sucks to not be able to fit in cars.

Last edited 9 months ago by Stig's Cousin
DBV7
DBV7
9 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

I gotta take issue with this. I’m 6’2″ with a 37 inch inseam, and my 2002 fits me like a glove. I’m pretty thin and I don’t have a lot of extra room, so if you were 6’5″, or 250 lbs, yeah, you’d likely have a problem, but at 6 ft, you should be just fine. You have less room as a passenger, but thankfully, I’m never in that seat.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  DBV7

> I’m 6’2″ with a 37 inch inseam,

Is your head directly mounted on your pancreas?

LastNormalManual
LastNormalManual
8 months ago

Laughing over here.

I’m close to DBV7’s measurements. Some of us end up ganglier than others. It does put some cars out of play, sadly.

Last edited 8 months ago by LastNormalManual
Attila the Hatchback
Attila the Hatchback
9 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

Yeah I finally rode in an S2000 a few years ago and found it to be very uncomfortable. I’m pretty tall, and I thought the seat and roof were fine, but I felt squashed at my shoulders.

It felt small like I was like sitting between two football players on Frontier Airlines and having no armrest space.

Somehow the ND Miata is significantly more comfortable for me.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
9 months ago
Reply to  Andreas8088

That’s what led me to the 2005 MINI Cooper S Convertible I bought back then.I actually had to pull the seat up a notch or two.

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
9 months ago

i loved the damn things when they came out. I was doing valet parking at the time so i drove a few; they felt like a motorcycle on 4 wheels. I think i only have been impressed that impressed when the WRX came to the US in 02.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
9 months ago

The S2000 is a bit of a sore spot for me. I passed on an opportunity to buy a 2004 S2000 for ~$12,000 in 2012. The car had a few scratches but was unmodified, accident free, and mechanically perfect. Obviously, handling was incredible. I was surprised by how much power it had, though. While test driving it, I raced a Mustang and a Challenger. I smoked the Challenger and had no problem keeping up with the Mustang. I’m not sure what engines those cars had, but neither appeared to be rental-spec models and both drivers appeared to think their cars were fast (Challenger guy wanted to race again, but I didn’t want to push my luck with a borrowed car on a public street). S2000s aren’t known for their straight-line speed, but for someone used to driving “normal” cars, it felt powerful.

I still can’t believe I passed on that S2000. I have driven a lot of nice cars since then, but the S2000 remains the best car I have ever driven. At the time, I didn’t buy it because I thought it was overpriced. I figured I could get a better deal if I waited a few years…

Last edited 9 months ago by Stig's Cousin
Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago

As a 33-year Miata owner, I was intrigued by the Honda S2000. Hey, it’s a Miata with more power and more aggressive styling, right? Well, right, and wrong. I got to drive one at a racetrack and up to the VTEC (6000 RPM) it basically was a heavy Miata. After that, it pulled like crazy. It is impressive engineering but you won’t use most of that horsepower daily.

Yes it is a very good car but I don’t think it is as cohesive as the Miata. I also felt like the seats were too high and I didn’t like the digital dash. I’m glad Honda made them but go drive an ND Miata. I think it is a better experience in almost every way.

Last edited 9 months ago by Chronometric
My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Try a solstice GXP or Sky redline. Last time I took a long time Miata owner out in mine his only comment was “whoa, this is not like my Miata”.

These cares are all different. they are fun to drive and compare and you start to realize how certain differences equate to a different experience.

Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago

Sky Redline is nice. The GM twins are definitely a different experience. As a Lotus fan, I’ll stick with the lightweight but underpowered Miata.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Excuse you, I would smash an S2000 against redline every single day if I owned one

DBV7
DBV7
9 months ago

I do, and it’s AWESOME!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago

It’s a damn shame that we lose so many examples of great cars to the Fast & Furious crowd. I’m not going to sit here and say tuners are universally bad or invalid or anything like that…but the scene has a habit of ruining perfectly nice cars, which increases their value and makes them less attainable for everyone else.

I personally have never driven an S2000 and I’m not sure that I ever will because of how scarce they’re becoming, but as a Miata lover I certainly understand their appeal. I’ve long held to a belief that a lightweight, two seat, manual roadster is one of the most pure expressions of driving that exists…and the S2000 was essentially just a Miata that had been cranked up to 11, while Miatas max out at 8 or so.

It’s a brilliant car and it’s a damn shame that high revving NA engines aren’t going to be a thing anymore. There’s something so unique and special about the experience that electrification will simply never replicate…and as you say, the inherent weight challenges with BEVs make the future of the true roadster murky at the moment. Anyway I’m texting my aunt now to see if she’ll let me take her NA Miata out for a little while this weekend…

Clark B
Clark B
9 months ago

I adore the S2000, although my dad and I are part of the reason they’ve gotten so damn expensive–ours is a dedicated track day car, although it’s technically street legal so it can go for its annual checkups without my dad needing a trailer. And after thousands of track miles on the stock powertrain…nothing has ever gone wrong with it. Okay, so the fuel gauge isn’t accurate any more and the CD player no longer works. Otherwise it’s been dead reliable and an absolute blast on the track. One of the best cars I’ve ever driven.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Kudos to you. The track is the one place that is shines.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
9 months ago

And you begin to understand why I’m so, so, so fucking tired of idiots blaming safety features, emissions, people completely detached from reality insisting magical unicorn-blood batteries that weigh 10oz per 10kWh exist or it’s just an ‘aerodynamics’ problem, or that there’s somehow hundreds of pounds of weight to delete, and that engineering is cheap.

Could you build an S2000 today? Abso-fucking-loutely. (Though with modern Honda, it wouldn’t be nearly as good.) Could you price it in the $50k ballpark? Maybe; there’s just too many variables involved. But definitely below a $70k truck. It could crash test well, it could have a 9000RPM redline, and it could hit the same 2900lbs. Yes, the S2000 weighs that much.

And guess what? It would suffer the same fate as the S2000. The car was never the problem. The problem was that in 2011, dealers still had 5 of them more than 2 years after production ended.
The problem was that the best year of the S2000 sold just 17,059 of them and sales fell every year thereafter. Which was not helped by durability. Which is why modern Hondas break often. Can’t sell you a new car otherwise.

The same year they sold 17k S2000’s, they sold 26,184 Integras. They sold 12,789 Civic Si’s followed by 21k the year after. Just Si’s. Total Civic sales were 318,308 for 1999.
In other words, the S2000 simply did not sell. They were not profitable. A car that was universally praised, heralded as the second coming, and nearly without peer simply did not sell.
“Oh, but the 86 disproves that!!” No, it doubles down on proving it. Every year since it’s introduction, the 86 has sold fewer and fewer cars. It’s best year was 2013 with 18,327 sold. And it’s been steadily downhill since. They sold just 3,398 in 2019. Being up 326% in 2022 was nothing more than the fact that they only had 1,044 to sell in 2021 because of the generation switch and supply chain issues.

Engineering and building cars is extremely expensive. Period. You need economies of scale because at the minimum the product needs to break even. That means regardless of shareholders, you need to sell enough cars to pay for the cost of developing and building it. Otherwise you’re just pissing money down the drain. Even in the best of timelines, the purpose of a business is to make money in order to reinvest it in employees and products. Not to just burn through cash.

And these cars are not just extremely niche, they’re also fair weather cars. So people keep them longer as well. Which means the people who bought an S2000 didn’t buy another new one in 3 years, or 5 years, or ever. The people buying 86’s don’t sign up for a lease, or replace them in 4 years.
These are cars where you’re likely to only ever sell a single one to a customer in their entire life. So you have to find an all new customer for every single sale. And there is a finite number of people interested in the compromises required for these cars, or with the money to support a ‘fun’ car.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I’m well aware of the cost to develop a car. It’s about $1 billion these days. A lot of that is driven by excessive government regulation(“safety” features, emissions, ect), because it increases by multiple orders of magnitude the amount of engineering required, the cost of the production processes to make all of the components, and testing of the vehicle and components. Economies of scale and high sales volume are absolutely necessary in order to make the NRE costs back. Another large part of the problem is that because of lopsided distribution of wealth, very few people have money for a “fun” car anymore. 60 years ago, “fun” cars used to be relatively inexpensive, often at the low end of the price range, and low-wage workers could afford to purchase them. Regulations drove them out of the US in the 1970s, for the most part, never to be seen again. It’s a multifaceted problem. Today, new car purchases are mostly made by the upper 20%, and they want to flash money around, even if they’re going into massive debt to do so.

It would be interesting to see someone build a platform that could accommodate a subcompact hatchback car, a small pickup truck, and a sports car all on the same RWD layout in order to save costs. But even CAFE regulations and the “footprint” rule would make that a difficult task, and most manufacturers want their econoboxes to be FWD instead.

Then the industry itself simply isn’t interested in selling low margin products, either.

I predict that the Chinese are going to take this shit over. The desire for these products is there, but if they’re not affordable, no one will indeed buy them. Low hanging fruit waiting to be plucked…

Last edited 9 months ago by Toecutter
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Also manufacturer idiocy. Do we still need 500 different oil and air filters? Different tire and wheel sizes. Different belt sizes? Now some instances yes but realky?

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Aaah Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, etc disagree with you. All ugly expensive low build quality and quantity but still alive.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago

There are still great affordable cars. Thing is, one’s memories are often clouded by time and those older cars are fondly remembered as better than they really were.

It happens to everyone and is why i often hear boomers talk about how “lightning fast” “greased lightning.”, “ran like a scalded dog” the cars from the 70s were. News flash, a Camry would absolutely dust that car you’re talking about.

Get a GR86 and have some fun and let the past be the past.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago

The GR86 is about 400 lbs too heavy, at least…

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

It is the exact same weight as an S2000. Like, within 10 lbs.

Everything could lose some weight. But, since this article was lusting over the s2000 it compares nearly exactly. Except the GR86 is nearly a full second FASTER to 60mph.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago

I always felt the S2000 was a bit on the porky side too. Not as bad as say, an Audi TT, but significantly heavier than a Mazda Miata or a Lotus Elise.

A large complaint I have with modern and modern-ish(post 1990s) “sports” cars is how damned big they are in the amount of space they take up. The S2000 is one of the smallest options to exist in the last 20 years, but it is absolutely massive compared to my Triumph GT6.

Then again, my idea of a good time would be something like a Ginetta G4, or a Lotus 11. And these days, most people wouldn’t even fit in them, whereas 50 years ago there would have been no issue with that.

Drew Hampel
Drew Hampel
9 months ago

Which GR86 gets to 60 in fewer than six seconds? The S2000 does it in ~5.8. The GR86 is a fine car, but you seem confused.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago

Yeah for what $86,000 affordable.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
8 months ago

Fun doesn’t care about the actual speed, or precisely how fast you are going around the track. An eleven-minute lap around the Nürburgring in a 205 GTi is ten thousand times more amusing and satisfying than a ten-minute lap in a Camry V6.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
9 months ago

Sucks that they have terrible EPAS

DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
DubblewhopperInDubblejeopardy
9 months ago

And this is why I would never give up my Si. Manual only, not rare but not common either. And it handles impressively and drives like a dream.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago

But EV batteries present possibly insurmountable challenges around weight, and the lack of weight is a key ingredient for any great sports car. I hope Honda—or Lotus, or Toyota, or Gordon Murray, or some startup, or anyone—can find a way to overcome this someday.

It’s not at all insurmountable with today’s battery technology.

With a focus on aerodynamic drag reduction(ala VW XL1), a battery to allow 200 miles range in normal highway driving plus motor/inverter/charger could now weigh less than a comparable ICE system of similar horsepower. An EV drive system to make 400 peak horsepower or so will weigh much less than an ICE system that could reliably make similar power, cost less to manufacture, and doesn’t need a heavy transmission/flywheel/driveshaft/ect. to go with it.

You can’t just give an EV mediocre or even “good” aero and expect to keep the mass down. You won’t get a usable or decent range that way. It needs to be an all-out streamliner with a Cd value in the 0.1X range, and it needs to be Miata-sized or smaller to keep frontal area down. This means, it must be a coupe, and not a drop top.

You don’t need a battery bigger than 25-30 kWh, which by itself will only weigh around 220-250 lbs with 21700NCRs such as those used in the Model 3. There are similarly energy-dense batteries to the NCR21700s that make a lot more power(such as the Molicel P45A). Depending upon the battery chosen, it is also possible to get well over 1,000 horsepower continuous out of this pack with next to no cost penalty over a much less powerful battery, but the car really won’t need that much power. If it weighs around 2,200 lbs, 400 battery horsepower should do quite nicely(as in keeping up with Hellcats in a straight line nicely), and the good news is that the motor and controller electronics to allow that won’t be much more expensive than one that allows only 100 horsepower. This sort of performance could be done for CHEAP, but the key is producing the components in volume to get the cost down. At the extreme end of EV drive system power density, look up the Koenigsegg “Dark Matter” motor, weighing 90 lbs and capable of 800 horsepower peak. You could have a 350+ brake horsepower peak drive system including controller weighing in 60 lbs with this tech, but even using something more primitive that weighs say 150 lbs for this would still allow that sub-2,200 lb weight goal to be realized.

This configuration would also be for a car without exotic materials, to keep it affordable.

Use carbon fiber, and you could shave another 300+ lbs off of it. That allows a larger battery pack. If the production volume is high enough, carbon fiber does become more affordable, but no one has done this yet.

There is a tradeoff. Its run-time on the track will be crap. 200 miles range at 70-75 mph on the highway might mean 10 minutes hammer-down runtime at the track with 25-30 kWh. Double the pack size will almost double the runtime, but this is why keeping it light is important. Crap run time is also the case with electric cars that weigh over 4,000 lbs, have 1,000 horsepower and have massive 100 kWh battery packs. The only way around that is better battery tech. But the car is meant mostly for the road anyway since it is sold as a street legal car, so it really just needs a place at the track to charge to keep running.

Last edited 9 months ago by Toecutter
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

All this is meaningless BS until a decent charging network is available. Oh but on a track? Yeah 30 minute pit stops.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Depends on the battery size. If you can recharge a 100 kWh battery in 30 minutes, you can recharge 25 kWh battery of the same type with the same amount of DC power in 7.5 minutes.

These won’t be endurance racing machines without swappable batteries. But if you’re just going to your local track for a few runs in a day, such a vehicle could be a very competent machine for the purpose.

Alex
Alex
9 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

This seems like a really long winded way to say you want the “first gen Honda Insight” of EVs.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Except RWD, with an overall sportier design, and about 4-5x the horsepower.

Cal67
Cal67
9 months ago

If you have a choice between doing a great job with $18/hr pay or a great job with $38/hr pay, which one are you going to do?
One of the biggest factors with any manufacturing business that is publicly traded is the concept that they must maximize shareholder value. Spending your resources to make a small profit per car versus spending those same resources to make a large profit per car – why is anyone surprised at the choice automakers make? The only thing that had them building inexpensive cars (great or not) was the concept of building up a loyal following. Now they have learned that they can sell all the high end cars they can build. Why do anything else?

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
9 months ago
Reply to  Cal67

Agreed, and I’ve been beating this drum forever. We all love to scream “corporate greed!” (and it’s true!), but at this point our 401Ks rely on those ever-increasing profits, because Wall Street demands it.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

I’m doubtful my 401k will even be worth anything or viable at all when I’m old, and that’s assuming government doesn’t loot it. I feel the same way about Social Security, which has largely already been converted into a pyramid scheme. When you trust other people to manage your money, they can’t help themselves…

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
9 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

To be fair, social security is more of a Ponzi scheme than a pyramid scheme.

Unclesam
Unclesam
9 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

A ponzi scheme is a pyramid scheme

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
9 months ago
Reply to  Unclesam

Sort of. There are subtle differences.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
9 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Are you suggesting the government is going nationalize the assets that your 401K has ownership interests in? And by “assuming the government doesn’t loot it” are you saying your asset value is going to DECREASE in the next decades?

The fact is, unless you want your money buried in the backyard actively losing value as inflation occurs, you have to “trust other people to manage your money.”

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

There is a surprisingly high chance such assets could be nationalized or even merely excessively taxed to oblivion in the future. $31 trillion in national debt and counting, coupled with trillions more in unfunded liabilities. The value of my 401k has bounced around all over the place during my entire working career as well. It’s currently at a high point, but I don’t expect it to remain there indefinitely or to keep increasing indefinitely.

There are very few investments that keep up with the real rate of price increases for goods and services, even if they match or exceed the official inflation rate. Wall Street has become a casino. There is no real stability today and there really hasn’t been any since 2008. It’s been volatility ever since. Those with insider information(eg. the U.S. Congress, who exempted themselves from insider trading laws) have made a killing from this volatility, but for everyone else, it’s been a crap shoot. The money printer continues along, and it will not be without consequence in the longer term, especially now that increasingly large numbers of foreign nations are doing what they can to ditch the petrodollar and install their own alternatives. If the BRICS come out with their own alternative to the dollar, or if China decouples the Yuan from the dollar and starts backing it with all of the gold they’ve been purchasing, then what might happen?

Last edited 9 months ago by Toecutter
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago
Reply to  Cal67

You are 100% correct, but this is no place to find an economics or business expert. Here it is pay all employees $100,000 a year. Let them take off all the time they need with pay. Build the fastest, most reliable, safest car with 12 different transmissions and 24 different motors, offer every color and a rainbow flag special. But sell it for under $20k so it is affordable.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

So you’re OK exploiting factory workers so you can pay less for the car?

DeWayne
DeWayne
9 months ago

It is A LOT harder to make a great affordable car. To make the parts cheap you have to engineer them to the nth degree, there’s no giant safety factors or unobtanium materials. When your front subframe needs to cost $18 all in, you have to ENGINEER that thing man.

Laying out the cost of the S2000 in 2023 dollars shows how incredibly cheap the GR86 actually is. It’s bonkers that you can get a front engine RWD car with a high revving engine for under $30k in 2023. A Civic Si has a higher base price.

Larry B
Larry B
9 months ago

In 2001 I test drove a Miata. Then I test drove the S2000. For a few thousand more I went from Zoom Zoom to Zoom Zoom Zoom Zoom.

10001010
10001010
9 months ago

Infamously, it’s not a straight-line car

I mean, Johnny Tran still beat Jesse’s Jetta ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago
Reply to  10001010

With $100k under the hood of that car.

Data
Data
9 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Well Jesse removed his brake calipers, so he wasn’t planning on stopping.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
9 months ago

This car is the ultimate expression of Honda’s old “We Make It Simple” image line from the ’70s and ’80s. Such a clean and pure interpretation of a two-place sports car, that still looks great 20 years (!) later.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
9 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Buchholz

Which is a far cry from Honda’s 20-teens “fake vents everywhere” phase. I expect the S2000 will likely remain a timeless classic while the FK Type R will likely only be remembered for it’s performance, if at all.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

The FK Type R confuses me. They essentially haven’t depreciated a dime. If I search for them in my area they’re all high 30s/low to mid 40s unless they’re completely clapped out or have six figure mileage. They’re also absolutely hideous and I can’t imagine showing up to anything in one now that I’m in my 30s.

Car enthusiasts know what they are, but normies just see a tuner Civic. You’re also going to have shitheads trying to race you constantly. I can’t fathom spending $40,000 on one that already has 50,000 hard miles on it. I think we’d all agree the FL5 is a huge step forward.

…but those goddamn things are selling for 10-15,000 over sticker because of Honda’s miserable dealer network and JDM bros lining up to pay whatever they decide to ask to have the hot new waifu at street takeovers and shit.

I’m sure it’s a great car, but at $55,000 or more I’m getting something else. You’re in spitting distance of legitimacy insane track cars at that point…like the ZL1 Camaro, M2, or the CT4V BW if you need four doors. I think the nonstop car media circle jerk around the cars coupled with the cult like nature of JDM stans has kind of ruined them for the rest of us.

I’d love to look at an Integra Type S the next time I’m shopping but I see them selling for $60,000+ and the HERE’S WHY THE INTEGRA TYPE S IS THE GOAT HOT HATCH videos are already showing up in my YouTube recommendations, so I’m not exactly optimistic.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

That type R is uglier than even me.

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