After a 4 month hiatus, I’m back and with big news. But first, let’s begin with a bit of backstory to help elevate the anticipation.

What have I been doing these past 4 months? I have deliberately liberated myself from the car scene and pushed it onto the side burner. Not having to drag myself into the garage on weekends to wrench on the RX-7 has been quite a welcomed vacation, if I’m honest. As per usual, I drove the car very little during this time period – maybe 4-5 times. And therein lies a deeply rooted fallacy which will ultimately serve as the catalyst to a new, transformative ideology.

A few weeks ago, while commuting to work in my daily driver, I began contemplating about why I so rarely drive the RX-7 and why I was complacent with letting layers of dust accrue on its bodywork. The irony of it all baffled and disappointed me. I’ve invested so much work and time into this car, yet I hardly get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. While lost in my train of thought, I had an epiphany that would rouse my ire. I determined that going forward, I would drive the car 2-3 times a week. In order to realize this vow, I would do so by taking the plunge into the V8 swap world. Vacation time had ended, it was time to get back on saddle.

The thought of going V8 lingered with me consistently since the day I bought the RX-7. I probably should have gone this route earlier and bypassed the Single Turbo conversion. I wanted to hold onto the rotary platform out of conformity and to maintain a sense of righteousness. In the passing time, I’ve even been plotting out the eventual rebuild and the port and balancing work I would want done. I kept myself busy on this path by acquiring various parts and upgrades (like the Full Race manifold) for the next iteration of the engine. Now push came to shove and I can bear this direction no longer.

I like to see myself as a pragmatic and logical person (usually [well, hopefully]). After yielding my false sense of loyalty to the “purity” of the RX-7, no further justifications existed to keep me. Staying rotary simply defied sensible conventions in my eyes. Going V8 packages both reliability AND more power. I will be swapping in a stock motor that’s anchored by readily available GM parts. The days of worrying about seals letting go and having to deal with rebuilding and buying parts for a niche product needs to be over. Furthermore, to reach the same power levels as the stock V8, a 13B-REW would need to be “heavily” modified and thus compromise its drivability and longevity. A stock V8 is truly the best of both worlds right from the onset. This is key to enabling me to drive the car on a semi-daily basis.

Albeit I simplified the 13B-REW with the single turbo conversion, it was still not without its drawbacks. I have to dedicate 5 minutes to warm it up before taking off and it averages less than 13-15 MPG. Needing to fill up twice a week while performing a chemistry experiment with Premix each time gets old.

I think it’s truly a blessing and is essentially fateful that a large V8 motor can fit comfortably inside the RX-7’s engine bay. In addition, Samberg Performance makes a well engineered and fabricated mounting kit for these cars. The swap certainly won’t be a hodgepodge affair, all of the components used will be an increase in quality in every way. Even more momentous is the fact that Samberg Performance is from Pleasanton, CA… a mere 25 minutes away from where I live.

Pursuing a car that is at its core raw and analog provides a stark contrast to all the technology laden cars of today, and underpins my ideals. Owning this RX-7 is my choice, and I made this choice based on my desire to mold and build something to personal requirements – to stand apart. With that said, I could never fully connect with turbochargers and saw them as contradictions to my preferred direction. They added complication. In juxtaposition to a naturally aspirated power plant, turbochargers seem more diluted. The combination of forced induction’s thin-line tolerance with the fraility of a rotary is something I’m happy to be stepping away from.

8 thoughts on “Joining the Darkside

  1. Glad to see you back in the game.
    I’ve been following this blog for years, quite admire your writing style and detailed progress pics.

    I myself am just nearing the end of my V8 swap in my 93 FD. Used all Samberg components as well. Went new LS3 the 376/480
    Almost the same reasons fuelled my swap as I had a GT35R single before. Wanted to be able to do long haul road trips, I knew the reliability of the rotary limited that.

    Good luck with the swap, I look forward to your progress. If you have any questions I can help with feel free to email away!

    link to my bay.

    take care,


    1. Hey Josh, that’s awesome! Looks like you’ve done a very clean swap on your car. It’s amazing how clean the engine is with the tuck. What did you end doing with the stock chassis wiring and fuse boxes? Thanks and I hope to be joining you with the swap soon!

      1. Hi Eric,
        For the most part, the stock fuse boxes are hidden under the drivers side pop up bucket. Where an R1 would have had its oil cooler. Since the V8 doesn’t require an oil cooler (I suppose if I was taking it to the track it would) There was ample room under there. The ones I may need access to are almost directly behind that light bucket in the bay, kind of hard to see in the picture.
        The fuse box for the LS engine harness I hid up under the glove box. It was a really tight fit and I had to make a removable panel in the backside of my glove box in order to access the fuses if needed. Really hesitated doing this as I wanted to keep all my interior panels intact, but I figure I only keep my papers and phone in there when connected to the radio, so it was a necessary evil in order to keep the bay clean in my scenario.

        Hopefully soon I can move on to exterior stuff!

        Any thoughts as to which LS or transmission you’ll be going with yet?

        take care,


  2. Dang it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Well got that off my chest hahaha… pleased to see you writing again! And yeah I’m not a fan of the V8 swap (don’t get me wrong I love V8’s ) but I am glad its an option to keep our little money pits on the road! Despite your new plan of action I intend to watch this build closely not for the end result but for the excellent read you provide!
    I hope to buy some of those parts you’re bound to sell on the forums and I anticipate a first class build out of this future LS of yours! I’m not sure if you know it or not but the stress behind your builds is self inflicted hahaha but that stress seems to bring out the finer side of your detailed oriented personality! Keep up the good work!

    1. I know my decision with the swap will displease a few people, but in my book, horsepower is horsepower… and I love V8s!!

      Thanks for the compliments and support. I have a few for sale threads up on RX7Club already, but I will need to let go of things like the Full-Race manifold and my entire A-Spec Single Turbo kit, if you know anyone that’s interested :)

  3. You completely fucktarded this amazing 94 FD3S. In all honesty, you should have never even touched one. “Hey man, I got an idea, since I never drive the best car ever made, I’ll completely ruin it by swapping in a V8, MURICA!!!”

    GOH, I hope you lose this FD, it then falls into the hands of a real owner and swapped back to the REW. In fact, shut down this blog. It’s a waste of key strokes.

    Get a corvette or mustang you ape, can do burnouts and hoon all you want, leave the RX7 to true dedicated owners.

    1. BUAHAHA!!! The purist nerdrage in you is hilarious. Stay mad, boy, I’ll do what I want. I was beginning to wonder when I’d start getting some heat about the swap.

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