At $12,900, Is This 2002 Honda S2000 A Rev-Happy Revelation?

Nice Price or No Dice: 2002 Honda S2000
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

In the ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice S2000, the seller makes the bold claim that “these cars are only going up in value.” If that’s the case, could this one’s price make it a bargain basement deal?

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You folks were brutal last week, dropping the No Dice hammer on four of the week’s five contenders. That included the vinyl-wrapped 2003 Ford Thunderbird we mulled over on Friday. At $9,999, that retro throwback wasn’t really crazy-pants priced, but its narrow 55 percent loss proved it wasn’t a sure deal either.

Last Friday’s T-bird was a two-seater roadster that was sized to impress. There really aren’t that many cars like that around these days. When you think about two-seat sports cars, you probably picture something smaller, perhaps an old MGB or maybe the more modern Miata. It was Mazda’s lithe and lively little roadster that ignited a renaissance in these cars, with competitors coming from the likes of Mercury, BMW and even Honda.

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Photo: Craigslist

Today’s 2002 Honda S2000 is a representative of that last entrant. At the time, it was the only RWD car in Honda’s U.S. lineup, and one of only two if you took the Acura NSX into consideration. The S2000 and the NSX had other things in common, too. Perhaps most notably, they were both purpose-built sports cars assigned to specific rungs on the size, price and performance ladder. Another thing that they share is an insane level of desirability among their fans, and as consequence, generally crazy prices on the used-car market.

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Photo: Craigslist

This one comes with 162,000 miles under its belt and a number of maintenance and repair items listed to ensure it doesn’t sit out future forays in adding to that. The car is triple black and wears a replacement convertible top as part of that equation. The seller claims the car to be completely stock with the single exception of the stereo head unit. That means those are factory wheels and factory exhaust tips. No crazy plus-twos or fart cans on this S2000.

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The bodywork looks to be in very nice shape, with no obvious dings or dents, and all the badging intact. The headlamp covers do show a bit of yellowing, more so on the left side than the right. That’s something that will need to be addressed. The new top seems to fit well and carries the standard glass backlight. There’s no evidence of curb rash on the five-spoke alloys.

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Photo: Craigslist
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Stepping inside reveals a cabin with some evidence of use, but no major issues. The steering wheel’s leather is deteriorating, but other than that it all looks perfectly serviceable. A hole has been drilled through the center console for some sort of red LED — perhaps an alarm indicator — but aside from that, there doesn’t appear to be any damage. Be forewarned, however, these are incredibly tight cars. Getting into an S2K can be like trying on your high school prom clothes 20 years later, so consider your fit before considering a purchase.

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Photo: Craigslist
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The ad notes a bunch of mechanical updates and maintenance items having been undertaken in just the last 1,000 miles. Those include the expected ignition system consumables and filters, but also all the hydraulics for the clutch. One oddity is the replacement of the car’s differential with a pumpkin from a 30,000-mile car. The only mechanical issue noted is a slow starter, and the seller says that a replacement comes along with the car. With 240 horsepower on tap from the car’s 2-liter F20C VTEC four, it’d be a shame to have something as simple as a starter spoil the fun. These engines love to rev and in fact, you won’t get all your ponies together until you’re 8,300 rpm deep into it. That means there’s not a lot of fun to be had for those with timid right feet.

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Photo: Craigslist
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On the legal side, the seller says the car comes with a clean and clear title with an asking price of $12,900. If you look around, you’ll find that S2000 prices are all over the board. That’s because S2000s themselves are all over the place. These have long been darlings of the tuner crowd making finding decent all-original examples increasingly difficult.

This one seems to be just such a car and might make for a solid base either to enjoy as is or to mod to your heart’s content. What’s your take on that? Is this almost all-original S2000 worth that $12,900 asking as it’s presented in the ad? Or, is that price well above the red line?

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You decide!

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Hickory, North Carolina, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to zoomzoomscreechbangow for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

I admit that I have never, ever been able to stomach the thought of buying a used car over 100,000 miles, no matter the provenance or proven/theoretical reliability, let alone one charging over $10,000 for one. I see that number, and I just realize that I will almost certainly never enjoy *my own* 100,000 miles on the car before it falls apart on a sidewalk like the Bluesmobile.

Sadly crack pipe.