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 Post subject: My 1981 Rx-7, my first car.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:21 am
Posts: 10
This was the first car I ever owned, mind you that was a long time ago now. Since then Ive owned nearly thirty cars, almost all of them having been Japanese, most of which were pre-1990. I have loved Toyota since I was a boy, despite my mother owning a 1977 Hurst Edition Pontiac Trans Am, somehow I just loved my dads car. A 1980 Celica GT Coupe, brown with tan interior, 5 speed. I went on to learn how to drive in that car, and in the world of teenagers putting underglow and wings on their Honda Civics, I wanted a rear drive Japanese car. By the time I was old enough to start looking for a car, my dad had also purchased a 1984 Porsche 944. (This becomes important later) I had looked high and low for Celica-Supras, MR2's, even Datsuns. But no matter how many autotraders I picked up from the local grocery, we only ever cruised past the local used dealers looking for cars.

By some miracle a local dealer got in a Celica-Supra, a second gen, exactly what I wanted. They also had a Z31 turbo, but it was an automatic. The Celica-Supra had a terrible looking interior, and was at the top of my budget. I decided to walk around the dealer and see what else they might have. At first the only other thing that caught my eye was an El Camino SS (Obviously out of my budget). Then I noticed some cars in the field behind the dealership. One caught my eye, I was certain it was a 944. Dark silver, black interior, and it was in great shape. Amazingly, I was told I didnt want the car, it was hard to start. It was half the price of the Supra though, and fired on the first try for me. After a test drive, it was obvious that it was much faster than the Supra. My teenage mind was made up, I had to have it. I didnt even know what a rotary engine was.

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What I didnt realize was that I got a steal of a deal. A carb rebuild later and she always started on the first try. I thought the car was stock, it looked mostly like this under the hood when I got it.

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Prior to receiving my license I had decided it was a great idea to take the car out by myself. Lesson to you teenagers out there, dont drive without a license, and drifting the circle in the center of town is -not- a good idea even with a license. Long story short, I was at a car meet downtown, and some kids egged me on to do a burnout. Two trucks did burnouts before I hopped in my car, and one upped both of them by sliding around the circle in the middle of town. What I did not realize was the police had been attracted like moth to flame after hearing two straight piped pickup trucks do brake stands. They were waiting as I slid past them sideways on the far side of the circle, having been blocked from my sight by the towns huge decorative fountain.

In hindsight, this wasnt so bad of a thing. I lost my license until I was 18. So I couldnt drive the car to my high school, or really at all. By the time I was 18 I had scored a cheap beater car, so I could store the car away and just drive it on nice days.

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I would find a car club called 'Ohio Rotaries' and before long I decided to start holding meets for the club.

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This would culminate in me largely taking over the club itself.

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At some point in time I did a brake stand, and the same day my base models rear end grenaded. Not long after I sourced a GSL rear end, and got it back on the road. I would do little to the car in the years that I had it. Mostly hunting down 4x110 wheels and swapping them on and off the car.

I bought it with the 13 inch Riken meshies.

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Then I would stumble across some Weds Autobahns being marketed as 'ATV Wheels' for $75

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Then I bought some 14 inch Enkeis and for some reason decided gold would look great on silver.

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Finally some 15 inch Enkei knock offs.

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I would also own four other Rx-7s at any given time, including this '87 GXL that I turbocharged.

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One day, on my ninth year of ownership, I would post this picture. I would talk about how I never, ever wanted to sell this car. A few short months later.. I would trade the car away for a built Miata...

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When I got it back, things would change, a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: My 1981 Rx-7, my first car.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:21 am
Posts: 10
For some reason during the years I owned the car, I altered very little on the car. I always had a vision for the car, one that changed a little through the years. When I finally traded to get it back, I had lost all my inhibitions. For some of you, maybe this isnt such a good thing. But I think my other Rx-7 build will redeem me.

The day I put it back in my name.

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I had bought another Miata, my girlfriend owns the MR2. After tracking the Miata, lowering it and my girlfriends car, the Rx-7 looked like a lifted truck.

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Given the fact there were very few lowering options I liked I cut a single coil from each corner.

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It didnt ride as bad as some would have you believe, but it was a far cry from a well engineered suspension. After ordering parts from a once well respected company, that never shipped my order... I decided it was time to make my own coilovers.

Consider some of the following the 'rough draft' of my suspension.

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The 2.5 inch springs wouldnt fit in the rear shock towers, they needed spaced downwards to properly fit. I used washers to figure out the length the spacers would have to be. After many attempts I trashed this idea all together. The ebay springs were also only temporary. The shocks were just old rusty ones I had laying around, no need to chop up good ones.

This led to trying multiple springs before settling on 1.8 inch coils, using a technique employed successfully by Datsun 210 and 510 owners. The two piece shaft collar clamps spring perch. These are rated somewhere around 8,000 pounds of clamping force, per clamp.

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I would then slam the car to its bumpstops, for no reason other than, I CAN! Mostly just for pics, though, it was not driven at this height.

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I then raised the car up to a height with acceptable suspension travel.

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 Post subject: Re: My 1981 Rx-7, my first car.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:21 am
Posts: 10
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After this I tagged it with a JNC decal or two, and drove it to my old stomping grounds.

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Then it was time to start collecting parts for the visual portion of the build. First was a Kamei airdam, it was test fitted, and during that test fit, I found that this car most likely used to have this exact air dam installed on it.

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It was pulled off until I sourced more parts :) I had the hub, axles, and rotors drilled to 4x100 for some new wheels.

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Shortly after I mounted 225/45-15 Hankook RS-3s

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And then... The ZX flares.

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Then some Techno Toy RCAs to cure my bumpsteer.

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Made my own shorty bumpstops.

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Then it was time to lower it a smidge.

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It was in this picture that I was offered my -other- Rx-7

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That pretty much brings you up to speed, its still my first car, its just a lot more awesome than it used to be... Well, at least to me. I can still see my old hoon-mobile under all the new parts. And thats all that matters to me. The end goal is to take it to Mid-Ohio or Nelson Ledges and at least keep up with my Miata buddies in my old Rx-7. Havent gotten to go yet, but with the coilovers and sticky tires it grips the road like it never used too. Need to get a steering rack conversion under the nose, but otherwise I love it.

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 Post subject: Re: My 1981 Rx-7, my first car.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:02 pm
Posts: 591
Location: Hong Kong
What an epic post!! :tu:
And a joy to see someone with such a pure and devoted enthusiasm for a particular car.

Sorry if I missed it somewhere in your write-up, but when did you buy this RX-7 (the first time)?
I too still have my very first car. A brand we don't speak of here on JNC mind you, but after 22 years ownership she's obviously part of the family and most certainly a keeper! So I do genuinely understand your connection.

Love what you've done with her too! Modified but still with a very retro feel to her. Bet she's a blast on the twisties... :P

_________________
It's not what you drive - it's how you drive it...

Best Regards,
Anders.

JDM '77 Toyota Trueno Sprinter 1600GT (TE61)
+ a handful of classic BMW's from the 60's and 70's.


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