If you're a regular 2NR reader, you're probably hip to our ways by now. You know that we prefer to make the most of our emasculatingly small package size by giving you a mix of cars that span as broad a spectrum of the tuning world as possible. And while this doesn't mean we'll be featuring your mom's '01 Toyota Camry anytime soon, you can count on us to mix it up between popular makes and models, engine/drivetrain configurations, and genres of build. Take this month's dual Scion feature: one for the track crowd, one for the street guys, and both reppin' brand-spankin'-new tuning potential. We've also got Duane's slightly older Supra for the power-hungry, and that nitty-gritty turbocharged DC2 that all of us Honda owners can wish was our daily driver, like it is Hai's. Now, in case you think you know where we're going with this, about to segue into our big-budget, dedicated show/audio car of the issue, let us offer one hint: You're dead wrong.
Despite its flawless metallic yellow hues, killer-offset SSRs, ground-scraping height, and the fact that you'll be hard-pressed to find a single flaw anywhere in its build-let alone a spec of dirt-this is an honest-to-goodness street car. We know this because we first spotted Ryan De Guzman and his flawless FD on Pacific Coast Highway, during his daily commute. We thought we'd missed a show or something. "People trip out when they see it," he laughs. "Either they know what it is and can't believe I drive it, or they think it's some sort of Ferrari or something." The story gets even better. Ryan built the thing almost entirely in his two-car garage.
At 32, Ryan's background is rich with DIY projects, including everything from CRXs and assorted Honda makes to a high-compression, L20-powered '70 Datsun 510 he hocked to buy this current whip. "I hated to sell it," he says, regarding the 510. "But I had to. It was finished and just sitting on the side of my house, rotting away." He found a good friend to take the reins, and flipped the kitty on a silver, single-owner, low-mileage RX-7. It was the first rotary platform he'd ever owned and built, and admittedly, he'd never considered one in all his years. "I was curious," he says, simply. "I always thought they were cool, and finally decided to see what they were all about."
Ryan fell in love with the car. "I drove the crap out of it that first year!" he laughs. Its HKS Hipermax III suspension was one of his first mods; Racing Beat heavy-duty front and rear sway bars went on shortly thereafter, along with some bracing, and then Ryan got into the power mods: a boost controller and all the necessary bolt-ons to help the 13B-REW maximize power with its sequential twin turbos. "Even stock, the RX-7 is a fast, fun car," he says. "I was fine with the stock power level." Stock reliability, however, was another matter.
The car's factory silver hues had long ago faded, along with underhood concerns like vacuum lines, sensors, and whatever casualties a decade of high-heat battle will claim. The car was stripped completely in Ryan's garage, its engine and surrounding components yanked, and appearance became his first concern. He handled bodywork himself, sanding every painted inch of the car sometimes to its metal, smoothing out door dings and welding closed every unused hole in the bay before skim-coating it lightly with fiberglass and painting it himself. "It's kind of difficult to see how much work went into the bay, being that it's flat black," says Ryan. "But I have a good 30 hours in it, easily." And that's not counting the custom V-mount intercooler/radiator setup Ryan took upon himself to install. "Cutting the bay after all that work was definitely nerve-racking!" Exterior paint was one of the only areas Ryan outsourced, and rolled the FD over to Auto Explosion in Gardena, CA, to get it done right. "I wanted to paint it in the garage," he laments, "but the boss (wife) talked me out of it."
The FD is one of those rare instances where adding an aftermarket turbocharger will actually increase longevity and reliability, provided it's done right. Ryan's bare 13B was sent off to Lucky 7 in Duarte, CA, for a signature monster street port; the only other area of the build that was outsourced. Once returned, Ryan fitted it with a venerable HKS T04Z turbo kit with all the fixins, and an engine management/fuel delivery setup that may seem foreign to some, centering around 725cc/min primary and 2,000cc/min secondary Dynamic injectors and a Haltech P1000 ECU. "I originally had a more common setup on the car, but it gave me problems," Ryan explains, taking care not to single-out the particular piggyback system in question. "Especially with the injectors. We switched to a Haltech and made more power-at the same boost levels-and have had no problems. Complete street reliability." And that power number? Just over 400 whp, tuned by Nelson of RRR in Santa Ana, CA.
Aside from an M2 rollbar, Ryan kept his FD's interior functionally basic: Recaro Pole Position seats on Bride brackets (for their lowered positioning), the requisite Personal steering wheel and Greddy shift knob, an AFX digital air/fuel gauge, and a grip of Greddy gauges. It's what's under the FD that gets a little more edgy. While the HKS coilovers Ryan added years back continued to do their jobs, he saw some room for improvement, adding a Feed front strut bar, inner fender bracing and front member support bracing, a Banzai Racing differential brace, RP adjustable trailing arms and toe links, and a full Mazdacomp bushing set with Noltec engine mounts. "Solid" was the only word Ryan used to describe the end result.
This being a street car, Ryan elected to keep audio. "I've always liked it." He says. "It makes long drives or getting stuck in traffic that much more enjoyable." But what about those who would rather listen to the sounds of their car's 400 horses, monster turbocharger, and straight-through exhaust? "The best thing about having audio is that you can turn it off when you don't want it. Not the other way around."
With his goals solidly hit-and a few show trophies acquired along the way for kicks-Ryan's got a new outlook, and some new priorities: "I love my rotary," he says. "But I want to hit 450, reliably, on pump gas. After that, it's on to my FC." Not words typical of someone whose entire history building cars involved pistons and rods. "You know what they say . . . " inquired Ryan. We didn't. "No rotor, no motor." There might be some truth to that one. At least for Ryan.
Ryan De Guzman
"strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value" - Albert Einstein
'93 FD3S Mazda RX-7
Output: 400 whp
Engine Lucky 7 monster street-ported 13B-REW; HKS T04Z turbocharger, V-mount intercooler/radiator, SSQV blow-off valve, twin-power ignition; ceramic-coated intake manifold, turbine, manifold, exhaust piping; Feed in-tank fuel collector, Sonic SR exhaust; Koyo radiator; custom aluminum radiator fan shroud; dual 10-inch Spal fans; Optima yellow-top battery; Hyper voltage stabilizer; Earl's plumbing, 29-row oil cooler; custom power steering cooler and lines; RE Amemiya power steering tank; Greddy oil catch can; custom anodized stainless hardware; GM three-bar MAP sensor; 725cc/min primary and 2,000cc/min secondary Dynamic injectors; Bosch 44 in-tank fuel pump; Stainless -6 fuel lines; Haltech P1000 Sport ECU, harness, boost solenoid; CJ Motorsports fuel rail, tuned by Nelson of RRR
Driveline Series 6 five-speed transmission; ACT six-puck racing clutch, Xtreme pressure plate; Racing Beat lightened flywheel; Feed high-performance throw-out bearing, clutch slave; Mazdatrix short shifter
Suspension HKS Hipermax III Sport coilovers (12kg/mm front springs; 10kg/mm rear springs); Racing Beat heavy-duty sway bars front and rear; Feed upper front strut tower bar, inner fender support brace, front member support brace, rear tow hook; Mazdacomp bushings; Noltec engine mounts; Bonzai racing differential brace; RP trailing arms and toe links; M2 roll bar
Brakes Endless six-piston front calipers, stainless brake lines, pads; Motul fluid; Racing Brake front and rear slotted rotors
Wheels/tires 18x10 SSR VF-1 wheels; Falken Azenis RT-615R tires (265/35-18 front, 315/30-18 rear); Volk Racing black lug nuts
Interior Recaro Pole Position racing seats; Bride seat brackets; custom shift boot and brake cover, carbon e-brake handle, Greddy shift knob, boost controller, gauges (boost, water temp., oil temp.); JDM armrest; AFX digital air/fuel gauge
Electronics JVC El Kameleon KD-AVX44 3.5-inch DVD head unit; Precision Power DCX 1,000 four-channel amplifier; MB Quartz Premium 10-inch subs (x2); custom enclosures
Gratitude My wife, Kim; son, Ethan; Randy, Dahn (DVO), and John from Mazdatrix; EAP, Nelson, and Louie at RRR; TWCompetition-thanks for everything; Charles, Luke, and Eric for giving me the chance to showcase my love for everything rotary!