I consider there are three stages within the lifetime of a modified automotive enthusiast. The primary stage is eighteen to 30 years old, where making as much noise as humanly possible along with your automotive is paramount. Next is the 30 to 50 years old stage, where being courteous to others by keeping your automotive on the quiet side is essentially the most necessary thing. The third and final stage – 50 years to old to the grave – loops back around to the start; other people’s opinions grow to be irrelevant, so you possibly can make all of the noise you wish along with your automotive.
After all, some petrolheads skip the center part completely and make noise throughout the whole thing of their time on earth. I believe it’s protected to say that rotary tuning and drag racing legend Abel Ibarra is one among those people.
This 1973 Mazda RX-3 coupe was originally built by Abel within the USA as a special project for a customer. When the old USDM, left-hand drive RX-3 got here up on the market stateside, Yokohama-based J-Motors purchased the automotive and exported it back to the Mazda rotary motherland.
Abel is well-known for just a few rotary-powered drag cars, but my favourite is his incredible Flaco Racing Mazda R100. Back within the day, this tiny little automotive powered by a hard-tuned 13B turbo engine ran a best quarter-mile pass of seven.98-seconds at 159mph (255km/h). At the moment it was the fastest import automotive in America and the fastest rotary on the earth.
Suffice to say, Abel knows easy methods to construct a fast Mazda.
The present owner of this RX-3, Sato-san, is someone who sits comfortably within the third innings of the aforementioned modified automotive owner’s life stages. That is confirmed by the raucous noise that his Mazda makes; the brap-brap of its ported rotary turbo engine is each raspy and metallic, and certain to upset just a few neighbours.
Not that Sato-san really cares; his collection is stuffed with rowdy cars, including a ’65 Ford Mustang Fastback, a ’73 Corvette Stingray, and a ’28 Ford Roadster hot rod. This recent acquisition, nevertheless, is on one other decibel level altogether.
Mechanically, the RX-3 just isn’t quite as wild because the Abel’s R100 – it’s a street automotive in spite of everything – but it surely definitely punches well above its weight. The semi-bridge-ported 13B twin-rotor engine is force fed air via a big, single BorgWarner turbo, which has a Turbosmart Pro-Gate50 wastegate welded directly onto the exhaust housing. The block is dowelled for strength, the rotors and eccentric shaft are balanced, and Power Seal apex seals keep things tight.
With pump gas supplied by Bosch Motorsport injectors and the firing orders coming from an Adaptronic M2000 engine management system, the 13B was tuned by Abel to 480hp. For a automotive that left the factory weighing lower than a metric ton (sub-2,000lbs), that’s quite a bit.
Power is shipped to the rear wheels through a Nissan CD009 (Z33 350Z) 6-speed manual gearbox with Clutch Masters clutch and alloy flywheel, and out to a Currie Ford 9-inch differential running a 3.90 final drive. Despite the RX-3’s power, I don’t think Sato-san will break the driveline anytime soon.
1973 Mazda RX-3s got here on steel wheels with 155/80R13 tyres, with latter cars stepping as much as crazy 175/70R13s. Let’s just say a lot more rubber was needed here, hence the classic 16-inch RS Watanabe Eight-Spoke wheels shod in grippy Toyo Proxes R888R semi-slicks – sized 225/45ZR16 on the front and 255/50ZR16 on the rear. These larger wheels opened up room for a brake upgrade, and the Mazda parts bin got here through with an FC3S RX-7 4-pot front setup.
The much larger wheel and tyre package was never going to suit under the old Mazda’s stock bodywork, but this was remedied with bolt-on fender flares in any respect 4 corners. They’re not huge, just like the Katayama Racing-type overfenders seen on RX-3 race cars within the JTCC in the course of the Nineteen Seventies, but fit nicely with the general aesthetic.
As a homage to its American roots, the Mazda also wears a custom livery based on that of the RX-3SP, a model that was sold exclusively within the US through 1977 and into ’78. These cars feature the RX-3 Series II nose cone in fact, plus ‘special appearance package’ features unique to the SP including the stripe graphics, black bumpers and trim, different hind lights, a deep front air dam and a rear window louvre amongst other pieces. So the ‘SP’ heritage is just been celebrated here somewhat than replicated.
Eagle-eyed readers might need noticed the shortage of windscreen wipers. They’ve been removed since the automotive is just never driven within the wet. That is partly as a consequence of Sato-san wanting to maintain the automotive nice and clean, but mostly for fear of losing control of the back end on a slippery road. That’s comprehensible given how terrifying it’s within the dry when the boost kicks.
Inside, the RX-3 has been a totally reupholstered with a more modern look, which is straightforward and well put together. The dash maintains its original silhouette, but all the analogue instrumentation has given option to an AEM digital display which provides way more data. The trunk meanwhile is stuffed with a big JAZ fuel cell and Optima battery.
With near 500hp on tap, just one,070kg to haul around, and an aggressive but classic look, Sato-san’s RX-3 is something special. Did I mention it sounds spectacular, too?
I can’t wait till I get out of the ‘attempt to be a considerate, upstanding citizen’ phase and enter the ‘I’ve earned the correct to party’ phase. Perhaps then I’ll straight-pipe my Impreza.
This Article First Appeared At www.speedhunters.com