Like many of us, Mike Yonemura couldn't wait to get his first car. Having been forbidden to drive during high school, Mike was on a mission to get his driver's license once he graduated. In 2002, with his diploma in hand, this California graduate was the recipient of a very nice congratulatory present from his parents-a new 2002 Acura RSX-S. Mike was then on a quest to learn how to drive stick before his college classes started in the fall. As you can imagine, the notion of being a new freshman on campus and stalling out in front of everyone, especially the girls, isn't exactly appealing.
Having mastered the manual tranny, Mike then tackled the task of making his car stand out from the rest. As Mike explains, "Fixing up cars is in my family's blood. My uncles and brother have been or still are into fixing up cars." He first took care of the sound system and bought two 12-inch Kicker Solobaric L5 subs and a Lanzar 800-watt 2-channel amp. Next up he picked out some Racing Hart CX wheels. Unfortunately, soon after that Mike got into his first accident. Nothing is worst than having your new car all smashed up. As they say, however, out of a fire rises a phoenix. A month later Mike got his RSX-S back good as new.
Changing the look of his car, Mike opted for a carbon fiber and JDM collaboration. VIS takes credit for the carbon-fiber Type-R lip and hatch. The Carbon Creations hood is propped up by NRG hood shocks while the carbon-fiber Type-R wing is by ABS. The final CF touch are the C-Wings canards. The headlamps, DC2 side markers, front and rear emblems, and door visors are all JDM. C-West side skirts and rear valance add to the JDM theme. When repainting a car you might as well repaint everything. Mike color-matched the front grille to give his RSX-S a clean, seamless look.
With his baby back home, Mike felt he needed to give it a little TLC and purchased a set of Megan 32-way adjustable coil-overs. Further improving track prowess is a set of Ingalls front camber kits tag-teamed with a DC Sports rear lower tie-bar. Chassis stiffening comes from DC Sports titanium front and rear strut tower braces. Impex USA, of San Gabriel, Calif., was in charge of installing and tuning the suspension for proper height and weight distribution.
The RSX Type-S engine is no slouch out of the box but for Mike it was barely a starting point for what he had in store for the K20. The major player in the horsepower department is a Jackson Racing supercharger. The positive-displacement supercharger inhales cool charge air from an AEM V2 cold-air intake system before compressing the air to a maximum pressure of 7 psi. Once maximum compression is achieved the air is then forced into the intake tract where it is doused with high octane fuel supplied from the AEM fuel rail. Setting off the mixture is a set of NGK spark plugs fully charged by the factory individual coil packs. Expelling spent gases from the exhaust ports is a DC Sports race header. To keep the po-po at bay a DC Sports single-canister exhaust muffles the exhaust fumes prior to exiting under the rear fascia.
Generating power is just one part of the equation; the other part is delivering it to the asphalt. Transferring the power to the six-speed close-ratio transmission is a Valco Stage 2 clutch and Kaiten Super Karui lightweight flywheel. The increased torque generated from the supercharger is easily handled by the heavy-duty Valco pressure plate.
After the aforementioned accident, Mike needed to change his wheels as well. For the second set he selected some 18x7.5 Rays Engineering Gram Lights 57s-Pro's two-pieced in the flat gold finish. He encased the gold rollers with 225/40-18 Dunlop SP9000 Sport tires secured with Kyokugen lug nuts from Impex USA.
Mike also had to adjust his stopping power to accommodate the extra horses his RSX-S now produces. He installed a Rotora big brake kit that included a one-piece system with 13-inch discs, stainless-steel brake lines, carbon/steel mount brackets, four-piston calipers, and H2 ceramic competition pads.
With all of the exterior and power needs taken care of Mike turned his attention to the interior. Going with a Guinness black and tan theme, Mike added Sparco Monza seats and three-point harnesses. He set off the rest the interior with black carbon fiber. He had the interior work completed at Motor FX in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and Kreative Auto Interior in Rosemead, Calif. Motor FX also completed the in-car entertainment system, which has come a long way from the two subs and single amp Mike originally splurged on.
Rolling now with a complete media system, Mike has a Concept 7-inch LCD monitor (DVD, MP3, VCD, FM/AM, TV, CD) and TV tuner, two Precision Power components in the front and two 2-way speakers in the back, a Performance Technique 600-watt 4-channel amp, Phoenix digital capacitor, two 7-inch Mobile TV visor monitors, Valor rear view mirror monitor, and video adapter. Mike now never needs to go to a nine-buck movie theater again.
Keeping tabs on the vital signs of his RSX-S Mike watches the Megan Racing volt, vacuum, and air/fuel ratio gauges and A'PEXi boost gauge, Rev Speed Meter, S AFC-II, and turbo timer. He controls his moves with a Momo steering wheel and hub that has an NRG carbon-fiber quick release. Moving through the gears is easy with a DC Sports short shifter and Skunk2 shift knob. A pretty cool feature is the Ignited Performance engine push start and switches. Now Mike can feel like he's exiting pit lane when in reality he is just pulling out of the driveway.
How many people have their very first car featured in a magazine? Fame and attention certainly wasn't driving Mike when he first set out on fixing up his brand new ride. After three years of modifications and $25,000 later, Mike is very satisfied with his RSX-S but doesn't think it's the end of this project. He feels the advantages of his car, "Is driving around in style and making a lot of people break necks. The disadvantage is driving really slow over speed bumps, avoiding pot holes, and also the car attracts too much attention ... by police." If you have to weigh the pros and cons we'd say the pros win out by far. Mike plans to follow in the footsteps of his uncles and remain in the car scene even when he's older, "maybe with just a little nicer car. Sometimes my parents think I'm crazy, but I really think deep inside they like my car a lot."
What's impressive about this award-winning car is that it is daily driven everyday and everywhere through the mean streets of Los Angeles. Mike has showed his car at Nisei Week in Little Tokyo LA, Extreme Autofest, Showoff Classic, LA Chinatown Showoff, Dunlop's Round Up, Hot Import Nights, Long Beach Grand Prix, Dub Magazine Car Show, Hot Import Daze, and Formula Drift and Car Show. He has enjoyed being a part of Team FLuX and representing for them at the many shows he has participated in.
Beyond his many sponsors listed below, Mike would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support, Sonny Gip Photography, and Impex USA for their help and support with his stunning RSX-S. He feels Team FLuX has motivated him and his "sponsors have helped me make my car look and achieve the unthinkable."