Digestible Collectible: 1989 Mazda RX7 GTUs
Mazda just can’t quit the rotary. Magical spinning Doritos are such a significant part of their DNA that, in spite of overwhelming evidence against the Wankel existence thanks to its appetite for fuel, oil, and apex seals, they keep a team of engineers developing it.
In theory, the rotary is the perfect engine for a sportscar. Lightweight, rev-happy, and reasonably powerful — exactly the attributes needed for a lithe corner carver. Back in the late ’80s, just as another enthusiast-focused Mazda was coming on the scene, a special edition RX7 was released. Rather than tape stripes and excess frills, this one came stripped of excess weight, and loaded with performance goodies.
Crapwagon Outtake: Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE
My wife tells me that I’m not allowed to own an RX-7.
To be fair, there are any number of cars I’ll likely never own due the the varied circumstances of life and wallet, but Mazda’s rotary wonder, generally available for a budget price, is off limits due to the misadventures of relative youth. More details, someday, when I’ve recovered from the tetanus.
What the FC RX-7 Always Needed Was… A General Motors V-6
I needed something cheap, fuel efficient, and at least as powerful as the rotary it would replace… What I came across was something that didn’t excite me much but fit the bill fairly well, a 3.8 liter V6 and T5 transmission out of a 98 Camaro complete with ECU and harness, the price, $600… Turns out GM had their stuff together on this little bastard. It’s a little heavy due to being all cast iron and the heads don’t flow well but it’s rock solid reliable and gets great mileage. Plus it’s power numbers are not far from the 5.0/T5 I was originally looking for. Time to get transplanting.
And that’s how a fellow in an Ohio garage wound up building a race-winning RX-7 that happens to be powered by a Series II 3800 V6.