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
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...
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