Chances are, if you find yourself watching endless hours of YouTube videos with car enthusiasts doing insane shit (like big, smokey burnouts in a lot not much bigger than your bedroom), then you've likely seen Hertrech Eugene, Jr., aka Hert, in the heart of the madness. From actual driving to standing millimeters from said cars doing insane shit, all with a GoPro or smartphone in hand, he, along with a gang of Internet superstars more commonly referred to as Hoonigan, have literally transformed the way you consume content from the days of solely reading a magazine like ours. Their millions of subscribers are proof that anything can be done with not only having the right ideas, but knowing what type of content resonates best with their audience, and they're only gaining traction (and likes) with each post. But Hoonigan is only one facet of this thing called Hert Life. Enter the Twerkstallion.
Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, Hert has always had a love for cars, playing racing video games as a kid, and wound up with his first car, a Honda Civic EG, before discovering his true love. "I didn't know the FC would become my favorite car, but it creeped on me quickly," he says. "[That Civic] was rear ended, and the day the insurance check came, I was driving by a used car dealership when I saw a beautiful, white FC RX-7 parked out front. I scooped it up immediately." From there, he started learning about drifting and met people who taught him how to use this chassis properly. "It was kind of like being straight from a movie. They took me to an abandoned construction site called 'The Sand Lot,' and they told me that only after I could do consistent donuts around a cone that I could drift with them. I haven't tapped into those memories in forever, but I remember my first clutch kick like it was yesterday. The wild feeling you get is amazing...and never changes."
In '11, Hert scooped up his current FC through a friend of his, one that he calls the "cleanest, bone stock-looking, cookie cutter RX-7," except it had a 700hp LS motor under the hood. Compared to his first FC, it was wilder even if it didn't initially run, and for $500, a junkyard 5.3-liter LS was swapped in to get the car on the road again. "At the time I was working at Enjuku Racing," he says. "I ordered BN-style aero and wide fenders, a new set of Work VS-KF wheels and sprayed the body with some cheap fire-mist orange paint." Hert made his way West the following year, representing Animal Style, an American drift team that pays homage to the sport's Japanese roots by applying aggressive style to their driving. He also joined the Hoonigan team to begin its digital conquest, and for the next few versions following, the FC would see more aero mods, another respray, a couple different Garrett turbochargers and different types of wheel configurations, all from Work Japan. But despite gaining a following for his drifting antics and mega-powered LS setup, Hert decided it was time to take his FC back to its rotary roots.
We usually see RX-7s converted to LS, but rarely do we see if they're reconfigured back to what Mazda always intended having in their engine bays, the creation of Felix Wankel. "My first drift car was rotary," Hert adds. "I loved that motor. It sounded great, was fast as hell and shot flames. I just couldn't afford to fix it. The V8 setup was super reliable: fun naturally-aspirated, but absolutely nuts when turbocharged. It's literally like playing a video game. But having that same engine setup for all those years lost its excitement and got me thinking I should invest in a rotary again." That's when he brought the FC to John Vargas at Angel Motorsports to have him install a built 13B-REW, the legendary rotary that's synonymous with the RX-7 lineage. "Once it was in his hands, I started to get the feeling [for rotaries] again." It remains turbocharged with an extensive list of modifications to help amplify its power output. Most, if not everything, is custom fabricated, like the exhaust system and intercooler that's been V-mounted. Fuel components are also extensive, and a Haltech Elite 1500 keeps everything running smooth, all the while Hert shows no mercy to the car from the minute the ignition switch is turned over and that rotary "whop whop" growl roars to life. There's a thoughtfulness that went into the design of this engine bay that jumps out at you way more than if it still retained the LS conversion...it just works beautifully. Oh, and in case you wondering, it still shoots flames.
However, this FC is no show car. Depending on one's point of view, that might be hard to believe. "From the very beginning, my sole intention was to make this a 'smash' car," Hert says. "People are always confused as to why I beat on it so much, but that's what it was built for. Cheap chassis, basic cage and everything else is bolt-on so it can always be transferred to another shell. If anything, it's a testament to say how dope and strong the RX-7 chassis is for taking my ass whoopings all these years! (laughs)" The exterior very simply sees a BN Sports body kit that barely clears the ground, a set of Work wheels that stretch beyond its widened fenders and his signature (re: massive) Big Country Labs 1850mm rear wing. Even the interior doesn't have much since being stripped for a custom roll cage and gold paint, except for Sparco seats, a RacePak IQ3 dash and inflatable bacon floatie.
Clearly, Hert's RX-7 is an extension of his personality and so much more. His genuine love for cars is what helped propel a brand's creative direction to places it's never reached before. "It's so important to have fun with cool cars," he says. "Those two ingredients work in anyone's favor. Whatever [Hoonigan] does on camera comes off naturally because we do the same thing off camera." He hints at something unusual and wild for his next tricks, maybe a rotary-powered S13 or a turbo GS300. Until then, we have no problem watching whatever crazy shit he and Hoonigan comes up with next.