There are so many talented guys posting their restoration stories here. Mainly on older RX's like R-100s, RX-3s, etc. I thought there might be some interest in what I have been doing with my 85 RX-7. Unlike many, I do not have the time,space, or tools to do most of the work myself. Hope this is OK...
My goal with my car is to keep it as stock looking as possible, but to improve the performance and reliability of the car. I am over 55, so turning it into a boy-racer is not on the agenda.
First job was to upgrade the suspension with Racing Beat sway bar, urethane bushings, better springs, steering components, and a strut tower bar. The previous owner installed new shocks so I did not worry about those.
New RB exhaust system:
Next project was having it painted...
Cannot paint it without replacing all the badges, etc...
Next up is replacing the smoky 13B with a series 5 (91) turbo 2 motor and S4 (88) transmission. The objective of the engine swap is to keep the accessories that make it a civilized sports car - air conditioning, cruise control, and power steering. To do this the 91 engine was rebuilt using the front section from the old 13B so that all the accessories and brackets fit. The S4 tranny was selected because it fits the GSL-SE better. Not wanting to cut a hole in the hood or figure out a way to mount a front inter-cooler, we will be using water injection to keep the air charge cooled. Also, a Haltech ECU and wiring harness are being used.
Old transmission on right - new S4 T2 transmission on left:
Nice mess in engine bay with old motor pulled.
Engine and transmission installed:
Modified the stock air box to feed the turbine:
Will need a better radiator, this one from Champion Cooling Systems was a great deal. $220 US with a 16" electric fan:
With transmission installed, old shift knob looks like the stock:
Currently we are waiting for the drive shaft to come back from the machine shop. It turns out not only did it have to be shortened, the splines did not match so they had to be re-cut. It has been in the shop for the engine swap for almost a year, but should be ready any day now...