The RX-7 is many things to many people. For Dr. Bob Bennell, it is a prescription to give him peace in his busy life. At present, Dr. Bennell is seeking solace with not one, not two, but three highly modified cars. These include a 440hp supercharged Mitsubishi Eclipse and an 1,100hp Supra. The titanic Toyota will soon be seen racing through these pages but until then here's the scoop on his stunning Gen III RX-7.
When Dr. Felix Wankel started work on the rotary engine back in 1924 it is doubtful he envisioned where the small trochoid wonder would be taken by today's enthusiasts. The first KKM engine produced 21 horsepower in 1958. Power has increased considerably since. Surely Dr. Wankel, who passed away in 1988, would have liked to have seen the heights to which his rotating cylinders have been taken.
There's something very special about the FD, especially if you are willing to trade in a brand new 350Z for an FD that is ten years old, like Dr. Bennell did. As you will see, this one is very special indeed!
The first order of business for Dr. Bennell was to address the already superb handling of the car. Tanabe stepped up to the plate with a super trick set of Sustec Pro RR dampers. When Dr. Bennell ordered his set, Tanabe USA had not seen any on an RX-7 yet and asked to see some pictures after they were installed. With pillowball uppers, dual adjustable perches, and dual springs, these units are the real deal and had to be flown in from Japan.
A mild-mannered ride that's on rails isn't as much fun as one that puts down big power numbers, so raising the bar here was next on the list. A big T78 single-turbo kit from GReddy was paired with a 32R front-mount intercooler kit along with a Blitz blow-off valve and the necessary engine management support through an A'PEXi Power FC unit and a top-notch Rotary Performance fuel kit. GReddy underdrive pulleys, Koyo radiator with a Signal diffuser, HKS ignition, A'PEXi super ground system, and GReddy oil catch can are all under the bonnet. Tein's hood damper kit ensures oglers don't get their head knocked while drooling under the hood.
Dr. Bennell came to play; all the power upgrades mentioned above don't reveal everything this car has to offer. In fact, a very complete nitrous system ensures he won't be beaten without a fight. The Nitrous Express wet kit and intercooler sprayer are matched with the 12lb composite bottle. The bottle is mounted on quick-release brackets and is kept at optimum temperature through the Fire and Ice pressure controller. This hand-made item from the Nitrous Express Speed shop pulls double duty, acting as a bottle heater and an air-conditioner to keep bottle pressure optimized. A blow-down tube will vent an "accident" to the road. For that "look at me" effect at night, a pair of side vent-mounted LED purge kits do the trick.
Other body accouterments include a Wings West W front air dam and Aggressor side skirts. An Erebuni rear wing provides a healthy dose of downforce. The entire amalgam of body modifications is covered in a custom Montego blue. The placement of the airbrushed flames coincide nicely at night with the aforementioned LED purge kits. Of course, in the day, one could assume the brakes are on fire but that's highly unlikely considering the set of stoppers he's running.
MB Motorsports wheels, 18x8 fore and 18x9 aft, are wrapped in Nitto rubber while the Rotora/Eradispeed brake rotor tag team is visible through the large, machined twin spokes. The rotors get squeezed by Hawk ferro/carbon pads at all four corners.
A one-off eight-point rollbar with dual swingouts was welded in by Ray Newton from Ray's Specialty & Custom. A cam-lock harness from Crow keeps the good doctor where he needs to be-planted in the optional Mazdaspeed seats. On the underside, an Autoexe brace kit, torque brace, a selection of Racing Beat parts, and a 1.5-way Kaaz LSD all serve to make this one of the stiffest cars around while helping to get as much power to the rear wheels as possible.
Visual feedback is provided through the Stewart Warner shift light, AEM UEGO gauge, and Auto Meter boost gauge. A GReddy PRofec B-Spec and turbo timer are located just in front of the shifter. The Mazdaspeed short shifter snicks through the ratios in record time while Dr. Bennell's eyes glance at the boost gauge and AFR display gauge from AEM.
While the sound of a strong-running rotary is sweet music in its own right, Dr. Bennell needed a different type of audio experience while cruising the town. Car Toys' Tim Lang stepped up this time, making the high-end system removable when the RX-7 hits the racetrack. That's correct, the entire system in the rear can be removed! A Kenwood head unit sends signals from the Sirius satellite tuner downstream to MTX amplifiers and then on to Xtant subs and Focal components.
You may have noticed the battery missing from the engine bay-it's been relocated behind the passenger seat under the factory cover, inside a Taylor aluminum battery box. The new location is kept in check through a Moroso cutoff switch at the rear of the car.
Just as all high-horsepower cars must come to a halt eventually, so must the articles about them. While this story may be over you can be sure this FD will continue to terrorize the streets throughout its native Fort Collins, Colo., for quite some time.
And remember, if you ain't got no rotor, you ain't got no motor.
Spec Chart: RX-7Engine/DrivetrainGReddy T78 turbo kitPorted and polished racing motor/Adkins sealsKaaz limited-slip differentialGReddy 32R intercoolerNX I/C chillerBlitz blow-off valveHKS twin power rotary ignitionA'PEXi super ground systemGReddy underdrive pulley kitPettit Racing alternator pulleyGReddy oil catch canBlitz oil and radiator capsAluminum air separator tankKoyo radiatorSignal radiator air diffuserNX 12lb composite bottle/wet kitNX blowdown tube/fuel pressure safety kitChrome-moly race axlesRotary Performance HD diff mountsHeavy-duty urethane motor mountsNOS quick-release bracketsTein hood dampers
SuspensionTanabe Sustec Pro RR strut/coil-oversRacing Beat front and rear sway barsRacing Beat sway bar reinforcement kitRacing Beat lower control arm suspension braceRotary Extreme torque braceJIC hard front toe rodsPettit Racing launch kit trailing arms/control rodsAutoexe differential brace barAutoexe underbody brace kitCarbing 3-point front tower strut
BrakeRotora front and rear Eradispeed slotted rotorsHawk ferro/carbon pads
Wheels and TiresMB Motorsports 18x8 front, 18x9 rearNitto 555 Extreme 245/40-18 front, 275/35-18 rear
Exterior'99 JDM front and rear lightsWings West W front air damWings West Aggressor side skirtsErebuni rear wingCustom Montego Blue paint by Ozzies CustomAirbrushed flames by Dave Stuck of Smokin FXStreetGlow underbody LED kitZEX Blue LED purge lightsMoroso electrical cutoff switch
InteriorGReddy PRofec B-Spec and turbo timerA'PEXi Power FC with commanderAEM UEGO wideband AFR gaugeAEM boost gaugeFire and Ice controller (for use with nitrous)Stewart Warner red LED ultra shift light with power controllerMazdaspeed short shifterCrow rotary kam lock 5-way driver restraintCustom 8-point rollbar with dual swingout by Ray's CustomCascade Engineering AC/DC converter kitKenwood flip down top-end receiver with SiriusCustom rear box with 2x12-inch Eclipse speakersFocal components front and rearMTX DriversDual Eclipse 12-inch subwoofers