Posted in Realtoy

A dancer in a phone boothe – Realtoy Honda S2000

This post is probably going to annoy some of the purists out there.

Check out any other diecast blog or forum (yes, there are many, as you probably know) and you’ll be inundated with Matchbox, overwhelmed by Hot Wheels, and you might even be momentarily immersed in Majorettes. Corgis will clutter your screen, and Dinkys will undoubtedly be delivered if you look, but one brand that might baffle the boffins has recently revived its line to become a recognisable contender to its established enemies. Realtoy.

Realtoy is a Hong-Kong based manufacturer of cars as far as I’m aware, and their models started out as hastily copied castings from the mainstream brands. These days, though, their image is quite respectable, as we’re about to see.

The Car – Honda S2000

You’re probably wondering why I wrote that headline, but fear not – it will become clear in a moment.

First of all, I like the Honda S2000, in the sense that I like that Japan seems good at producing conservative, non-controversial vehicles. Just look at the trend of kei cars over there – they’re adorable!

We’re looking at the first generation Honda S2000 here, which was produced between 1999 and 2003, and sported a cutesy, middle-of the road look. If you check out a first-gen 2002 BMW Z4 or a 2000 Porsche Boxster, the cars the Honda was competing with, you can see why the Honda might appeal to those who aren’t certain about harsh German design. The Z4 especially has the love it/hate it look – the S2000 doesn’t really give you strong opinions either way. Not for me, anyhow – kind of like a lot of Japanese cars (Mazda MX5, Honda NSX, Toyota MR2, the original RX-7)

The thing about the S2000, though, is that despite Honda’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) engine supposedly, at the time, being the most powerful naturally aspirated production engine in the world, it was hindered by its new system of variable valve timing.

Below a certain number of revs (Tiff Needell of BBC Top Gear put it at around 5,000) all that horsepower (up to around 250) was stored out of reach – giving around 150hp. Only by pushing the rev counter past 6,000 would the gates be opened. Hence, all that power felt wasted, since you were already past 70mph when VTEC kicks in during third gear.

What a waste, then, unless you happen to live next to the Autobahn.

The Model

As I have already mentioned, the model is a Realtoy – scale 1/56, which is going to annoy some of you, as you won’t consider it a “proper” diecast unless it’s been made by a company whose original products now command £300 on eBay.

What may surprise you, though, is how I think the attention to detail on this suprasses that of many of the established brands.

There are logos, detailed panel grooves, rather nice wheel spokes, a detailed interior, and Realtoy have managed to do something Mattel can’t seem to manage – which is to get the damned headlight/tail light stickers in the right place.

Also, I lamented the “blob” steering wheel on the Thunderbird in my last post. The interior of this cheap Chinese owned Honda is concealed in a very hard to see cabin – yet I can still plainly see they have not resorted to a blob for their steering wheel. It’s also right-hand drive, which took me by surprise.

I’m also glad to see how well the paint has tolerated years of abuse and play. Only a few paint chips here and there.

The metal body comes in yellow and is attached to a black plastic base, with grey interior. I think yellow didn’t come to the US market for the real car until around 2001?

Also, the model is sporting what appears to be a replicated version of the aluminium roof brought in around that same time – so that suggests some accuracy on Realtoy’s part.

The car rides smooth, and I believe it came in a multipack with a few other models. Hopefully I’ll get to show those too, quite soon.

As you can see, our spell of good weather seems to have come to a momentary end! At least it’s still warm.

S20003s20001s20005s20004s20002s20006

Honda S2000 Facts

  • It has a front-mid engine, and is rear wheel drive.
  • It had a 50:50 weight ratio, due to the engine being mounted behind the front axle.
  • The electric folding vinyl-roof came as standard, with an optional hard-top introduced in 2001.
  • At first the US got the colours black, red, white and silver. The UK got black, red, and white. Eventually yellow and blue came in.
  • The S2000 was manufactured alongside the Honda NSX. (Acura NSX in US)

 

Featured image: Honda S2000, by Jean-Jacques Marchand. Original

 

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Author:

Graphic designer, writer for Classic American auto magazine, journalist.

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