Kazunori Yamauchi is someone who understands quality deeply. He is a true car enthusiast to the level that you and I will never be. Sorry, but you’ll just need to admit to that as I have. Yamauchi-san is the creator of Gran Turismo and the guy just lives cars 24/7 to the point that he builds virtual cars from the ground up that perform almost more realistically than the real car. Naturally as a hardcore enthusiast who loves a pure driving experience he also loves the S2000 (yeah, I love the S2000 so you knew that was coming…). A few years back he enlisted the Japanese company Opera to tune his S2000 and the resulting quality of the work is what legends are made of.
I remember seeing this car a few years ago and I was blown away. It wasnt the usual smack you over your head kind of intensity that seeing a well built show car brings. It was the kind of blown away that starts at a subtle double take (that car looks kind of stock, but wait…look at the roll cage, let me see it up close). And then evolves into a seemingly never ending pattern of ephiphanies as yet another, and yet another and yet another WOW they did that!?! becomes discovered.
Its almost an artistic intentionally designed irony that the car looks so innocent from the outside to an untrained eye.
This car is not a legend for how it looks. It is not a legend even because of its owner who in his own right is a superstar legend that some gamers refer to as god. No, this car is a legend because of one unglorious area of automotive engineering that generally gets no love from the media and as such never gets talked about…The Chassis. If you could put a chassis on the cover of a magazine, this might be the best cover chassis of all time. And that’s why I love this car, because like the best of designs it keeps the quality a secret to be revealed by only those that know to look for it.
So lets reveal the secret shall we?
Now keep in mind the car uses all sorts of dry carbon panels for just about everything. But in the anti-bling style of this car, you’d never know it.
In a sort of fat chick trying to fit into a too small wedding dress type of weight obsession, Opera drilled away excess bits of metal on the hinges that connect to the trunk. “Just one more pound lighter and maybe they’ll love me”, thinks the engineer at Opera!
In true style of a fully stitch welded race prepped car, the chassis is all painted its unique own color.
Now I like to think that I know a thing or two about quality. But honestly the chassis work intricacies on this car at times go not just above my head, but I lose complete track of it as it passes through the clouds and leaves the earth’s orbit.
If you would like to see a beginning to end build sequenceÂ of this car, the website I’ll link to you below has a photo gallery of by my count 608 photos with this car starting as a bone stock yellow S2000 and ending up the Opera white S2000 that anti-bling dreams are made of.
If chassis works impresses you, this is an old example but one that deserves some more shine. For newer examples check out the build up photos of the Top Fuel Time Attack S2000 which was another crazy project on this scale. Furthermore there are some mighty Evos out there with work to this level. Look to some of the cars coming out of the shop Weld in Japan for more examples.