And Now For Something Completely Different.
Building a Race car: From Hooptie to Hot Rod.

I believe I will always be a rotorhead til the day I die so I think it should come as no surprise that when I decided I needed a truly dedicated track car I purchased another RX-7. Not some "holy bejesus that car is fast" 3rd gen RX-7 but a simple lowly beat up and neglected 2nd Gen non turbo RX-7. Several reasons for making such a purchase come to mind, peer pressure, lack of insurance coverage for my 3rd gen RX-7 on the track, peer pressure, fear of balling up my 3rd Gen RX-7 on the track (not necessarily financially but Iíd never have the time to rebuild it), peer pressure, and perhaps a desire one day to race it - the NA 2G RX-7 is a good car for an IT classification (Iíd choose ITS first). No point buying a pristine car only play bumper cars with it during your first race start. So behold my 2nd Generation RX-7 hooptie which I hereby dub "Rusty."

"Rusty" Arrives!

Where to Begin? Why I would Even Want This Car?

Rusty, believe it or not, was actually chosen for a reason. See, Rusty is a Sport model with a 5 speed transmission of the 1986 variety (Series 4 model). This chassis in factory trim was the lightest of all the FC body styles at 2625lbs but yet still had the "good" parts. It did away with many of the extras like power windows, power locks, etc but had all the good performance items like 4 piston front calipers and larger front rotors (10.9" vs 9.8") and larger vented rear rotors (10.7" vs. 10.3") on 5 lug hubs, larger sway bars, and stiffer suspension. Want to go budget racing the sport model is what you want. As for specs in stock trim it would do 0-60 in 7.8secs, the 1/4 mile in 16.2s @ 86.4mph, and had a top speed of 128mph. The only drawback, a 16hp deficit to the Series 5 2nd gen RX-7, (S4 NA: 146 HP @ 6500 RPM w/ 138 Ft/lb @ 3500 RPM vs 160HP @ 6500 RPM). But the S5 is heavier by a few hundred pounds though. From the start this effort was to be done on a budget. I am going to, and have been so far, cut corners and buy used parts wherever I can. Rusty set me back $1000. Not a bad start for a running car that looked to be in decent shape. It only came with one key so I had another made, the first expense. There were a few rust patches on the sunroof panel and the door trim but topside it looked pretty clean (read on for what was found underneath). The motor is original with 168,000 miles on it and the transmission whines a tad but it runs and pulls pretty well. Smokes a bit on startup due to the oil control rings leaking but so be it. This will not affect engine integrity and will help reduce the mosquito population around my neighborhood. So with a functional drive-train it looked like a winner. $1000 spent and I now have two RX-7's.

Sure does look "Purdy." Aka: A Ricers Dream car - Shiney Bling Bling

Rustyís previous owner had done an admirable job attempting [emphasis added] to clean up Rusty but it was pretty much cosmetic. I found a myriad of zip ties holding components together where rusted bolts had snapped and an aftermarket $9 open intake hung on the wiring harness as examples. The car did have, however, new generic all season tires (a saved expense come inspection time), new plug wires and plugs, a new fuel filter, a fresh oil change, synthetic oils in the differential and transmission, and new shifter bushings. Oh, and a shiny aluminum oil filler cap. On the other hand it had no antenna and a crackly radio, and the AC didnít work . Hehe no problem....track cars donít need this stuff. The air pump split air pipe was not connected and the sixth port actuators were wired open (poor car had absolutely NO torque). Air pump, no biggie, but I would have to fix those port actuators. Luckily enough the previous owner had those parts for me. The drivers side door lock had been "punched" in a failed attempt by a thief to swipe the radio. And last but not least the car leaked oil from many, many places. I had my work cut out for me. To me though all these problems I would consider minor annoyances.

And so on the the show...how to buildup a junker. Warning, I like pictures so the following pages will be loaded with tons of them. If you have dial-up be prepared to wait a while.

Hooptie to Hotrod: Part 1
Scrap Metal: Part 2
Cosmetic Fluff: Part 3
Brake Gravy: Part 4
Exhaust Work: Part 5
Dieting and Some Oil Cleanup: Part 6
Cooling Hacks: Part 7
Underhood Miscellaneous: Part 8
Interior Gauges Plus: Part 9
Own a Lincoln? Suspension Upgrades: Part 10
New Shoes: Part 11
What's Next: Part 12
A Twist: Part 13
Sweatin' to the Oldies: Part 14
More Suspension Work: Part 15
Some Heart and Soul: Part 16
Chapter II: To Jump to the Next Series of Installments: Begins with Part 17 - A Good Rear End



If you would like to contact me and converse about my experiences with my RX-7's:
please feel free to send an e-mail to crispyrx7@yahoo.com

This page last updated December 11, 2003

Disclaimer: All images contained on this page are the sole property of C. Regan.