Keep it a sensible daily, kit it for the track, or turn it into a show build? It’s a tough choice many of us have faced, and an even harder one to stick to. I can’t think of many daily drivers which stay stock for long, and before you know it they’ll never see the streets again. Then you need a new daily to replace your old daily.
Unless you’re Ravi Dolwani from CSF Radiators.
In a time not too long ago, when we were allowed out of our houses, many of us had to commute to our jobs, drive to the shops, and run all sorts of errands. If you’re anything like me, you end up wondering which of the cars you own might stand a chance of making it. Which half-finished mod is just-finished-enough to get there and back – if any? If that’s too risky, maybe I can take one of the motorbikes, or cycle. Perhaps I should simply walk?
Walking isn’t the same as driving, though. Even a momentary blip to the redline is enough to fill you with joy. That’s when you end up buying a new daily driver, start mucking about with it, and end up back at square one. This is the cycle of car life.
This is the very personal story of Ravi’s daily driver – a car that found him. The 2006 Acura RSX Type S was already in the Dolwani family; Ravi’s sister owned it through college, driving it everywhere, every day. But after college she moved to San Francisco where the combination of steep hills, the RSX’s limited torque, and a manual transmission didn’t make for an easy commute. Ravi was asked to sell it on her behalf, but he fell for it himself.How Much Is Too Much?
When Ravi purchased the car it was completely stock, bar wearing considerable ‘patina’ after being well used for 15 years. It’d been maintained extremely well, but time had taken a toll on the interior and paint. For most people this would trigger a small renovation, maybe some new upholstery and replacement trim panels. Not for Ravi, though. He always goes pretty big. If you check out some of Ravi’s past projects on the site you’ll know what I mean. Think a 1,000hp 991 Turbo and an Evo X race car to name just two.
As always with these builds, the ideas started as a tiny seed and quickly bloomed into a giant oak. After four years of commuting in the car, Ravi thought about restoring it to near showroom condition. After all, a stock RSX makes a great daily driver and with a few simple handling upgrades can be the perfect canyon carver. Cue searching for wheels, interior trim, and of course a few additional engine ‘tweaks’.
But the more Ravi planned, the wilder the vision became, then the time came to pull the trigger. Why not build the ideal daily driver with just enough power to be fun from stoplight to stoplight, and still be comfortable on the 100-mile trip from home to office?Dressed Up From Head To Toe
The good thing with Ravi’s mentality is he knows not to bother kidding himself with the work involved in a proper build. Wanting to keep the motor naturally aspirated, Ravi knew the best process would be a full teardown and rebuild followed by replacing (and upgrading) just about every component in the motor. A 2.4-litre Honda Accord block formed the base of the build before JE forged pistons, K1 forged rods, nano-coated bearings and ARP studs were all added.
Moving up top, Ravi and the builders at MotoIQ went with a Drag Cartel CNC Pro Series RBC cylinder head, DC billet cams, Supertech valves and dual springs, an RBC intake manifold and K-Tuned 88mm throttle body.
With all of this bolted back together, Ravi’s RSX now boasted a high-compression (11.75:1) engine robust enough to drive on the street but packing a might punch. An Eimer Engineering 3-inch stainless exhaust and WiFi-controlled valve take care of the soundtrack, while a Wavetrac limited slip differential puts 300 naturally aspirated horsepower to the floor. This all makes for a proper riot on the street.Style Matters, Inside & Out
Performance sorted, Ravi’s next task was the bodywork. Californian sun is harsh on paint to say the least, especially given the fact that, being in a desert, when it does rain in California it’s usually acidic. That’s the last thing you want baking into your paint.
Combine this with driving a car every day for 15 years and dings, dents, and scratches are unavoidable. Who do you call when you need a speedy transformation? Long Tran and the guys at LTMW of course.
Not that Ravi kept it entirely standard. While in for a tidy up he opted for a full Integra Type R body conversion, which included repainting the whole car and repairing the tired bodywork. Do it once, do it properly.
Wing, headlights, badges, side markers and bumpers were all converted to the highly-sought-after JDM DC5 Type R goodies. But Ravi wasn’t done there.No Stone Left Unturned
Next on the chopping block was the place where Ravi would be spending all his time when driving – the interior. As previously mentioned, the Eimer Engineering exhaust and valve combo are absolutely perfect with zero drone on the highway while delivering just the right amount of ‘Honda’ rasp at high revs.
Since Ravi’s commute could vary between 45-90 minutes, a new sound system with Apple CarPlay meant the long drive and interior became the perfect place to host conference calls. But what’s an office without comfortable seats? Out came the OEM RSX Type S recliners and off they went to get wrapped in some perforated black leather with red stitching.
Other goodies include a custom Alcantara-wrapped Type R steering wheel to match the seats, Chasing J’s x CSF weighted shift knob in gold/raw titanium, and a Chasing J’s custom handbrake button in polished brass.Only One Thing Left
With all the bits together and ready to roll, the last thing to do was dot the i’s and cross the t’s, and for Ravi that meant dressing up the car with a set of RAYS Gram Lights 57CR wheels. It’s a square 17×9-inch +38 setup wrapped in 245/40R17 Toyo Proxes R888R tires all around. Wheels make or break the car and these are the icing on the cake.
You’ll spy through the wheels that the brakes are not stock either. More forward propulsion meant a greater need for stopping power, and Ravi went for a StopTech slotted front brake kit with StopTech slotted rear rotors. Stainless steel brake lines and pads complete the upgrade.
Under the bonnet is where the real party is, and it’s drenched in one-off custom dress-up parts. To match the care and attention inside the engine, the folks at Chasing J’s went all out and devised a custom CSF valve cover plate and titanium hardware throughout. Nothing is untouched in here; from the dipstick to the hood prop, it’s all Ti.
Now all that remained was for Ravi to drive it, and believe me he has. After nearly 10,000 miles Ravi is more in love with his RSX than ever, and I don’t blame him. It’s a brilliant example of how loving a car can pay dividends in enjoyment. Sure, it doesn’t make one ounce of financial sense on paper, but car life isn’t about that. It’s about how it makes you feel when you turn the key, when you blip the throttle, and when you catch a corner nicely.
But with all this said, my favourite thing about this car is its one remaining flaw: the hole in the driver’s floor mat. It’s a brilliant reminder that this car has served up 250,000 miles of revvy, NA fun in its lifetime.
Ravi Dolwani’s 2006 Acura RSX Type S
Honda 2.4L K24 block, JE forged pistons, K1 forged rods, King bearings, Drag Cartel Pro Series CNC-ported RBC cylinder head, Drag Cartel billet camshafts, Supertech black nitrided intake/exhaust valves, Supertech dual valve springs, JE Pro-Seal head gasket, ARP head studs, RBC intake manifold & adapter plate, K-Tuned 80mm throttle body, DeatschWerks 340lph fuel pump, K-Tuned fuel rail with pressure gauge, DeatschWerks 450cc injectors, 4P oil pump kit, Fluidampr crank pulley, ASP header (small tube with 3-inch v-band outlet) CSF Racing Radiator (CSF#7000), K-Tuned hoses, Eimer Engineering custom titanium cold air intake, Eimer Engineering custom 3-inch stainless steel exhaust, Antigravity lightweight lithium battery, 2004 Type S donor ECU, Hondata K-Pro & adapter harness, Innovative front mount, Hasport rear mount, custom Chasing J’s x CSF gold/raw titanium 3D logo valve cover plate, Chasing J’s gold/raw titanium dress-up hardware
RSX Type S 6-speed manual gearbox, McLeod Street Elite clutch & flywheel, Wavetrac limited slip differential
Suspension & Brakes:
KW V2 coilovers, Whiteline LCA bushings, Hardrace roll center correction tie-rod ends & ball joints, Whiteline 22mm front sway bar, Whiteline 24mm rear sway bar, Whiteline sway bar end links, ASR rear subframe brace, SHG Steering Rack Insert, StopTech slotted/coated Trophy front brake kit, StopTech rear slotted rotors, Centric rear calipers, braided stainless steel brake Lines, StopTech 600 brake fluid
Wheels & Tires:
Custom powder-coated RAYS Gram Lights 57CR 17×9-inch +38 front/rear, Chasing J’s gold/raw titanium closed-end lug nuts, Toyo Proxes R888R Tires 245/40R17 tires front/rear, Chasing J’s gold/raw aluminum valve caps
Honda DC5 Integra Type R bumpers, headlights, rear Wing, side markers & badges, rear wiper delete, full respray & paint correction by LTMW
Custom Alcantara-trimmed Honda Integra Type R steering wheel by Rogelio’s Auto Upholstery, K-Tuned billet shifter, custom Chasing J’s x CSF gold/raw titanium weighted shift knob, custom Chasing J’s polished brass hand brake button, Pioneer AVH-2550NEX 6.8-inch receiverChasing J’s Hood Prop in Gold/Raw Titanium