Every car enthusiast has a list of dream cars he or she obsessed over at an early age. And if you were truly fanatical, you tore out photos of these cars from magazines and taped them to your wall—a constant reminder that one day they could (maybe) be yours. For Jonathan Oregon, that obsession has always been the FD3S Mazda RX-7. "[It] was always a car I hoped to own one day" he says. "I remember as a teenager seeing one for sale parked by my house, but I could never convince my mom to buy it for me. I spent hours online browsing and reading magazines, looking for RX-7s, and fantasizing about how I would build mine if I ever bought one. I was the kid who had posters plastered all over my bedroom walls."
Fast-forward to present day and Jonathan now owns Enticed Motorsports in El Monte, California, a small shop where he's able to fabricate and build cars to make a living. What began as a pipe dream working on his friend's projects eventually became full-time reality. After learning from his mentor, "JerryBuilt," Jonathan was soon doing fewer engine swaps and more custom turbo kits and hardcore fabrication for all types of vehicles, which inevitably brought him back to his teenage obsession of being able to own the sports car of his dreams.
Jonathan clearly remembers waking up early one day, not being able to sleep, and surfing through Craigslist hoping to find an RX-7: "I happened to stumble upon an all-original '93 model for a ridiculous price that had never been modified or serviced by anyone other than a Mazda dealership," he says. "I bought it, but right away I discovered it was in worse condition than I thought it was. The engine and transmission were done, the interior was completely destroyed, and it had been a rat's nest for years. Other than the body and engine core, nothing was reusable." That's where he put his fabrication skills to work, but he made sure to bring the right friends (with knowledge of building an RX-7) along for the ride.
Initial plans called for an engine rebuild, full repaint, and converting most of the body pieces to '99-spec—a subtle modified look, if you will. "I had to keep that OEM look and feel," Jonathan explains. "Something both older and newer generations can appreciate." His friend, Peter Baca, is experienced with building Mazdas and suggested Jonathan strip the entire car down and get ready to work on something entirely out of his comfort zone: the rotary engine. A plan was quickly set in motion: Jonathan and Peter would finish stripping down the chassis and have it sent off for paint while Garage Life would take over rebuilding the 13B, which consisted of a bridge port and turbo upgrade good for 450 whp on pump gas. While the exterior was changed from factory red to another OE Mazda color, Competition Yellow Mica, fabrication work for the engine also began, and, as you can see from the photos, it's a true work of automotive art.
Once Jonathan got his FD back together, that teenage dream of his was finally achieved, and this time he could share the fun with his kids. "Driving the car for the first time was an amazing feeling," he says. "It's hard to explain, but driving a rotary-powered car is like nothing else I've ever driven. From the way it sounds to the way it handles, it's got me hooked. I felt like the 16-year-old me, and to be able to show my sons and take them for a ride in a car that was a dream of mine is something I'll cherish greatly."