"REDRUM1," as it has been affectionately named by its owner, is one of those builds we've been keeping a close eye on for more than two years. This might be an understatement, but this build is truly special in every way. We knew it from the first moment we were introduced to it a few years ago when it was tucked away in a body shop in the Pacific Northwest. This DC5 RSX Type-S was quite different then. The car was a shade of silver and the body panels had been filleted, awaiting massive fab work to create a seamlessly widened appearance. We asked about it and it belonged to a guy by the name of Huy Hoang, better known to his friends as "Wii" or "Wiiizzer." Huy had a couple of other projects going on during that time, but his RSX stood out to us especially. To see a DC5 with this amount of work was unique to us because, well, let's be honest, enthusiasts rarely go to these lengths with this particular chassis. The previous generation Integra was and probably still is one of the most popular Hondas to build; however, the RSX was not met with the same acclaim.
There was much work to be done, and there was really no timetable for its completion. Some months went by and we just stopped hearing about it. Rumors were that Huy was such a perfectionist that the build was ever-evolving with new parts and new ideas. As such, it delayed the final product. Still, we had faith it would come to fruition, and finally late in '14, there were some indications that the goal was near. Fast-forward to today and Huy knocked on our door to let us know his DC5 was ready to roll. Once our schedules aligned, we made the trek to Washington to see if the seeds he had planted in his Acura years before had finally bloomed into a glorious rose. The answer was a resounding, "yes," and boy were we not disappointed. Upon closer inspection, there was no doubt that this could be the best DC5 build—correction, one of the best Honda builds to date!
"Like many, I really had no plans for this car when I first purchased it." Huy explains. "I wrecked my Lexus IS300, even breaking my femur in the process, and I had to start college after I recovered. The RSX was just the car I could afford back then. I developed the itch to mod the car after doing some more research on it and seeing what parts were available."
He acquired simple bolt-on parts for the car and came to realize it was a fun car to drive. To think that it would ultimately result in the final product today seemed outright unimaginable at that time, but Huy always felt like there was an inherent creative side to him that was untapped.
"Growing up in Vietnam, my dad worked as a welder and fabricator," he says. "I remember watching him weld bicycles so we could have food on the table. Whatever scrap metal he had left over, he would make unique jewelry and trinkets for my mom. Seeing his hard work and thoughtful creativity really motivated me through the years. I always remembered that, and it pushed me to create something that was completely original and seemingly unobtainable."
As Huy got more involved with the local car community, he also met some friends who would help motivate him. One of those guys in particular was Bill Master, another Honda owner. The two had a thirst for speed and always wanted to make their cars faster. Bill's EP3 Civic was turbocharged at the time and Huy had a Jackson Racing supercharger in his Type-S. Speed was all they cared about—appearance was simply an afterthought. Huy embarrassingly admits, "We talked about ugly wheels, molding stock lips to bumpers, and many atrocious aesthetic crimes that others wouldn't dare to commit, but we didn't care or know any better at that time. It wasn't until we met our friend Mel Diego that our views changed. He would constantly poke fun at us for our terrible ideas, and we started to pay more attention to the exterior of our cars."
Huy was still very much the performance-oriented enthusiast, but seeing Mel cruise around in his Mugen-themed Civic really sparked his interests in making his RSX more appealing on the outside. Mel had been visiting a local body shop known as JMI Motoring, and Huy would tag along. It was there when he met the crew at JMI, which set his build in a completely unprecedented direction.
"I noticed there was an older Volkswagen at JMI that had been widened but still retained the original body lines. It piqued my interest. I decided that I not only wanted my entire car to be 'caged, I also wanted the body to be widened so I could run a bigger wheel/tire combo. I had a turbo setup at that time that was making over 500 hp, so I needed to compensate for the wheelspin. The car was going to be driven with a thick tire, so it made more sense to do a full metal widebody instead of just running fiberglass flares."
Hoang and friends stripped down the car and then left the bare shell in the trusted hands of JMI Motoring. The engine had seen better days, being that it had been pushed so heavily with forced induction. The fabrication work left Huy with plenty of time to collect parts and build a completely new setup for his RSX. Admittedly, he felt a bit of hesitation and risk doing so much to his car because he had no real final vision in mind. There was so much custom work being done that it was hard to picture what the car would be like once it all came together. Never one to give up, he moved forward with the help of his friends and the vision that he credited his father for instilling in him.
Months turned into years as Huy sought out only the rarest and most unique parts in an attempt to differentiate his build from others. A major point of inspiration came from his car's Japanese counterpart, the DC5 Honda Integra Type R. Various OEM Type R components came in from Japan and found their way onto his RSX, with the two most prominent pieces being the roof skin and rear windshield. The roof skin was necessary to delete the factory sunroof on his RSX, while the rear glass, originally from a "Competition Model" Type R, rids itself of the rear windshield wiper.
Another major inspiration to which this build is based off of is the Mugen Integra Type R. Huy confesses that he was never much of a fan of the Mugen aero kit for the DC5 but quickly fell in love with it after seeing its quality fit and finish. He enjoyed the superiority of Mugen products so much, he began amassing its entire catalog of parts. The aero kit had to be modified later to fit the custom body panels. As for the roof skin, the JMI team integrated it like it was supposed to be there all along, however, purposely leaving the underside white to accentuate the body-matched X-beam of the custom rollcage.
A bulk of the fabrication work, along with many changed plans and parts, totaled to about four years of downtime for REDRUM1. In that window of time, the final color choice for the RSX was even changed from a Lamborghini gray hue to the remixed BMW Melbourne red you see now. Reassembly of the entire build took place during the cold winter of '14 in a rented-out storage unit between Huy and his buddy Bill Master. Just carefully looking over his full modification list is mind boggling in itself, but some of the most important additions include the Brembo front brakes, which we were surprised to find out are meant for NASCAR applications! Custom top hats and brackets were made to mount them, but Huy spared no expense in making them work. And where many would run entry-level dampers, he sought out a set of Aragosta gas-filled coilovers from Japan.
There could easily be more than $100K invested in this build, but it isn't the money that makes this build special, it's how it all comes together. Execution is the key, and everything flows together in glorious fashion. There are details many wouldn't even notice, for example, how the power window switches have been relocated under the dashboard to retain full functionality with the carbon door cards in place. "Impressive" wouldn't quite be quite enough to describe this build as a whole!
"The setbacks and challenges over the years are what give this car value to me personally, more so than the money I've put into it," Huy says with conviction. "REDRUM1 is not just made of parts that can be bought again and bolted on. The time, care, customization, and contributions from so many different people make each individual piece very personal and special to me. The build in its entirety is a priceless, cherished automotive creation."