It’s hard to argue with the fact that Sven’s RX-2 was, by far, the cleanest and most well-presented rotang at the show. With the build running into the early hours of Saturday morning — loaded onto the trailer at 4am, no less — it is a stunning example of a meticulous build. Having been out of the car scene for a number of years, Sven’s interest was reignited while in what he describes as “the Mazda capital of New Zealand, Hamilton”, and the search for a coupe began. “Looking at a couple of cars, I was disappointed to find so many sacks with no original features left. I wanted something honest with original parts intact,” he told us. During that search, he got word of a recently imported left-hook 40,000 mile RX-2 out of the States that was in average condition, and he soon snapped it up.
This led to the coupe receiving an FD RX-7 13B peripheral-port (PP) that’s had the rotors switched out for Series 5 naturally aspirated (NA) examples and runs a custom lobster-back intake manifold with an EFI Hardware tapered throttle body, thanks to Steve from SD Performance. Fuel and ignition weren’t forgotten either, with the PP now being fed by four 650cc injectors and a Bosch 044 primary pump, while AEM Smart Coils and MSD leads take care of spark — the parts list is so long that we simply can’t fit it all in here.
To ensure the heart remains the star of the bay, it was de-loomed and finished in black with gold passivate bolts, and, hanging off the back, is an FC five-speed, rebuilt with a short-shifter, Quartermaster 7.25-inch twin-plate, and CNC-cut chromoly 13-pound flywheel. Next, intending to make the car drive like its modern-day equivalents while maintaining its original appearance, Steve got busy adapting a Hilux 5.1:1 LSD to suit, with a custom three-link rear, while FC BC Gold coilovers front and rear; FC knuckles that mate to RX-2 lower arms; and, of course, the left- to right-hand drive conversion helped to bring everything into the present day. The driveshaft tunnel has also been raised to allow for the eyewateringly low ride height that the coupe sits at full-time. “What I love the most is you hop in, and it looks old school and OG, but, once you start her up and take her for a blast, it handles and goes like a cut snake,” Sven said.
The interior remains true to how it left the factory, having had a full retrim, while, on the exterior side of things, the shell was media-blasted, epoxy-primed, cavity-waxed, and had the full panel-and-paint treatment to ensure no nasties will appear down the track — the deep paintwork is a tweaked version of the new Mazda Soul Red, laid down by the boys at Chopper’s Auto Body Shop.