Tennessee Car Forums at TennSpeed banner

Project: "Last RX-7" by Herblenny

53548 Views 414 Replies 84 Participants Last post by  Herblenny
Brief information about me...

My name is Philip Sohn. I been in rotary scene for over 10 years and have owned my share of rotaries (RX-2, RX-3, 1st gen RX7, 2nd gen RX-7, 10 or so 3rd gens, RX-8, Eunos Cosmo 3 Rotor, etc).
Here are few pics of the cars I've owned..

1993 MB RX-7, 1972 Orange RX-2 coupe, 2004 Lighting Yellow GT RX-8

1985 GSL-SE RX-7 mint!

1991 RX-7 convertible (first rotary I bought)

1973 RX-3 coupe (track ready)

1993 RX-7 base blk/blk (my first FD)

1991 Eunos Cosmo 3 Rotor

1994 SSM FD (My other project)

I also run one of the biggest rotary car event called, 'Deals Gap Rotary Rally' (www.DealsGapRotaryRally.com).

And if someone ask me what my specialty is, it would be 3rd generation RX-7. I've owned more of these than any cars and have built 3-4 of them in the past. I personally think FD3S RX7 is the best car Mazda has produced and one of the top sports car available in the 90s and still one of the best today. For the past 8 years, I been collecting rare parts, manuals, magazines, and been lucky that some vendors appreciated my build and sponsored me (Thank you Exedy USA, WORK Wheels, Disc Brakes Australia, and Bride). Last year, I made it on to the cover of Modified Magazine and recently featured on S3 Mag.

Modified Mag feature: http://www.modified.com/features/modp-1001-1993-mazda-rx7-and-1991-eunos-cosmo/viewall.html
Modified Mag feature about my event: http://www.modified.com/events/modp-1010-deals-gap-rotary-rally/viewall.html

After over 10 years of owning and now my life is starting to change (Married and with a young son), I am wanting to build my "Last RX-7" and go out with a bang. I been studying and researching about 3 rotor RX-7 and that is what my "Last RX-7" will be.

From Now til SEMA 2012, I will be posting here my build process... Pretty much from a stripped chassis to show/track ready RX-7. This is almost 10 years of making in which that I been collecting parts for about that long... and how things comes around in full circle. So, please check often as I'll be posting detail process of this build.

Now to my build!

Friday Nov. 4th, 2011 - It was my last day at SEMA 2011 in Vegas, talking to some of my sponsors and checking out the cars at SEMA. But my main goal was to find a vendor/sponsor who will show my "Last RX-7" next year. After talking to few, I approached my sponsor Disc Brakes Australia (http://www.dba.com.au/) who graciously supported me in the past with my other RX-7 and RX-8. I had this 5-10 minute spill all lined up and asked the owner of DBA about my car being at their booth next year. After 2 sentences out of my mouth, owner said, "Sure!". I didn't know what to say at that point.. I think I just mumbled on and finished pitching the car even though I already got an OK from the owner. He said, he will love to have the car and right and there, my dream of building a car to SEMA has begun!!!

Sunday Nov. 6th, 2011 - I flew back to Birmingham, AL day before and I got sick. This is the day I'm heading to New Orleans, LA to pick up my rolling chassis to begin my "Last RX-7" project. I was pretty sick in the morning where I went into UAB Hospital ER to make sure I was ok to travel. They gave me some antibiotic and I decided to head down there to pick up this 1993 Red RX-7. With help from a good friend John Lewis and loaner trailer from my best friend Leo Huang, we drove to New Orleans to pick up the FD.

And here it is!

Thanks to my friends in New Orleans, Jack and Jonathan from Gorilla RE (www.GorillaRE.com) I got the car loaded and then we went out to eat :)

Monday Nov. 7th, 2011 - We left New Orleans and headed back to Bham to drop off the car at my friend Walker Morgan's shop. He is by far the most professional and best fabricator in town. His skills are by far the best I have seen and he himself have worked on several SEMA cars and such. His company webiste is: www.mpfab.com

Car leaving New Orleans

At Walker's Shop! www.mpfab.com
See less See more
1 - 20 of 415 Posts
So the deadline is nov 2012?
I'm hoping to finish it before than but we shall see..

More update:

Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 2011 - Been searching for my missing parts and trying to put my engine together so we can test fit it in the car.

Here is my 20B/3 Rotor, built D series engine. Engine was built by my builder Luis Canizales. I consider him to be one of the top builders in the country.

Test fitting the motor mounts.

Different flanges for the manifold.. trying to decide which ones to use.

Ready to transport!

Wednesday Nov. 16th, 2011 - I was going to install the engine earlier, but due to rain, I didn't get to until now.. I decided to delete PS, AC.. So, I used Mavel manual rack to install the 20B.

In the engine bay!

See less See more
Turbo size? And is it going to be a street car or trailer queen.,
T76 BB and it's going to be a trailer queen til SEMA is over :) But I have plans to drive it on a track when it no longer matters how it looks after the show. But I have couple of other RX7s to drive around on the street til then.

More Update..

Wednesday, Nov. 23rd, 2011 - Today, I took couple of my strut tower bar to test fit it on the car. Make sure if it will clear the UIM (No pics). Unfortunately, both bars did NOT clear. I also cleaned up the car a bit and pulled the body electric harness off of the car.

Monday, Nov. 28th, 2011 - I was thinking about the clearance issue and decided to go with Atomic Rex manual rack. I think this should give me additional 1/4 to 1/2 inch more clearance.

Wednesday, Nov. 30th, 2011 - Made a deposit for Atomic Rex manual rack.. We shall see how much space I'll have. If I could drop 1/4+ inch, I should be able to use my Cusco D shape strut tower bar without an issue.

Friday, Dec. 2nd, 2011 - A Japanese rotorhead in KY helped me out with translating the wiring diagram for the super rare, Defi DSSC. Thanks Yuki Sawai!!!

Defi DSSC is one of the rare item that never sold in USA and Defi did not allow this item to be sold outside of its dealers. Total of about 400 were made and I believe I might be the first in USA to put it in an FD.

Here are some pics of the unit.

See less See more
We need to go out on a date..... I put out. Lol
Vinnie, I need to talk to you about next year :)


December 6th, 2011 I got a call from my fabricator and he said he checked on the pricing for the Stainless 321 and going to order some for the new manifold set up. This means, my old SS 321 manifold with Racing Beat header flange is for sale!!! If you are interested let me know :)

Here are pics of my old flange set up!

Here are the pics and placement of the turbo.. Turbonetic T76 BB.

In the car with Hinson 20B /Pettit Subframe with this manifold with Garret T76 with T4 Undivided flange.

See less See more
December 8th, 2011 - My fabricator/friend Walker Morgan has explain to me how he was going to build the new 20B manifold. We've decided to use bit more expensive, 321 Stainless for the new manifold. I'm excited to see how its going to turn out!! Until then, I need to start working on the wiring for the car..

Here is a translated DSSC wiring diagram I received the other day... Only one in the WORLD!!!

Also, I realized I didn't mention much about my engine...

20B/3 Rotor is from a last year made Eunos Cosmo which each engine is stamped with a letter and a number. Earlier series are just numbers and last series starts with letter "D". This one is the later more stronger motor. Complete rebuilt with all new internals and slightly ported (RE blocks are already has big ports) and REW exhaust sleeves are put in place.
I actually bought this short block several years ago from Hector Gonzales, former NHRA modified class racer in Miami. He was going to use this engine to build his drag car but ended up selling it because of some financial issues.
See less See more
So is this really going to be your "last" rx7? If so, what do you plan on messing with after this build?
Yes, this will be my last RX7 build probably until my kid is old enough that he wants to build something together.. But I think that might be at least 10 years away..

You have PM about next year....(crosses-fingers) :)
Me too :)
December 9th, 2011 - Today, I was thinking about stripping my MB FD and start thinking about what I'm going to do to the exterior of the car... I started looking over some old builds I did and thought about turning my MB to what my Blk FD last looked..

My 1st FD / my 'black fd' and how it last looked in my possession..

I'm going to start parting out the MB this weekend!!!
See less See more
December 13, 2011 - I didn't get much accomplished over the weekend... Kid, wife, holiday season, plus my old house that i'm trying to get rid of is sucking all my spare time I have.

Yesterday, I finally ordered my new wheels for this car from WORK Wheels.

I'll most likely use these on the street and my RAYS/VOLK RE30s on the track.

WORK CR Ultimate is their newest Emotion Series that are much lighter and stronger than previous CR series. I'm super excited to get them and now they are available in 10.5 width.
See less See more
Thanks everyone for the kind words. This build is going to suck me dry but hopefully it would be all worth it at the end.

Vinnie, I'm not really parting it out but turning the MB, more so street car with a new system put in. I started off as an audio guy back in early 90s (like 1990) and I dreamed of owning a McIntosh system in my car. I had this Mac system for like 8 years and I think I'm finally going to put it in the MB.

Anyhow, more update..

December 16th, 2011 - I've received some sneak peek pictures of the turbo manifold yesterday. Walker Morgan from www.MPFab.com did an excellent job.

Here are few pics from the pics he sent me!

Its made with Stainless 321, which Walker did his magic on them to look like this... Not sure if many of you seen how 321 comes form suppliers, but they looked horrible.

I'm heading over to the shop on monday to take some high res pictures with my dslr and also bring him the mid pipe and catback for him to test fit to make the DP.

Those of you who haven't heard of MPFab.com, he has worked on several exhaust systems for high end SEMA cars and custom hot rods. He also developed turbo kids for bikes and other sport compact cars.

For more information about them, go visit: www.MPFab.com
See less See more
Outstanding! You really do justice with this platform, and continue to build some of the nicest FD's that I've ever seen... You're an asset, honestly, to have in the Southeast. Keep it up!
Thank you! I appreciate the positive comment.
December 19th, 2011 - I went by MPFab.com this morning to drop off my titanium catback and a midpipe so, he can start working on the turbo placement and DP. I also had a chance to take a look at Walker's handy work. Man was I impress with his fabrication skills :)

Here are some better pics I've taken.

I have yet to see bottom mount turbo set up on a rotary and I'm excited to see how all is going to turn out!
See less See more
I am also curious about this bottom mount. Seems tricky, but by the looks of it, it's in good hands.

Hey James, you coming to DGRR this year? Car is coming together, but like anything else, i'm waiting on things..

man that manifold looks good.

On a side note, im so glad you are using photobucket for pics, i can actually see them at work.
I had to upgrade to pro the other week because I hit my month limit..

Anyhow, here are some more update!

December 22nd, 2011 - I went over to MPFab to check out the manifold progress and lend a hand if needed (not that I can do much). We also wanted to test fit the turbo and get some measurements and clearance.. But in order to finish everything up, I need to get the new steering rack.

Anyhow, here are some Walker Morgan's handy work (www.MPFab.com)

See less See more
December 26th, 2011 - After a full day at work, I decided to take the dash apart and get it ready to get it recovered by my interior guy tomorrow..

Here are some pics of the stripped dash..

re-enforcement bar and wires..

I'm also re doing the center tunnel and door panels.. Should take about a month..
See less See more
December 30th, 2011 - Not much update on the car... but in a rotary related thing, I had a chance to go see some rare historical rotary cars in Nashville, TN.

Thanks to Founder/Director of Lane Motor Museum, I had a chance to see, hear, and touch some historical and super rare rotary cars.

Here are some pics from my private tour.

1967 NSU Spider - This is the first production rotary car with single rotor, rear mounted engine.

Another Rare NSU Ro-80 - A Birotor sedan

Citroen GS Birotor - I knew about the NSU, but did not know about this Citroen vehicle.

And finally a super rare Citroen M35 Prototype single rotor vehicle... This is the only one in USA.

See less See more
Can't wait to see this car when it's done. On a side note- for anyone who hasn't been to the Lane Motor Museum...it's worth checking out sometime. Very very interesting cars and bikes inside.
I wished I had more time to check out the other cars but unfortunately, I had other plans and I was only there for about an hour.. But I am planning a gathering there sometime this spring.

January 4th, 2012 - Happy New Year!!!
Well, not much have been done to the car as I was busy at work... Also, I'm about to trade this shell for an R1 shell without the sunroof. Hoping to do that this weekend.
Anyhow, the little time I had, I stripped out the dash and refinished the rusty metal dash frame.

I sanded it down to bare metal, treated with rust inhibitor, and primed it.

I then sprayed with gloss black then quick shot of gunmetal and clear the whole thing.. Shouldn't rust again :)

I'm heading to my fabricator's shop (www.MPFab.com) to pull the engine out and get it ready for this weekend's shell swap.
See less See more
January 5th, 2012 - My clutch for the 20B came in today from my favorite clutch company, EXEDY CLUTCH!! Here are few pics :)

See less See more
exedy > spec
Yes! Exedy Clutch is far better than Spec... and I live 30 mins from SPEC.. and know many many many people who have issues with Spec clutch (I even had their stage 3 clutch). At the end, its not worth it for me to keep dropping tranny to swap clutches.

FYI: Exedy Clutch also helped in R35 GTR launch control issues.

love the part "the bolt may smash through the clutch housing, and it may possibly be dangerous" lol
Now you all know why its important to torque your clutches :)
January 10th, 2012 - Well, I would of made an earlier update but I had to put 14 hour day at work yesterday and didn't have much time to tell you all what happened to my trip.

Well, last week I was running around town trying to get my shell ready for a swap with an R1 shell (without sunroof) that a friend of mine had in GA. So, I had to pull the 20B out, get the hatch from my friend's shop (which I was going to paint it and put on my MB FD), find a trailer, and a friend to help me tow it. Because my fabricator does not come in on saturday, I also had to go there day early to pull the car out so I can load it day after.

Saturday morning (Jan. 7th) - We loaded up the car and got to my friend's place in GA. We started taking stuff off of his car and started to transfer to my shell.

During this process, the car smelled really bad and we found some crazy stuff. Like dead mouse :)

I guess the car was sitting outside for awhile and a mouse made a nice home out of this RX-7.

Since I was going to strip this car to bare metal, I didn't really care about the smell or the dead mouse.... but I did care about what I found next, a bent frame that lead to bent head light assembly mounting points. This is a bad sign as when headlights are mounted and pop ups go up and down, the geometry is messed up so the lights might not line up. At this point, I was quite upset.. Just because I asked my friend to check the car as he knew the car was in an accident before. Also because my car was on hold for 2-3 weeks as my fabricator couldn't cut anything on the shell because of this swap. And I wasted my weekend, other people's time, etc just because my friend didn't take 10 mins to check over the car carefully and to see where the accident was. But he's a friend and he feels bad and going to help me out later so I cant be mad at him.

Anyhow, we loaded the car back up and drove it back to my fabricator.

Hopefully, I'll have more fabrication updates later this week!
See less See more
If you lived closer to me, I'd hang out and help you out a ton..... Or just annoy the fuck out of you to sell me one of the FD's.
Just let me borrow your enclosed trailer :)

More update :)

January 12, 2012 - Last night, I went over to www.MPFab.com to install the 20B back in to the car and get the car ready so that owner of MPfab.com can start building the exhaust system and the V-mount.

Since its important that everything needs to sit the way it is, we needed to install the tranny, ppf, catback, MP, etc... but like always, we ran into other issues..

Issue #1 - Defined Auto kit did not level the engine.

This might be because I had issue lining up one of their motor mount bracket and I had to enlarge the hole in order to get the brackets to slid into the motor. But, that's not it as one of the top hole should of kept the height in order..

Issue #2 - Correcting leveling issue.

We measured everything to make sure if it was the mount or if it was the car. After measuring the chassis, subframe, core support, etc, we came to the conclusion it was the mount. So, we added couple of spacers to see how much it was off..

After adding the spacers (3/8 inch), we had other issues.. which is now the engine was sitting bit to high and PPF was hitting the tranny tunnel. So, we lifted the engine, pull the passenger side mount and cut 3/8 to level it back out. After that, we wanted to make sure if everything else was going to fit so, we dropped the sub frame and bolted the oil pan on to double check everything...

At this point, everything seems ok after cutting but the PPF still seems bit close to the top of the tranny tunnel.

Next, I'm going to bring my AutoEXE braces so Walker from MPFab.com could build the exhaust that will clear all the bracing.
See less See more
You're welcome to use my trailer anytime buddy.

Anyhow, Not much update over the weekend so here is a random pic of my MB FD :)

See less See more
1 - 20 of 415 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.