THE RX-3

NZ Performance Car - - Meeting Leadfoot -

Built as a trib­ute car to the RX-3 that Rod cam­paigned in the New Zealand Rally Cham­pi­onship in 1975–1977, this Mazda might look like it came from the ’70s, but the re­cently com­pleted pro­ject goes like a mod­ern-built ma­chine. Rod had been search­ing for his orig­i­nal car, but, sadly — like most rally cars — it had all but been de­stroyed, as he ex­plained: “I found the guy that now owned the orig­i­nal, but he had crashed it, cut it up, and dis­posed of it. So, my brother-in-law Peter David­son built this RX-3 up over about five or six years. There was talk of recre­at­ing the old car just as it was, but maybe we had a few beers one night and ex­panded on that.”

Hav­ing raced for Mazda over a 15-year pe­riod, Rod had ac­cu­mu­lated plenty of those elu­sive Mazda Fac­tory Rac­ing (MFR) com­po­nents, which Peter was able to uti­lize through­out. Along­side those are plenty of mod­ern com­po­nents, like the ex­ter­nal-reser­voir coilovers, power-as­sisted rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing, and a Holinger six-speed se­quen­tial. The en­gine, like many in Rod’s Mazda col­lec­tion, is an MFR 13B pe­riph­eral-port (PP) mak­ing around 224kW. “Sure, it’s got the 13B PP en­gine the same as what we ran, al­though this one would make more power than we did,” Rod said. This is again thanks to mod­ern ad­vance­ments in things like ig­ni­tion sys­tems and apex seals. Peter paid ex­tra at­ten­tion to all the lit­tle de­tails and mak­ing it light. “It’s re­ally fun to drive,” Rod noted, “and runs pretty damn good. Last year, I ran it in the pre ’75 class [at Lead­foot] and, even with the mis­fire it had de­vel­oped, we were able to hold off the oth­ers.”

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