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Thread: 1991 Mazda RX7 - From junk, to showcar in $3,000

  1. #1
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    Default 1991 Mazda RX7 - From junk, to showcar in $3,000

    Hello know-it-alls.

    I've been on here for a while, mostly creeping on your builds, or rants, and internet arguing. I've been meaning to make a build thread, and it seems now is the time. I'm new to the stance/slammed/wheel game, but I've been passionate about cars from as far back as I can remember. I've always been obsessed with putting big things into small spaces. When I was a kid, I tried to get the mechanic across the street to mount a 20hp lawnmower engine to my scooter. Years went by, and I never had the opportunity to do the stupid things that I wanted to do. Every one of my attempts was shot down. Some of the reasons were lack of workspace, tools, knowledge, money, and so on. Until a few years ago. I met a guy with a shop, and he mentioned once that I was welcome to use the shop if I needed it. A ray of hope. Over time I hinted to him about starting a V8-swap car build. He seemed curious. I didn't care if he was ready for it or not, cause I was. This was my chance. This was the only opportunity that I got! Knees weak, arms heavy, vomit on my sweater already moms spaghetti, I started looking for my fantasy project car. Drifting was getting pretty popular, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't inspire my build. I knew I wanted a rear-wheel drive coupe, but the rest was open game. Months went by, and I looked at everything from Cobra 427 kits, to Porsche 944's. Everything was priced high, and my self-imposed budget was $3,000.00 for the complete build. (hahahahaha retard) I kept looking, and one day, I found it.

    A white, n/a 1991 Mazda RX7 with black interior. It was perfect. Cut springs, steelies, cracked windshield, non-running, no title, in a ghetto yard under a tree, covered in leaves and birdpoop, guarded by a barking pitbull, frothing at the mouth. I still can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the beautiful tragedy. The pizza delivery kid that supposedly owned it said it ran once, but I already knew that. It’s a rotary; duh. I jumped it, and after a few minutes of tinkering, the bizarre contraption of an engine fired to life in a smoking, buzzing horror of a whir. I smiled, and prepared myself for the 70-mile drive home. Oh yeah, I was that stupid. The tires were shooting threads, the car had no brakes, and it ran on spells and potions. I whittled the price down to $400, and began my journey home. I took off down the street with what looked like a NASA space-ship launch. Four miles down the road, the magic stopped, and I was dead in the middle of a busy street. I ran some distance to an auto-parts store for a new battery, and dropped my first purchase of the build. The new battery got me running again, but it was a dying alternator that I was dealing with. I knew that had to be it; it was mounted to the engine with 4” zinc wood screws.

    I made the 70 miles home somehow, stopping with only the handbrake, revving the song of my people the whole way to keep it alive. It was already a drift car. I shut it off, and stood there just looking at it, as smoke slowly lifted from my hair and clothing. The dream was finally a reality, the steel was real.

    This intro might seem long winded and contrived, but you need to know, that this all took place many, many years ago. I bought the car on a magical date, 10/10/10. If this was a competition, you could say I took the gold. In this time, all of my closest friends have come to know the car, and it is the start of many awkward conversations.

    Before I show you the pictures, I want to say that I am not building a drift car. I am fulfilling my childhood dream; putting a V8 (and other things) where it (they) doesn't (don't) belong. I’m not trying to make max hp, or “kill the game”, or impress anybody. This is just my story.

    I’m going to narrate our way through these sweet potato photos like parents narrate photos in a family photo album to people that you don’t want looking at you naked in the kitchen sink at 9 months of age.

    Here it is, halfway home, getting more fuel.




    I got the car home that night in nothing short of a miracle. I parked it, and started narrowing my internet research down from 12 different potential build possibilities, to one. The 2nd Generation Mazda FC3S RX7. I had my work cut out for me. What do you do when you buy a car with no title? What engine was I going to put in it? What aftermarket support do these cars have? The scouring for information began, and I slowly began to put pieces together in my head. Back in 2009-10, V8 swaps were't as common. I heard of a few, but they were either carbureted drag cars, or really secretive builds with very little documentation. I knew I wanted fuel injection, and I knew I needed a LOT of documentation if I was ever going to pull this off. In the meantime, I began the process of filing for lost title.

    This was me trying to get it to the DMV for inspection.



    This is basically how it looked for a few months while I got paperwork going on it. I only drove it when I had to, because driving it was illegal, embarrassing, and problematic. Just like old rotaries are known to be.





    Then it sat like this for quite a while, waiting for shop availability.



    Got something that wasn't steelies.



    Did what any ricerboi would.



    Some long time later, we got started on pulling the super awesome reliable rotary that nobody should ever pull out of a mazda cause they're so pure, and awesome, and V8's suck, you're ruining the scene, japan would never do that, etc etc ect





    The driver shock tower is wet because she would get wet when I ran her hard.



    Not sure if burnout or burning engine..... Nope, definitely burning engine.



    Yes that's me breathing into the camera like a horse giving birth.

    That was the last time that engine ran in this car. I really wanted to run it till it exploded or seized, or something else cool, but that never got accomplished. Here is us tearing the engine out.



    Heat wrapped pipe all the way back? So many ricer points!! +++++1



    Aaaand it's out!







    Then I got these used coilovers (from Japan! hah) because I started this build before I knew anything and just bought whatever had the word coilover on it. Turns out, these are not height adjustable. Smh. Oh well, at least it sat better afterward.



    Threw these pretty little things out.




    Alright, that concludes my first post. In for comments and criticisms.

    nowihaveabuildthreadareyouhappydude
    Last edited by Miroteknik; 01-23-2019 at 02:35 PM.

  2. #2

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    Good progress so far


    For a hipster.
    BB6 Prelude . . E36 ///M3 . . VA WRX Limited
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie View Post
    We all love to turn heads. Sub-consciously we're all materialistic attention-craving dickheads.

  3. #3

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    good stuff brother!
    Instagram: _jay_borcena_


  4. #4
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    In for Plaid headliner and rusty body panel hipster madness.


    Also, needs more RS's

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    In for a $400 bargain.

  7. #7
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    Wow, a V8. Makes you feel special, huh?

    Rotaries are only reliable as you make them.

    A stupid owner=short life

    It looked like your coolant seal blew, which would require a full rebuild. A t2 swap or jdm turbo swap is so easy and cheap, why not go that route?

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    because with an ls1, $800 in upgrades would have at 400 whp and with a rotary $800 would get you jack shit. But if had a ton of money a three rotor would be sick
    IG: Dimitriantoniou
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MommysLittleMonster View Post
    Good progress so far
    For a hipster.

    Quote Originally Posted by vipTL View Post
    good stuff brother!
    Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jlyons617 View Post
    In for Plaid headliner and rusty body panel hipster madness.
    Also, needs more RS's
    Haha that's coming up bro!
    Quote Originally Posted by Minuki View Post
    V8 swap? how....original
    Look me in my face, I ain't got no worries.
    Quote Originally Posted by boosted brit View Post
    In for a $400 bargain.
    Right?!
    Quote Originally Posted by rice4life View Post
    Wow, a V8. Makes you feel special, huh?
    Rotaries are only reliable as you make them.
    A stupid owner=short life
    It looked like your coolant seal blew, which would require a full rebuild. A t2 swap or jdm turbo swap is so easy and cheap, why not go that route?
    I never had a dream to rebuild brotaries. The dream was always V8.

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    Right, so this brings us to the swap engine. All of you are thinking LSX, but you are mistaken. Game changer! When I started the build, I knew I wanted a Chevy engine, and I knew I wanted EFI. The swaps that I knew of at the time was that purple vert FC with the Ford 5.0, and a few retarded drag cars. I didn't have all the LSX stuff to look at like we do today. I knew I needed something cheap if I was going to do this in $3,000 (hahaha), so I ended up grabbing what happened to come my way.

    A 5.7L LT1. I thought the engine was perfect, and honestly, I'm still happy with my decision. Its sort-of period correct, it makes decent power, and lets not forget, I wasn't building a max HP car. Getting the engine was a little adventure in itself, but that's all part of the fun in doing something like this. I ordered the Granny's small-block engine mounts, and had it in the car officially after 7 or 8 in-n-out maneuvers. I was pissed, exhausted, and annoyed, but the engine was finally in.







    Wingless was all the rage back then, so I pulled this wing off and threw it away. (regret it)





    Then I got kicked out of the shop for some reason that I don't remember, and the car sat outside for a whole winter, looking like this. I couldn't shut the hood due to the alternator bracket.



    The guy helping me with the build knows how to drive cranes so one day during one of his daily cruises, he sends me these pics. I don't know how heavy that iron bucket is, but I'm sure the build would have been over if it had fallen on the car. Maybe it should have, I don't know.





    As time went by, I'd drive over to the car and check up on it, and do stupid crap like add 1.5" spacers on it to improve the "stance" haha.



    Before:


    After:


    I also made some clearance for the alternator bracket!



    Tadaa!


    Yes those are fake BBS stickers on the center caps, it was a special time of my life.

    I kept thinking about the car, and kept going over there to obsess over it, so I came up with an idea to change up the interior. (jlyons check it out!) I was and still am a big fan of paisley, so this happened.

    Before:


    After:


    Then more time went on, and the car just sat there, and I fell into depression.
    Last edited by Miroteknik; 04-09-2018 at 11:17 AM.

  11. #11
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    I actually like the LT1 engines. I think the only downside to them is the optispark system they come with. You can still build it and make good power with them. They make good burnout machines stock though, my parents used to have a 96 impala that thing was fun.
    2010 135i | Alpine White | Coral Red | 6MT | Bagged

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    BBS emblems fooled me
    God bless this mess

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    Damn hipster doorcards.

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    10/10, would read again.

    And also stoked for progress.

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    Door cards are money! $$$$


    W I L D M A N 'S R O D S H O P




    R.I.P P.WALKER 2013/11/30

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    Some time later, progress picked back up on the RX7. I got a stage 2 clutch kit, and installed that.



    Forgot to put the throwout bearing in the first time, classic. You'll also notice the engine is not centered in the tunnel. Well to get an idea of what we were up against, we had to pull the engine out a number of times. Yay.



    You might have noticed the lip that I threw on, and that I removed the license plate from the front, and cut the plastic webbing out of the front bumper. I originally really ***** the S5 bumpers, but kind of warmed up to it after I threw the lip on and cut the bumper up a bit.

    Also, I thought I'd change up the blinker/running lights a bit. They shine blue in running/parking mode, and also flash amber for the turning signal. Mixed feelings on it overall, but its an easy project for when I get a better idea.



    Got a T-56 because I refused to buy anything else. Guess what? This is where the build hit my $3,000.00 cap. I was just getting started, and my budget was already maxed out! I was getting things for pretty good prices, and doing my best to save money, but there I was, maxxed out, with a shell, an engine, and a tranny. Time to give up.

    Image








    Lol no. As I started buying big items like the engine and the tranny, I began to see the reality of building a project like this. Luckily, I had the money to keep going. I named the build thread the way I did, because people like me don't always understand what things cost, until they get knee deep in themselves. I finally realized how retarded people sounded when they spouted gems like "just drop a LSX in it" or "throw another tranny in it and its good to go!". I was learning, and I got a whole new appreciation for projects like mine, and even more respect for people who went farther than me. (Blake Olsen and Hert <3)

    Moving on... I ***** the all-white look of the car, so I hit it with some paint.



    We finally got the tranny and driveshaft in, and bolted things up nice and straight.







    Got some badges for it.



    Tinted the windows...



    As you can see, I continued the paisley in a few other spots.



    More time went by, and progress was slow. The car was never off my mind. I was always looking for parts, and thinking of my next step. I knew I wanted a Turbo II hood to lighten things up front, but mostly for the scoop haha. Found this...



    Cleaned it up a bit. It isn't gorgeous, but its much lighter!



    Did other stuff that isn't important or interesting, but then there's this fun little story. I am taller than average, and the OEM seats make me feel awkward. So I found some cheap racing seats that were replica versions of these.



    ....and got started on mounting them up in the car. They didn't quite line-up onto the stock sliders, so I took the bottom of the seat apart, and had my buddy try and weld some tabs on it so I could mount them to the stock locations. It turned out better than I could have ever imagined.



    Luckily, I managed to throw the seat into the woods before it burned the whole shop down. Oh well, it was the passenger one, and it only cost me $200 if I remember right. (Don't buy cheap seats, they catch on fire and burn down your shop.)

    Here's a pic I bothered saving because I was real proud of these fittings, or something. Look at them.



    Also bought a triple core Ron Davis radiator but those pics have me in it so I won't post those. Its nice and cost a lot. Here's a pic of stickers I put on the car. You can also see that I got a body kit. A full kit, but all that you see is the skirt. This is when the car started looking more and more like the cars in the drift scene as we know it today. (jk it still looks pretty terrible) Do you even driftbro







    A lot of you were probably hoping I wouldn't do the drift/sticker thing, but I did. Also, here is a pic of 400 bungs in the radiator wtf that's just one side too.



    And then this happened.



    Came around to wiring, this is where I completely gtfo and let my friend dig in.



    I didn't want camber so I replaced this:



    With this:



    Some of you FC guys might tell me that it won't work, which will break my heart. I hear George Marstanovickolovski how do you spell his name is coming out with a rear camber correction kit, so my eyes are peeled. The idea, is to have 0 camber out back. We'll see. Heres the rear end, since we're talking about it.




    Then I got this shiny blue cap that matches nothing else in the car, and these mazdabeat or something endlinks.



    By this time, the build cost was at about.... $6,000.00 or so? The point is, the number was climbing, and you should know that. Progress slowed down, because wiring is horrible and I had no part of it, and also the guy that was doing the wiring for me, was not doing the wiring for me. I took the time to fall into deeper depression, re-evaluate my life, and warm up to the idea of the car never getting done, and rotting away like most amateur projects do.

    Oh and also I want you guys to know, that everyone I knew was super helpful. They asked about the car when I least wanted to talk about it, and would offer soothing encouragement like: "bro just wire it up!" and "button it up and dial it in dude!" "did you drop the engine in yet? Did it fire right up?!". It was words like this that kept me going. Just when I felt like a complete failure, and I was about to give up, a friend would always be there and "Hey. Bro. Just wire it up."

    Last edited by Miroteknik; 04-13-2018 at 04:47 PM.

  17. #17
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    Your door panels look like 2 caterpillars mating.


  18. #18
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    This is cool. I guess I always thought you owned the car in your sig.

    I hope the car is done at this point. I want to see it drift.

    Instagram: surpriseitsmicah

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    i like this thread because it doesnt like me.

    I like big butts and I cannot Lie.

  20. #20
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    I love the way you narrate your build, you've got my sub.

  21. #21

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    This is an entertaining short story that you abruptly cut short...I'm going to wait until this is finished and ice my blue balls in the meantime.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by heeter_33 View Post
    10/10, would read again.
    And also stoked for progress.
    Thanks dude, more to come!
    Quote Originally Posted by 244Brick View Post
    Door cards are money! $$$$
    Mah nigga
    Quote Originally Posted by mrg7243 View Post
    Damn hipster doorcards.
    Yeah its really the only thing going on here, lets talk about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jlyons617 View Post
    Your door panels look like 2 caterpillars mating.
    Are you an entomologist?
    Quote Originally Posted by M.Doban View Post
    This is cool. I guess I always thought you owned the car in your sig.
    I hope the car is done at this point. I want to see it drift.
    Broham, the RX7 is not done yet, so I can't show you mad skids. When its done though, I'll have a special shoutout for ju. Also, I sold the car in my sig. It was a complete blast the whole time I owned it. I have so many memories, and miss it all the time. I had huge plans for it, but backed out when the excitement of it wore off, and I realized I cared more about the RX7 than the Ghia. Here's another pic of it though, for old times sake

    Quote Originally Posted by Commodore View Post
    I love the way you narrate your build, you've got my sub.
    Stick around, it'll get worse.
    Quote Originally Posted by lublub View Post
    This is an entertaining short story that you abruptly cut short...I'm going to wait until this is finished and ice my blue balls in the meantime.
    You said short story and that I cut it short, doesn't that mean I'm doing it right?

    I should have another update next week.
    Last edited by Miroteknik; 04-10-2018 at 04:18 PM.

  23. #23

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    Hey. Bro. Just wire it up ! (by the way you've got my sub)

  24. #24

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    I am so freaking jazzed to see how this goes! Just spent the first 20 minutes of my Micro class not listening to the lecture and instead reading this. ahhaha well worth it! Subbed for sure.
    Stay wide my friends. @samthedandy

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