Based on what you see on social media regularly, you'd think that every FD3S had ditched its native, internally triangular powerplant in lieu of American muscle, but that's simply not true. Just ask Joshua Freeman, owner of this 1993 Mazda RX-7 Touring Edition. Having been infatuated with the car's sultry lines ever since his elementary school days, he had no intension of making the massive jump in displacement and instead focused on the Mazda icon's more than capable, turbocharged rotary.
The One That Didn't Get Away
Joshua initially spotted this exact RX-7 in its original condition regularly, having attended both middle and high school with a classmate whose family owned it, and years later the car continued to haunt him while attending college. He adds, "After seeing the car around countless times, I was eager to own one eventually. I would often see the owner out and about around town— and I would press her regularly on selling the car." At one point, after it had been sitting untouched for an extended amount of time, the family finally offered to sell it to Joshua and he jumped at the chance. The RX-7 meant a lot to their family and they wanted the car to end up in good hands, and after seeing his previous projects, they were excited to see what Joshua would do with the FD.
Adding to the Resume
The previous projects that the sellers were referring to are a Genesis coupe and an 820whp Subaru STI on Joshua's resume that he proudly refers to as "proper and complete builds." What differentiates this particular build from his previous efforts is the restoration portion of the project. He notes, "The RX-7 pretty much fell into my lap and was completely stock upon receiving it. It sat in a garage for years on end. Since then, I have arguably done a full restore. To me, this is something I hadn't done in the past."
The restoration or, more specifically, the restomod included a color change to Millennium Jade borrowed from an R34 V-Spec edition Skyline. In addition, 1999-and-up model JDM fog lights and Final Form Japan LED taillights update the front and rear, but it's the M-Sport Japan complete aero kit that defines the car's look. A rare find, Joshua states that as of last year he was the only stateside owner of a complete kit, though, in more recent days, additional versions have shown up in the U.S.
As bold as the side skirts and bumpers are, you won't find the expected huge rear wing perched out back; instead a mild carbon-fiber trunk spoiler to finish off the car's lean, muscular look. And where you were probably expecting bronze or white wheels that most everyone opts for these days, Joshua went with 18-in. Kansei Roku wheels in chrome—an option seldom used and a bit of a break from the norm.
Rotaries Gonna Rotary
Getting back to that rotary heart, one of the main reasons people move away from these engines is due to their known issues with apex seals, and wouldn't you know it, that's exactly the issue that Joshua's ran into along the way. "The only major setback I had on the build was the car warping the apex seals and losing fuel pressure on the dyno. This called for a motor out and disassemble prior to making some adjustments."
The powerplant now consists of an Eccentric Motorsports Bridgeported 13B with CHIPs LBC rotors and Goopy Apex seals to avoid a repeat performance. An EFR 8374 turbo, backed by a pair of TiaL 38mm MVS wastegates, hangs off of a custom manifold, also by Eccentric Motorsports. Taking the shortest route possible, painstaking pie cuts snake from both the hot and cold side of the v-mount intercooler, and when 15 PSI is reached, that intercooler takes a hit from the Sake Bomb Racing methanol kit.
To feed the custom turbo setup, ID1050/2000 injectors joined to Radium fuel rails and a Walbro 525lph pump deliver enough fuel while being overseen by a Haltech 1500 to pull a healthy 540whp and over 400 lbs.-ft. of torque without issue.
The custom engine coatings and intricately detailed, one-off fab work is highlighted by a contrasting Liquid Candy Red engine bay that offers a stark departure from the sleek Jade exterior body panels. Organized and purposeful, everything from the AN fittings and lines to the MSD ignition cables are neatly routed and any potential fat has effective been trimmed. Combining style and 500-plus-hp functionality can be a burden for some builders, whereas in this instance experience with previous builds has helped shape Joshua's execution.
The eye-catching red that radiates from under the hood plays well with the rare factory red cabin. One of just 250 FD RX-7s ever produced with red interior, the majority of it still remains and is in excellent condition. The sole departure from the original red leather falls on a Kevlar-backed Recaro RZ bucket seat which, coincidentally, is also a limited-edition model. A splash of wild in the form of a Mean Streets/Vertex/Fatlace collaborative steering wheel sits just in front of an AEM CD-7 digital cluster.
This build has been a journey for Joshua, but it's certainly not finished yet. He adds, "Over the last two years, I've poured my blood and sweat, frustrations and triumphs into this car that I've proudly put in motion. I've gained a lot of experience along the way." As for what's next, he recently picked up two sets of Blitz Type 3s, one of which he'll be refinishing for this car, and he plans to add a few more failsafes to the engine setup. Also, another hunt is underway; "I plan to run custom door cards with Vaded Mob logos and also find another Recaro RZ for the passenger seat. Due to rarity and demand, it has been a tough one to source...but that's the fun of it!"