Chris Johnston’s love for the FD3S Mazda RX-7 started throughout childhood. The FD’s modern, timeless traces 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 purpose to sooner or later have a construct worthy of being proven on the major occasion in Las Vegas. Step one in the direction of that actuality took place on one fortunate day in 2009 when a bone inventory, automated, 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 means Chris may let such a golden alternative move him by.
With many formidable goals in his thoughts, Chris couldn’t wait to begin re-crafting the FD. Nonetheless, on the journey dwelling the automotive broke down. Many would assume the more severe, being a rotary and all, however fortunately for Chris it was only a minor electrical difficulty. Luck, nevertheless, didn’t keep on his aspect for lengthy.
After just some months of possession, the RX-7’s engine misplaced an apex seal to rotary heaven. Damaged, the automotive was transported to Chris’s native Mazda dealership the place a recent, remanufactured 13B engine was to be fitted. In hindsight, this was an enormous mistake.
Eight months handed earlier than the Mazda was working beneath its personal energy once more, however straight away it was not working effectively. Regardless of Chris’s issues, he took the automotive 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 companies of a reliable mechanic to finish the swap. Lastly, success. The transplant went off with no hitch and in brief order the RX-7 was up and working once more. In fact, by this time the rotary efficiency bug had effectively and really bitten, and Chris began serious about extra energy.
Whereas the JDM 13B turbo engine ran effective with its inventory tune, how it will maintain as much as additional increase working via 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 via an A’PEXi Energy FC.
On the identical time the engine work was being carried out, Chris went to work on the remainder of the automotive. 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 modern headlights, a tail gentle cowl and rear diffuser from RE Amemiya.
Chris’s RX-7 now had loads of energy and a wholly new look, however actually it was just the start. After a couple of years spent having fun with the automotive, Chris determined to step issues up one other notch. This time across the catalyst was a FEED wide-body package 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 package and resprayed the whole automotive in its authentic hue. Remaining touches then got here with an RE Amemiya GT wing and a recent set of Work Meister wheels.
I say ‘remaining’ however these photographs you’ll know that wasn’t the case. Regardless of the brand new look, the RX-7 was nonetheless a good distance from Chris’s finish recreation 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 needed his FD3S to appear to be via to the precise automotive’s completion, seven years handed. The method was sluggish, however Chris needed no element to be left untouched, nor did he need to make any compromises. Trying on the Mazda right this moment, I feel we will all agree it was time effectively spent.
It’s exhausting to overlook the RX-7’s late-’90s/early-2000s Japanese time assault theme. Chris was decided to convey this model 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 embody a first-gen N1 bumper, modern lights and hood, and these pair completely with a modified R-Magic wide-body package. An Esprit GT wing, Automotive Store Glow diffuser and carbon fiber add-ons solely complement the physique panels.
Talking of carbon fiber, the RX-7 now additionally sports activities a large Klaus Composites carbon splitter, Marsh Composites full carbon roof, and Seibon carbon doorways and hatch. Chris particularly selected these elements to remain in line with the ’90s/’00s aesthetic kind he was going for.
A brand new package meant new paint, and this time round Chris resprayed the automotive in Mazda’s charming Sunburst Yellow, having been impressed by Keisuke’s iconic Crimson 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 increase 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 in addition the fab work, wiring and a ton of odds and ends on the automotive. The eye to element is second to none.
Chris began with a set of RAYS Volk Racing wheels on the automotive, and he’s ended again up there too, this time with OG CE28Ns in basic Bronze. For monitor 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 Elements shift knob and a super-light Antigravity battery.
Do not forget that first SEMA Present in NJ that Chris attended again in 2005? Properly, in 2021, some 16 years later, the dream of exhibiting his personal automotive on the large 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 appear to be something can come collectively in a single day, however like several nice automotive construct, Chris’s final FD3S RX-7 undertaking was not fast or straightforward. It took virtually twenty years of by no means settling and by no means giving up, and required the assistance of some nice mates to see via 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 automotive you see featured right here right this moment would merely not exist.
With nice mates, sufficient time, dedication and want, this RX-7 actually is proof that something is feasible.