Experiencing Japanese S2000 Excellence At Autobacs ASM Yokohama
Our most loyal fans will remember my trip to Tokyo Auto Salon with DSPORT Magazine earlier this year. On that trip, our tour group also visited several other automotive-oriented places in close proximity to Tokyo, like the trip to the Nissan Heritage Collection. Well, once the tour of that amazing facility had concluded, it was tough to think of what could top that, but we all piled back into our bus and awaited our next destination.
But before we hit any other automotive destinations, it was time for lunch. As a unique portion of the trip, the gang at DSPORT trekked us into Yokohama, and dropped us off in Chinatown—yes, Chinatown in Yokohama, Japan. It’s actually not only the largest Chinatown in Japan, but also in all of Asia. It’s filled with just about any type of street food you could imagine, and with enough pretty scenery to keep you walking for hours. However, we only had 40 minutes until our bus picked us up, and with such a packed schedule of events, it was crucial to be back on time.
Within seconds of hearing the word “Yokohama” as the destination, my mind was focused elsewhere and eating food no longer mattered. I only thought of one thing, and that was the Honda S2000 specialist, Autobacs ASM Yokohama, or ASM. Short for Autobacs Secondhand Market, this tuning shop is legendary in the S2000 community, and not only holds a few different lap records at Japanese tracks, but produces some of the finest—albeit most expensive—parts in that market which money can buy.
Upon exiting the bus, I checked Google Maps to see if it was even possible to get to the shop in the allotted time period, and the 40-minute calculations began in my head. With 15 minutes to walk there, and allowing an additional 15 minutes to walk back, that left me a solid 10-minute window to walk around the shop of my dreams while I was in town.
The hustle began, but not before a few others on the tour found out where I was rushing to, and tagged along. Sorry I left without you, Tyler! Once we crossed onto the main road, and were within sight of the shop, there was an additional bounce to my step.
Outside the facility were a few subtly modified cars, which mostly consisted of the Honda branded cars—like this Civic Type R, back when they were still naturally aspirated. Note the ASM-branded Recaro RS-G seats fitted in some of these cars; as anyone who follows the company’s Instagram will know, it regularly installs tasteful new Recaro seats for customers.
Moving down the line were two S2000s in my two favorite OEM Honda S2000 colors, neither of which were ever available in the United States—go figure! On the left, the darker and illustrious Premium Sunset Mauve Pearl, with the classy Moonrock Gray Metallic positioned to the right.
We made our way inside, walking by another demo car, this time an S2000 Type S (also known as the CR in America) complete with Volk Racing CE28 wheels. The beauty of ASM cars is that they contain so many hidden modifications that aren’t visible by simply looking at the outside, but if you know, then they’re incredible.
As soon as we stepped inside, we were greeted by the renowned Recaro RS-G ASM Limited “Ruby” racing seat on display. The company takes the attractive RS-G seat from Recaro and outfits it with higher-end premium materials—like Alcantara and red stitching—to elevate its appearance that much further.
Oh, did I mention they’re a massive Recaro retailer in Japan? You’ve probably seen this wall of seats before on the internet, but seeing it in real life was impressive. I wish I could have sat in them all, but there was no time—nor are you allowed to sit in them.
There was an assortment of parts on display around the inside, accompanied by their price tags. Yep, that’s roughly $20 for two bolts.
Several different engine setups could be found across the floor, all citing the locations of the individual ASM pieces affixed to each engine. Look at that amazing carbon fiber plenum for the Toda Individual Throttle Bodies. What a better way to sell parts, than with a gorgeous display such as this?
While looking through the glass windows into the exclusive wooden-floor-clad shop area, I glimpsed not only one of my favorite S2000s, but time attack cars in general. This is the company’s flagship S2000 time attack car, which—despite its wild aerodynamic package—competes in the naturally aspirated class. Just a few short years ago, this car was the fastest naturally aspirated car to circle the famed Tsukuba TC2000 track. Its most recent foray with an S-tire (non-slick racing tire) granted the fourth fastest NA street car time around the circuit with a 57.051-second lap, while it also went blindingly quick and clocked a 57.585 on the new Yokohama Advan A052 street tire.
Elsewhere in the shop area, either a demo car or a customer’s car was up on the lift receiving some sort of treatment to its front end. To the untrained eye, this is merely an S2000 with a wing, however, the initiated will notice the ASM I.S. Design rear bumper, ASM carbon fiber hood opened up, ASM GT-09 trunk and wing combo, ASM widened front fenders, Mugen hardtop, and paint-matched Craft Square mirrors. That’s something like $25,000 just in visible exterior pieces from this angle, and this is the average level of ASM customer cars.
After I was done gawking, I remembered that time was of the essence. So I looked over the small items they had for sale, purchased some fancy ASM License Plate hardware and a t-shirt, and got on my way.
With one last scan of the space before I exited, I took in all of the sights at once, and imprinted it in my mind, not knowing if or when I’ll ever step foot in that shop again. As a Honda faithful time attack fan, and S2000 owner, it was an amazing experience I’ll likely never forget—and that was only 40 minutes of my Japan trip with DSPORT Magazine!
You can still sign up for their January trip here, where you’ll be treated to the experience of a lifetime, and see more of Japanese automotive culture in five days than you ever thought you would. Oh, and this dude was so hyped I liked his truck. Pretty cool to see a modified left-hand-drive S10 pickup in Japan, let alone this one repurposed for the owner’s neon lighting business. In the coming weeks, I’ll continue publishing more of these side stories from the trip, so if you like them, give them a share!