The Thoroughbred: A DC5 RSX Racer

Being a motorsport nerd at heart, I know how frustrating it can be to find your feeds full of cars built solely for the show scene, or race-themed street machines that never see any track time.

To restore some balance, today I want to introduce Allen Hsu’s DC5 Acura RSX – a car built to get out on track and race, but look good at the same time.


Function with form, that’s the beauty of a well-built race car. Every panel, hole, aero part, and even the interior has a function that creates an attractiveness that’s hard to beat. The simplicity is what makes it eye-catching in a tuner car world of wide-bodies.


It starts with a roof transplant; if you’re familiar with the RSX you’ll know that the one attached to Allen’s car isn’t the one it came with from factory. The sunroof and original skin was removed and replaced by a smooth version from the DC5 Integra Type R we never got here in the US, a shame as it would have been nice to have this as an option when the Type S was being sold. It’s a good upgrade too, because a plug didn’t have to be created and the smooth flow of the roof is retained. It’s also one less thing to worry with in terms of safety as the rollcage can be more easily designed without a sunroof to contend with.


That cage and the stitch welding of the chassis was done by the legendary Howard Watanabe from Technosquare. He and his brother Richey created the business with Tadashi Nagata to continue their ventures into race car building. Sadly, Richey passed away in 2009 due to pancreatic cancer, but Technosquare continues to live on and build impressive machines. That expertise is well represented in this build.

No Rat’s Nest Here

Both driver and passenger side doors are not gutted and is part of the reason why the cross bars can sit as low as they do. We’ll touch on that more in an upcoming article on roll cages, but a cross bar designed like this helps with driver egress and the internal door crash bars continue to help with driver protection from side impacts.


You won’t see wires and relays strewn about the place, either, thanks to a Rywire wiring harness for the AiM dash display, custom switch panel, and Hondata K-Pro ECU. This not only makes for a very clean interior but finding faults in the wiring are going to be much simpler than many of the rat nests I’ve seen for race car wiring. Further safety features inside are the Recaro Pro Race SPA seat that is designed to work with a HANS device, a Willans 6-point harness and a fire suppression system that occupies the passenger side of the car.


Heading outside, it’s a Mugen affair with the DC5 body kit which includes the hood, front bumper, side skirts, rear apron, and rear wing. The hood is retained by a set of AeroCatch flush-mounted hood pins. Furthering the smooth flow of air around the body of the car are a pair of Craft Square mirrors which have a small profile but allow for great visibility to the sides of the car. Save for the windscreen, all of the glass has been replaced with Lexan, the front door windows fitted with slide openings.


Allen heads up Work Wheels USA here in California, so he didn’t need to look far to find an appropriate set of wheels for the build. They’re Work MCO Racing Type CSs in 17×9.0-inch (front) and 17×8.0-inch (rear) with Yokohama Advan D005 slicks, 240/610R17 and 230/625R17 front and rear respectively. If you’re wondering why the stagger is backwards from what you normally might see, it’s a necessary on a FWD race car. Since the front tires are doing the accelerating, braking, and turning, they need the most grip; the rears are (putting this very simply) just along for the ride.


Behind those wheels are a set of Brembo racing brakes and controlling the movements are a set of Moton 3-way adjustable coilovers with external reservoirs. The front sway bar is an OEM DC5 Type R item, but the rear is an A-Spec Racing 32mm hollow bar that features a subframe reinforcing plate that it mounts to and helps with preventing subframe tear out on hardcore street/track and race cars. The control arms in the rear feature a Prime Garage Japan non-compliant bushing to prevent movements under load.


The front lower control arms come from the DC5 Type R which are 10mm wider and alter the caster (the camber difference from left turn and right turn), and are 6lbs lighter yet stronger than those found in the Type S. This is also why a Type R sway bar is used; the Type S part is too narrow for the mounting point on the arms.

K2157 Magnum

The engine is a Toda Racing K20A build with a 2157cc stroker kit that included 12.3:1 compression pistons and forged I-beam connecting rods. It achieves this displacement with an 87mm bore and 90.7mm stroke, while the compression ratio is calculated with a 7.6cc combustion chamber volume and 0.6mm head gasket.


The valves are controlled with a set of Toda Spec C camshafts with 300-degree duration and 13mm lift on the intake and 295-degree duration with 12.5mm lift on the exhaust side. To ensure the engine stays lubricated, an Anti-G oil pan replaces the OE one while a Setrab oil cooler keeps temperatures under control.


Under that Toda carbon induction box is a set of individual throttle bodies that receives clean air from a Mugen intake system, while on the opposite side of the engine a Hytech 4-2-1 header feeds into an Evasive-built exhaust system. That’s all well and good, but to make sure those gases going out aren’t too lean or rich you need to control the fuel from the ATL fuel cell, something handled by a Hondata K-Pro ECU with RC injectors.


The transmission is based on the RSX gearbox but features an Active Traction Service (ATS) limited slip differential. An Exedy metal twin-plate clutch feeds power into the input shaft while a Gear X 5.46 final drive multiplies the torque just before it’s sent to the front wheels.


While show cars are designed to get attention while sitting still, a race car gets the attention by being fast. However, a clean build will capture attention at speed or at rest. Function dictates form, but that can create a beauty that’s distinct within itself. This DC5 race car shows how simplicity is beauty.


If you needed proof that a race car can look as good as a show car yet still carry all the function required for the circuit, Allen’s RSX is it. We love understated builds like this.

Justin Banner
Instagram: jb27tt
Facebook: racerbanner
Twitter: RacerBanner

Photos by Louis Yio
Instagram: lusciousy

Cutting Room Floor


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Good lord his SUSPENSION costs more than many of the cars you guys have posted pictures of (and even featured). One hell of a machine.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's a serious piece of kit!


Very well done! I bet the K20 pushes out 300hp with that piston comp. cams and ITB's!


Very nice.


I love the temp stickers on the Brembos - I have those on my dirtbike - never thought of slapping them on brake calipers.
Clean simple car - in love with those meaty front tires. More of this kind of stuff please!


What i nice build, congrats!


A 5.46 final drive seems really short. Is this sort of gearing common or is it just set to kill on short tracks.


A Honda will never win the top speed race so shorter FDs are perfect for pulling out of corners.


I watched an old touring car race from bathurst the other day and it was amazing to watch a civic harass a commodore.
Here it is. about 39 seconds in.


its funny you say old, that race was this year.


SUPER CLEAN ..... to the point !




I love the build. But it's still not a "race car" unless it's actually in a race series. It's probably an HPDE "track car". The term "race car" gets tossed around so much and 99% of those cars don't actually race.


Agreed. I suppose he could try and enter it in a Time Attack series under Limited FF or Unlimited FF.


Yeah, I really don't understand what class this car would run in SCCA or NASA. If it was a "real race car" there's a lot of spending on things that don't make sense for actual amateur wheel to wheel competition (expensive Mugen body kits, acrylic windows, stitch welding the chassis, 500 dollar door mirrors) that could be spent on dialing the car in more.

I wish this site actually covered more actual amateur RACE cars, but most are run with meager budgets and/or aren't running tons of JDM stuff.


To be fair, the homogeneity of racers is why we dont see a lot of them featured on our favourite car sites. A lot of actual racecars are to the greater extent exactly the same to each other; whether by the nature of the rules or simply because that's what works best. Obviously that wouldn't make for a very interesting site when the last DC5 is only different from the next one in colour and wheel/tyre combination. Also because of the rules, some enthusiasts (such as myself) would rather build the car we want to drive and do trackdays/HPDEs than to build the car the rules tell you you're allowed to build and race it against other guys who've built the exact same thing.


Oh, I agree 100%. I built my Miata track car for fun on the street and HPDE, not by any Spec Miata , TT or Lightning rules. But I also don't call my car a "race car". Just call it a track car since HPDE events are NOT racing. :)


Wait. You're asking for authentic content. That's not what SH does. It puts up cars that LOOK like racecars, not actual racecars. Sorry, dude.


All that money and a fake Mugen oil cap?! Other than that, the car is amazingly built! Great coverage guys!


If I get this correctly, higher compression ratios put out more power, but lower ones suck less gas, no?


Higher compression ratios means that you're squeezing the air fuel mixture more to get more "bang" out of it. Not a technically correct description but anyway. You're actually getting more power out of the same amount of fuel. But it means that you have to run high(er) octane fuel, no more cheap 91 octane.


absolute perfection, need to see more Hondas like this!


I'm always amazed how clean these owners can keep their cars, especially the track cars. They must go thru gallons of Simple Green and forests of blue shop towels to maintain the pristine conditions.


WTF kind of sorcery is this!? A FWD Honda that I respect... maybe even like a little!



When I was a young teen, I'd go and watch the BTCC at Thruxton (our local circuit) I distinctly remember there being a company offering a BTCC spec RSX that looked super similar to this in motorsport white as well as some other specced cars, I think it was circa £100,000. I remember hoping that one day I'd have enough in my piggy bank to be able to buy one, super cool.


got me confused a bit there, images say its louis yio but end credit says photos are from larry chen?


Yep, that's wrong. Will fix it now.


Awesome! Looks nice, but I never expected it to have so many awesome parts installed. Fast, good looking, driven on the track - speedhunters needs more of such cars!


Gee, it must be nice to have a honda with so many off-the-shelf-parts available :(


Chevrolet and Honda, the only cars you can buy performance parts at your local 7-11.


Now this is one proper build! Thumbs up!