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 |   |  2003 Acura RSX Type-S - Local Hero
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2003 Acura RSX Type-S - Local Hero

Don't judge a book...

Joey Lee
Nov 7, 2013
Photographer: Quickworks Photography

Public perception can be very misleading at times. The Internet and its social media outlets have helped the growth of the tuner segment immensely, but it has also helped to spread a lot of ignorance. Back in the earlier days of the import community, things weren't so widespread. If you discovered something or saw a build that you hadn't seen before, you dug deeper to find information about it. Any information you found would be helpful and, hell, who knows, you might even take the time to speak to the owner about their project. The "Interwebs" has changed all of that. People have grown increasingly impatient and instead of searching for information on things they know nothing about, they choose to make assumptions. We've become so consumed with the complexities the Internet has provided, we've become a society simply skimming over everything and moving right along. Whenever people come upon something that they know very little about, they pretend that they're knowledgeable, and pass along some false information. In turn, whoever hears that will spread the word to the next person, that person will interpret the info another way, and the end result is a bunch of inaccuracies.

There are those who will tell you that they believe that print is dying and that the days of print magazines are numbered. If there is any truth to that, then our automotive community is in terrible trouble. Why? Well, because magazines like Honda Tuning have always been the outlets for enthusiasts to tell their story. When someone gets their shot at getting their vehicle build featured in print, it is their opportunity to cast all assumptions and predetermined notions aside. These postulations aren't always a bad thing; they just aren't the truth. When given the chance, who wouldn't want to tell their side of the story?

2003 acura RSX type s mugen rear lip 05 Photo 2/8   |   2003 Acura RSX Type-S - Local Hero

With all that said, let's play along. Stop right here and just flip through the next couple of pages. Take a quick look at this DC5 and try to come up with a few assumptions about this build. Okay, first off, it's white. White RSXs are fairly common and everyone seems to build a white version. Secondly, the Type-S model has the best motor of this particular generation so there was no need to do a swap. The owner just added some bolt-ons and cleaned-up the engine bay. Third, this RSX has a Mugen body kit so the owner must be rich, especially since he has Volk Racing wheels to go along with it. That, or everything is fake and is "Mugen-styled." Oh, and since the car is so clean, it's probably a trailer queen and is garaged for 95 percent of its life. We can't give it props because it's a "hard parker."

The old saying tells us that we should never assume, because when you do ... well, you know the rest. If you believed any or all of the statements above, you would be wrong on all accounts. The owner, Danny Avina, has actually been on quite the tumultuous journey in the process of creating what you see today. He's not only on his second motor, but he's also had to repaint his DC5 and his Mugen aero kit and CE28s are 100 percent real. Furthermore, Avina is by no means "ballin'." He actually finished the Police Academy not too long ago and is waiting to start a career in law enforcement.

"I bought my '03 RSX back in 2009 for $10k." Danny says. "It was bone stock except for a set of wheels. And, the car originally came in Premium White Pearl. The owner didn't take care of it very well because it was about four different shades of white. The day I drove the car home from purchasing it, the 'check engine' light had already come on. The car ended up having a bad cylinder because the owner had turbocharged it before. When I contacted the owner, he wouldn't even help me because they said that it was my fault! It was the only car I had, and I didn't have any money to fix it, so I just drove it around for a year with the bad cylinder." If that weren't bad enough, things got worse. He adds, "I eventually killed the motor after sucking up water into my cold-air intake and hydro-locking it. After that happened, I decided to completely rebuild the car."

Avina started saving up all the money he could from working a 9-5 and eventually picked up a K24A2 motor. During the RSX's downtime, he also bought a used Mugen front bumper, wing, and hood from a friend that was parting out his own DC5. The authentic Mugen sideskirts and rear lip eluded him for quite some time until after he was able to get the car back on the road again. Once he completed the Mugen exterior, he couldn't stand his ride being multiple shades of white anymore, so he had the entire car painted in Lexus' Starfire White pearl.

"I kind of just learned how to do everything through trial and error. I live in a really small town that no one has really ever heard of, so finding help was difficult. Of course, I've met a ton of great people over time just from attending events and what not, but there aren't too many locals that can relate to my hobby. Pretty much all the work and installation of parts have been performed in my garage by me. I've always been a believer in using top quality parts as well, so I've slowly just collected parts that I've saved up for."

Mugen is definitely the reoccurring theme in this build, but that hasn't stopped him from stepping outside of his comfort zone to create a custom engine bay utilizing components from Hybrid Racing and one-off creations from All-In Fabrications. The result is a mix of classic Mugen style with a minimalist's approach under the hood, as only the bare necessities remain in a bay that has been completely shaved smooth. Guardians of the anti-trailer queens need not fuss because you'll be happy to hear that Avina continues to drive his DC5 daily. We don't recommend cruising around the streets with a screaming Buddy Club Spec 2 exhaust like Danny's, or possibly cracking that shaved engine bay, but he apparently has no fear-commuting a whole year with only three cylinders will do that to a guy. His plans don't end here either; a custom turbo kit from All-In Fab is already in the works and should be on by the time this hits the press.

2003 acura RSX type s 05 06 spec RSX front end conversion 07 Photo 6/8   |   2003 Acura RSX Type-S - Local Hero

Bolts & Washers

Hondata K-Pro
Hybrid Racing engine mounts
All-In Fab intake pipe w/machined velocity stack
All-In Fab intake box
Shaved/polished Honda RBC intake manifold
Hybrid Racing throttle body
Buddy Club Spec 2 exhaust
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
Hybrid Racing fuel rail
EncoreDC5-AN fittings and lines
Aeromotive Inline fuel filter
Fuel Lab fuel pressure regulator
Koyo radiator
Hybrid Racing cooling hoses
Hybrid Racing shifter cables
PSpec short shifter
Competition Clutch Stage 2 clutch
Competition Clutch 8-lb flywheel
Wavetrac limited-slip differential

2003 acura RSX type s mugen front bumper 06 Photo 7/8   |   2003 Acura RSX Type-S - Local Hero

TEIN Flex coilovers
OEM DC5 ITR sway bars
Mugen front strut bar
NEXT Miracle X-bar
Beaks lower tie bar
Function7 rear lower control arms

OEM DC5 ITR front Brembo brake calipers
OEM DC5 ITR rear disc brake calipers
DBA brake rotors
Hawk HP Blue brake pads
Motul RBF 600 brake fluid
Stoptech stainless steel brake hoses

Wheels & Tires
18x9 +35 Volk Racing CE28N
225/40-18 Falken Ziex 912

Complete OEM 05-06 spec RSX front/rear conversion
Lexus Starfire White Pearl paint
Mugen front bumper
Mugen carbon fiber hood
Mugen sideskirts
Mugen rear spoiler
Mugen rear lip (molded)
Mugen license plate cover (molded)
Retrofitted Infiniti Q45 headlight projectors
JDM DC5 taillights
JDM DC5 window visors

Mugen steering wheel
Works Bell quick release
NRG steering hub
Mugen pedals
Mugen E-brake cover
Mugen mirror cover
Autopower 4-point roll bar
Takata 4-point harnesses
JDM DC5 ITR Recaro seats
JDM DC5 ITR door panels
JDM DC5 ITR center console
OEM S2000 "Push Start" button
OEM EP3 Civic hazard button

I want to thank my girlfriend Bianca for being supportive throughout the whole build, my parents for putting up with not having a garage to use, all of my friends who have been part of this build: Anthony G., Derek C., Orlando M., Ryan C., and everyone from Team Tronics. Shout-out to Meguiar's and R.I.P to my great friend Leo Rubio who always told me my car would be in a magazine one day.

2003 acura RSX type s mugen steering wheel 08 Photo 8/8   |   2003 Acura RSX Type-S - Local Hero

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Vineyard worker

Favorite Site

Screen name OR Nick Name

Building Hondas FOR HOW LONG
10 years

Dream car
R34 Nissan Skyline

Inspiration for this build
DPK Rudy's RSX

Future Projects
Keep going on this car!

Is There A Problem Officer?

While Danny was in the Police Academy, his Mugen RSX was actually used as a training tool. Since it was his daily commuter vehicle, he purposely drove it to the academy really early and left after everyone else as to not draw attention to himself. He made a conscious effort to avoid his training officers but that clearly did not work as an officer got in his face one day during training and screamed that Avina was up for a surprise vehicle inspection. The other trainees stood in formation as he ran in to grab his keys. The training officer turned out to be a specialist in vehicle modification, and looked through Avina's RSX inside and out. He wouldn't go into detail, but did state that he was forced to write quite a few memos documenting what didn't belong on the car. It was that moment that ultimately pushed him to get a second car so that he could finish the academy.


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Baton Rouge, LA 70809
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