When Honda announced the S2000 back in the late ’90s, I thought the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout was really cool for a company whose entire lineup consisted of front-wheel-drive cars at the time. Despite being a big LS fanatic at the time, however, it never crossed my mind that those two entities would make a great combination.
Of course, as with most any chassis platform, it was only a matter of time before somebody LS swapped an S2000, therefore creating what some call the LS2000 or LS2K niche. While I’ve personally seen a handful of these creations in person, and quite a few more on the internet, there are very few that compare to the sinister black hard-top version built by Matthew Stelly.
Dripping inky black paint, Stelly’s LS-powered S2K looks as if it is ready to go to war, even sitting still. The most obvious indicator that this car is not to be taken lightly is the rolling stock, with Weld V-Series on all 4 corners, including beadlocks out back to keep the 28×10.5 Mickey Thompson’s intact. The understated rear wing helps conceal the fact that the car has a parachute bolted to the rear end, but a quick walk around the car will tell any potential competition that they better bring all they got if they find themselves lined up alongside Stelly and his 2001 S2K.
Matthew built the car to do some small tire racing, and also plans to hit some events in the ever-popular No Prep world, so he knew he had to build plenty of power. However, with a relatively light platform as the basis for the project, he’s been able to rely on the relatively budget-friendly iron block 5.3 bullet that has become one of the most popular bullets for today’s beast-on-a-budget build. The 5.3 retains the stock bore/stroke dimensions, but has been fortified with Wiseco pistons and K1 rods. A set of 243 heads bolted atop an LJMS Stage 3 twin turbo cam, all of which is kept captive by a double-roller timing chain and ARP hardware throughout. It’s a simple bottom end setup, to be certain, but as has been proven time and again, it’s an effective one.
A pair of Borg Warner S369 turbines force-feed air into the top end of the engine, while a set of Bosch 2250 injectors feed methanol from the cable-driven Enderle pump. The fuel and spark curves are controlled by a Holley HP EFI system wired into the car by Stelly himself.
Behind the engine, a PTC torque converter transfers the estimated 1200 horsepower into the FTI Stage 4 TH400 transmission, which sends it farther back to a narrowed Ford 8.8 rear end, which has been fortified with Moser 35-spline axles and a Strange spool. A pair of QA1 double adjustable shocks keep the rear end planted, while a pair of BC coilovers help get the front end in the air and transfer weight rearward. Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based CCM built a custom cage to stiffen the chassis as well as protect Matthew in the event of a mishap, and they also did the back half suspension work and custom sheetmetal fab.
As you can see in the accompanying photos, Stelly has followed a proven roadmap for building a stout powerplant and adapted it to a relatively uncommon candidate for a turbo LS setup. In a world full of swapped Mustangs, it’s a welcome change to see a clean, sleek Honda rocking some domestic horsepower and looking good doing so. Stelly even kept his “special thanks” simple, opting to take the safer route of simply thanking “… everyone who has helped with the car! I couldn’t begin to start a list or name everyone but you know who you are!”