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2003 Acura RSX-S - Rainbow Warrior

Anyone Who Thinks Silver Is Cool Isn't Using Their Imagination

Colin Ryan
Nov 10, 2009
Photographer: Eric Tong

This is more than a car, it's a four-wheeled illustration of the American Dream. If someone works hard, they can achieve their goals. And if someone wants their car painted Heineken metallic green-then adds blue, red and candy purple highlights-well, by golly, it's a free country.

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BK, 24, works hard, holding down two jobs in Charlotte, NC (restaurant manager/chef and grocery stock associate), toiling seven days a week. Full name Byung Kook Choi, BK always wanted an Acura RSX. It was his dream car while in junior high around 2002. After graduating, he went to a showroom and put money down and got this '03 RSX Type-S, stuffed with the K20A2 engine, pearl-white from the factory.

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"A couple of friends took me to a Honda meet, and that's when I started thinking about what I should modify on my car," says BK. "My first part was an AEM cold air intake-that's when I got hooked! "

Before he got too involved with the engine, BK decided to augment the looks with a J's Racing Type S body kit. This consists of a front bumper, side skirts, a carbon fiber rear diffuser and a Type V carbon fiber hood. Further aerodynamic appendages include front canards with winglets, a front under panel, trunk lid and a GT rear wing-all fashioned from carbon fiber. For a final aesthetic flourish, BK went for Ings wide fenders and lit the JDM DC5 headlights with Ignited HID 8,500K bulbs, then got the whole shebang painted in Heineken green.

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It was another friend who first suggested this hue. BK mulled it over for a couple of weeks then spoke to his paint guy, who assured him that it would look great. "I've never seen another RSX painted like it," says BK. It's doubtful anyone has.

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The next phase was all centered on the engine bay, so those sunglasses can come off now (but look out for those blue Samco Sport radiator hoses and the J's Racing blue anodized valve cover). The lure of forced induction was too great to resist, so while BK was in a GReddy state of mind, he sprang for a T517Z turbocharger, manifold and custom polished intercooler and pipes. He looked to HKS for its SSQV blow-off valve, to RBC for an intake manifold, and oversees the power delivery with a Turbo XS manual boost controller.

A Hondata K-Pro ECU (tuned by RLZ Engineering of North Carolina) keeps another hand on the reins, choreographing a BDL fuel rail, RC 650cc/min injectors and NGK Iridium spark plugs for the internal combustion tango. With the dance in full swing, BK's engine now makes a claimed 298 hp at 7,800 rpm and 236 lb-ft of torque at a peaky 6,800 rpm. This is still with the stock compression ratio of 11:1.

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A well-regarded upgrade to Honda's K-series engines is the fitting of IPS K2 camshafts and valve springs, so BK wasn't about to fly in the face of conventional wisdom here. He also hooked up an HKS muffler, three-inch KTeller exhaust and piping, and a three-inch test pipe called . . . what was that name again? Ah yes, Unforgettable. Before we forget, BK added a Mishimoto aluminum radiator, removed the ABS, air conditioning and power steering apparatus, then did a full wire tuck.

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A project always reminds us that everything we do has consequences down the line. So more power requires a beefed-up transmission. In this case, an Exedy Stage 2 cerametallic clutch and flywheel do the business, along with a Buddy Club short shifter and custom chromed transmission brackets. BK gets the power to the pavement via a Quaife limited-slip differential and Driveshaft Shop Stage 1 axles.

Phase three of the build focused on the suspension, with Tein Mono Flex adjustable coilovers gracing all four corners, augmented by Function7 billet lower control arms, Progress rear anti-roll bar and tie bars, plus Ingalls camber kits at the rear. Because it's easier to get a great setup on a rigid-bodied car than one flexing this way and that (this car is tuned to be road-friendly because BK drives to a lot of shows, even going as far as Toronto), BK installed a J's Racing strut brace up front, a Next Miracle X Bar out back and Cusco carbon fiber side bars. These helpful additions complement the main stiffening event: a Cusco six-point roll cage finished in classic Cusco blue, to go nicely with the green paint. This cage was originally made for the DC5 Type R, which doesn't have a sunroof, so there was a little cutting and welding needed to make it fit right.

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If BK gets excited every time he adds an aftermarket part, he must have been beside himself when he obtained a set of ten-spoke, 18-inch Volk CE28N Time Attack edition wheels, finished in white and with a +35mm offset. He shod them with Dunlop Direzza DZ101 235/40 rubber and bolted them (with Project Kics Neo Chro titanium lug nuts) in front of brake calipers that have been powder-coated in dark candy purple. "They used to be red," says BK, "but I wanted something different." Okay. Concentrating on the stopping hardware for a second, it's an Endless big brake kit with six-piston calipers and rotors out front, stock single-pot calipers and Powerslot rotors in the rear, Endless pads, and Endless stainless steel lines.

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By now, the car was crying out for a splash of red, so BK obliged with a set of red-stitched Bride GIAS2 Low Max Gradation front seats (note also the green Takata four-point harnesses) with matching trim for the rear seats, plus JDM DC5 Type R red carpets and door panels.

JDM: these are three little letters BK took to heart. He converted the car to right-hand drive. "This was the toughest time," he says. The dash is an authentic JDM DC5 Type R model, complete with center console and shift boot. The pedals are from an Integra Type R; the steering wheel is a 350mm Personal Neo Grinta; heck, even the windshield is JDM (courtesy of Edmun Laurea from Opak Racing).

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Installed by BK's equally hard-working friend, Drew, are Defi boost, water temperature and oil pressure gauges, plus an AEM UEGO wideband air/fuel gauge. Also in the dash is an Alpine IVA-W200 head unit linked by Memphis Car Audio wiring to MCA amplifiers (set into a rack painted Cusco blue) and speakers. And for that ultimate touch of color, a blue titanium J's Racing shift knob.

Fortunately for BK, show judges don't subscribe to that old fashioned dictum, "blue and green should never been seen", to the point where they have awarded him and his ride Best JDM Aftermarket at Hot Import Nights, Tampa, 2009. "I got the car finished the day before HIN and drove nine hours straight down to Florida with no problems," says BK. Other accolades include Hottest Ultimate Acura.

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It looks like BK might stay with the Big A. The next dream is of an NSX. "A friend in Canada has one with a Tracy Sports widebody kit. I was drooling," says BK. This might mean working three jobs and ten days a week, but we're sure the color scheme will be something crazier.

'03 Acura RSX-S

Output 298 @ 7800 rpm

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Engine Hondata K-Pro ECU; GReddy T517Z turbocharger, cast manifold and downpipe, turbo heat shield, Airinx intake, front-mount intercooler, custom-polished pipes, water temperature radiator hose adapter; IPS K2 camshafts, valve springs; RBC custom polished intake manifold; BDL fuel rail; RC 650cc/min fuel injectors; Unforgettable three-inch test pipe; KTeller three-inch custom exhaust; HKS muffler, SSQV blow-off valve; Spoon reservoir cover, torque damper, spark plug cover; J's Racing valve cover, oil cap; Samco Sport radiator hoses; Innovative motor mounts; Top Secret hood dampers; Cusco oil catch can; custom-painted sub frame, custom-painted radiator holder; Mishimoto aluminum radiator; custom stainless fuel lines

Drivetrain Exedy Stage 2 clutch, flywheel; Quaife limited-slip differential; Driveshaft Shop Stage 1 axles; chrome transmission bracket

Suspension Tein Mono Flex coilovers, pillow-ball mounts; J's Racing front strut bar; Function7 billet lower control arms; Progress rear anti-roll bar, tie bars; Ingalls rear camber kit; Next Miracle X bar

Wheels/Tires 18x9, +35mm offset Volk CE28N Time Attack edition wheels; 235/40-18 Dunlop Direzza DZ101 tires; Project Kics Neo Chro titanium lug nuts

Brakes Endless big brake kit, six-piston calipers and rotors (front), pads, stainless steel lines; Powerslot rotors (rear)

Exterior J's Racing front bumper, carbon fiber canards, front under panel, side skirts, carbon fiber side panel, rear diffuser, Type V carbon fiber hood, 3D GT wing, carbon fiber trunk lid; Ings+1 wide fenders; Craftsquare side mirrors; JDM DC5 RHD conversion, windshield, headlights, door visors, side markers; Ignited 8,500K HID bulbs; Heineken green metallic paint

Interior Cusco six-point roll cage, carbon fiber side bars; Bride GIAS2 front seats, gradation-wrapped rear seats, headliner, floor mats; Takata four-point harness; Defi boost, oil pressure, water temp gauges, control unit; GReddy turbo timer; AEM UEGO wideband AFR gauge; Buddy Club short shifter; J's Racing titanium shift knob; JDM DC5 RHD dashboard, center console, Type R instrument cluster, Type R door sills, Type R pedals, door panels, carpet, push-button start; JDM Personal Neo Grinta 350mm steering wheel; Worksbell Yoshioka quick-release hub

Electronics Alpine IVA-W200 double-din head unit; Memphis Car Audio tweeters, MClass 6.5-inch component speakers, SClass 10-inch DVC voice coil subwoofer; MClass amplifier, Class D 1100-watt amplifier, one farad monitor capacitor; custom painted amp rack; Bride-wrapped custom sub box; Braille Auto carbon fiber battery

Gratitude My family; Team Emotion, especially Harry, Pag and Chris; Mike (M2 Motoring); Chris (The Hot Stickers); Chuck (Showstoppers USA); Drew (Drewzfab); Terran, Joe and Juwan; Rajeet at TR1Trading; Edmun Laurea at Opak Racing

Behind TheBuild

Head to the message boards at to chat about this feature vehicle

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Byung Kook Choi (Bk)


Charlotte, Nc

Restaurant Manager/Chef, Grocery Stock Associate

Cars, Car Shows And Travel

Build Time.
Seven Months


Favorite Quote.
"It takes time and patience if you want your car done perfectly."

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Buffalo, NY 14207
Wilmington, DE 19803
Team Emotion
Memphis Car Audio
Memphis, TN 38103
The Hot Stickers
Show Stoppers USA
n/a, AK _____
By Colin Ryan
180 Articles



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