The last time I saw Benjamin Abutin was at a Jollibee Pilipino restaurant in Carson, CA, scarfing down a plate of beef tapa with white rice and chicken nut bread. We talked about Manny Pacquiao over a couple of San Mig Lites before he rode away in a multi-colored jeepney with red roosters painted on the side doors. And before I move on and continue to lie to you with these obvious fabrications (one, Jollibee doesn't serve chicken nut bread and two, they don't have jeepneys in the U.S.), I'd like to apologize for starting this article with a flurry of Pilipino references that only a trip to Wikipedia.org can help you understand.
Actually, I last saw Ben almost three years ago in the December 2004 issue of the magazine currently resting between your hands. His '03 Nissan 350Z was featured on the cover for its custom body kit that resembled the 350Zs found racing on the tracks in the Japanese grand touring series formerly known as the JGTC. It was a blue-colored machine with a Power Enterprise twin turbo kit and 19-inch HRE 840R wheels. That seemed like such a long time ago. For one, I was still working as an associate editor at Super Street before I was pushed out for my political views (sexual harassment should be legalized!).
Since then, Ben went from new to old by purchasing a '93 Mazda RX7 and placing the 350Z in the second slot of his short list of cars he loves. He also gained an enormous amount of experience in building cars. When he began fixing up the 350Z, he was practically a noob in the game, completely unfamiliar to the car scene. Nowadays, he's a highly regarded expert among his friends and especially with his teammates at Team Auto Concept. Based in Ventura, CA, Team Auto Concept features a complete lineup of the most major cars in the scene: a Top Secret-inspired Toyota Supra, JGTC carbon copy Honda NSX and Nissan 350Z, a Mitsubishi Evolution, a Subaru WRX STi, a DTM Audi A3, a Honda S2000 and a Bosozoku-vanning styled Scion xB. The only ride they're missing is the FD3S, and that's where Ben enters the picture.
"The team needed a Mazda to complete the lineup, so I sacrificed buying an S15 to help them," explains Ben, "If you want to know if it's worth the sacrifice, the answer is 'Yes!' I love my RX7!" Though some may argue that an S15 is better than an FD, not many can dispute the fact that Ben's FD can, in the words of Biggie Smalls, "make girls pee pee in they teepees." Dropping approximately $35K on parts, custom work, and hard labor, the FD3S is a rotary wonder with a Turbonetics 60-1 turbocharger layin' down laws inside the engine bay. With a high-flow compressor and a T4 turbine section, the 60-1 is perfect for any type of motorsport, from drag racing to drifting. Attached to the turbo is a Turbonetics intercooler with custom piping. Ben decided to mount it with the ARC radiator in a V-style to get optimum airflow to both pieces. The V-mount ensures that not only does the turbo get the best possible amount of cool air, but that piston-less engine also doesn't overheat when it's delivering high RPMs on the road and tracks.
"I actually blew a motor already," Ben says, "I also burned some harnesses and ruined a lot of mechanical parts under the hood." So he took his RX7 to the rotary experts at Aerodyne Industries, which is known to have performed miracles on these lightweight engines. Along with the V-mount, Aerodyne built Ben's RX7 with Power Enterprise fuel injectors, Aeromotive fuel pump and a Random Technology high-flow catalytic converter. Ben didn't get the chance to dyno his car before this article so he doesn't have horsepower and torque number to show, but with the engine setup makin' moves with all the mommies under the hood, it's guaranteed the rotary is making enough to feed the needy.
Of course, without the proper driveline, all that power wouldn't transfer well to the ground. So Ben opted for the Cusco LSD and Power Enterprise dual-disc racing clutch to do the steam work under the shell, where the chassis is controlled by an epic array of suspension pieces. Headlined by a set of ZEAL Super Function coilovers, the RX7 rocks the grooves in all types of weather. The Super Function coilovers use a lightweight aluminum body with race-tested SWIFT springs, a favorite among the drifters and racers in Japan. To stabilize the FD is a set of Tanabe front and rear antiroll bars, a Nagisa Shakitto shock tower plate, a Carbing under brace, and four-point roll cage, all of which will help Ben turn like doorknobs on any track he chooses. Aside from the RX7's impressive product list of the proverbial T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch's grape, it's really built as an all-purpose car. It can race in a Super Lap Battle, go drifting, blast down on the quarter mile and even pick up the groceries, given that Ben isn't shopping at Costco.
The RX7's versatility is a reason why Ben went all out on the rest of the car since it should be able to handle any obstacles the road gives out. The wheel, tire and brake setup was the first area to perfect, seeing that it's also the first line of defense. He selected a set of 19x9 SSR MS1 wheels wrapped in gluey Falken FK452 tires. A fresh collection of Project ? works the braking system, with its six-piston racing calipers, brake pads, and brake lines ready to stop the P.J. Bonifacio-painted candy-deep red FD from swimmin' in the women like the breast stroke. After all, Ben needs to protect himself inside the car, especially when he's sitting on a cushy Bride high-end Kevlar bucket seat and enclosed in a decoration of custom-red Kevlar door panels from Seibon. The RX7's interior is a venerable heartthrob, with DEFI gauges, Nardi Orido-style steering wheel and Project ? pedals. It's fully equipped, ringing bells like bags from Chanel.
So if you ever wonder how you can get on the cover of Super Street, follow in the footsteps of Ben, who hit it and split it in two: "Do some research first," he advises, "The RX7 is fun to drive and has a lot of potential, but it has to be built right, otherwise you're just wasting your time and disgracing the FD3S. Building a car doesn't just involve money. You need to have a lot of creativity, knowledge of what's out in the market for your vehicle and most importantly, friends!" And to that, I say, "Word up and mabuhay!"
OWNER Benjamin Abutin
HOMETOWN Camarillo, California
DAILY GRIND The biggie smalls of High End performance
UNDER THE HOOD power Enterprise fuel injectors, Aeromotive fuel pump, fuel rail, Tanabe Concept G exhaust, Random Technology high-flow catalytic converter, Turbonetics 60-1 turbocharger, wastegate and intercooler with custom intercooler piping (V-Mount); ARC turbo blow-off valve, A'PEXi Power FC boost controller, ARC aluminum radiator, RE Amemiya oil cap, R Magic engine damper, RE Amemiya fluid reservoir, R Magic Ground wires, ARC oil cooler, ATL fuel cell tank, Carbing radiator shroud, Unorthodox pulley kit
DRIVETRAIN Cusco LSD, RE Amemiya short shifter, Power Enterprise dual disc racing clutch
STIFF STUFF ZEAL Super Function coilovers, Tanabe front and rear antiroll bars, Nagisa Shakitto shock tower plate, Kirk Racing 4-point rollcage, Carbing under brace, TC Sportline rear camber arms, Cusco rear trailing arm
ROLLERS SSR MS1 wheels 19x9.5 (front), 19x10.5 (rear) with Falken FK452 tires 275/30-19 (front), 285/35-19 (rear)
STOPPERS Project ? 6-piston racing calipers (front), 2-piston (rear), brake pads and brake lines
OUTSIDE Kazama full widebody kit, Voltex rear wing, Catz lighting, PJ Bonifacio bodywork, BASF candy deep red paint over silver
INSIDE SARD Stack gauge, DEFI gauges (oil, exhaust, boost, and water) and link control unit, Bride XAX2 high-end Kevlar bucket seat, custom red Kevlar door panels from Seibon by Gold Coast Upholstery, Nardi Orido-style steering wheel, R Magic shifter knob, Project ? pedals, Nardi shift boot and E-brake handle cover, Nardi E-brake boot, Nakamichi IN-DV7 head unit
PROPS High End Performance, Aerodyne Industries, P.J. Bonifacio, Tanabe USA, Chris Khan, Endless Tuning, Team Auto Concept Elite, BASF, Glosser, Falken, Mackin Industries, NOS Energy Drink