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2003 Acura RSXs - Twice As Nice

Whether you like boosted or naturally aspirated power, these DC5s will make sure you don't forget about the Honda community north of our border

Jonathan Wong
May 24, 2017
Photographer: Ginash George

Though we don't spend as much time as we'd like to up in the Great White North, there's no denying a strong Canadian car scene—but even we were surprised by these two RSXs. Two very similar looks, two very different and distinct engine configurations, and yet these two friends, Jason Mendonca and Brian Viveiros, are out to show that Toronto's Hondas can rival the quality of builds typically found in the U.S.

2003 acura rsx rsx type s Photo 2/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Rsx Type S

The clear similarities are both cars' body modifications: each RSX was fitted with Buddy Club's WTCC body kit, which widens the car and gives it a much tougher look overall. Jason and Brian also opted to change colors using factory S2000 shades, New Indy Yellow Pearl and Formula Red, respectively. There are also matching J's Racing GT wings, vented Max Racing-style carbon hoods, and JDM DC5R conversion parts (headlights, taillights, emblems, and side markers)—but let's get into what makes them very different.

Though the RSX does come factory equipped with a K-series engine (K20A3 base, or K20Z1 in the Type S), both guys swapped theirs out for other K variants, and Jason kept his Type R swap naturally aspirated. A pretty simplistic setup when you look at it, with a polished RBC intake manifold, Type R valve cover, Spoon engine torque damper, and ARC titanium spark plug wire cover and intake. He also opted for a transmission from a JDM Integra Type R, which comes with a factory-equipped limited-slip differential, and tuned his setup with a Hondata ECU. The all-motor set combo puts down 245 hp with 177 lb-ft of torque.

2003 acura rsx buddy club wtcc widebody conversion Photo 6/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Buddy Club Wtcc Widebody Conversion
2003 acura rsx jdm k20a swap Photo 7/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Jdm K20a Swap

Brian's engine bay is a lot more elaborate—most of it has been cleared and tucked, and a gigantic Precision 6262 turbo hangs off a Full Race twin-scroll manifold. The intercooler piping, custom three-inch exhaust, oil catch can, and overflow tank are from ProperFab, and the tuning was performed with a Hondata KPro. The K20Z3 engine swap retains its original transmission but has been outfitted with a limited-slip differential to help transfer the 450 hp to the drive wheels.

Both RSX interiors are well thought out and color-coordinate to their respective themes. Jason's Recaro SPG bucket seats have yellow accents that match well with the custom-painted Cusco 'cage and custom TE37SL wheel stickers, while Brian's custom white-painted Cusco 'cage matches the white TE37s his RSX is rolling on. Each is wired in a S2000 digital gauge cluster along with the push start button, and most of the interior parts are retrofitted from the JDM DC5R counterpart.

2003 acura rsx type s buddy club wtcc widebody conversion Photo 11/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Type S Buddy Club Wtcc Widebody Conversion
2003 acura rsx type s k20z3 swap Photo 12/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Type S K20z3 Swap

So, what'll it be? Turbo or N/A? Decisions, decisions...

2003 acura rsx recaro spg seat Photo 13/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Recaro Spg Seat
2003 acura rsx type s buddy club wtcc widebody kit Photo 17/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Type S Buddy Club Wtcc Widebody Kit
2003 acura rsx type s precision 6262 turbo Photo 18/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Type S Precision 6262 Turbo
2003 acura rsx js racing gt wing Photo 25/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Js Racing Gt Wing
2003 acura rsx rbc intake manifold Photo 26/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Rbc Intake Manifold
2003 acura rsx arc titanium shift knob Photo 30/30   |   2003 Acura Rsx Arc Titanium Shift Knob
By Jonathan Wong
473 Articles
2003 Acura RSXs - Twice As Nice
Tuning Menu
'03 ACURA RSX
Owner: Jason Mendonca
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Occupation: Machine operator
Power: 245 whp, 177 lb.-ft.
Engine: JDM K20A swap; J's Racing 60RS titanium exhaust; Hasport motor mounts; PLM header; RBC intake manifold; S90 70mm throttle body; K-Tuned thermal gasket/adaptor plate, TPS, power steering delete pulley, fuel rail; ARC titanium spark plug wire cover and induction box; Spoon Sports engine torque damper; Drag Cartel drop-in cams; RDX fuel injectors
Drivetrain: JDM DC5R transmission with factory LSD; stainless clutch line
Engine Management: Hondata ECU
Suspension & Chassis: Öhlins coilovers; Buddy Club rear camber kit; Function 7 lower control arms; Progress 27mm front, 24mm rear sway bars; Mugen rear strut bar; Cusco B-pillar bars and six-point rollcage
Brakes: JDM DC5R Brembo calipers; cross-drilled/slotted rotors; stainless lines
Wheels & Tires: 18x10.5" +22 Volk Racing TE37SL wheels; 265/35R18 Yokohama ADVAN A048 tires
Exterior: Buddy Club WTCC widebody conversion; J's Racing GT wing and custom 75mm wing stands; APR front carbon splitter; Spoon rear carbon-fiber diffuser; custom carbon-fiber side splitters; JDM DC5R badges, side markers, headlights, taillights; Max Racing-style carbon-fiber hood; Spoon carbon-fiber mirrors; Mugen front tow hook; Honda S2000 New Indy Yellow Pearl paint
Interior: S2000 AP2 digital cluster with Wireworx conversion harness and push start button; NRG harness bar, short hub and quick release; Personal steering wheel; Takata four-point harnesses; Buddy Club super low seat rails; Recaro SPG seats and side plates; ARC titanium shift knob; Broadway rearview mirror; JDM DC5R center console, floor mats, rear seats, door panels, doorsills and pedals; K-Tuned billet shifter box and shifter cables
Thank Yous: John from Foreign Speed, Eric from Teknotik, JDM Addiction, Bret Zheng from Import Expo
'03 ACURA RSX TYPE S
Owner: Brian Viveiros
Hometown: Mississauga, Canada
Occupation: High Rise Forming
Power: 450 hp, 300 lb-ft of torque
Engine: K20Z3 swap; Full-Race twin scroll manifold; ProperFab intercooler piping, 3" exhaust with downpipe and dump, catch can, and overflow tank; Precision 6262 turbo; TiAL WG44 wastegate, Q500 blow-off valve; 1,000cc ID fuel injectors; Hondata MAP sensor and thermal intake gasket; JDM DC5R valve cover; RBC intake manifold; Hybrid Racing 74mm throttle body, fuel rail; K-Tuned power steering delete; EP3 Civic power steering kit; Mishimoto radiator
Drivetrain: K20Z3 factory transmission with limited-slip differential
Engine Management: Hondata KPro
Suspension & Chassis: Öhlins coilovers; T1R rear camber kit; Mugen rear strut bar; Function 7 lower control arms; Progress sway bars; Cusco C-pillar bar, six-point rollcage
Brakes: Project Mu big brake kit
Wheels & Tires: 18x10.5" +25 Volk Racing TE37 wheels; 265/40R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE11; Rays lug nuts
Exterior: Buddy Club WTCC widebody conversion; J's Racing GT wing; Max Racing-style carbon-fiber hood; Shine rear diffuser; Mugen front tow hook; '05-'06 RSX headlights; JDM DC5R emblems, taillights, side markers; rear wiper delete; Honda S2000 Formula Red paint
Interior: Recaro SPG seats, side brackets; Buddy Club low seat rails; Takata harnesses; JDM DC5R rear seats, red carpet, door panels, center console, shift boot, e-brake, steering column; S2000 AP2 digital cluster with carbon-fiber bezel and push start button; Sparco harness bar; J's Racing steering wheel and shift knob; AEM True Boost digital gauge and controller; Wink mirror; Pioneer double-DIN head unit
Thank Yous: Bret Zheng from ImportExpo, John Romeo and the team from Foreign Speed, Jorge Barbosa from Active Autobody, Nextlevel crew and family, Mom and Dad for always supporting, Jessica Duarte for always supporting my decisions

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