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.