PER­PET­UAL MO­TION

FLAME-THROW­ING RX-2

NZ Performance Car - - Contents - WORDS: MAR­CUS GIB­SON PHO­TOS: RICHARD OPIE

hat is it that de­fines you as a car nut? Is it the con­stant grease un­der your fin­ger­nails, the empty bank ac­count, the fact that you have shined your wheels for the fifth time this week or spend most nights as a recluse in your shed, pour­ing ev­ery last spare mo­ment into your project? When it comes to ’Naki en­gi­neer Brady, we reckon it’s his de­vo­tion to per­fec­tion, the one-man pur­suit of which has seen his RX-2 sedan re­main in an al­most con­stant state of evo­lu­tion over the past eight years, and it’s a pur­suit that Brady openly ad­mits may never stop.

“I picked it up as a un­cer­ti­fied, no reg, no WOF car with a stan­dard 13B mo­tor with an in­jec­tion set-up. The day af­ter buy­ing it, I pulled the mo­tor out, and, with a friend’s help, we bridge-ported and built the NA [nat­u­rally as­pi­rated] set-up in the shed.”

Over the next seven years, the 13B took some se­vere pun­ish­ment, both on and off the track, rack­ing up count­less kilo­me­tres all over the North Is­land, and, all the while, Brady was con­stantly work­ing at per­fect­ing it with dif­fer­ent in­take and ex­haust set-ups in the quest for more NA power, some­thing we all know is not easy to come by.

Over this time, the chas­sis was also de­vel­op­ing from its orig­i­nal in­car­na­tion as a bump-stopped sedan with a locked diff and 13-inch Mod­gies. Not that there is any­thing wrong with this, but, as Brady got older, he wanted some­thing that would be both prac­ti­cal and good look­ing. While, thank­fully, the ride height wasn’t sac­ri­ficed, al­most all the fac­tory un­der­pin­nings were to get the sus­pen­sion func­tional. A new tun­nel is in place, three­inch higher and wider, along with a tubbed rear floor­pan to al­low for the lower and larger Hilux diff.

With the new se­ri­ously short diff came a new rose-jointed four-link and Watt’s link — all engi­neered with re­vised ge­om­e­try by Brady in his garage at home. But the chas­sis work didn’t stop there; it was strength­ened both front and rear, and the en­gine bay was fully seam-welded.

Al­though it was get­ting rad­i­cal un­der the skin, Brady has al­ways been a firm be­liever in keep­ing it clean and sim­ple on the ex­te­rior: “My goal with the car is to build a strong/re­li­able car that presents it­self well, takes a beat­ing, but it has to look plain just like a good Kiwi ro­tary should be. My vi­sion of this is black, loud, and low, with wheels that fin­ish a car. I’m not one to have shiny en­gine bays, pretty/bright paint or over-the-top in­te­ri­ors; just ba­sic/orig­i­nal-look­ing with a twist of old-school Ja­panese-in­spired look.” This was ex­actly the brief in 2014, when the shell was stripped for a bare-metal re­spray in prepa­ra­tion for his wed­ding. RE Au­to­mo­tive took charge, and, while it worked on the fac­tory tin, the chrome was sent off to be re-dipped. The night be­fore the wed­ding, Brady and Todd from RE Au­to­mo­tive were in the shed, piec­ing the RX back to­gether. The fol­low­ing day, his nup­tials were con­sum­mated in true ro­tary fash­ion with a big flam­ing burnout, some­thing Brady is get­ting a bit of a rep­u­ta­tion for.

Af­ter seven years and six Toy­ota W-se­ries gear­boxes, it was then time for a new chal­lenge in the en­gine depart­ment. Brady had started col­lect­ing the parts to build a 20B pe­riph­eral-

We guess you could call this RX-2 a wheel whore — it’s had Mod­gies, smooth­ies, Sim­mons, Ro­tas, cus­tom widened Mod­gies, and cur­rently wears Work Meis­ter S1s in 15x8and 15x9-inch The Toy­ota W57 gear­box fea­tures a Green Broth­ers steel bell­hous­ing to re­move the need for a scat­ter blan­ket, while, in­ter­nally, it’s been up­graded with Green Broth­ers bil­let se­lec­tor forks. This is the sev­enth gear­box in the car, which had quite the ap­petite for W57s when it had a twin-plate — a switch to a sin­gle-plate has cured the hunger

port (PP) and even got as far as build­ing the head­ers be­fore an op­por­tu­nity arose that he couldn’t refuse. “The chance came up to swap my com­plete NA set-up for a freshly built S7 turbo block,” he ex­plained. The deal was struck, and Brady set about build­ing his turbo set-up, us­ing a BorgWarner SX366, be­fore Todd coated ev­ery­thing in ei­ther gloss or satin black. It’s a pack­age that will stay in the en­gine bay for some time now: “The decision was made to sell the 20B PP parts, as the en­gine bay now had mod­i­fi­ca­tions to house a turbo set-up.”

With the new turbo pack­age go­ing in, the driv­e­line that had seen count­less boxes destroyed from 10,500rpm clutch dumps had to be sorted. The twin-plate clutch was ditched in favour of a cus­tom sin­gle­plate to lessen the stress trans­ferred through the gear­box, and that seems to be work­ing great, if the beat-down it was given at RE­union is any­thing to go by. But even though this set-up — which made 338kW on 19psi — is work­ing fine, Brady is al­ready rip­ping it down to change the boost side of things with a new turbo man­i­fold and pre-turbo wa­ter/meth in­jec­tion — all in the search for power. It’s just what he does and will al­ways do.

Brady told us con­tent­ment is a for­eign feel­ing: “I guess I can say [that] I have an ad­dic­tion to con­tin­u­ous tinker­ing, and, as a re­sult, the RX-2 has seen many, many changes over the years, ev­ery one to make it that slight bit bet­ter or more prac­ti­cal,” but, that said, “I have grown too at­tached to the car and could never bring my­self to sell it, so since I’m so com­mit­ted to the one car, this build will never be 100 per cent fin­ished, as I will al­ways find some­thing to change, or paint black.”

The rear end con­sists of a Hilux Surf LSD that has been short­ened and con­verted to disc brake. The four-link and Watt’s link have also been cus­tom built by Brady, with ad­justable rod joints through­out While most peo­ple prob­a­bly as­so­ciate the twin head­lights with an RX-2, the S1 ver­sion ac­tu­ally came with sin­gle rec­tan­gu­lar head­lights To get the Work Meis­ters to fit, the front and rear hubs were redrilled to 4x114.3 pitch cir­cle di­am­e­ter (PCD). The diff is also a cus­tom length, with re-splined axles to al­low max­i­mum dish

PER­FOR­MANCE POWER: 338kW on 19psi, 298kW on 14psi

IN­TE­RIOR

SEATS: Retrimmed fac­tory, rear seat mod­i­fied to suit gear­box tun­nel STEER­ING WHEEL: Momo IN­STRU­MEN­TA­TION: EWP con­troller, Tur­bosmart e-Boost2, Mi­crotech hand con­troller, Auto Me­ter 33⁄ inch tacho, elec­tronic speedo, Auto Me­ter 25⁄ inch fuel-pres­sure gauge, oil-pres­sure gauge PAINT: Gloss black bare-metal re­spray by RE Au­to­mo­tive EN­HANCE­MENTS: Fac­tory EX­TE­RIOR

SHOES WHEELS: (F) 15x8-inch (-12) Work Meis­ter S1, (R) 15x9-inch (-20) Work Meis­ter S1 TYRES: (F) 195/45R15 Falken ZE, (R) 195/45R15 — any­thing I can get my hands on cheap

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