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1988 Mazda RX-7 Turbo II - Hert So Good

The life and times of Hert Life and his Twerkstallion FC RX-7

Jonathan Wong
Aug 6, 2018
Photographers: Dax Rodriguez, Larry Chen

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.

1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II front wide fender Photo 2/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Front Wide Fender

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.

1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II 13B REW Photo 6/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II 13B REW

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.

1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II Sparco seats Photo 10/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Sparco Seats

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.

1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II big country labs rear wing Photo 17/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Big Country Labs Rear Wing
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II hertrech Photo 24/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Hertrech
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II BCL rear wing Photo 40/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II BCL Rear Wing
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II Hert Photo 47/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Hert
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II 13B REW Photo 54/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II 13B REW
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II BN sports type 1 side skirt Photo 61/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II BN Sports Type 1 Side Skirt
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II Work vs KF Photo 68/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Work Vs KF
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II work VS KF wheels Photo 84/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Work VS KF Wheels
1988 mazda rx 7 turbo II side mirror Photo 91/97   |   1988 Mazda Rx 7 Turbo II Side Mirror
By Jonathan Wong
487 Articles
1988 Mazda RX-7 Turbo II - Hert So Good
Tuning Menu
Owner: Hertrech Eugene Jr.
Hometown: Lawndale, CA
Occupation: Fake Internet scientist, Hoonigan
Instagram: @hertlife
Engine: 13B-REW; Angel Motorsports half bridge, REW swap mount kit, swirl pot, firewall coil mount, custom Vibrant Performance downpipe to full oval dual exhaust system, V-mount intercooler system and hood exit wastegate dump tubes; Mazda Cosmo 13B port-matched intakes; lightened, sidecut and balanced rotating assembly; Garrett GTX3582R Gen II turbocharger; Aeromotive in-tank 340 fuel pump; Gleaseman long runner billet manifold with EGT bungs; Radium surge tank with dual external Bosch 044 fuel pumps; Turbosmart blow-off valve and dual 38mm wastegates; Built2Apex side-mount alternator bracket with tensioner and custom racing oil pan; Mishimoto radiator, intercooler core and oil cooler kit; Elite Rotary Shop fuel rails, oil filter pedestal and block-off plates; Vibrant Performance couplers, piping and fuel/oil lines
Drivetrain: Runnit CNC T56 to FC transmission mount; QuickTime 13B to T56 bellhousing adapter
Engine Management: Haltech Elite 1500 and engine harness built by Andrew DiMartino
Footwork & Chassis: custom BC Racing DS Series coilovers; Part Shop Max angle amplifier kit
Wheels & Tires: 17x9.5" -12 front, 18x10.5" -14 rear Work VS-KF wheels
Exterior: BN Sports Type 1 body kit and front wide fenders; Hot Line Performance rear wide fenders; Big Country Labs 1850mm wing; Frolik Alley roof wing
Interior: Sparco Evo III seats; Takata harnesses; RacePak IQ3 dash and Smartwire
Thanks: "John Vargas of Angel Motorsports, from the beast of a 13B-REW to all the fabrication involved, he's turned the Twerkstallion into an absolute monster; my boys at Enjuku Racing for always coming through with parts with the quickness; BC Racing NA for making radical suspension; Turbo By Garrett for making dope turbos; Hoonigan; Vibrant Performance; Mishimoto; Mastermind NA; South County Auto Body; Big Country Labs; Sparco; Takata; Ian Dillon at Factory83 for the bomb ass livery!"

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