September 21, 2023


Just Do Automotive

The Lengthy Street In A Japanese Time Assault-Spec RX-7

6 min read

Chris Johnston’s love for the FD3S Mazda RX-7 started throughout childhood. The FD’s glossy, timeless strains paired with its distinctive rotary efficiency and sound is alluring to many, and Chris is not any exception.

Again in 2005, he attended his first SEMA Present in Atlantic Metropolis, New Jersey. At that second in time, Chris set himself a objective to in the future have a construct worthy of being proven on the major occasion in Las Vegas. Step one in the direction of that actuality took place on one fortunate day in 2009 when a bone inventory, computerized, Montego Blue ’93 FD3S RX-7 got here up on the market about an hour north of him, priced at simply $7,000. There was no method Chris may let such a golden alternative move him by.


With many bold goals in his thoughts, Chris couldn’t wait to begin re-crafting the FD. Nevertheless, on the journey residence the automobile broke down. Many would assume the more severe, being a rotary and all, however fortunately for Chris it was only a minor electrical subject. Luck, nonetheless, didn’t keep on his facet for lengthy.


After only a few months of possession, the RX-7’s engine misplaced an apex seal to rotary heaven. Damaged, the automobile was transported to Chris’s native Mazda dealership the place a recent, remanufactured 13B engine was to be fitted. In hindsight, this was a giant mistake.

Eight months handed earlier than the Mazda was working underneath its personal energy once more, however immediately it was not working nicely. Regardless of Chris’s issues, he took the automobile residence. As soon as once more, it didn’t make it.


After a battle with the dealership, Chris determined to go a unique route. He bought a used JDM engine and 5-speed guide transmission combo from Japanese elements importer JSpec, and employed the companies of a reliable mechanic to finish the swap. Lastly, success. The transplant went off and not using a hitch and in brief order the RX-7 was up and working once more. After all, by this time the rotary efficiency bug had nicely and really bitten, and Chris began interested by extra energy.


Whereas the JDM 13B turbo engine ran effective with its inventory tune, how it will maintain as much as further increase working via its veins was an unknown. Erring on the facet of warning, Chris determined to have the engine rebuilt with greater energy in thoughts. Finally, output elevated from 255whp to 420whp thanks a Garrett T04Z single turbo conversion, a v-mount intercooler, bigger injectors and subsequent tuning via an A’PEXi Energy FC.


On the similar time the engine work was being carried out, Chris went to work on the remainder of the automobile. First got here a set of Fortune Auto coilovers, shortly accompanied by a set of then newly-released RAYS Volk Racing TE37SL wheels. A ’99-spec entrance lip adopted, as did FEED facet skirts, together with glossy headlights, a tail gentle cowl and rear diffuser from RE Amemiya.


Chris’s RX-7 now had loads of energy and a wholly new look, however actually it was only the start. After a couple of years spent having fun with the automobile, Chris determined to step issues up one other notch. This time across the catalyst was a FEED wide-body equipment that got here up on the market regionally.


Having settled right into a profession as an automotive painter, Chris was up for a brand new problem. He fitted the equipment and resprayed your entire automobile in its authentic hue. Ultimate touches then got here with an RE Amemiya GT wing and a recent set of Work Meister wheels.

I say ‘remaining’ however these photos you’ll know that wasn’t the case. Regardless of the brand new look, the RX-7 was nonetheless a good distance from Chris’s finish sport imaginative and prescient.


That imaginative and prescient started to take form in late 2014 when an engine downside reared its head. Sound acquainted? It was the push Chris wanted to create his final RX-7, however he wasn’t in a rush.

From the preliminary sketches and online game representations of what he needed his FD3S to appear to be via to the precise automobile’s completion, seven years handed. The method was gradual, however Chris needed no element to be left untouched, nor did he need to make any compromises. Trying on the Mazda at present, I believe we will all agree it was time nicely spent.


It’s onerous to overlook the RX-7’s late-’90s/early-2000s Japanese time assault theme. Chris was decided to convey this fashion to the US, however knew it needed to be executed to perfection.


The aero is a melting pot of genuine Japanese gear. RE Amemiya elements on the entrance finish embrace a first-gen N1 bumper, glossy lights and hood, and these pair completely with a modified R-Magic wide-body equipment. An Esprit GT wing, Automobile Store Glow diffuser and carbon fiber add-ons solely complement the physique panels.


Talking of carbon fiber, the RX-7 now additionally sports activities a large Klaus Composites carbon splitter, Marsh Composites full carbon roof, and Seibon carbon doorways and hatch. Chris particularly selected these elements to remain consistent with the ’90s/’00s aesthetic kind he was going for.


A brand new equipment meant new paint, and this time round Chris resprayed the automobile in Mazda’s fascinating Sunburst Yellow, having been impressed by Keisuke’s iconic Crimson Suns FD from Preliminary D.


The brand new engine setup was pieced collectively by the amazingly gifted twins of Eccentric Motorsports. The bridge-ported 13B places down a powerful 521whp at 20psi increase with the assistance of a BorgWarner EFR 8374 turbocharger, Haltech Elite ECU and quite a few different high quality elements. Given the RX-7 weights simply 2,300lb (1,043kg), it’s a severely fast machine.

Eccentric Motorsports not solely dealt with the motor construct itself, but in addition the fab work, wiring and a ton of odds and ends on the automobile. The eye to element is second to none.


Chris began with a set of RAYS Volk Racing wheels on the automobile, and he’s ended again up there too, this time with OG CE28Ns in traditional Bronze. For monitor use, Chris runs a newer set of CE28Ns in Diamond Darkish Gunmetal.

Additional enhancing its competitors capabilities are Fortune Auto Professional 2-way coilovers, plus a full suite of additional suspension upgrades from J-Auto.


The inside is all enterprise, with simply the necessities. There’s a customized 10-point roll cage by 945Garage, an aluminum race sprint plus door and heel plates by Bubble Tech, a quick-releasable Sparco steering wheel, Bride seats, TAKATA Racing harnesses, Racebred Parts shift knob and a super-light Antigravity battery.


Do not forget that first SEMA Present in NJ that Chris attended again in 2005? Effectively, in 2021, some 16 years later, the dream of exhibiting his personal automobile on the large SEMA occasion in Las Vegas turned a actuality with its public debut on the Fortune Auto sales space. It was a surreal second for Chris.


Social media tends to make it appear to be something can come collectively in a single day, however like all nice automobile construct, Chris’s final FD3S RX-7 mission was not fast or straightforward. It took virtually twenty years of by no means settling and by no means giving up, and required the assistance of some nice mates to see via to completion. If it wasn’t for Zach and Klint at Eccentric Motorsports, Terry from Fortune Auto, Danny from 945Garage, Benny from Bubble Tech together with many extra useful palms, the automobile you see featured right here at present would merely not exist.

With nice mates, sufficient time, dedication and want, this RX-7 actually is proof that something is feasible.

Brandon Miller
Instagram: rvae38

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