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, 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.
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
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.
OUR "LOCAL7" COMMUNITY | THE WORLD OF THE RX-7
This page last updated December 11, 2003