Chris Johnston’s love for the FD3S Mazda RX-7 started throughout childhood. The FD’s glossy, timeless strains paired with its distinctive rotary efficiency and sound is alluring to many, and Chris isn’t any exception.
Again in 2005, he attended his first SEMA Present in Atlantic Metropolis, New Jersey. At that second in time, Chris set himself a objective to in the future have a construct worthy of being proven on the essential occasion in Las Vegas. Step one in the direction of that actuality took place on one fortunate day in 2009 when a bone inventory, computerized, Montego Blue ’93 FD3S RX-7 got here up on the market about an hour north of him, priced at simply $7,000. There was no method Chris might let such a golden alternative go him by.
With many formidable goals in his thoughts, Chris couldn’t wait to start out re-crafting the FD. Nonetheless, on the journey dwelling the automobile broke down. Many would assume the more serious, being a rotary and all, however fortunately for Chris it was only a minor electrical difficulty. Luck, nonetheless, didn’t keep on his aspect for lengthy.
After only a few months of possession, the RX-7’s engine misplaced an apex seal to rotary heaven. Damaged, the automobile was transported to Chris’s native Mazda dealership the place a contemporary, remanufactured 13B engine was to be fitted. In hindsight, this was a giant mistake.
Eight months handed earlier than the Mazda was working underneath its personal energy once more, however instantly it was not working properly. Regardless of Chris’s issues, he took the automobile dwelling. As soon as once more, it didn’t make it.
After a battle with the dealership, Chris determined to go a unique route. He bought a used JDM engine and 5-speed guide transmission combo from Japanese elements importer JSpec, and employed the providers of a reliable mechanic to finish the swap. Lastly, success. The transplant went off and not using a hitch and briefly order the RX-7 was up and working once more. After all, by this time the rotary efficiency bug had properly and really bitten, and Chris began fascinated with extra energy.
Whereas the JDM 13B turbo engine ran effective with its inventory tune, how it will maintain as much as additional enhance working by its veins was an unknown. Erring on the aspect of warning, Chris determined to have the engine rebuilt with larger energy in thoughts. Finally, output elevated from 255whp to 420whp thanks a Garrett T04Z single turbo conversion, a v-mount intercooler, bigger injectors and subsequent tuning by an A’PEXi Energy FC.
On the similar time the engine work was being carried out, Chris went to work on the remainder of the automobile. First got here a set of Fortune Auto coilovers, shortly accompanied by a set of then newly-released RAYS Volk Racing TE37SL wheels. A ’99-spec entrance lip adopted, as did FEED aspect skirts, together with glossy headlights, a tail gentle cowl and rear diffuser from RE Amemiya.
Chris’s RX-7 now had loads of energy and a completely new look, however actually it was just the start. After just a few years spent having fun with the automobile, Chris determined to step issues up one other notch. This time across the catalyst was a FEED wide-body equipment that got here up on the market regionally.
Having settled right into a profession as an automotive painter, Chris was up for a brand new problem. He fitted the equipment and resprayed your entire automobile in its authentic hue. Ultimate touches then got here with an RE Amemiya GT wing and a contemporary set of Work Meister wheels.
I say ‘remaining’ however taking a look at these pictures you’ll know that wasn’t the case. Regardless of the brand new look, the RX-7 was nonetheless a great distance from Chris’s finish sport imaginative and prescient.
That imaginative and prescient started to take form in late 2014 when an engine drawback reared its head. Sound acquainted? It was the push Chris wanted to create his final RX-7, however he wasn’t in a rush.
From the preliminary sketches and online game representations of what he wished his FD3S to seem like by to the precise automobile’s completion, seven years handed. The method was sluggish, however Chris wished no element to be left untouched, nor did he wish to make any compromises. Wanting on the Mazda immediately, I believe we are able to all agree it was time properly spent.
It’s laborious to overlook the RX-7’s late-’90s/early-2000s Japanese time assault theme. Chris was decided to carry this type to the US, however knew it needed to be executed to perfection.
The aero is a melting pot of genuine Japanese gear. RE Amemiya elements on the entrance finish embrace a first-gen N1 bumper, glossy lights and hood, and these pair completely with a modified R-Magic wide-body equipment. An Esprit GT wing, Automobile Store Glow diffuser and carbon fiber add-ons solely complement the physique panels.
Talking of carbon fiber, the RX-7 now additionally sports activities an enormous Klaus Composites carbon splitter, Marsh Composites full carbon roof, and Seibon carbon doorways and hatch. Chris particularly selected these elements to remain consistent with the ’90s/’00s aesthetic type he was going for.
A brand new equipment meant new paint, and this time round Chris resprayed the automobile in Mazda’s charming Sunburst Yellow, having been impressed by Keisuke’s iconic Pink Suns FD from Preliminary D.
The brand new engine setup was pieced collectively by the amazingly gifted twins of Eccentric Motorsports. The bridge-ported 13B places down a formidable 521whp at 20psi enhance with the assistance of a BorgWarner EFR 8374 turbocharger, Haltech Elite ECU and quite a few different high quality elements. Given the RX-7 weights simply 2,300lb (1,043kg), it’s a critically fast machine.
Eccentric Motorsports not solely dealt with the motor construct itself, but additionally the fab work, wiring and a ton of odds and ends on the automobile. The eye to element is second to none.
Chris began with a set of RAYS Volk Racing wheels on the automobile, and he’s ended again up there too, this time with OG CE28Ns in traditional Bronze. For observe use, Chris runs a newer set of CE28Ns in Diamond Darkish Gunmetal.
Additional enhancing its competitors capabilities are Fortune Auto Professional 2-way coilovers, plus a full suite of additional suspension upgrades from J-Auto.
The inside is all enterprise, with simply the necessities. There’s a customized 10-point roll cage by 945Garage, an aluminum race sprint plus door and heel plates by Bubble Tech, a quick-releasable Sparco steering wheel, Bride seats, TAKATA Racing harnesses, Racebred Parts shift knob and a super-light Antigravity battery.
Keep in mind that first SEMA Present in NJ that Chris attended again in 2005? Effectively, in 2021, some 16 years later, the dream of exhibiting his personal automobile on the massive SEMA occasion in Las Vegas turned a actuality with its public debut on the Fortune Auto sales space. It was a surreal second for Chris.
Social media tends to make it seem like something can come collectively in a single day, however like several nice automobile construct, Chris’s final FD3S RX-7 venture was not fast or simple. It took virtually 20 years of by no means settling and by no means giving up, and required the assistance of some nice associates to see by to completion. If it wasn’t for Zach and Klint at Eccentric Motorsports, Terry from Fortune Auto, Danny from 945Garage, Benny from Bubble Tech together with many extra useful palms, the automobile you see featured right here immediately would merely not exist.
With nice associates, sufficient time, dedication and need, this RX-7 actually is proof that something is feasible.