James Griffin -1993 Mazda RX-7 (FD)
Growing up, I was always tinkering with items, curious how it was put together, how it works, and how it could be improved or customized to my liking.
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1993 Mazda RX-7 (FD), Rox7e
Photographer: David Barnhouse / @shutter.studios.david
This is like a dream, never did I imagine that I would be here. Where do I begin?
My name is James, and I am 33 years old. I live in central Texas where I work in the automotive maintenance industry. The build and progress of my 1993 Mazda RX-7 (FD), Rox7e, has been logged and can be found under my Instagram page; @brapin_7. I have owned the FD for 5 years and have done nearly all the restoration, rebuild, and upgrades myself.
Growing up, I was always tinkering with items, curious how it was put together, how it works, and how it could be improved or customized to my liking. Maturing and becoming of age to be behind the wheel of my own vehicle, this is when I took more interest in automobiles. The vast world of customization, performance, individuality, of tinkering and presenting my own vehicle for me to enjoy and others to be inspired. I earned my first car, and not being the most popular choice, I made my 1993 Saturn SC1. After the Saturn, I traded up for a 2002 Acura RSX Type-S.
The Acura was the catalyst that launched me to love, understand, and push the boundaries of automotive performance and power adders. Fascinated with turbochargers, I began turbocharging the Acura. The first turbocharger system was an eBay turbo, yes, you read right, eBay. As I was learning more and craved a better performance build, I bought well-crafted and quality parts.
Fast forward a few years and my good friend Paul, also an automotive enthusiast, introduced me to a friend of his named Mike. Mike owned and drove a red Mazda RX-7 (FD). At this time, I did not even know what an RX-7 was. I remember Mike telling us that he had a coolant leak and like any other person, my response was “So you gotta replace the head gasket?” He took me for a joy ride and after that ride, I made it a goal to own one in my lifetime, I fell in love.
Ten years later and after cycling through other cars, I was searching for a new project car. Given the diverse cost range for an FD depending on condition, I was mainly looking for one that either had a bad engine or was just a rolling shell of a car to keep initial cost low. During my search, I came across a Rox7e. She had been neglected for nine years and needed someone to give her the love and attention she deserved. In learning more about the RX-7, I watched a YouTube video on how to rebuild the engine, “How hard could it be?” Well, three engines later, I now have a smooth running half-bridged 13B motor. I wanted to make the car not for shows, not for the strip, but for me. A little bit of everything is what I wanted to contribute to my build. It’s just nice to see people enjoying my car just as much as I do, people stopping and taking pictures and videos. She is a real head-turner everywhere I go, and I do take her out a lot. I think that if you build it to show it, don’t just let it sit in the garage where no one gets to admire your hard work.
- Kobalt Kandy blue
- Shine Auto Project Spec-GT wide body
- Shine Auto Project Spec-RE Bumper
- Shine Auto Project Spec-GT Sidekirts
- Shine Auto Project Spec-RE1 rear diffuser
- VIS carbon fibre Scoot hood
- OEM glass sunroof swap
- Blacktie Motors 55w sleek headlights
- Rays Gram lights 57DR (18x10.5 rear 18x9.5 front) wrapper in Nitto 555 G2
- Fortune Auto 500 series coilovers
- Rolloface ST series Big Brakes
- 6 piston calliper in HD teal
- 14” 2 piece rotors in ultra-blue sparkle
- Chip Motorsports brake master cylinder
- Chase Bay ABS delete
- Haltech IQ3 dash
- AEM Gauges (Boost, AFR, Oil pressure)
- LRB Flat door panels
- NRG Quick release hub
- DND Alcantara steering wheel
- Carbon fibre instrument cluster
- Bride Vios III bucket seats
- NRG 6 point race harness
- 13B half-bridge with large ports
- Large Ported exhaust housing
- One-piece corned seals
- Goopy Performace apex seals
- Pineapple racing HD water seals
- Full function engineering 85a motor mounts
- Glease manufacturing long runner Turbo manifold
- EFR 9180 turbo
- Dual turbo smart 40mm wastegate
- 3” straight exhaust
- HKS hi-power exhaust
- CJ Motorsports dual fuel hanger
- Dual Walbro 450 pumps
- -8an feed line
- -6an return line
- CJ motorsports fuel rail
- In-line 10-micron filter
- ID 1440cc primary and 2000cc secondary
- Custom V-mount setup
- Sakebomb garage dual 19-row oil cooler
- Sakebomb garage 1A individual coils
- Haltech Platinum sport 2000
- 450WHP on 93 pump gas
- JDM 5 speed manual transmission
- Competition stage 4 clutch
- Short throw shifter
- Rear big brake kit
- Carpet swap
- Rear bin delete
The one thing that still stands out the most, besides the car, is that I did nearly all the work myself. To be honest, the joy, and arguably the bragging rights, to honestly say that “I built her”. The only thing that I needed help with was with the half-bridge porting and tuning of the motor. Removing, rebuilding, and reinstallation of the engine all took place in my very own home garage by me. I have replaced the brakes, clutch, brake master cylinder, wheel studs, and even painted the entire car all in the comforts of my garage. A lot of my own time and man-hours have been put into the build of Rox7e, and I have learned a lot in the process. She is still not perfect but I am making headway to perfection.
My advice to anyone that is planning or even thinking of buying and owning a Mazda RX-7, or even work on a rotary motor for that matter, be prepared to spend a lot of money. Finding a rotary specialist or a mechanic knowledgeable is getting harder, especially if it is a trustworthy mechanic. If you are planning to try and do the work yourself, do your homework and research. Really spend the time watching videos, reading articles, following forums, and do not be shy to ask the community. Also, if you are planning to do it yourself, expect to spend roughly the same amount or more as if you were to acquire a specialist. I’ve always been a tinker and I think that’s what got me into cars.
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