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2003 Acura RSX Type S - Aftermarket Algorithms

A story of trial, error, and achievement

Micah Wright
Dec 7, 2017
Photographer: Jofel Tolosa

Sitting at the bar, buried beneath the abdomen of my resort stay for the day, I listen to the aging businessmen bitch about e-commerce and the ways in which millennials have turned their sales game upside down.

"Kids these days just wanna shop online and look at pretty fuckin' pictures on social media. They are into these Jap-traps and don't understand the significance of real power..." As the nonsensical diatribe continues, I grab my top-shelf tequila and split, knowing deep down that these fuddy-duddies would be flabbergasted if they ever got behind the wheel of a proper build.

2003 acura RSX type s volk racing ZE40 wheels Photo 2/17   |   2003 Acura RSX Type S Volk Racing ZE40 Wheels

For Brian McCoy, impression through improvisation has brought him to a point where he can shut geriatrics like this up by merely pulling up next to them. What began with a college budget and an RSX that had been loaded with replica parts has transformed into the widebody, right-hand drive, turbocharged beast you see here today, and it all started with a stranger asking if he'd ever considered putting premium-grade parts on his car.

On a whim, Brian agreed to check out this stranger's shop and browse his inventory, and from the moment he cast his gaze on that authentic carbon-fiber Mugen hood, everything changed. Within a few weeks, both the bonnet as well as a healthy handful of other Japan-exclusive goods were in his possession, and at that point Brian knew he needed to go legit or just flat-out quit.

Brian's RSX eventually became loaded with premium parts, but there was a problem. If you know anything about East Coast car culture, the name "Team Emotion" is probably a recognizable title. Tackling builds that are both gargantuan and gorgeous, these guys are renowned for having an unwavering attention to detail that borders on obsessive. But in order to join, you have to first be invited, and Brian still had a long way to go before they would even begin to take notice.

2003 acura RSX type s K20A2 engine Photo 6/17   |   2003 Acura RSX Type S K20A2 Engine

Eventually, enough mods earned him an invitation, but it only made matters more maniacal. Around this time, Team Emotion teammate Kiet Hong was crushing anyone who stood in his way in the DC5 class, and Brian knew that in order to have the most hard-core RSX, he had to do something drastic. So he parted out his prized possession and picked up an '05 Type-S and set to the task of transferring over most of his old parts.

Naturally, there was also a sizable manifesto of fresh upgrades that had been drafted up, and while waiting on some of these parts to arrive, Brian found that his good friend and fellow Emotion member Byung Choi was selling his car. Being that the RSX in question had just recently encountered a complete right-hand-drive conversion, the Type-S was abruptly out the door so he could expedite the process.

2003 acura RSX type s js racing type s front fenders Photo 7/17   |   2003 Acura RSX Type S Js Racing Type S Front Fenders

Since Brian had always been a huge fan of the J's Racing aero package for the DC5, he began the time-consuming task of building a full-blown catalog car. Parts piled up, and longtime high school friends Paul Eck and Hyatt Mumaw were enlisted to help create a track-inspired and completely streetable weekend warrior.

The engine bay became the primary focal point. Meticulous layers of sheetmetal covered strut towers, filled in gaps around engine mounts, rounded out creases below headlights, and extended sidewalls. With ugly gaps like the one commonly found between the bay itself and the fenders eliminated, it was time to tackle the propulsion portion.

The stock throttle body had all of its plugs relocated and its top shaved down to a mirror finish. While the motor and trans were out, Paul sprayed both of them with flat black enamel to help make other parts pop visually. Lots of Downstar hardware came into the picture around this time, along with an S2000-spec Full Race intercooler for improved appeal by allowing the piping to go to both sides of the car for a more symmetrical look.

2003 acura RSX type s bride gias low max seats Photo 11/17   |   2003 Acura RSX Type S Bride Gias Low Max Seats

Maybe the old-timers sitting across from me never will understand modern import car culture, and that's perfectly fine. Instead of sticking with one RSX and building it from the ground up, Brian went through three, and in the process created one of the most memorable Honda platforms in history. The algorithms that go into making a mean, teal green, Corvette-killing machine are long and loaded with uncertainty, but blast past one of these geriatrics on the interstate and maybe they too will get a clue.

Meeting Mr. Murakami

2003 acura RSX type s js racing personal pole position steering wheel Photo 12/17   |   2003 Acura RSX Type S Js Racing Personal Pole Position Steering Wheel

When I first met J's Racing President Hisaaki Murakami, it was well before most people knew who he was, and quite frankly, due to the formal nature of our first meeting, I didn't think much of him. At the time, I was on assignment for Honda Tuning Magazine, which wanted me to interview the new head honcho over at J's. Neither of us knew this would create a friendship that would last a lifetime, and to this day we stay in close contact with one another.

The undeniably humble Mr. Murakami (aka, Mr. Uwabaki) is a riot to be around and can be found at events all across America, signing autographs and talking shop on a street level. Being that Brian always loved the signature teal look of J's Racing valve covers, he had his build sprayed in a similar pigment to match. To commemorate his unwavering dedication to the brand, Brian also got Mr. Murakami to sign his steering wheel, a finishing touch that is impossible to replicate and makes for one hell of a great conversation piece.

2003 acura RSX type s js racing type s front bumper Photo 13/17   |   2003 Acura RSX Type S Js Racing Type S Front Bumper
2003 acura RSX type s 60RS titanium exhaust Photo 17/17   |   2003 Acura RSX Type S 60RS Titanium Exhaust
By Micah Wright
38 Articles
2003 Acura RSX Type S - Aftermarket Algorithms
Tuning Menu
Owner: Brian McCoy
Hometown: Felton, DE
Instagram: @bmccoy75
Engine: K20A2; Garrett T4/T67 turbo; Full Race T4 Pro Street exhaust manifold, 3" stainless downpipe, 44mm dump tube, S2000-spec intercooler; DEI titanium turbo shield, heat wrap; 1,000cc Injector Dynamics injectors; TiAL 52mm blow-off valve, 44mm wastegate; polished turbo piping; shaved valve cover; TSX intake cam positioning sensors; J's Racing SPL oil pan, oil filler cap, engine torque damper, 60RS titanium exhaust, low temp fan switch, magnet drain bolt; Mugen carbon-fiber spark plug cover; ARC SMC-R Prestige radiator; Mishimoto fan shroud with 12" fans; Type R dip stick; polished RBC Euro intake manifold; Hondata intake manifold gasket, four-bar map sensor, boost controller; TurboXS catch can, ARP head stud bolt kit; Hasport billet engine mount kit; K Tuned fuel rail, TPS sensor, water plate kit, upper coolant housing, IACV rotation plate, heater outlet plug, idle air assist delete kit, heater hose delete cap, -AN hose fittings; Russell Pro Classic hoses; Downstar K Series engine/transmission/bell housing hardware kits, header hardware, baby nuts, strut tower nuts; Braille battery relocated to trunk; EM2 alternator; sheet metal shaved bay
Drivetrain: Exedy Stage 2 clutch kit; Driveshaft Shop Level 0 Type R axles
Engine Management: Hondata K-Pro ECU
Footwork & Chassis: Tein Super Street coilovers with upper mounts; J's Racing SPL front and rear strut tower bars, SPL floor bar, roll center adjusters, SPL steering tie rods, fender braces, SPL rear pillar bar, lower tie bar; JDM Integra Type R front beam support; Function 7 rear lower control arms; Progress rear sway bar; Ingalls rear camber kit
Brakes: J's Racing/Endless six-piston front caliper kit, SPL Super Taikyu long hub bolts, Super Taikyu Chrome-moly long lug nuts; Powerslot rear rotors; Wilwood master cylinder with Rywire brake conversion plate
Wheels & Tires: 18x9" +45 Volk Racing ZE40 wheels; 235/40R18 Yokohama Advan Sport tires
Exterior: J's Racing Type-S front bumper with carbon under panel, front wings, canards, side skirts, rear bumper, front fenders, Type V carbon hood, 3D GT carbon rear wing, LED driving lights, tow hooks; Mugen carbon plate cover molded to rear bumper, license plate bolts, cap cover; Ganador Super Side mirrors; Type R windshield, tail lights, emblems, door visors, side markers; Quik-Latch Low Profile hoodpins; NRG carbon-fiber dampers; Downstar chassis hardware kit; Tahitian Green Pearl paint; '05-06 headlight conversion
Interior: J's Racing/Personal Pole Position steering wheel (signed by president of J's Racing, Mr. Murakami), Bell Rapfix quick-release hub, titanium shift knob; Bride Gias Low Max seats (Maziora Edition), Type RO brackets and rails, Gradiation floor mats, Gradiation-wrapped Type R door panels and rear suede seats; black suede headliner; Takata MPH-340R Green Racing harnesses, pads; Mugen seven-point rollcage, Racing steering wheel, pedals, ECU stay mount kit, hand brake cover, rearview mirror cover; Type R RHD dashboard, pedal assembly, gauge cluster, door sills, window/door controls, carpet, center console; K Tuned billet shifter with race spec cables; Honda Fit turn signal; Pioneer AVIC-Z1; Memphis Audio speakers; Rockford Fosgate four-channel amp; Defi Advance CR black gauges, control unit; AEM UEGO wideband air/fuel gauge

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