It’s a sports car with a heart unlike any other. Here’s some of the best modified Mazda RX-7 builds from our archives.
The Mazda RX-7 is legendary. Producing one of the finest exhaust tones ever to feature on a production car thanks to its unique rotary engine, it’s peaked the interest of many a petrol head since its launch in the late 1970s. Despite a reputation for unreliability, when modified correctly and maintained often, a modified Mazda RX-7 can be a brilliant project.
Naturally, we’ve featured many a special RX-7 build over the years. As a result, we’ve put together a list of the best examples we’ve ever featured in one simple place. If you like modified Mazda RX-7s, you’re in the right place.
Modified Mazda RX-7 FC by GReddy
Designed to be a SEMA showstopper, this RX-7 FC is the creation of renowned aftermarket specialist, GReddy.
Owner Kei Miura’s initial plan was to take the Pandem-kitted car back to Japan with him from America. Later, he decided to simply commission a second build for the Tokyo Auto Salon instead.
That means that this Sublime FC remains Stateside with the group of people that put the hard work into building it. Alongside GReddy’s core team members, some Mazda marque specialists were also enlisted to work on the rotary powertrain.
With the core internals and wiring restored to a top level, GReddy then set about making upgrades. In came a turbocharger, as well as a new intercooler, exhaust, and fueling system. The ECU was also fettled with to make sure that every component could work together in harmony. The end result was a peak power figure of 356hp; an 159hp increase over standard! These days that might not sound like huge numbers, but bear in mind that this thing weighs little more than a ton.
To go along with the brawn under the bonnet, the car also has a brilliant Pandem widebody kit. It’s finished in the same shade of white that this FC rolled off the Mazda production line in. The ducktail rear wing and retro TRA Kyoto 6666 alloys complete the stance.
1500hp Quad-Rotor RX-7 FD
Sometimes you see a power figure attached to a car and just think, “do you really need all that?”. This is one of those occasions. Well, the owner of this wildly modified Mazda RX-7 FD – David Mazzei – does compete with it at serious time attack events. So, we’ll let him off.
It’s hard to know where exactly to start with a build as impressive as this one. The headline is the car’s 4-rotor engine. As standard, RX-7s came out the factory with just two. However, by doubling the number of rotors involved, you get twice the engine capacity and twice the airflow. Both of which are great things if you’re looking for more power. In this case, the end tuning result is more than 1000hp at 20psi of boost. It’s not been dyno-tested beyond that, but the maths indicates that 1500hp wouldn’t be out of this car’s reach.
It’s fair to say though that this build was anything but straightforward. Before the current set-up, David had attempted to make a different quad-rotor engine work but it just didn’t. Oil starvation, rubbish exhaust note, and imbalanced rotors were just some of the things he had to contend with; some of which, obviously more important than others.
What’s a project car without its ups and downs though? And besides, that learning process was all worth it in the end for the car that David’s ended up with.
Get the full low-down on all the ins and outs of this FD by checking out the full feature. We’ve got a specific buying and tuning guide for this model too, in case you’re planning on scratching that rotary itch…
Jonny Grunewald’s Modified Mazda RX-7 FD
“I’ve always liked to do things differently,” says Jonny Grunewald. It’s easy to see then, where his attraction to the RX-7 stems from.
After a visit to the Tokyo Auto Salon, his ambitions were set in stone. For this project, Jonny would use only the highest-quality, or rarest, aftermarket parts. This is his dream modified Mazda RX-7 build, after all.
The first thing you notice about this FD is the way it looks. The rare TCP-Magic bodykit supplies the car with stacks of aggression. Rather than coming across as obnoxious, the whole image takes on a very purposeful feel. That’s helped by the fitment of its 18-inch Volk Racing VR21C wheels.
Then there’s the internals. We winced when we heard that Jonny was on his fourth engine. However, that’s the risk you take when sticking with rotaries. When things are working as they should, however, this FD’s powertrain is really something to behold. Thanks to some clever porting, it’ll rev all the way up to 10,000rpm. Also, thanks to a number of other mods, you’ll find around 700hp at the disposal of your right foot.
True to his original plan, practically no part of the car has been left untouched. The transmission, for instance, has been reworked in order to cope with the strain of the beefed-up engine. Meanwhile, the brakes are a bespoke Brembo-sourced system, designed specifically for this build!
You truly won’t want to miss out on all the details of this stellar creation, so make sure to read the full feature. Or, if you fancy hearing our thoughts on what a regular FD RX-7 is like to drive, you can check out our hands-on review.
Kohei Miyata’s Modified Mazda RX-7 FC
Sometimes you don’t need extreme aero packages and astronomical power figures to create an ultra-desirable build. Take Kohei Miyata’s modified Mazda RX-7 FC, for example.
Designed to be the ultimate blend of show car, track weapon, and daily driver, Kohei set himself quite the task. It’s not easy to create a car that can competently tick so many boxes, but with the help of Yokohama-based tuning house N-Stage, he reckons he’s managed it.
The key was making sure that every adventurous modification was balanced out by a mod to improve functionality. Take the car’s stance; in order to avoid tire rubbing, the wheel arches were reconstructed to achieve that slammed look.
The stock engine also got a full tear down and overhaul, and during the process an aftermarket turbo and fueling system were plumbed in. At the same time, N-Stage also came up with a completely bespoke cooling set-up. Apexi-sourced mapping was also installed to replace the old eighties electronics, arming the car with a reliable 350hp and 253lb ft of torque.
Aesthetically speaking, there’s no widebody in sight. Instead, a mixture of rare aftermarket and imported USDM parts make up the car’s outward appearance. The 17-inch AutoStrada Modena five-spokes it sits on are the perfect icing for this FC cake. Oh, and if you think that body color looks familiar, you might recognize it as Millennium Jade – the shade that Nissan used on the Nur versions of the R34 Skyline.
On the inside meanwhile, once again, there’s an element of balance. The half roll cage gives the car the sort of rigidity and safety you’d want when driving aggressively, however plush seats lifted from the JDM Efini RX-7 model ensure no loss in comfort.
Take a closer look at this FC all-rounder by viewing the full feature here.
700hp Naturally-Aspirated FD RX-7 Track Car
After a serious accident destroyed his modified Mazda RX-7 and left him hospitalized, you could’ve forgiven Logan Carswell for not wanting anything else to do with these cars. However, it’s worth pointing out that Logan is the boss of US rotary specialists Defined Autoworks, so his passion runs deep.
“I’d been playing a lot of Gran Turismo 4 (well, that dates this story rather well) while I was resting up and the RX-7 in the game inspired my plan for my ultimate RX-7,” Logan explained. “It didn’t happen right away, and was a slow process, but that plan and the level of specification that I had in my head is identical to how the car is today.”
Starting off with a $2000 rolling chassis, Logan has transformed this FD into a Japanese GT300-inspired track car. The exterior speaks for itself, and actually required some chassis modifications in order to fit properly! The team had to extend not only the car’s track, but also its driveshafts and suspension control arms.
The suspension itself also had to be switched out, with Logan opting for a Penske set-up, and anti-roll bars straight from a Daytona prototype. That’s not the only motorsport-derived component of this FD either. Its brake calipers are off a genuine NASCAR!
The car’s party piece, however, has to be its engine. Logan is running a quad-rotor power unit in this beast, good enough for 700hp. Apparently its 11,000rpm redline provides the closest sound you can get to Mazda’s legendary 787B Le Mans racer. Read the full piece on this monstrous build here.
Stanced Mazda RX-7 FD on Air
This purist-angering stanced FD has given its owner Jordan Saunders plenty of trouble over the years. It started with some temperamental twin-turbos, and culminated in a sudden crash…
Happily though, instead of giving up on it, Jordan found a donor car, and set about bringing his FD back to life. After months of surgery on his nan’s driveway, the results proved to be worth all the pain.
While making all the necessary repairs, Jordan took the opportunity to rid himself of the car’s dodgy turbo set-up that got him into this trouble to begin with. In its place, he set about converting the car to a big single turbo set-up, namely a GReddy TD04, for some added responsiveness. The big metal snail works in tandem with a custom exhaust system and HKS intercooler, while the fueling has also been massively improved. The car’s yet to be dyno’d, but it’s safe to assume that it’s making somewhere in the region of 400PS.
With the powertrain taken care of, Jordan then turned his attention to the car’s style. It now sits on 18-inch SSR SP1 rims, while a set of AirREX struts with an Air Lift management kit provides it with that super-low stance.
To find out what else this rescued FD has up its sleeve, be sure to read the full feature!
Sim Harratt’s Salvaged RX-7 FC
Owning an old modified car isn’t always the fun experience we imagine it to be. In fact, sometimes it can be downright stressful, as Sim Harratt found out when he first took ownership of his beloved FC.
“I purchased the car on a bit of a whim,” he says. “When it came up for sale, I hadn’t seen one for such a long time I jumped straight in.” Ah, the classic impulse purchase – that’s where he went wrong, or maybe right, considering the end result…
Still, before the FC would reach its super-clean status as pictured above, it certainly gave Sim plenty of grief. “The advert stated that it was a runner but was overheating and had no MOT. So, the plan was to get it back on the road as soon as possible and just enjoy it.”
Simple enough, right? Well, when Sim discovered swathes of rust hidden away, things suddenly looked much more difficult. Impressively though, after taking some time to regroup, Sim and one of his closest mates set about putting in the hard graft to weld and restore the FC, bringing it back to an MOT-approved condition. Nice work, lads!
If you want to learn more about what’s going on under the hood of this FC, you’ll have to check out the full feature, here.
Beautifully Brown Mazda RX-7 FD
Brown isn’t a color that many of us would immediately opt for when building a modified JDM car (unless you’re the Hollywood designer that created Slap Jack’s Supra, or Tej’s NSX). But, Sean Malone was adamant that when creating his own epic RX-7, he’d do things his own way. That sort of individuality is the type of approach we can certainly get behind. And, by refusing to create a car defined by the tastes of other people, we reckon he’s (ironically) come up with a real show-stopper.
Truth be told, this Marrakesh Brown-wrapped version of the RX-7 is actually the second iteration of the car that Sean has overseen. A scroll through its history will tell you that this car’s seen its fair share of different body kits and bolt-ons. However, to get it to its current state, Sean has done all the bodywork himself. That has involved blending a variety of different kits together to get a truly unique silhouette. Look closely and you’ll spot parts from Rocket Bunny, Vertex, and DMAX, all harmoniously joined as one.
At this stage, we’d forgive you for thinking that this car might be a bit of a show queen. And sure, it certainly makes an appearance at events like Japfest from time to time, but that doesn’t mean Sean has overlooked performance mods. Under the hood, you’ll find a street-ported 13B rotary with an uprated induction kit, while the exhaust is also a little fruitier than stock.
Want to take a closer look? Read the full feature here.
Fast and Furious Mazda RX-7 FD
This car should already be familiar to plenty of you. First used as Dom Toretto’s car in the original Fast and Furious movie, it was then redesigned as Orange Julius’ car for 2 Fast 2 Furious. As such, it was front and center during the arguable heyday of Japanese car tuning.
However, things aren’t quite as they seem. Despite its movie depiction as a highly modified racer, this FD RX-7 is actually running a stock 13B twin-turbo rotary power unit, meaning it kicks out around 255hp. Quick, for sure, but definitely not a “ten-second car”.
The 5-speed manual transmission is stock too, but one thing that definitely isn’t factory-spec is the flamethrower exhaust. As with most of the stunt cars used in the Fast and Furious franchise, the majority of mods on this RX-7’s spec sheet are cosmetic only. The exterior aesthetics comprise a Versus body kit and J-Spec hood, while the rims are 18-inch Ro_Ja five-spokes. On the inside, you’ll find a pair of Sparco seats and custom upholstery from House of Kolor.