A strict rule around our office states: if a car's been shot for any competing mag-even if it's a magazine under the Primedia umbrella-it'll never make it onto our pages. We do, however, make some exceptions, but if and only if the car has been completely transformed into something totally different than its original form. A lot of people try to pawn off a new set of wheels as a drastic change, but the way we see it, you better be investing just as much money (or more) during the makeover process. In its former state, Fred Chang's RSX was what you could call a "magazine whore." Slanged out to just about every damn tuner book on the face of the earth, the gold brilliance of his RSX was unrivaled-even track tested by Road and Track-proving that a show car with a near complete catalog of high quality HKS parts could perform up to its name.
From the day he purchased it, Fred knew he wanted it to be in a magazine. He says, "I had always seen other guys build their cars and get them into mags and I'd always say to myself, 'Man, if I had that car I'd do it this way and for sure it'd look hot.' Sure enough, I got my RSX." After trying his luck racing at a few track events, he realized that his once-daily driver (hard to believe it was used to drive nearly 100 miles a day!) had to become more than just an internet super star. And seeing that a Honda Fit had recently become a part of his daily routine, the RSX could finally be used as a full-time racecar. Fred decided to redo his car, not just so he could become a better driver, but also to improve his chances of making it into another magazine. Right away, everything had to be upgraded: from the body kit to the interior and ultimately the color.
The chassis had already been sprayed once inside and out in Top Secret Gold by MOBworks, so he took it back to Miguel Ortiz to have him eliminate any remnants of its golden past by repainting it Absolutely Red, a color normally reserved for a few of Toyota's lineup. The original Mugen front bumper had been damaged heavily after running over debris on the freeway, so this allowed him to upgrade to Mugen's N1 body kit. But in order for the kit to fit properly, Fred had to upgrade the chassis to '06 spec, which involved the entire front end and taillights as well as incorporating the HID headlights from the JDM DC5 Integra Type R.
As soon as the exterior was color coated, it was time to work on the interior. Since the car was originally white from the dealer, it came with a light beige interior, a total mismatch to the new paint. Fred got in touch with his connections at Honda and ordered every piece, including the dash, proper headliner and every last plastic screw, to convert from beige to full black.
But before the interior was installed, MOBworks sprayed down every square inch with the new red, then Fred added the EM Racing cross bars, an L Tuned C-pillar bar and relocated a Braille battery to the trunk. As the dashboard was laid in, he installed a Mugen steering boss and Sparco quick release along with a Personal 360 steering wheel, then picked up a new shift boot, gauge cluster, coin pocket and door sills out of the JDM ITR to make subtle enhancements. A pair of Bride Zeta III bucket seats was bolted in using Bride's Super Low brackets along with Takata harnesses for safety. With the makeover near completion, he also changed out the previous black-faced Volk LE-37Ks for a super baller set of 18x8.5 Advan RG IIs and hooked up a set of Parada Spec 2 tires from Yokohama in preparation for the RSX's participation at upcoming track events. He tuned the suspension by slipping on HKS' HiperMax II coilovers, Mugen strut bars and a rear lower arm bar from Carbing, then beefed up the brakes by installing larger Project ? rotors and calipers.
Version 1.0 of Fred's RSX wasn't slow by any means. It was used by HKS USA as a test bed for many of its turbo components, specifically for the K20 engine platform. For this version, HKS' tuning wizard, Jon Kuroyama fabricated a kit using one of their 2835 ball-bearing turbos and tuned it on their dyno for a total of 400+whp with the F-Con V Pro. Other HKS goods used are the GT Type S intercooler, a Reloaded Super Mega Flow intake, prototype Hi-Power exhaust and 680cc injectors to supply more fuel to the mix. Fred also made adjustments to the factory transmission by swapping out the final drive for one from the JDM ITR as well as a limited-slip differential, also from the Type R. Not one for tuning alone, he added some style by changing the black valve cover to a red ITR valve cover, an ARC spark plug cover and a carbon fiber intake manifold cover from Vision. The current plan is to have the RSX ready for the Time Attack finals, where it will make its racing debut; it'll be exciting to see just how fast and far it can go.
Fred doesn't want you to call him a "celebrity car builder"-just a regular guy will do. But after helping to spawn the online phenomenon called JTuned.com (not to mention building cars like this, and project cars for corporate digs like Scion) it seems as though Fred has no choice but to accept his fate. At only 23 years of age, Fred's worked side-by-side with America's favorite drifters as part of Slipstream, manages his own media company, Xerotalent and is constantly hustling to find the next big deal. "I don't like to consider myself as a car builder because I'm a far cry from a fabricator or someone who can really wrench their way around cars," he says. "I try to do as much as I can with the knowledge I've picked up. I've always been intrigued by cars and have worked on them all my life, and now it's turned into this out-of-control money pit that I can't seem to get out of. I think of my car as a drug, a wife and a headache-in that order." Fred, we know exactly what you mean.
OWNER "Team" Fred Chang
HOMETOWN Long Beach, CA
POWER 387 whp with 297 lb-ft at 14.7psi
UNDER THE HOOD 2.0L DOHC iVTEC K20; HKS 2835 turbo kit, exhaust manifold, GT Type S intercooler, Earth Circle System, Super Mega Flow Reloaded, prototype 80mm Hi-Power turbo exhaust, D1 limited oil cap, D1 limited radiator cap, Super Fire Racing spark plugs, custom SPL fuel return line, custom fuel regulator, 680cc injectors, custom tuned by Jon Kuroyama; Exedy clutch; JDM DC5R valve cover, final drive and limited-slip differential; AEM fuel rail; C&R radiator; SPAL fan; ARC spark plug cover; Vision carbon fiber intake manifold cover; steel braided oil lines and TMR fittings; Braille race battery (relocated)
BRAINS HKS F-Con V Pro version 3.2, gold EVC valve controller, turbo timer
STIFF STUFF HKS HiperMax II coilovers; Mugen front and rear strut tower brace; EM Racing cross bars; L Tuned C-pillar bar; Carbing rear lower arm bar
STOPPERS Project U limited edition gunmetal brakes and e-coated rotors and lines
ROLLERS 18x8.5 Advan RG II with +31 offset; 215/40R18 Yokohama Parada Spec 2 tires; Racing Nut R40 pre-lock lug nuts
OUTSIDE Mugen N1 front aero bumper, front aero canards, front racing under panel, side step kit, rear valance, rear aero adjustable wing, front/rear tow hook, rear limited carbon fiber license plate filler and gas cap; Vision Type DC mirrors; carbon fiber hood; JDM DC5R window visors, HID headlights, rear taillights, badges and side markers; body work and paint by MOBworks
INSIDE Personal 360 steering wheel; FET Nardi adapter; Mugen steering boss and pedals; Sparco quick release; HKS D1 limited shift knob; JDM DC5R shift boot, cluster, coin pocket and door sills; Takata MPH-340 harnesses; Bride Zeta III Sport seats and Super Low brackets/rails
ICE Pioneer AVIC-N3 head unit