With a body in­flu­enced by Eleanor of the fa­mous movie Gone in 60 Sec­onds, this RX- 7 is said to be as se­duc­tive as the novel Fifty Shades of Grey, hence the nick­name ‘ Chris­tian’

NZ Performance Car - - 1996 Mazda Rx-7( Fd3s) - WORDS: RENE VER­MEER PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

There are so many rea­sons the RX-7 is an amaz­ing chas­sis; its han­dling, the time­less body lines and curves, and the ro­tary power un­der the bon­net. Tara Camp­bell was drawn to all three as she loved the way they looked, the in­cred­i­ble go-kart-like han­dling, and es­pe­cially the big horse­power fig­ures they are ca­pa­ble of for such a small en­gine ca­pac­ity. You see, Tara hasn’t al­ways been around the im­port scene, as her par­ents are ded­i­cated V8-mus­cle fans, even own­ing their own V8 parts and sup­plies store, Per­for­mance Parts, so for Tara pur­chas­ing a ro­tary-pow­ered Ja­panese im­port was an in­cred­i­bly re­bel­lious move.

The ‘bat­mo­bile’, as they are com­monly called, has been one of Tara’s dream cars for a long time so when this par­tic­u­lar 1996 Mazda RX-7 came up for sale, she jumped at the chance to own it. When it was pur­chased the body had ex­ten­sive amounts of body work al­ready com­pleted, some­thing which made it even more of an at­trac­tive deal. The orig­i­nal owner wanted the car to im­i­tate Eleanor, a Shelby GT500 from the movie Gone in 60 Sec­onds. To achieve the kind of staunch stance needed, the guards were pumped half an inch up front and a full inch down the back, en­sur­ing that ex­tremely large wheels could

“Ev­ery­thing was looked af­ter by Karl. I wouldn’t

let any­body else touch my car”

be fit­ted. Shane Gra­ham from Prima Pan­el­beat­ers whipped up a cus­tom colour to com­plete the look and ended up with some­thing very close to Eleanor. A Se­ries 8 RX-7 front bumper and lip were in­stalled with shaved in­di­ca­tors and park lights for added ag­gres­sion, and down the back the boot was shaved. The body com­pleted sits on a set of 18x9.5-inch Wolf S1Ps at the front and 18x10.5-inch Wolf S1Ps at the rear.

Although the body was al­ready com­pleted when Tara pur­chased the RX-7, the en­gine and en­gine bay were in se­ri­ous need of at­ten­tion. “I loved the way the RX-7 looked, but the en­gine was in a se­ri­ous need of a re­vamp and a large turbo,” Tara ex­plains. The 13B turbo en­gine was sent down to Brent Cur­ran from Cur­ran Broth­ers Rac­ing for a com­plete over­haul. New ro­tor hous­ings were needed along with new apex seals and the ro­tat­ing as­sem­bly was bal­anced to suit. With the mo­tor now built and bridge ported, it was sent up to Karl Judd at Elite Au­to­mo­tive to get in­stalled, along with a few other power-mak­ing good­ies. “Ev­ery­thing was looked af­ter by Karl. I wouldn’t let any­body else touch my car,” Tara told us. Be­fore the mo­tor could go in, Karl and the team took this time to paint match the en­gine bay to the ex­te­rior and give the fac­tory loom a tidy up. With the en­gine mounted, Ajay Chap­man could work his magic and build a cus­tom sin­gle turbo man­i­fold to mount the Mas­ter Power T70 turbo, along­side the 46mm TiAL ex­ter­nal waste­gate, which con­trols and main­tains boost lev­els. Tara was aim­ing for high power lev­els, so the fuel sys­tem needed some se­ri­ous beef­ing up. A Bosch 044 fuel pump sup­plies the go-juice and af­ter that things are taken care of with a Hol­ley ris­ing rate fuel pres­sure reg­u­la­tor which then sends the fuel to its fi­nal de­par­ture through the four ID1000cc in­jec­tors. Tuned with a Mi­crotech LT-10 the RX-7 man­aged to make a solid 298kW at the wheels on

12psi of boost, so you know there is more in it yet. The driv­e­train is com­pletely stock and more than ca­pa­ble of han­dling this power level, with the only ad­di­tion be­ing an Exedy heavy duty clutch for a bit of ex­tra clamp­ing force.

As the RX-7 was to be en­joyed on the week­end, crea­ture com­forts have been re­tained. Nis­san Sky­line R34 GT-R seats keep Tara snug, and the Momo steer­ing wheel gives her com­plete con­trol when the boost kicks in hard. Only the es­sen­tial gauges were in­stalled such as the Auto Me­ter boost and dig­i­tal air/fuel ra­tio gauge as a clut­ter­less look was re­quested dur­ing the build.

With the RX-7 now com­pleted, Tara hopes to make use of it dur­ing the week­ends ahead, or per­haps sell up and com­plete some other projects she has on the go. If Tara does de­cide to pur­sue other projects, we are cer­tain that it, too, will be to a high level with the best of busi­ness in­cluded in the build process to cre­ate some­thing spe­cial.

Only the es­sen­tial gauges were in­stalled such as the Auto Me­ter boost and dig­i­tal air/fuel ra­tio gauge as a clut­ter­less look was re­quested dur­ing the build

The orig­i­nal owner wanted the car to im­i­tate Eleanor, a Shelby GT500 from the movie Gonein60Sec­onds, so to achieve the kind of staunch stance needed, the guards were pumped half an inch up front and a full inch down the back, en­sur­ing that ex­tremely large wheels could be fit­ted

The small stock twin tur­bos were binned in favour of this heavy-hit­ting Mas­ter Power T70 turbo which sits on top of a cus­tom ex­haust man­i­fold. Boost is set solid, with an ad­justable bleed valve and a 46mm TiAL waste­gate. On only 12psi, this setup helps the 13B pump out 298kW (400hp) at the wheels

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