Started on May 19 by dyintorace

1986 Mazda RX-7

It’s time to introduce my new project. It was originally intended to be a $2009 Challenge car. That plan morphed into a 2009 UTCC entrant. Given the approaching event date and my general lack of wrenching skills, it has now simply become a dedicated track car project. It started with an LS1 FC RX-7 project that popped up on Craigslist - Daytona Beach. The supposed story is that the motor came from the owner’s former Camaro, which he blew up while drag racing. When that happened, he decided to pull the motor, rebuilding it and put it into an FC RX-7 under the assumption that it would make a better drag car. He plumbed it for a 200 shot of NOS and added a built TH400 transmission. He made it about halfway through the project (motor and tranny installed with a Granny’s kit) when he got his girlfriend pregnant and needed $$$. The ad listed a purchase price of $1800 (it wasn’t running) and he wanted to sell fast. I talked him down to $1k over the phone and enlisted fellow GRM’er Mr. Joshua to make a banzai run one night to go pick it up. Once we got it home, we determined that the chassis was pretty beat up, but the motor looked okay. The notion of the $2009 Challenge came and went, mainly because my wife was tired of me building Challenge cars, only to sell them and start over. My goal all along with the Challenge was to end up with a track car, but that hasn’t happened, so I could not fault her logic. The next thought was the 2009 UTCC, because it is not budget limited and I love VIR. I am going to miss that goal though, due to time constraints. After deciding that this chassis was not the ideal candidate, we pulled the motor/transmission and I started parting out that car. I then found another FC on Craigslist, this one in Orlando. My wife was thrilled when I told her that our romantic getaway in Orlando included ferrying down an empty tow dolly behind Osterkraut’s F-150 and dragging home yet another non-running car! This FC chassis was in much better shape and was also a failed V8 swap, albeit with no engine! Some nice things about it include a non-powered rack, a 4 point roll bar, battery relocate kit and stripped interior. Fast forward to current status. As noted on the board, the rat poo filled chassis is now in the garage. I have pulled the remaining interior and cleaned it. I bought a used ISC racing coilover set up with camber/caster plates included. Once I get the car up on jack stands, I’m going to pull the stock suspension and put the coilovers on. I bought some 15x10 Aero racing wheels from Mr. Joshua and plan on running 275/35/15 all around, presumably after going to flared fenders up front. I took the motor to Rollins Automotive, a local drag shop with a good reputation and Chevy experience. I asked them to pull the motor apart and determine exactly how ‘built’ it is. Turns out that it is fairly stock but does have nice forged pistons, Corvette heads and mainfolds, uprated valvesprings and a mild cam. Not exactly ‘built’, but still a great purchase at $1k, especially including the transmission and chassis. The NOS set up has already been pulled. My plan for the motor is a higher than stock compression build, with ported heads (or aftermarket), a super aggressive cam and long tube headers. I am also going to replace the pushrods, rod bolts and oil pump with better aftermarket units, as each appears to be a weak area within the LSx family. From my research, that set up should put out 450rwhp reliably. I also found a low mileage T-56 and plan to use that in place of the built TH400. As noted, the interior of the car is stripped already. A friend gave me a cheap race seat to start with and I have 5 point harnesses ready to go in. I think I can get down to 2500lbs without too much surgery, especially if I go with a T-II aluminum hood and fiberglass front fenders. I may end up with Lexan for side windows and the hatch to carve more weight out. My hope is that progress picks up now that there is some momentum. I am still learning quite a bit about LS motors, the FC chassis and swapping an LS into an FC. If anyone has any experience, advice, etc, I am all ears!

Latest updates
Oct. 04
The rotary is out!

There’s been a little change in direction for this project since my last post. Rather …

Aug. 05
Suspension work commences

Thanks to Mr. Joshua, progress was finally made on the chassis. We tore down the …

May 25
Engine decisions

Hmm…getting to 440rwhp is going to be more costly than I realized. The quote from …

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Comments
Nashco
June 19, 2009, 12:45 a.m.

Sounds like a fun project! I'm curious, though, why an FC? I mean, now that you've decided that it won't be for any particular class/race/event, what's the attraction? Not that it's a bad chassis, just not what I'd pick first for an LSx swap.

stk_88_ef
Oct. 21, 2009, 10:15 p.m.

Look awesome, ls1+rx7=great!

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