1983 MAZDA RX7 SE­RIES III

Unique Cars - - MAZDA RX7 RACERS -

JOSEPH LENTHALL’S stor y wit h his beloved Se­ries III R X7 sta rts as a k id in Ade­laide, grow­ing up and watch­ing ro­tar y-pow­ered R100s howl­ing around race­tracks.

Upon mov­ing to Syd­ney, he found a lot of t he g uys t here were rac­ing early-se­ries R X7s in­stead of t he com­pacts in his home­s­tate, “be­cause they han­dled bet­ter, and they were cheaper too,” back t hen.

“I’ve a lways wanted a bridge­port race car,” says Joseph, a motorsport man at heart. He picked up this ex-works race­car, and un­der his care, it con­tin­ues to be raced and en­joyed.

In 2013, Joseph em­barked on the brave and ad­mirable en­deav­our of un­derta k ing a f ull tear-down ro­tis­serie re­build and re­spray in his sin­gle-car sub­ur­ban Syd­ney garage.

“We soda blasted it in my garage, it looked like Dex­ter, wit h a ll t he plas­tic sheets hang­ing ever y where.”

Joseph jokes t hat it “wasn’t a great de­ci­sion” but in do­ing a ll t he work him­self he saved him­self some v ita l pocket change.

“There would have been no way I’d have been able to af ford it,” he says.

As for f uture plans, Joseph sim­ply wants to main­tain his car and keep on rac­ing.

When asked about adv ice for those seek ing early R X7s of t heir own, Joseph is quick to point out t he me­chan­i­cal hor­ror sto­ries usu­ally linked to t he Wankel en­gine.

“Like any t hing, if you keep stretch­ing it, even­tua lly it will brea k.”

“I’ve never had it go on me, I’ve never had it go boom, it’s never spat out a sea l”.

Joseph stresses t hat wit h dili­gent main­te­nance, ma­jor catas­tro­phes can be avoided.

“Catch it be­fore it goes boom,” he says. "Check, ref urb, refresh.

"It’s much bet­ter to check and f i x some­thing, than have to f ind and re­build a whole en­gine."

RIGHT The trans­for­ma­tion from sporty road car to po­tent track weapon is com­plete. ABOVE Joseph's suc­cess demon­strates that po­tent race cars can emerge from sub­ur­ban garages.

RIGHT The bridge­port mo­tor has proved to be durable as well as pow­er­ful.

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