NZ Performance Car - - Con­struc­tion -

With prices of even the most un­sal­vage­able RX-3 soar­ing be­yond the grasp of buy­ers, where else are we to turn? Ben Tait’s an­swer was “an ab­so­lute dunger” 323 that was road le­gal at the time of pur­chase, “but shouldn’t have been …”.

His plan in­volved rip­ping out the un­wanted 1.3-litre pis­ton motor and four­speed bin-filler — which he tells us didn’t even sur­vive the drive home be­fore shit­ting it­self — and later shoe­horn­ing in a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 13B six-port with a mild-large bridge­port and Series 1 RX-7 five-speed be­hind it.

At this stage of the build, Ben is con­vert­ing to a limited-slip dif­fer­en­tial (LSD) by way of a B1600 hous­ing with later-model LSD head, notch­ing the rear chas­sis, and chop­ping up the floor­pan to suit. Ben says that he’s go­ing to the ef­fort in or­der to get it as ‘legally’ low as pos­si­ble. While look­ing at all of this, he’s taken care of a se­ri­ous num­ber of pre­vi­ously un­known rust is­sues — 40 hours in to­tal to save the whale tail.

And while we’re a safe haven for 323s, parts have been sourced from up coun­try, across the ditch, and as far away as Ja­pan, mak­ing it Ben’s big­gest build to date. “Set­ting big goals and fin­ish­ing it is a must in my eyes,” he says. “So far, I’ve ab­so­lutely slogged my guts out to get this bucket of bolts to where it is now, and I’m not giv­ing up on it.”

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