Here We Go Again!
We're finally settled down in our new Southern Californian home, and the immediate renovations to support a gearhead like myself are just about complete. Storage for race cars, trailers, and parts-and working space-can be tough to come by. We were lucky enough to find a house with enough space, and with a little imagination (money), we made it all work. Our realtor loved me and my wife, Lisa, because we could pull up in front of a house he wanted to show us and not even get out of the car: "That won't work to fit all my junk!"
With the new location comes new projects. As I've written in the past, we picked up a '68 Nova for my son, Daniel. After replacing the floors and getting close to tearing the car completely down, Daniel had a change of heart, so off to the famous Pomona Swap Meet went the Nova. We sold off the car and all the parts we had collected. The engine is on the chopping block to fund the installation of a Gen IV L92 into our Malibu Wagon race car.
Here's where things get a little crazy. Can you make a Chevy out of anything? Well, we're going to try. Daniel had been following this one car for 18 months and was finally able to buy it. It's a '94 Mazda RX-7 Touring. The '93-95 RX7s were a very limited offering in the States, and with the advent of OBD II in '96, Mazda gave up bringing them here. The twin turbo rotary engine is long gone, since it expired back in 2000. We're currently in the market for a totaled '05-06 GTO to rob the Gen III LS2 6.0L and T56 six-speed to drop right in. This killer conversion is supported nicely by a group of followers on V8RX7forum.com. Samberg Rod and Custom sells a very nice tubular front subframe kit and T56 transmission mount that allows you to bolt the Gen III right in, and SuperPro out of Australia has a 28-piece polyurethane bushing kit to solid up the suspension. Hinson Supercars sells an inboard bumpsteer correction kit to compensate for the relocation of the steering rack, and also offers a Wilwood clutch master system to adapt directly to the T56 slave.
With a GTO as a donor, you can build a completely California-emissions-legal swap that gives you C-6 Corvette aerodynamics in a 2,800-pound package. Best of all, you keep the very neutral 50/50 weight bias of the RX-7. We've already purchased a pair of Cadillac LSA Gen IV supercharged cylinder heads and Gen IV Corvette inlet manifold. for down the road. This, with a matching mild camshaft, should get us in the 475hp range. After these upgrades-and when we blow up the diff-we will upgrade to an Explorer 8.8 centersection, and add a rear-mounted turbo.
This is the plan, and we're going to stick to it! This is a several-year process to get us to the turbo car. I'm sure we'll run into many challenges changing a Mazda into a Chevy. Check out the V-8 RX7 forum and some of the 10-second LS-powered RX7s on YouTube-you'll see why we want to build one.
Taxpayers' Dollars At Work!
Q: I saved my re-enlistment bonus specifically to build this engine: a maximum-street 598ci BBC mountain motor. It's based on a Dart Big M Sportsman tall-deck (4.6-inch bore), utilizing an Eagle 4340 stroker assembly (4.5-inch stroke, 6.7-inch rods), JE pistons (10.3 CR), and AFR 345cc aluminum heads with Comp Cams 1.7 ProMagnum roller rockers. The preliminary induction system is an Edelbrock Super Victor and 1,050-cfm Dominator (no nitrous), but some form of EFI is contemplated for later.
The host will be my '55 Chevy gasser-style Pro Street, with (currently) 4.10:1 gears and a five-speed manual with overdrive. The car will see some limited strip action, but I'm not seeing anything but around-town driving in warm weather. The application is closer to the race end of the spectrum than street (if you see what I mean).