In the Part 01 and Part 02 of the coverage from Team_Nostalgic’s Old School Love, New School Flavor show, we featured exclusively the cars of Toyota and Datsun, respectively. In our final upload we arrive at Mazda and include two less well-represented marques but ones that are no less important. Until then, lets bask in the glory of these angry triangles.
The yellow RX-3 pictured above is owned by a man simply known as Mexico. He’s pretty well known locally for being expertly versed on the rotary engine and his car shows it. Beneath the hood lurks a 12A sporting a Weber carb and very aggressive port work. Listening to it come into the show sounded like a horde of very agitated wasps. Having a mortal fear of hornets, I have to admit I did roll my windows up and sit in my car until I confirmed it was in fact the Mazda.
Though unrestored, the car looked great and even featured original 70s-era Illinois license plates. These are less well documented than California’s vintage plates so I couldn’t tell you the differences between the years but if it is anything like Minnesota’s laws, they have to be of the same year as the car itself to legally register them with the car.
Within the Chicago Mazda community, there’s a good blend of stock restorations and tastefully modified cars. While SA22 and FB-generation RX-7s being as common as AE86s at the show, they leaned toward subtle modifications. Restored and polished OEM wheels are quite popular and the first step in any restoration build in Chicago, which is a welcomed reprieve from the endless fake aftermarket wheels seen at shows in other states.
One of the most eye-catching cars of the show was Hector Castaeda Jr’s SA22. The JDM fender mirrors, Racing Beat exhaust and black-powdercoated OEM “waffle” wheels set this car apart with subtle modifications while letting the natural beauty of the chassis speak for itself. Looks like he is a JNCer too with that inkan on the back of his car, so I’m sure he will be excited to see his car featured in the show coverage.
What I like about Hector’s car is that, at first glance it is an absurdly clean SA22. Then upon closer inspection you notice small details like the Racing Beat Power Pulse air cleaner, Holley carbs , and what looks like the stiffest strut bar ever to go into an SA22.
I would venture to say that the cleanest FB that day was this white one at the edge of the show. It really didn’t garner much attention but that’s okay because I didn’t have to fight through hordes of people to see it. The GSL-SE was the best of the first generation RX7’s models available stateside with the (relatively) large fuel-injected 13B that was developed just for this car, as opposed to the carbureted 12A carried over from previous generation rotaries.
A modest drop, Racing Beat exhaust, Nardi steering wheel, and aftermarket shift knob round out the small modifications. It takes only a few tasteful modifications on a first-generation RX-7 to bring it into its own while keeping the original balance and soul of the chassis. The value of these are quickly rising and they’re no longer a cheap disposable car to 350 swap or use as a winter beater.
The FC generation was not missed by any means either, albeit not as popular as the SA22 and FB cars. These have long been a popular chassis to modify, with all of them being 13B-equipped and more attainable than the FD generation. It also lends them to be more associated with the drift car scene rather than the classic car community. The danger with this chassis is that they will succumb the same fate as the 240SX and AE86 where they will be considered disposable and after a while be garnished with the drift tax that will make the unattainable. However not all of them are used as drift missiles and actually are very well built.
You couldn’t pay to find a stock set of intercooler pipes. Of course, with turbocharged rotaries there are modifications that can be argued should be done in the name of reliability, such as engine cooling and intercooling upgrades.
The sole wagon of the show to sport a modular engine design was this freshly painted orange RX-3. Arriving after an hour-long downpour midway through the show, the owner parked at the edge of the spectator area. Turns out the car was just finished up days before the show after being down for a complete ground up restoration.
Nothing was skimped on with this build. Underbody, Paint, Interior, and a wave free body, that checks all of the boxes and, honestly, if it was ever to make it out to JCCS it could be a contender for the Best Mazda-Old School class. I love that unlike in a lot of areas, the owners of the Mazdas here didn’t give up on the Dorito not a piston powered Mazda could be found.
Piston lovers rejoice, this Galant VR-4 has you covered. It’s hard to find a Mitsubishi with straight body lines, much less one old enough to get into JCCS. The Galant VR-4 was the precursor to the Lancer Evolution and belonged to the first generation of platforms to feature the legendary 4G63 iron block engine. That motor would be at the forefront of sport compact performance in the 90s and 2000s thanks to Midwest-based garages like Buschur Racing and MAPerformance.
Next to the Galant was the final platform to feature the 4G63, the Lancer Evolution IX. It ceased production in 2007, 20 years after the first Galant VR-4 left the assembly line.
Mitsubishi isn’t alone in this post featuring pistons. A handful of Hondas showed up including this 1987 CRX Si. And no, that was not a Typo, this IS in fact a very early EF-generation CRX, chassis number 00030 to be exact.
It’s a very high quality example of the second most collectable CRX, the ultimate being a CRX Executive of which only 350 were produced. The untrained eye might see the engine and assume it’s a B-Series; in fact, it’s a DOHC engine called a ZC which is considered part of the D-Series family, most commonly found in SOHC guise in most Civics here in America.
Chris from #Gridlife is the proud second owner of this car, importing it directly from Saitama, Japan. The previous owner only modified it by adding a 5Zigen exhaust and a set of rare Mugen CF48 wheels, which was necessary for the track sessions at Suzuka that he would take it on with the Suzuka Motor Sports Club. Needless to say this was the cleanest Honda of show.
Less importantly, my daily driven CRX was in the show as well. It’s only real claims to fame are the fact that it is rust free at 254,000 miles and drove from Minnesota to Chicago without burning a drop of oil while achieving an average of 44 mpg. Take that, Prius! The car is all original and untouched sans the coilovers, carbon fiber hood, clear taillights, Tanabe exhaust and Mugen MR5 wheels.
Beyond the CRXs, a group of stretched Honda mopeds showed up as well. These aren’t nostalgic by any means but they’re a really interesting subculture that has spread across the country after originally showing up on American shores in California a few years ago. It would be cool to see some classic Honda Elites or Yamaha Razzes modified in this style.
Alas, we have reached the end of our coverage of the Team_Nostalgic Old School Love, New School Flavor 2015 show. I would like to thank Team_Nostalgic for hosting the event and we will have more coverage from the Midwest as time goes on. Don’t think you’ve seen all that the rest of the country has to offer. Lurking throughout the midwest you find rare J-Tin sitting undiscovered and well cared for behind every corner.