Mad Man…

Today we are going to be taking a minor break from the onslaught of Nisei Showoff 2011 Coverage so that I could present you with a very special look at a very special project. As you all know, I put together this whole “GENERATIONS” line-up for Nisei where I had planned to bring builds from the past, present, and future. The “future” portion of it proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated but one of the main projects that I wanted to be at the show was the S2000 you will see below. This S2000 is by no means finished. It is perhaps in it’s most “raw” state if anything and that’s exactly why I wanted the car there. I really wanted to display the custom metal work on this car and in my opinion, this S2K will probably never look better than it does now in it’s raw state. If you are a fan of metal work and fabrication, then you are in for a treat because this S2000 is a piece of automotive art. I wanted this S2000 to be at Nisei so bad, but we just couldn’t get it out there. Louie from L*Con, who has been the mad man behind the insane amounts of metal work on this S2000, had a prior engagement that he had to attend to and like I always say, your personal life will always be more important than any car shit. It would have been bad ass if we could get it out there because I think it would have shocked a lot of people. For one, nobody would expect to see an unfinished, straight raw metal S2000 chassis at a car show. We were going to throw some Eibach coilovers on it, a brand new set of Mugen MF10s, roll it out to the show, and rope the car off so that no one could put their hands on the raw metal. It would have been absolutely nuts and a great attention-grabber for anybody that was walking towards The Chronicles section. In any case, you get to see the car now and believe me, photographs don’t really do this thing justice…

Larger Version (1400×933)

To start off on a little back story on the car itself, Louie from L*CON was called by a customer on the east coast to build him an S2000 chassis. There weren’t any strict requirements behind what he wanted, he simply wanted an S2000 that would be “bad ass”. A street S2000 that could be tracked if it every needed to be and Louie was not only in charge of doing the cage for it, he also had to find the S2K chassis out here on the west coast. The goal of the owner was to build an S2000 that rivaled and would eventually best a very well-known S2000 in Japan, from a very well-known tuner shop. Louie basically had the freedom to do whatever he wanted to. Louie can basically do any sort of cage, from the simplest to the most intricate, the guy can do it all. But if you give the man the freedom to do whatever he wants, you better believe it’s going to be some shit you’ve never seen before. He originally was supposed to find just a bare shell to start on, but he had trouble finding one that had a clean title so he went with a rolling chassis that he found instead. The S2000 was then taken back to L*CON, completely stripped down to the shell itself, and then sent off to be chemically stripped (or acid-dipped, if you prefer to call it that). Once the stripped-chassis came back, Louie began seam-welding the whole car to strengthen the body before creating the cage for it. Again, he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted to with the cage. The only request he had from the owner was that he had to be able to get in and out of the car easy. Once the cage was done, Louie came up with the idea to remove the upper frame rails behind the front fenders, and remade them so that they were much stronger and a whole lot better looking. The front suspension pick-up points were also strengthened when he gusseted each end. The rear subframe was also reinforced and gusseted, making the entire S2000 body a rigid beast….

The craziest part about this whole build was that the owner never intended for all this work to be seen. Louie tig-welded everything, put hours and hours of labor into the car, and the only reason you see it now is because we convinced him that we should document his body of work, because this is truly something that hasn’t been seen before. Once all this metal work was completed, the whole car was set to be sent off to be powdercoated black and as I am writing this, the chassis is already gone, so I’m happy to have been able to document this build and show it to the world. The car was originally set to make it’s debut at the 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon event, but there’s so much left to be done that we all have our doubts about it being ready. There is just so much more in the works for this thing, and I hope to see it pop up again one day when it’s completed. The exterior aesthetics have yet to be determined, as well as suspension and wheels. The interior will be completely custom, but the cage is made in such a way where the A-pillar bars are tucked away enough so that the OEM dashboard can go back into place without issue. It’s a sick build. The owner has plans also to drop a supercharged GM LS3 motor into it to, so you already know it’s going to be a monster…

When it’s all said and done though, the majority of the work under the body panels will be overlooked. A casual passer-by will see the cage and the bars and think that it’s cool, but they won’t be able to appreciate the amount of metal work involved in this S2K like you will today. There’s so much work that Louie doesn’t even remember everything that he’s done. The night before I started to put this together, Louie sent me a text message with random things that he remembered suddenly, like how the factory hard-top is even gutted because he chopped out the inner structure of it. It’s just a crazy thing to see in person…and I hope you will get a sense of that by looking at the photos today. Everyone that we know that we have shown the car too has had nothing but great things to say about Louie’s work. It’s truly mind-blowing. If and when this S2000 resurfaces in the future, make sure you remember where you saw it first, only on The Chronicles…

Special thanks go out to Louie Contreras and L*CON for making this possible…

The view from outside L*CON Race Fabrications… Larger Version (1400×933)

Just imagine how much custom metal work the casual enthusiast will miss just because this S2000 will have it’s fenders reinstalled… Larger Version (1400×933)

Gusseted front suspension pick-up point…. Larger Version (1400×933)

Larger Version (1400×933)

Dimple-die plates inside the engine bay where the front shock tower is…. Larger Version (1400×933)

A better look at the opposite side… Larger Version (1400×933)

Firewall shot where you can see where it’s been seam-welded… Larger Version (1400×933)

Shot of the A-pillar behind the frame of the windshield… Larger Version (1400×933)

Upper windshield area where the cage has been integrated… Larger Version (1400×933)

Rear section where the soft top once was and where a bulk of the cage resides… Larger Version (1400×933)

Section behind the seats atop where the transmission/driveshaft tunnel is… Larger Version (1400×933)

Larger Version (1400×933)

Section under the dash where the pedals are…the cage is actually designed (not pictured here) to run through the firewall… Larger Version (1400×933)

Back half of the cage… Larger Version (1400×933)

Trunk section/rear shock tower… Larger Version (1400×933)

Another angle of the section behind the seats…. Larger Version (1400×933)

A view of the engine bay, where a supercharged GM LS3 will eventually call it’s “home”… Larger Version (1400×933)

A shot of the entire bare-metal, raw S2000 chassis…. Automotive art in its rawest form… Larger Version (1400×933)

Louie is a man of few words but his skill and imagination are always best expressed through his metal work…. The things that must run through this man’s mind every single day….

Thanks for looking, back with the rest of the Nisei Showoff 2011 Coverage in the coming days…

 

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21 thoughts

  1. Wonderfull work. I am in fabrication myself and this work is top notch. i love how the time was taken to tig everything. Nice job.

  2. I need to see this car in person when is done. And I wish I had seemed it in person when it was raw. Great shots Joey, the pics are so dramatic. Is just awesome man, keep you work up.

  3. I think the pictures came out SICK Joey. When you were shooting I could see the “style” of the photos, but the final product(s) are great man.

  4. Wonderful lighting. Please do update us on the car when it is completely finished. Curious to see how the owner will go about with this.

  5. Not to take anything away from Louie/ LCON or your post. His work is great.
    However, Louie (might, or might not) have taken inspiration from this S2000:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/20733247@N06/sets/72157626837659218/
    As you can see from the link I attached above, the pictures were taken sometimes at the end of 2008. This S2K is still a work in progress.

    Again, I am not calling anyone out or anything, but I just wanted to point it out.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Alex

  6. Alex,
    Stitch welding the chassis, installing a roll cage and then gusseting the roll cage to the chassis is nothing new. Dimpling the gussets is also nothing new. Inspiration can come from many sources and most good ideas that work are replicated wherever possible. To say that Louie might or might not have taken inspiration from that particular S2000 is ludicrous at best as there are many cars that are prepped the same way. All you would have to do is look at Rally, Touring, Off-road, Road Racing and even NASCAR to see similar modifications sprinkled throughout.

    Now with regards to the customer’s goal “… to build an S2000 that rivaled and would eventually best a very well-known S2000 in Japan, from a very well-known tuner shop,” I would guess that the car in question is either the Opera Performance S2000 or the Power House Amuse S2000.

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