CAR OF THE YEAR 2016
MIKE FITZGERALD’S MAZDA RX-7 SERIES 1
It might have taken 17 years to build it, and the engine bay may have been home to countless combinations that never quite got finished, but the end result is well worth it. It now sports a bridge-ported naturally aspirated Cosmo 20B with triple ITBs, and the sound that the custom stainless exhaust emits is that of heavenly notes. The rest of the car hasn’t escaped either, with a full interior retrim, custom pearl paint, and big-dish Simmons.
JAMES MANGIN’S SHAKOTAN S15
Here in New Zealand we have a culture of getting the job done, no matter the situation. For James Mangin it was building his Rocket Bunny– equipped S15 in his cramped Manawatu-based single-car garage. However the result is nothing short of amazing. It’s a Shakotan machine without compromise, as authentic as anything built in Japan. It’s super slammed and with a rowdy SR20 barking away under the bonnet. But the engine bay is a much more Kiwi affair, in that it has not escaped a serious rework at his hands, and as he plans to at least double the power in the very near future, it will get better.
STEVE ELLICOTT’S MAZDA 808
Burnouts anyone? Steve’s 808 is well known for its skidpad antics, but behind all that smoke from countless destroyed tyres lies one serious build. The car was saved from rotting away in a paddock, and has undergone a three-year extensive build — all in the name of killing tyres! From the completely reworked chassis to the extensive roll cage, Steve has left nothing to chance in creating this bulletproof rotor. The engine is a ported FD 13B with a BorgWarner S360, backed by a Richmond five-speed.
VINCENT PIETERSE’S AIR-COOLED WIDEBODY 911
Cutting up and modifying something that is so fiercely admired in stock trim takes a gutsy and committed builder. And then to pull it off with such perfection is the mark of a talented builder. Vincent Pieterse had been through a few Porsches before settling on this particular 1978 Porsche 911 SC, and taking the grinder to it in the quest for a little more aggressive body styling, grafting on 930 quarters to accommodate bigdish Work Meisters. These are accompanied by a swag of carbon panels, and a mildly worked air-cooled three-litre that produces a glorious note through the stainless exhaust.