Engine swaps are always cool, but honestly, it's rare I come across something truly unique after browsing the internet for cool car stuff for hours each day. Scanning Craigslist recently, I landed on a seemingly normal-looking Toyota Tacoma with a rather interesting title: 96 Tacoma-s2000 swapped. My interest was piqued.
I reached out to the seller, who told me he bought the car from the builder about a year ago, a nice man named Miguel located in Tampa, Florida. I managed to get a hold of Miguel, and he told me exactly why, and how, he put this magnificent truck together.
Miguel said he got the idea from a friend who was building an older Toyota truck using the same powertrain. He wanted to one-up his buddy, so he went out and bought the '97 Tacoma you see here and enlisted the help of Cody and Mike of TAE Used Auto Parts to source an engine, transmission, seats, and gauge cluster from a Honda S2000. He ended up pulling the parts from a wrecked AP2-generation car from 2005 with about 82,000 miles on it.
Of course, dropping a Honda sports car engine into a Toyota truck isn't as simple as ordering a swap kit from the internet and bolting everything into place. There was a whole lot of custom fabrication that needed doing to get this thing on the road. Danny Ramirez of FABTHIS LLC and Abraham Aluminum in Tampa created custom engine mounts, cut a new firewall, and built a new transmission tunnel to get the S2000's six-speed manual to fit properly. He also built a custom intake and seat railings needed to accept the two OEM Honda units.
After that, Miguel had to source a custom driveshaft, which he did through The Driveshaft Shop in North Carolina. He then got a friend named John Woodell to wire everything together and make it work like it came from the factory. It has a working S2000 digital dash, and even sports the same red engine start button. Engine tuning was done by Alfredo Morales of Derf Tuned.
The suspension and rear-end are totally stock with a welded diff. Miguel told me he regrets leaving the stock Tacoma axle in, and would've liked to have swapped to something more akin to the S2000's independent rear axle, but by the time he made the decision to change it, he had already ordered the driveshaft to fit the Tacoma axle.
The end result is an unassuming Toyota truck that can outrun most things on the road, and do some stellar donuts. Miguel put about 1000 miles on the truck, bringing it to meets and showing it off to confused and excited Honda fans. He sold it to a man in Massachusetts, who has now listed with an asking price of $11,000. The second owner told me he added a new muffler and the wheels shown in the ad, but otherwise, it remains unchanged.
Considering all of the work put into this truck, we'd say it's worth the price. Plus, anywhere you go, you'll know you have the only one around. That alone is worth it to us.