You might have noticed that I haven't really done much work on the Hako for a few months. Part of the reason for that is that I am doing stuff for the er...German car, but the other half of the reason is because I've been working on recommissioning a car that I haven't driven in a few years.
I bought it in 2006, in pretty ratty condition from JaPerformance (they were about to cut it up). It's a 1986 HC3S Luce Rotary Turbo Royal Classic.
My initial plans were just to lower it on some big rims, and turn up the boost for a laugh and drive it around until the motor popped But then, I kinda got carried away and just ended up restoring the whole thing. New paint, suspension, motor, transmission and diff (a brand new Mazdaspeed 2-way, no less)
That's my friend John Edwards building the motor, which he did on a Saturday with Leon Prgomet (who sadly passed away a few months ago).
If it kinda looks like a mid 80's 929...that's because that's exactly what it is. But Mazda made a couple of thousand with the 13B Turbo and automatic transmissions, and this is one of the very few left in running condition.
It's the Royal Classic version, which means limo-spec, with pimptastic velour interior.
And heaps of ridiculous options, like reclining rear seats...
..and a fridge.
This served as my daily between 2006 and 2009. I loved it, even drove it to Melbourne one time (a 2000km round trip!). It might seem a strange combination to have a luxo barge with a turbo rotary, but oddly it all worked really well. The rote is super-smooth, the upgraded trans had a nice, loose convertor and a nice shift kit, so it gathered speed in this seamless surge, which really suited the whole luxury/comfy vibe.
The turbo was rebuilt with a T04 compressor, the trans had a mild build, and the stock exhaust replaced by a 3in dump and catback, but it was my daily, so I kept it at stock boost. In that trim, she puts out 240hp and does 15.2 over the qtr.
It even got on the cover of the Drive section of the Sydney Morning Herald once.
Then in 2009, she started acting funny and threw a transmission warning light. I pulled the code, and it said throttle position sensor, so I swapped in a new one at somewhat of an exhorbitant expense. Oddly, this made it even worse, and at the time, the Hako was just about getting on the road again with the rebuilt engine, so I just put the Luce in storage and forgot about it for a few years.
And even on a half-dead battery, she fired up no worries at all, so the motor is still in good health.
But to be perfectly honest, I've really neglected the car for the past few years, and have my work cut out to return it to its former condition.