Evolution


May 2007, as I bought the car
Frankenstook started life as a 2000 Honda s2000 with around 99.5k miles on the odometer.  She lost a duel with a soccer mom in a big SUV, who was making a left turn across traffic, and ended up with a crunched up front end   I bought the car as salvage after the insurance totaled it out in May of 2007.   Here is a picture of what she looked like when I got her home.  That's my '02 street s2000 on the left, and 'the silver car' as she was known at the time on the right.    


The silver car sat in the garage basically untouched for the rest of 2007.  I removed and sold some of the interior pieces and the soft top, but didn't make any progress on converting it into a racecar, aside from accumulating parts.   In 2008, I purchased a welder and a few other assorted tools and began the process of bringing her back to life.   The front frame rails were straightened, a new upper radiator support and new right inner fender lining were welded in, and various body panels were sourced as cheaply as possible.  Special thanks to Skip Merryman for donating a spare hood!   I found the alignment adjustment bolts sized on 3 of the 4 control arms, so I had to cut those out and replace all of the lower control arms.   For the most part, that was the extent of the repairs to fix the crash damage. 


First autocross, July 2008
After a few months of work, including an epic last few days of effort that wouldn't have been possible without the help of my Dad, and my bud Garrett Molzer, 'the silver car' was ready for her first autocross in July of 2008.  I remember two things very distinctly about the days leading up to that event.   First, Dad and I were putting the left fender on, which was dented, but more-or-less still 's2000 shaped'.  We had been struggling with it for a couple of hours, and I ditched Dad to go to an eye Doctor's appointment.    I returned about an hour and a half later to a perfectly aligned fender, using a few washers in key locations as shims.   My Dad rocks!     Second, around 9pm the night before what was to be the debut event, and about  14 months since it last ran, I was getting ready to fire up the car for the first time since I bought it.  Dad asked me earlier in the day, "Do you think it will start", and I replied, "Of course it will start, it's a Honda!".  Well, start she did -- on the first try.   That made me smile.  


Though she was on 2-year old, hard-as-rocks, Kumho 710's (and only 225-width to boot), and had not been aligned, the car survived the event, and was dubbed 'Frankenstook'.  I'm not sure who came up with the name, but it stuck.  At that event, she was essentially a stock-ish s2000 with some KW v3 coilovers, a partially stripped interior, a Sparco seat, quick-disconnect steering wheel and a rollbar.    The rest of 2008 was spent resolving little issues, like flakey ABS engagement, and minor additions.


up on 2 wheels!  October 2009.  photo by Jon Krolewicz
For 2009, Frankenstook started the season with new shocks, data acquision via Traqmate, and larger wheels (17x8.5) wrapped in Hoosiers.   Spring rate and alignment changes were made  throughout the year.  The biggest job was replacing the left front suspension and steering rack due to a failure in the TC Design billet upper control arm while on course.   I also built an adjustable rear spoiler and began earnestly trimming weight from the car.   She weighed 2400 lbs at the 2009 Tire Rack Solo National Championships, where I finished 12th.    


2010 SCCA Solo National Championships
2010 brought a major set of upgrades to the car.  I removed the stock gas tank and replaced it with a 5-gallon fuel cell.   New spherical bearings were installed on all of the control arms.   New 17x10 wheels and 295-width Hoosiers were added, which required flaring the front fenders and installation of fiberglass rear flares.  I also installed a Carbonetics ATS Carbon 1.5-way limited-slip differential and a mazda 4.3:1 final drive.   The biggest visible difference, though, is that I finally cut the windshield off.   Days before Nationals, I added a set of Wilwood Dynalite calipers and a fiberglass trunk.   That, along with all the other weight saving efforts let Frankenstook roll across the scales in Lincoln at 2098 lbs.  Again, I finished 12th at the Solo National Championships.   My co-driver, Garrett Molzer, put the car in 10th.  After nationals, I experimented with removing both the front and rear swaybars.


For 2011, several things changed on the car.  Most noticeably, I painted it green and black.   Big thanks to my co-driver Garrett Molzer (and his lovely wife Beth) for letting me use their driveway as a paint booth!  In the spring, I a Haltech ecu, and Hayward individual throttle bodies were installed and tuned, which really woke up the motor.  Plus, the sound that the ITB's make is intoxicating.  From about April to July, nothing major changed on the car.  We focused on just driving it mostly.


   In July, inspired by (and with considerable help from) my buddy Jason Collett, I began building carbon fiber doors and rear fenders.    In the month leading up to Nationals, the car shed over 100 pounds, most of it from replacing the steel doors and cutting out the floor and inner fender panels in the trunk.  The car now sits at 1975 pounds in race trim.     Garrett brought home a 4th place trophy from the 2011 Solo National Champiionships, and I came in 7th.   2011 was a really great year for Frankenstook!

For 2012, we added some off-season upgrades.    Out came the revalved koni yellows, and in went a shiny new set of Penske 8300 shocks.    Out came the old 2L motor, and in went a low-mileage 2.2L.     With the motor swap, we switched back to a stock intake manifold and a 70mm throttle body instead of the ITBs.        The early part of the season was great.  The car was running well, and handling beautifully, culminating in May with the Evolution Super Shootout in Atlanta, where I finished 7th overall.   After Atlanta, though, things got frustrating.    The car behaved very strangely, it was difficult to drive, and it was not consistent.  We chased shock settings, air pressure, spring rates for the next 3 months.   Ultimately, the culprit was found to be a clutch pack failure within the Carbonetics limited slip differential.   With only one event on the repaired diff, the ProSolo Finale and Nationals were disappointing.  We were not comfortable with the car and it showed.   The rest of 2012 was spent trying to get the car back to its early-season form.  

I had a big list of planned modifications and upgrades for the 2013 season, but managed to let the offseason slip by without doing much of anything to the car.   It was a mad-dash effort to get the fuel system redone before the Dixie Match Tour, and our lack of practice/test time was clear.  Neither of us made the shootout portion of the event.    The positive takeaways were that the new fuel system didn't leak and the switch to Goodyear bias ply slicks appears to be promising.    I replaced the harddog bolt-in rollbar with a much beefier welded-in setup, with door bars (Thanks to Geoff Zimmer).  Getting the car dialed in for the bias ply slicks is going to be the goal for the next several events.  I have a few other goodies to throw at the car as well.