Raul Corrales, JR.'S '06 TSXSouthern California youth of the '90s looked away from the musclecar and dedicated their interest elsewhere, like Hondas. The import movement had barely begun, and was far from reaching the level of mainstream attention it's since earned. As such, most kids got their fixes at the local street races. Sneaking out of their parents' house late at night to hit up the races became second nature-that and gawking at the chicks at local car shows. Like many, Raul Corrales, Jr.'s, project car dream had yet to come to fruition and, at the time, wishful thinking was the only modification he could afford. "I was too young to drive at the time but, being around the import street racing scene, I always wanted to build a fast car," Raul says. "As the years went by my vision never changed, cars were always on my mind."
When it came time to purchase a car of his own, Raul began researching the Subaru WRX. He thought he had his mind set on one until the day he went for a ride in a boosted RSX. "The RSX only had a basic bolt-on turbo kit but, let's just say that after a few rides in it, the idea of picking up a Subaru was tossed out the window," Raul says. Honda's potential and reliability were what attracted him to the brand most. The only problem he had with the RSX was that it didn't have four doors so, naturally, Acura's TSX became the solution. After witnessing varying degrees of TSX options, Raul settled on the exact one he wanted. Unfortunately, what he'd longed for was nearly impossible to obtain. "I'd stop at every dealership at any time of the day or night just to look at all the TSXs, knowing they didn't have what I was looking for," Raul says. It didn't take long for Acura's sales personnel to recognize Raul, referring to him on a first-name basis, each time warning him that he wasn't going to find what he was looking for: a Premium White Pearl TSX complete with ebony interior, a six-speed manual transmission, and navigation.
Raul's dream TSX was the automotive equivalent of the unicorn and fate would have to step in to align him with his CL9. It was no unicorn, but a friend was able to track Honda's inventory and give Raul a heads-up on the only TSX built to his specifications and headed for the U.S. Lucky for Raul, a SoCal dealership was its drop point. He immediately contacted the dealership where they confirmed that they were indeed taking delivery of this very CL9. A game of phone tag soon resulted in a giant "Sold" sign being plastered on the front of the very TSX he'd waited eight long months for. "I couldn't believe they sold the car," Raul says. The sales team saw the look on Raul's face and began laughing. "There's your baby," one of them said. "You must be Raul." With the paperwork signed and keys in hand, Raul finally had the TSX of his dreams.
The wait may have been long, but Raul still had a lifetime's worth of TSX dreams to make reality. He did, after all, still have to build the car. The first step was to bring it to the ground. Being a part of SoCal's infamous Phaze 2 crew meant that ride height was essential, so he opted for TEIN Flex coilovers with the EDFC option, which allows dampening adjustments at the touch of a button. The next step was to get the right set of wheels. "I wanted a wheel that was lightweight and gave the car a sportier look," Raul says.
"I knew that Regamasters were the right wheel, the challenge was finding the right size and offset." Raul and the rest of the Phaze 2 crew live by one motto: "If your wheels tuck, your wheels suck." A bit of trial and error in the form of Desmond Marquis Promada rims manufactured to NSX specs seemed to be the solution. The staggered combo fit perfectly.
The North Hollywood native wanted to switch up the sedan's exterior next, so he began fitting parts from its Japanese counterpart: the Accord Euro R. The changeover includes a complete Euro R lip kit, front grille, and accompanying badges. Much like when he purchased his TSX, the Euro R pieces also involved waiting. The three-month span he was told it would take, between the time he ordered them and the time he would receive them, doubled before he actually had them in his hands. Although the Euro R has its own following outside of the U.S, the level of aftermarket support stateside is nowhere near that of the Integra or Civic. Raul debated on which route to go in terms of performance but he knew right away that he didn't want the typical intake and exhaust setup. He wanted something that was truly functional so he decided on a J's Racing Tsuchinoko intake and 60RS titanium exhaust system. Bolted to the exhaust are a J's Racing catalytic converter and a made-to-order J's Racing SPL 4-2-1 header. "I ordered it as soon as I knew of its availability," Raul says. "I later found out that I was the guinea pig when I was on my back for two days in 100-degree heat trying to shoehorn the header past the subframe."
With performance modifications in place, safety became priority. Yes, Raul encountered obstacles along the way, most of which involved twiddling thumbs and tapping feet waiting for parts, but the TSX fan caught a break one day. Raul put a call into Monrovia, Calif.'s, Showstoppers USA where a pair of Bride seats he'd been searching for became available. Takata harnesses were then strapped to the seats to protect Raul in the event of trouble. With safety on the mind, Raul then hit up Canada's A&J Racing for a T1R big brake kit, which consists of two-piece floating rotors, Hawk HPS brake pads, and four-pot calipers.
To further set his Euro R-inspired TSX apart from the crowd, Raul decided on a J's Racing rear carbon-fiber diffuser, originally built for the CL7 Euro R. "I knew that the diffuser would make a difference in the TSX's performance but I didn't realize how much," Raul says. "I now know why all cars have the big GT wings to accompany the diffuser; the back end of the car gets loose." Of course, the diffuser also took more than four months to get, just another testament to Raul's patience.
It may appear as though Raul waited and waited and, well, waited some more for what seems like the never-ending TSX build but, surprisingly, the build only took about a year-an amazing timeframe considering, collectively, the months, even years worth of waiting involved. They say that the best things in life are worth waiting for. Each time the wait seemed unbearable, Raul kept reminding himself of this, along with his personal motto: "Build it once, build it right."
Bolts & Washers
J's Racing Tsuchinoko intake
J's Racing 4-2-1 SPL header
J's Racing 60RS titanium exhaust
J's Racing catalytic converter
Hondata intake gasket
Accord Euro R valve cover
Hamp oil filter
Carbon-fiber spark plug cover
Neo synthetic 5W-30 engine oil
Tein Flex coilovers
Tein EDFC controller
Spoon Sports front shock tower bar
T1R two-piece rotors
T1R four-pot calipers
Hawk HPS pads
Spoon Sports steel braided lines
Motul RBF600 fluids
Rims & Rubber:
17x8 Desmond Marquis Promada (+35 offset front)
17x9 Desmond Marquis Promada (+38 offset rear)
225/45-17 Falken FK-452 (front)
245/45-17 Falken FK-452 (rear)
Accord Euro R lip
Accord Euro R badges
J's Racing carbon-fiber rear diffuser
Custom rear window visor
Mugen window visors
Bride GIAS Low Max carbon-Kevlar seats
Takata four-point harnesses
NRG harness bar
Alex EGGO titanium shift knob
Mom and Dad
HeyMikeyyy (Michael Cristi)
Wesley at W.S. Industries
Coke in a can
Phaze 2 fam
Type One Racing
Don_T Hut Fam
Sole Cal 818
Building cars how long:
Noob in da game [wink, wink]
Nike Air Max 1 Amsterdams
F*ck a car, give me Bombraider Global Express!
Friends and enthusiasts around me from past to present
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