The story of this '90s rotary-powered JDM dream car doesn't start out sliding effortlessly around Willow Springs International Raceway, but with a pair of unlucky Honda builds, a near-death experience and one relentless enthusiast, Aaron Parker. Like most teenagers, Aaron's first car wasn't the Porsche 911 of his dreams but a passed-down Civic EX from his big sis. He modified the Civic coupe through high school, but it ultimately met its fate during an aggressive canyon run. Managing a coffee shop at the time, Aaron was able to save up enough money to get back into another ride, in the form of an Integra GS-R. He enlisted a local shop to build a turbo setup for him, but quickly learned that people are hard to trust. One afternoon, he stopped by the shop and found the entire place had disappeared, including his Integra! A few weeks passed, which filled Aaron with nothing but frustration and disappointment, and then he received an anonymous text with a lead to where his Integra was. When he arrived at the location, he found his car, but the engine was on a pallet, Saran Wrapped with another person's name and address attached. The parts Aaron had purchased were also installed on another Integra—which happened to be the thief's personal car. Aaron alerted the authorities and luckily, he saved his engine block stamp number and the receipts to prove ownership. He took his belongings and hightailed it out of there.
Were the hardships over for Aaron? Not yet... He was halfway to the Honda build of his dreams, which featured a 400-whp turbo setup, Koni/Eibach suspension, and Regamaster wheels, but the body still required attention, for example a massive dent that bugged him on the passenger side. He sourced a new one and sent it to his mother's house; however, after picking it up and driving home, a careless driver ran a red light and collided with the Integra, nearly killing Aaron. "Firefighters and the witnesses were amazed. I should've been severely injured or even dead. That car saved my life," he remembers. After checking if all his body parts were there, Aaron crawled out of the car and knew there was no saving it. But as with all chapters that end, another one opens. Aaron would receive the insurance settlement a few months later and quickly jumped back into another project car—this '93 Mazda RX-7.
It didn't take long for Aaron to get to work. The FD started life as a daily driver but progressed into an all-out drift car once its rotary blew. Tearing down the car exposed all of the shortcuts and hack jobs the previous owner failed to mention. A complete rebuild was in order, along with a large street-port to gain more power. "I wanted to build a car that I could beat on, that wouldn't overheat, that wouldn't be just a weekend toy, and that would run with some of the nicer drift cars out at the track," Aaron tells us. After replacing and upgrading every component he could, the twin-turbo system was ditched for a large Borg Warner EFR 8374 turbo. Along with Aaron's extensive laundry list of mods, the FD is pushing close to 500 whp and 415 ft-lb of torque on E85. "Everyone kept telling me I was 'over-building' the car, but after a year of events, the same people are asking me for advice," Aaron says with a laughs.
When it comes to drifting, good suspension can go a long way. Aaron opted for a set of Stance coilovers paired with Swift springs and Megan Racing adjustable rear arms. The sway bar mounts and sway bars are all custom made.
With all of the tire shredding this RX-7 goes through, you would think the exterior would look like a junk missile car by now. In actuality, it would look right at home at a "soukoukai" drift/track day or on the Touge in Japan. The front is dressed with a Chargespeed front bumper and D-Max vented hood. In the rear you'll find an extremely rare Espirit taillight covers and a retrofitted Voltex WRX diffuser. On all four corners are classic Weds Bazreia wheels to round out the exterior.
Looks can only go so far, though. At the end of the day, Aaron was dedicated to making his car competitive and reliable. So far, he's participated in more than 30 events, and in '15, he competed at his first Formula Drift sanctioned events, Just Drift's Top Drift Pro Am and Top Drift Limited. Of course it wasn't easy, breaking two transmissions and dropping the front subframe to fix a smashed oil pan, but he was able to finish fourth in the Limited series and within the Top 16 in Pro-Am. "I don't ever plan on it being completed," Aaron concludes. "The car will most likely always evolve in one way or another. Currently, it is being set up for this upcoming season. I'll be refreshing a lot of the drivetrain with a semi-peripheral race engine and a pretty cool livery planned. I'm pumped!"
Why is it called "The Wolf"?
Originally my buddy had given the car another name, "Richard Parker," which was the tiger in the novel Life of Pi. Pretty fitting and it worked because my last name matched. But at All Star Bash '14, which was actually my first real drift event, some of my friends didn't agree. We were talking about the names of our cars, and another one of my buddies said, "A tiger? Nahhh, man. That's not a tiger, it's more of a wolf!" And right when he said that, I got the chills, my eyes lit up, and I knew that was it." -Aaron Parker
Brothers in Drift
Through his RX-7 build, Aaron was able to network with some key people such as Pro 2 driver and owner of Rad Industries "Rad Dan" Burkett, as well world-renown driver "Mad Mike" Whiddet. Dan helped Aaron during the FD build when it came to sourcing certain rotary parts and custom fabrication work. Dan also introduced Aaron to Mad Mike, and from there, it was like one big happy family. Aaron is now one of Mad Mike's lead mechanics on the Mazda Red Bull Formula Drift team. Don't forget to holler at Aaron if you find yourself in the pits at one of the FD event this year!