For many of us car guys (and girls) born in the mid to late '80s, the release of the film The Fast and The Furious was kind of a big deal. The customization of Japanese-made cars had been catching on for several years, bringing with it a steadily growing industry and community of like-minded individuals. Most of us were too young to own a car when the movie was released, and consequently had to hitch a ride to the theater if we wanted to see it. As the movie ended and we followed the crowd out of the theater, the feeling of wanting a vehicle that we could call our own reached an all-time high, especially when seeing the older moviegoers walk back to their cars. The sounds of beeping alarms and barely muffled exhausts filled the air while we waited for our moms to pick us up. Perhaps the time spent sitting on that curb in front of the theater gave us a little more time to process what we had just seen and really absorb the information that had been presented to us. This world of shiny, fast cars and the crazy action surrounding the scene, to our adolescent minds, was so impossibly perfect yet so real at the same time. For Jose Guadalupe Ayala, his first time watching F&F was in Italy. He recalls the unique body styling and low slung ride height of the cars in the film inspiring him to one day build a similar machine. As a military kid, Jose was moving around quite often, having lived in four different states, Puerto Rico (where he was born), and Italy. When his father retired from the service, Jose's family settled down in Florida, where they currently reside.
Due to how often they moved, it didn't make sense for Jose to buy a car until his family settled down. When that time finally came around, he was in college working toward his bachelor's degree. Although he was only 19, by holding off on buying a car, Jose had plenty of time to accumulate a sizable car fund. When he was finally in the position to make the purchase, Jose decided on the silver RSX you see here. Immediately, Jose and his father researched available parts online and performed some basic modifications. He purchased a set of wheels, tinted the windows, and acquired an A-Spec rear spoiler. This simple setup, along with the excitement of finally owning his own car, was enough to keep him satisfied for a few months. Of course, as we all know, once you start modifying a car there really is no curing the itch for more. Soon after Jose graduated college and started working as an IT tech at a resort in Orlando. By this time he was earning a steady income, which quickly translated into more and more parts for his beloved RSX.
Jose budgeted his finances well and quickly started purchasing the fundamental parts, starting with Buddy Club N+ coilovers. He then went through several sets of wheels in the pursuit of the look that he desired, but now he has his ride height set exactly where he wanted. MB Motoring Weapons was the first set of wheels that he experimented with, purchased in more or less "standard" RSX sizing. He quickly realized that they weren't sitting nearly as close to the fenders as he wanted, so Jose sold the Weapons and purchased a set of Rota Grids. The Rotas fit well, and Jose liked the way they looked; however upon realizing that the design of the wheels was anything but authentic or original, he quickly disposed of them and bought a set of Volk Racing TE37s in the limited edition orange. Jose hung onto his TE37s for a couple of years before finally selling them to purchase his latest wheel setup, a set of CCW LM5s specifically made to fit the absolute widest wheel under stock metal RSX fenders. Measuring at an insane 10 inches wide up front and 10.5 inches wide in the rear, these wheels literally occupy every available inch between the fenders and the coilovers--no small feat to say the least.
Jose will quickly point out that this car is not meant for any sort of performance-oriented driving, stressing that it is his car and he has the freedom to do with it as he pleases. Disregarding the fact that this may be considered a paradox to other people, Jose decided that he wanted a K20Z1 from an RSX Type S in his base model. Although he may not have technically needed the higher power output to cruise around the streets of Kissimmee and Orlando, Jose knew what he wanted and made sure that he got it. He started by sourcing a low-mileage engine and transmission (which ended up taking three months of searching) and got straight to work, pulling the original engine out and replacing it with the help of his friends and father. During the swap, several select parts were added to the fresh K20 to support the possible addition of a turbocharger in the future, after all driving feel is one of the most important aspects of car ownership and modification.
Now that the ride height and wheel fitment were dialed in to his exact specifications, Jose started looking into other ways to augment the aesthetics of his vehicle. It was around this time that an acquaintance of Jose's in California had acquired a Max Racing hood. Realizing that this was something he needed in his life, Jose made the necessary arrangements and became the first person on the East Coast with the elusive part. An ABS P1 front lip continues the aggressive theme of the car, while all but completely removing the visual gap between the car and the ground. A-Spec side skirts continue the lowered body line toward the rear of the car until a Mugen rear lip completes the package. Not one to leave good enough alone, Jose purchased a Varis rear diffuser, which is actually designed to mate to the OEM bumper. Previously, Jose had molded the Mugen rear lip to his bumper, rendering the brackets included with the diffuser useless. Deciding that he actually preferred the way the diffuser looked when mounted in conjunction with the lip, Jose and his father simply made new brackets to mount the diffuser.