It wasn't an easy decision, but the RX-7 will become a full-time, non-streetable racecar. The dragrace bug was just too powerful. An ironic twist is that we are already looking for another RX-7 to convert for the street, maybe as the towcar. Geoff has been driving a beater Toyota and misses the monster more than he thought. So, after we are done with the racecar, we will probably start all over again.
Since the last post, when we broke into the twelves, a lot has happened. I picked up a used Holley 750 double pumper and bolted it on to see if we could go a little quicker. Well, we did go a little quicker, but we were back in tirespin hell. Our best ET was a 12.68 at 106, but the little slicks would spin hard. We lowered the air pressure to get it to hook and the car was an absolute handful on the top end. It was not a fun balancing act. Geoff ran his best 60 foot and 1/8 mile times, but had to get out of it just past the 1/8 every pass. The stock wheel wells wouldn't hold any wider tires, so the decision was made to backhalf the car. And since we are going that far, we might as well go all the way! So, out come the notepads to make parts lists, with the parts catalogs close behind. Oh, did I mention the shrinking wallets and lots of Hamburger Helper? Ahh, the sacrifices one makes for his car.
With lists in hand, our first shopping trip was to the Turkey Rod Run Car Show and Swap Meet at Daytona Int'l. Speedway. If you've never heard of this, it is the biggest annual car show / swap meet in the country, or at least on the east coast. We spent the better part of one day there and didn't see the whole swap meet, and never even saw the car show. No wonder it is a three day affair. Anyway, we purchased a set of 14 X 32 Goodyears on 14" CenterLine rims with four passes on them for $400. They really do look brand new. We also got a 350 4 bolt main shortblock with a forged steel crank for $300. It also is in excellent condition. In addition, we got some small parts like Edelbrock tall aluminum valve covers for $20, a Grant steering wheel for $20 and a set of 9 to 1 forged pistons for the blower down the road, but that's another story.
We started by stripping most of the interior out. I also stripped the wiring as well because I will rewire only the necessary items. We also removed the lights and exterior parts in preparation for new paint. The next part is a little hard to start because there is no going back once the floor is gone. But I just fired up the Sawzall and air chisel and went for it. What's left is a big gaping hole. Finding a rear subframe that will fit in an RX-7 is also a challenge. Ladder bars are out, they are too long. Most 4 link setups won't fit either, because the front crossmember must be located too far forward in the car. The other option is to use a tube subframe, which I think is much harder to weld. Two companies make a 2 X 3 box subframe that will fit, but only one, Alston's Chassisworks, sells the subframe in kit form. I chose their 'Battle Cruiser' 4 link because it is meant for racing instead of Pro-Street, and it is strong. Once the floor is out and trimmed up, the car is leveled and placed at the chosen ride height. Then the crossmember is tack welded in place. The framerails are next and run from the crossmember to the rear of the car. An RX-7 has a nice frame member to support the rear bumper which makes an excellent point to attach the framerails to. In the photo, you can see the two 4 X 4 X 1/8" patches that I welded to the frame to attach the rear of the framerails. Once the framerails are tacked in place, it should look like this. The front 4 link mounts are also tacked in place in this shot.
The Competition Engineering fabricated rearend housing just arrived yesterday, so that will be installed this weekend if the weather holds up for us. We are shooting for a February completion date to get a few test and tune runs before the Summit Racing Series points races start. We might as well give the points-chase a run and hopefully win a few rounds along the way.
We have a way to go yet, but we have quite a bit done also. In the interior, the seat mounts are installed, both doors are gutted and the aluminum panels are in place. The passenger door glass has been replaced with Lexan, the driver side is next. The switch panel is done as well as the gauges, tach and shift light. The electrical panel is nearly done and the MSD ignition is installed. We went with a Pro Billet distributor and 6AL ignition box, as the vacuum advance distributor was topping out at 28 degrees total advance. The MSD easily goes to 36 degrees by 3000 rpm.
So, what at first looked like an impossible fit ,is looking like it is going to be a pretty good fit after all. Until next time, keep whipping up on those Mustangs and Camaros and as always, have fun!