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 |   |  2004 Mazda RX-8 - 13BREWed to Perfection
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2004 Mazda RX-8 - 13BREWed to Perfection

When RX-8s don't suck

Dec 7, 2016

We can't say that we've featured a lot of Mazda RX-8s. It goes without saying that the car isn't nearly as popular as its predecessor, the RX-7. The RX-8 has two extra doors, two extra seats, and a naturally aspirated 1.3L Renesis rotary. Not terrible attributes by any means, however, much of what made the RX-7 special was taken away, which is why NorCal resident Giovanni Alcala developed a game plan to make his unloved Mazda sports car as amazing and powerful as the FD3S RX-7.

2004 mazda rx 8 mazdaspeed side skirts Photo 2/21   |   2004 Mazda Rx 8 Mazdaspeed Side Skirts

"At first I wanted an RX-7, but they were so overpriced and no bank would finance them," Alcala explains. "I wanted to do something nobody else was doing. I loved the way the RX-8 looked. To me, it was a sexy car." Alcala started his project by opting for aero from Mazda's in-house performance division, Mazdaspeed. Mazda saw a steady decline in sales after '04, which made Mazdaspeed aero much harder to find. Most of the parts Alcala found in the U.S. had busted tabs or were broken in pieces, which is why his front bumper had to be sourced from Japan. Also from Japan, Alcala had Voltex make him a one-off GT wing specifically for his RX-8. It took six months to get the wing made, seven months of compiling parts in his living room, and a full year of nailing down body and paint. For Alcala, it was worth the wait.

2004 mazda rx 8 13b rew rx7 swap Photo 3/21   |   2004 Mazda Rx 8 13B Rew Rx7 Swap

There was still that problem with the underpowered Renesis, Mazda's idea to reduce exhaust emissions and improve fuel economy. Alcala looked toward a motor swap. At first, he entertained the idea of an LS but wasn't satisfied with "dropping in a V-8 and calling it a day." Instead, he did what any rotary aficionado would've done-swap in the iconic twin-turbocharged 13B-REW out of an RX-7. He completed the swap, converted the twin turbo setup to a more powerful single turbo, and made a solid 580 hp. For some people that's fine and dandy, but it simply wasn't good enough for Alcala. He and his mechanics pulled apart the engine and sent it out to be milled to make room for oversized studs. All the piping was redone to accommodate a bigger Garrett GTX turbo and, of course, he had to get the car retuned. We couldn't tell you how much power he's making now, but all we can say is his last dyno read 703 hp to the wheels before his vacuum lines popped off at 7,000 rpm. "I wanted to build something different," Alcala concludes. "I also wanted something with a ton of power that would scare the shit out of me."

2004 mazda rx 8 mazdaspeed aerokit Photo 7/21   |   2004 Mazda Rx 8 Mazdaspeed Aerokit
2004 mazda rx 8 rsv s1 rs10 wheels Photo 14/21   |   2004 Mazda Rx 8 Rsv S1 Rs10 Wheels
2004 mazda rx 8 mazdaspeed front bumper Photo 21/21   |   2004 Mazda Rx 8 Mazdaspeed Front Bumper
Jofel Tolosa
645 Articles
2004 Mazda RX-8 - 13BREWed to Perfection
Tuning Menu
Owner: Giovanni Alcala
Location: Salinas, CA
Occupation: Accountant
Power: 703 hp
Engine: 13B-REW RX-7 engine swap; Rotary Aviation Super seals, Performance corner seals, side seals, rebuild kit; Renesis front cover; balanced crankshaft; race clearanced and balanced rotors; resurfaced rotor housings; upgraded bearings; bridge port; oversized 13B stud kit; steel braided oil, coolant and fuel lines; Full Function Engineering primary and secondary fuel rails; Injector Dynamics 2,200cc (x4) and 1,000cc (x2) injectors; FueLab fuel pressure regulator; AEM in-tank 300-lph E85 fuel pump, high-performance ignition coils and wires; Aeromotive A1000 external fuel pump, in-line fuel filter; custom surge tank; oil pedestal; oil cooler fans; low-profile oil pan; billet 95mm throttle body; T4 turbo manifold; dump tube; 4" downpipe and exhaust piping; Garrett GTX4202R 1.15AR turbo, intercooler; A'PEXi N1 muffler; RX8PERFORMANCE motor mounts; Banzai Racing swap mount kit; Xcessive Race low intake manifold; RaceRoots oil filter relocation kit; Zeitronix ethanol ECA-2 flex fuel kit; Neukin race catch can; Koyo radiator; Mazda Racing billet water pump; TiAL 50mm blow off valve; Full Race vacuum block; MAC boost solenoid; PTP turbo blanket; AP Power steel braided clutch line; Cusco radiator cooling plate; RX-8 updated starter; dual Flex-A-Lite radiator fans; Vibrant 5" turbo filter; DEI exhaust heat wrap, gold heat shield
Drivetrain: JDM RX-8 five-speed transmission; ACT stage 4 clutch; Race Roots clutch pedal kit; Axial short shifter
Engine Management: Adaptronics standalone ECU
Footwork & Chassis: Stance GR+ coilover suspension; Cusco carbon fiber front strut bar, rear strut bar and sway bar; Race Roots adjustable endlinks
Brakes: StopTech rotors and pads; Nissan 350Z Brembo calipers
Wheels & Tires: 18x10" +20 RSV Forged S1 RS10 wheels; RE lug nuts
Exterior: Mazdaspeed front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, fog lights; Seibon carbon-fiber hood; Voltex RX-8 Type 1 V-mount wing; Matsu fender washers and bolts; custom Rio Yellow Pearl paint; EVO-R carbon-fiber mirror covers
Interior: Cusco six-point rollcage, carbon-fiber X bars; custom red leather seats; Rising Suns engraved shift knob; Lotek gauge pods; Racing Beat gauge pods; ProSport gauges; Autoexe steering wheel; Pioneer head unit; Alpine amp, Type-R 10" subwoofer; A'PEXi turbo timer; custom external fuel pump switch



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