When Acura announced in 2001 that the Integra would no longer be in production and would instead be replaced by an all-new model, fans of the Integra were taken aback. Three generations of Acura's sporty, entry-level model had created a devout following and the aftermarket was booming with various performance and aesthetic options that didn't seem to be slowing in the slightest.
The RSX would be the Integra's successor in America and its unveiling brought about quite a bit of change and controversy. The first thing fans had to wrap their heads around was the absence of the stout B-series engine family, which was replaced by the K20. The engine spun a different direction, utilized a timing chain rather than a traditional belt, and the VTEC technology was advanced and complex in comparison, say, to the B18C.
Furthermore, gone was the front to back, double wishbone suspension that had wowed so many over the years both on and off the track. MacPherson struts were chosen both for packaging and production cost factors.
Like any new Honda or Acura generation, the reception by enthusiasts was less than stellar. Few knew anything about the power plant and the visually stockier and taller profile had many shaking their heads. But as time went by and the true merits of the K20 family began to unfold, RSX builds began popping up. Discontinued in 2006, the used market is today buzzing with good condition models that are excellent candidates for a project build.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to snap a few photos of Brian Nguyen's 2005 Type-S. In its previous state, fitted with a Jackson Racing supercharger and Regamaster Evo wheels, it had appeared on the pages of Super Street magazine. When I shot the car, it was back to naturally aspirated form with a polished RBC intake manifold, Strup header and Tanabe exhaust, while tuning duties were handled by Hondata's K-Pro engine management.
The sleek exterior of Brian's RSX is what really sets it apart from the crowd. Sporting a set of highly polished Mugen MF10 rims and brand new Wilwood brakes, the wheels caught me off guard. I?m not usually a fan of polished wheels but I was indeed impressed by the contrast they provided against the deep, factory Jade Green paint. The look was intensified by a Mugen aero kit and rear wing.
Inside, the bright red seats he'd had previously were replaced by a set of Kevlar-backed Status buckets with Takata harnesses and a Personal steering wheel. Audio upgrades were made and the interior portion of Brian's build was considered complete.
What ultimately killed the RSX was the introduction of the similarly powered eighth-generation Civic. With coupe and sedan models available, Honda saw no reason to keep the RSX around, even as sales remained fair. Though the RSX only survived for one generation (with one mild, mid-model update), well-built versions are steadily being completed. We have a feeling that with the used market now seeing so many models floating around the builds will continue to flow, maybe even increasing as prices continue to fall year after year.
Behind the Build
Brian Nguyen's 2005 RSX Type-S
Engine Hondata K-Pro; Honda OEM RBC intake manifold; custom intake; Karcepts throttle body adapter; Tanabe Hyper Medallion exhaust; Strup race header; Golden Eagle fuel rail; Competition Clutch Stage 4; Fidanza flywheel; Rywire engine harness
Suspension Function/Form Type II coilovers; Mugen front shock tower brace
Braking Wilwood calipers, rotors; steel braided lines
Wheels/Tires Mugen MF10 17in. polished; Falken Azenis 215/45-17
Exterior Mugen front bumper, side skirts, rear apron, rear wing; Spoon Sports side mirrors
Interior Personal steering wheel; Status Kevlar seats; Takata harnesses; Mugen pedals