1993 Mazda RX-7 – Rocket Bunny Widebody & LS-Powered
The early ’90s were a unique time for anybody who cared about going fast. The shackles once placed upon the auto industry were letting go, which resulted in all of a sudden 1993 had a whole lot more opting for it than flannel shirts and America Online trial CDs. The American auto landscape was riddled with all sorts of Japanese performers, through the mid-1990s.Difficult to beat 421 and 451hp lb-ft of torque from this reliable LS1.
The RX-7’s turbocharged rotary engine demanded respect while also causing fear. The car’s lines, however, while two decades later, hid its age well. Such is obvious for Scott Sengpiel, who’s admired the factory-turbocharged chassis since its creation but has since gone onto replace its temperamental Wankel engine with eight cylinders worth of American intensity. The automobile doesn’t look 21 years, and I love that, he says. People come up to me all the time, asking what it is, and when I [tell them] what year it is, they’re shocked.
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Its near-perfect balance and affinity for grip don’t cherish its age, although mazda’s third-time RX-7 may be of sufficient age to buy beer. The engine, however, can wane fast and hard. At just 85,000 miles, Sengpiel’s was on its fourth, which explains why the swap was planned even before settling on a particular car. I’ve always wanted to execute a V8, and also this was the right chassis for doing it, he says. I bought the automobile intending on putting the LS in there because of its potential, its reliability, and its [ability to make] big power at a low cost.One of the first Rocket Bunny FDs hitting the States-damn, it looks good!
The party starts with the five.7-liter small-block sourced from 1998-2002 versions of Chevrolet’s Camaro SS. Sengpiel, whose background could well be more Mitsubishi than Mazda, ditched the car’s turbocharged heritage at the beginning and instead relegated the LS1 to naturally aspirated status. Here, the cylinder heads have already been modified by Racing Head Service and have oversized valves and Comp Cams valvetrain that are orchestrated by one of the company’s street cams stuffed inside the block. The rest of the all-aluminum V8’s internals remains mostly stock, while outside the intake and exhaust tracts are already updated with higher-flowing pieces. The result: 451hp and 421 lb-ft of torque.
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Consider Sengpiel’s affinity for the racetrack and the eight pistons below the hood and it’s very easy to dismiss any sentiments he could have toward an RX-7 that looks just like it is quick. Your dismissal would be wrong, though, and that’s mostly because of the Rocket Bunny aero package that made its RX-7 debut on his chassis but in addition because of the car’s remarkably tidy engine space. I built the car to be a really fun street car, race it in an HPDE [high-performance driving event], and then drive it home, Sengpiel says after explaining why he put so much effort into just how the car looks. I take a lot of my inspiration in the pro touring guys who happen to be building really clean, old cars, he says. I make a plan on how I want it to function and then the way i want it to look.””, Just before I do anything on the car””to follow along with function. At the start, the detailed wiring harness and thorough ensemble of the plumbing don’t just look nice, they allow the engine to be pulled and set aside in less than a couple of hours, which is a positive thing for Sengpiel, who does most of the work himself. He did, however, leave the bodywork to the professionals and the wiring to Jordan Innovations. Wiring has always been a trouble area for me, he admits, and so i decided to hand it off to Jeff Jordan. Everything else below the hood is actually all Sengpiel, though; he’s even building a completely new engine to replace the LS1 on his own, this time an LSX that he says will be beneficial to about 600whp.
What Sengpiel wants out of his RX-7 isn’t all that distinct from what the original buyers in the 1990s were looking for: a purpose-built performer that may be abused whenever and wherever he pleases. A dedicated track car this isn’t and, inspite of the aero package and attention to detail, an expensive-pants showpiece, it most certainly will not be. To that end, Sengpiel simply says, I really want people to know that this car was built with the intention of being a street car that is raced. If you ask the 1990s, its ensemble of Japanese sports car heritage is better because of it., it doesn’t sit from the garage simply to come out for parking lot shows. All of that is entirely okay.