In Italy it’s easy to find nice food, good wine, astonishing landscapes and art masterpieces. What’s not easy to find are cars like this S2000 pairing; Japanese sports cars are real unicorns on Italian roads.
I’m Ivan, and since I was 16 (four years ago) I’ve been photographing cars. I think every car has a soul, and it’s my mission with automotive photography to bring this emotional energy out every time I use my camera. I could stay here and talk about cars and photography for hours, but let’s focus on the story of these two nicely-tuned Hondas.
Back in 2018, I met Alessio Cavalletti at the only place you can meet people like him – the race track. It was a Honda day at Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi (otherwise known as ACI Vallelunga Circuit) in Campagnano di Roma, and Alessio’s Silverstone Metallic S2000 immediately stood out to me.
Alessio liked the photos I took of his car, and since that day we have been in constant contact with each other over social media. Alessio and I live in different regions of Italy, but the Vallelunga race track has always been our meeting point.
The first time I visited Alessio closer to his home, it was to photograph a track day he had organized at Autodromo dell’Umbria in Magione. It was there that I met Riccardo Mocini, the owner of a Rio Yellow Pearl S2000.
As I mentioned earlier, cars like these are extremely rare in Italy, so I just had to photograph them together for this story.Why The S2000?
Every time I see an interesting car, I always ask myself the same thing: why did the owner decide to buy it over something else? I put that question to both Alessio and Riccardo…
Alessio: “This is a question that, after nine years, I cannot answer precisely. Around the age of 21 or 22, I started looking for a sports car. I wanted something relatively light and not very expensive, and of course it had to be rear-wheel drive. In those years, S2000 prices in Europe were very low, and alternatives to such a technical masterpiece were simply not there.”
“My search lasted almost a year, then lightning struck – I found one for sale in Milan on the old Italian forum, Honda S2000 Passion. It was a 2004 model in Silverstone Metallic. A few months later, I went with my dad to pick it up; I can still vividly remember the whole journey back home.”
“Initially the mods were light, then I made two big mistakes: The first was to put the car on the track; the second was to start visiting Japan where I frequented time attack events.”
Riccardo: “After some experiences with other sports cars and modifying, in 2017 I found an S2000 for sale. It was dirty and in poor condition. Owning an S2000 had never been my dream – to me they were a nice car but nothing too special – but there was something about this one that attracted me to it.”
“My first thought was to fix it up, leave it naturally aspirated and use it on the track. I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend an arm and a leg on the car, nor swear eternal love to it. As you would have already realized though, I did not keep my promise.”The Devil Is In The Details
While these two S2000s share many similarities, they’re actually very different machines. Keeping that in mind, I asked Alessio and Riccardo about their respective journeys to this point…
Alessio: “From the beginning, my philosophy has stayed the same. I wanted to make changes that would improve the car’s performance on the track without upsetting everything else. I still wanted to be able to take the car up to the mountains and attack a few corners, and at the same time make it look like the S2000 I had always dreamed of.”
“Over the years my S2000 has gone through various steps, but has always remained naturally aspirated. Almost all of the work on the car was done with my best friend Paolo under the careful supervision of Alessandro Brusciani from Conte Performance, one of the best Honda tuners in Italy.”
“Since 2017, I’ve raced the car at a number of motorsport events, including Time Attack Italy. Despite my S2000 having a naturally aspirated engine and being quite heavy in comparison to other cars in the same category, I’ve achieved good results at circuits around central Italy.”
“To be honest though, when I bought the car eight years ago, I never thought I’d be able to get to where I am now with it. I spend every single second of my free time on this project and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved so far.”
Riccardo: “I met Alessio in 2018, at which time I had broken my car’s F20C engine twice. It was then that I decided to swap in a K20 engine and adapt a Rotrex supercharger to it. I’m crazy for a for a job well done, and an unquantifiable number of late-night hours went in to making it all work. It would have been a lot easier to use a ready-made swap kit, but the decision was made to buy the bare essentials and to build almost all the custom parts.”
“With this swap, the reliability has increased, as has the performance with more horsepower and more torque.”
“In line with this, Alessio and I decided that aerodynamic development should also have its part in the story. Initially, we opted for the simple things: a wing and a splitter, but after a lot of testing and more aero I now have an S2000 that’s really balanced, goes fast and is so much fun.”
“That’s not to say that in the future I won’t chase even more power, because, you know, it’s never enough!”
These cars exude passion from every bolt; they have a unique charm and tell you how fast they are even when they’re parked up. The commitment and dedication of Alessio and Riccardo is admirable. So much blood, sweat and tears have gone into the two builds, and after years of passion and sacrifice, seeing this petrolhead pair so happy with their creations is good for the heart and soul.
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Alessio Cavalletti’s 2004 Honda S2000 (AP1)
Engine: Honda F20C, tuned stock intake manifold, 70mm Spoon throttle body, carbon fiber intake, custom lightweight pulleys, Tegiwa header, Berk 74mm header-back exhaust system, Tegiwa aluminum radiator, Setrab oil cooler, AntiG sump baffle, AntiG fuel baffle, Optima battery, Innovative 75A billet engine mounts, AEM Electronics Series 2 engine management system tuned by Alessandro Brusciani/Conte Performance
Driveline: Factory 6-speed gearbox, Exedy Racing Stage 1 organic race clutch kit, Competition Clutch 3.9kg flywheel, HEL stainless steel clutch lines, Car Garage Amis shifter bushing, Innovative 75A billet gearbox mounts, Carbonetics 1.5-way LSD, 4.44 final drive, J’s Racing differential collar, Innovative 75A billet differential mounts, Blox driveshaft spacers
Suspension/Brakes: Tein Mono Flex coilovers with 10kg/mm springs front/rear, J’s Racing front roll center adjusters, Energy Suspension bushing kit, Blox steering box spacers, Wilwood Superlite 4-pot front calipers & 330mm rotors, Ferodo Dsuno front pads, Honed front brake cooling air guide kit, factory rear calipers, Ballade Sports 330mm rear rotors, Carbonetics carbon rear pads, DLE brake stopper
Wheels/Tires: Track – Enkei RPF1 17×9-inch +22 offset, Yokohama Advan A052 245/40R17, Street – JR5 17×9.5-inch +25 offset, Toyo Proxes R1R 255/40R17
Exterior: Voltex Street carbon front bumper, Group A Motoring carbon canards, Fiberworxx FRP front fenders with side & upper vents, SixthCarbon rear overfenders, SixthCarbon carbon side skirts, SixthCarbon FRP rear duckbill spoiler, 1,600mm carbon wing with 275mm custom stays, APR GT3 carbon mirrors, SixthCarbon carbon hardtop, Alex Novi front tow hook, custom rear tow hook, custom Silverstone Metallic respray
Interior: AG Works 4-point roll bar, Corbeau Clubsport seats, Buddyclub seat rails, Sabelt 4-point harness belts, Personal 330mm Neo Grinta suede steering wheel, NRG Innovations short hub adapter & quick release, custom shift knob, AEM Wideband 02 gauge, Depo oil pressure & temperature gauges, Broadway 380mm rear-view mirror, Modifry Yellow Box Speedometer Corrector
Riccardo Mocini’s 2000 Honda S2000 (AP1)
Engine: Honda K20Z4, Toda K20 chain tensioner, F20C intake manifold with 2NRS K20 adaptor plate, 70mm throttle body, Rotrex C30-94 supercharger with custom mount, GReddy Type-RS pop-off valve, custom front-mount intercooler, Bosch 1,000cc injectors, Denso 340lph fuel pump, Skunk2 MAP sensor, DC Sports F20C exhaust manifold with 2NRS K20 adaptor plate, Toda Racing dual header-back exhaust system, custom Accusump, custom radiator with SPAL fan, Tomei oil cooler, K20A2 oil pump & sump, Skunk2 x Tractuff oil sump baffle kit, 2NRS K20 kit with Hasport billet engine mounts, Doctronic tuned by Alessandro Brusciani/Conte Performance
Driveline: Factory 6-speed gearbox, 6-puck clutch, Quarter Master flywheel, Hasport gearbox mounts, 4.44 final drive, Hasport differential mounts
Suspension/Brakes: Tein Mono Sport coilovers with 12kg/mm front & 10kg/mm rear springs, Hardrace front roll center adjusters, Powerflex bushing kit, Buddyclub rear roll center adjusters, PB Racing 6-pot front calipers, PB Racing 330mm front rotors, PB Racing front pads, factory S2000 rear calipers, Track Solution 330mm floating rear rotors, Ferodo DS3000 rear pads
Wheels: Team Dynamics Pro Race 17×8-inch +35 offset front, 17×9-inch +45 offset rear
Exterior: Custom bumper with splitter, Fiberworxx FRP front fenders with side vents, molded custom rear steel overfenders, SixthCarbon carbon side skirts, 1,600mm wing, SixthCarbon FRP rear duckbill, SixthCarbon carbon hardtop, complete Yellow Rio Pearl respray
Interior: Custom 4-point roll bar , Bride Low Max seats, custom seat rails, Sparco 4-point harness belts, QSP 330mm suede steering wheel, short hub adapter, Skunk2 shift knob, Zeitronix wideband, EGT & boost pressure gauges, Depo oil pressure & temperature gauges