IMMACULATE CONCEPTION RADICAL RX-7 IS A BORN SHOW-STOPPER
AUDI DO THAT? Drenched in Audi white, this RE Amemiya-kitted RX-7 is the king of the show scene.
With an immaculate street ported single-turbo motor and gleaming in Audi ibis white paint, Adam Robinson’s show-winning RX-7 has completed a mind melting transformation into one of the finest on the planet. Words: Daniel Bevis. Pics: Olliee Wildsmith.
‘Street’s closed, pizza boy!’ The association between hot Japanese motors and transporting cheesy Italian flatbreads from point A to point B is well-established in movie lore; that iconic – if fleeting – moment in The Fast and the Furious made audiences across the globe think ‘Yeah, actually I could go for a little pepperoni with my Wankel’. And of course the Toyota pizza delivery truck in Toy Story became a sort of mini Pixar meme, popping up in the background in Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Cars and Monsters Inc.
Inevitable, then, that when Adam Robinson – the owner of this rather fancy FD RX-7 – got a pizza delivery gig at the age of eighteen, he’d be flinging the boxes from his rotary-powered coupé. ‘It wasn’t my daily driver at the time,’ he concedes, ‘I also had a Peugeot 206. But hey, when that was broken…’
As with so many petrolhead tales, this one begins with a long-standing childhood yearning and the acquisition of a cheap hatchback at seventeen. The inevitable Peugeot ended up adorned with alloys, bodykit, custom interior and boot build, and this all acted as a fine foundation for Adam to learn the craft before diving headlong into the fragrant waters of Japanese car ownership. Which, frankly, is where he’d really wanted to be all along. The RX-7 began as a sideline project, the 206 remaining for daily-driver duty, but that ultimately stepped aside for an MX-5. So Adam was double-Mazda-ing, the roadster receiving Rota rims and a respray in Audi Ibis White…and it was this state of affairs that sparked off an idea for the RX-7 at the back of his mozzarella-addled mind.
Of course, life marches relentlessly on, and Adam decided to try his hand at a SEAT Léon Cupra – y’know, just for variety – which again received the full works, before making way earlier this year for, of all things, an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. But the faithful FD pizza runner was always biding its time in the background like some kind of triangle-powered ninja, just waiting for its moment to shine.
‘They make a cracking pair, the RX-7 and the Aston’ he grins. But despite the trappings of material success, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. When the time came to make a proper job of his rotary Mazda, Adam was determined to do the thing properly from top to bottom.
‘I’ve always had a soft spot for them, it’s a truly iconic Japanese car,’ he continues. ‘And I don’t think the lines and the styling have aged at all. Combine that with insane tuning potential, and the noise and performance of the 13B, and you’ve got the base for a pretty serious project car.’
He’s not wrong. But even with the impetuousness of youth, the 18-year-old Adam, back in 2010, wasn’t going to rush into anything. Along with his father, they searched far and wide for the ideal FD… ‘We were very cautious, having heard the usual rotary horror stories,’ he recalls. ‘We viewed several cars that weren't up to standard, then put a deposit on another, but during the test drive it didn't feel quite right – so the search continued. We finally found this one on Pistonheads, and travelled down to London for it from Yorkshire!’
It was certainly worth the trip; having had just one UK owner since it was imported in 2003 – a Top Gear cameraman, no less – it was near stock, aside from a set of Tein coilovers (which are still going strong on the car) and an aesthetic upgrade to ’99-spec. In its former life in Japan it had been sprayed dark blue, but its original red was still in evidence under the bonnet and, apart from a minor fluid leak, all was looking pretty rosy.
‘It was never the intention to modify it to this high a level or turn it into a show-winner,’ Adam ponders, thoughtfully scratching his chin as he considers just how he’s arrived at this point. ‘It was exceptionally tidy when we bought it, and it remained unchanged for around a year, before a slight drifting incident occurred due to me being a bit heavy-footed in the wet! The car span, damaging the front bumper, headlight, front wing, bonnet and rear quarter – this actually happened on my dad's birthday when he was on holiday on a cruise… I couldn't bring myself to tell him, so I got my brother to do it when he returned!’
But once the paternal rage had subsided a little, he and Adam started discussing various alternatives. You see, as the Chinese will gladly tell you, their symbol for ‘crisis’ consists of the two separate symbols for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’.
Bad things often lead directly to good. This crumpled Mazda cloud was wearing a bold silver lining, as it gave the guys an excuse to really start developing the project. Adam was adamant that the thing needed to be wider, and a chat with Leon Chan at EP Racing cemented in his mind the conviction that an RE Amemiya widebody kit was the only way to go. So the RX-7 was duly shipped off to Elite Bodyworx in Hull, along with a vast bundle of bits, for the transformation to commence.
‘The colour choice was a hard decision,’ Adam recalls. ‘With the full bodykit fitted, it was obvious a change was the best way to go, and various people told me to go crazy – lime green, orange, purple, pink…but I wanted to keep it classy at the same time, so a fresh and bright Audi Ibis White was chosen.’ Echoes of that previous Mazda project here, of course! ‘And there was also my love of carbon-fibre always at the back of my mind – I think the two work really well together here. Indeed, later on down the line various carbonfibre bits were added, including an Ings Z-Power rear wing, RE Amemiya rear light cover, FEED skirts and canards, roof spoiler, door handles, the list goes on and on!’
With the broad-hipped body perfected and crisply gleaming, it was glaringly obvious that some more aggressive wheels would be required. ‘I’ve always loved Rotas, and the Grid Drifts were one of my favourites, so this was an easy choice,’ Adam enthuses. ‘I spoke to Ben at Rare Rims, who massively helped me with the correct sizes and offsets I'd require, and they'd just released the new Hyper Black at the time which matched perfectly with the white/carbon look I was going for.’ Nice when things start to come together, isn’t it? The cosmos was clearly smiling on this unique and fastidiously tailored project.
With the car sitting on the comfortable side of badass, Adam found himself using it more and more, the combination of sweet FD chassis and howling rotary proving irresistible. Somewhat inevitably, however, the increased usage began to take its toll on the rotor tips, with the engine ultimately losing compression and crying ‘enough’. Which was great news, obviously, as it meant that Adam could go to town on that, too!
‘I knew what had to be done,’ he impishly grins. ‘The car was trailered across to #WGT-Auto-Developments
in Middlewich, where the engine was removed and the bay fully stripped. The engine would be stripped down too and rebuilt with large street ports and various other modifications while the car went in to have the bay smoothed and sprayed in Candy Turquoise, to stand out against the polished parts to be added. WGT eliminated anything unnecessary from the bay, along with fitting a V-mount radiator and intercooler for a more efficient setup. At this point, it was also clear that to achieve the power we sought, it made sense to ditch the twin-turbo set up and go for a single-turbo conversion in the form of a TO4S. The car was transformed, and I have to say a huge thanks to WGT who carried out all the work, and to Pip who built and mapped the engine for a safe but usable fast-road setup.’
It’s becoming obvious here that, not only is Adam a man who knows what he wants, but he’s also dogged in his pursuit of perfecting every infinitesimal detail. Just take a look at the interior. Having procured a bundle of cool parts from another RX-7 belonging to Steve, the owner of EDGE Automotive (the Recaro Pole Position seats, Nardi steering wheel, and custom handbrake and gearknob), Adam’s mind was buzzing away with the possibilities offered by the fact that their turquoise hue rather neatly matched his new engine bay. While he was in the process of chewing over the options with Steve, some lowlife scrote broke into the RX-7, trashing the interior with emulsion paint and a dry powder fire extinguisher – seriously, what goes through some people’s heads? Jealousy is a powerful demon. But this was just another positive step from Adam’s sunny-side-up perspective, as it gave him the chance for a full interior revamp.
‘Everything was removed,’ he says, ‘and I mean everything – the full interior of the car was stripped. Steve at EDGE spent an exceptionally long time with me discussing various options, styles, materials and colours, and I was massively guided by his experience in this area. And boy, was he right! We went for a black Alcantara retrim throughout, with turquoise stitching and blue leather stripe, giving that supercar feel without being too in-your-face.’ The quality of the workmanship really has to be seen to be believed, from the arrow-straight embroidery to the embossed Kanji characters on the dashboard, it’s like no FD you’ve ever seen.
Naturally, the fact that Adam’s fastidiously built the car up as a flawless show-winner (and that he also has an Aston Martin to play with) doesn’t stop him from wringing the single-turbo 13B-REW’s neck at any given opportunity. ‘I do take it to a lot of shows, but it’s primarily used as a fast-road car and I’ll never shy away from using it as Mazda intended,’ he assures us.
‘The car really does tell a story, from what it was like six-years ago to what it’s become, and it never fails to make me smile – the screamer pipe sounds insane on full throttle! I’ve got plans for 500bhp+ in the near future, but for now I’m just enjoying it.’ We imagine that’s probably something of an understatement. Here’s a guy who’s loving life, realising his dreams, taking care of business. And hey, if he needs to deliver a pizza, he can do it pretty damn quickly.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS #Mazda-RX-7
ENGINE 13B-REW 1308cc twin-rotor Wankel , large street port by WGT Auto Developments, #Garrett-TO4S
single turbo conversion, mapped by Pip at WGT to 1.0 bar boost, #GReddy
Long Runner manifold, wastegate and screamer pipe, WGT V-mount intercooler and aluminium radiator, uprated fuel system – bigger injectors, fuel pressure regulator, uprated pump, DM Motorsport anodised blue pulley set and red pulley bolts, #DM-Motorsport
anodised blue turbo trumpet, DM Motorsport anodised blue reservoir caps, Samco blue silicone hoses, HKS blow off valve, WGT air separation tank, polished upper intake manifold, alternator, filler neck and throttle body, polished GReddy intake elbow, polished covers, air-con deleted, battery relocated, Candy Turquoise smoothed engine bay, under-bonnet and servo
TRANSMISSION 5-speed manual
SUSPENSION Tein Pro-Street fully adjustable coilovers, Powerflex anti-roll bar polybushes
BRAKES EBC drilled discs and Red Stuff pads, colour-coded white calipers, braided lines
WHEELS 10x18in Rota Grid Drift wheels in Hyper Black with 235/40/18 Federal RS-R (front) and 255/35/18 Toyo R1-R (rear), 326 Power anodised blue extended spike nuts, Rota spoke sticker and Kanji characters on inner rim inside rear wheels in custom glitter turquoise
EXTERIOR Audi Ibis White, RE Amemiya GT widearch kit, Pro-Street rear diffuser, carbon-fibre front and side canards, vented bonnet and carbon-fibre rear light cover, INGS Z-Power carbon-fibre rear spoiler, carbon-fibre Shine Auto Project upper spoiler, FEED side skirts and door handles, rear canards, petrol cap, wing mirror caps, rear bumper LED lights and bonnet aerocatches, CarShopGlow LED front bumper lights, sleepy-eye headlight kit, anodised blue canard and rear quarter bolts, matte black front tow hook
INTERIOR Recaro Pole Position seats re-trimmed in black Alcantara with turquoise stitching, turquoise leather stripe and embroided Recaro and EDGE Automotive logo, retrimmed black Alcantara door cards, dash, speedo dome, parcel shelf (with custom inserts), rear seats, floor mats, centre console, glovebox and dash panels, all with turquoise stitching and leather stripe where appropriate, Nardi GT steering wheel retrimmed in turquoise leather, snap-off boss, Audi S1 gearknob retrimmed in turquoise leather along with gear gaiter and handbrake, gloss black custom air vent gauge pod with Defi Advance boost and RPM gauges, gloss black wraparound dash plastics, A’PEXi Hand Commander mount trimmed in black Alcantara, aluminium windscreen air vent powdercoated matt black, carbon-fibre sills
THANKS ‘The Team at Elite Bodyworx in Hull – they’ve done a fantastic job fitting the wide arch bodykit and respraying. Buzz from Elite has assisted me through five years of building this car, fitting various parts and carrying out the majority of the work on the exterior. Steve at EDGE Automotive. WGT Auto Developments. Vinyl Scene – Steve works wonders with vinyl and graphics, he's exceptionally friendly and ensures every little detail is covered. EP Racing for supplying the bodykit and various other parts along the way! Rare Rims. FDUK RX-7 Club and Forum – help from these guys has been most welcome! Adam Blackshaw – for all my shiny polished engine bits. And finally, my dad, for many long nights in the garage and putting up with me with any silly ideas, and for all the help I’ve needed along the way!’
‘I’LL NEVER SHY AWAY FROM USING IT AS MAZDA INTENDED’
developments have been operating since 1981, offering a full range of automotive services but focusing on the RX-7 in particular – founders pip and David are both trained #Mazda
technicians. ‘pip and the guys at WGT fully stripped my bay down to a bare shell and arranged for it to be painted in candy turquoise, while they street-ported and rebuilt my 13b,’ says Adam. ‘They then supplied and fitted the to4s single turbo, and mapped the car so that it’s now boasting a nice 450bhp for a fast-road setup.’
LIVING ON THE EDGE
Edge automotive are an award-winning custom interiors outfit based in rugby, and they’re the guys who helped knock the insides of this FD up a notch. ‘Steve at edge really worked his magic with this interior,’ says Adam. ‘He spent a great deal of time with me discussing various different options and ideas to really give the RX that supercar feel inside. The quality is outstanding, and his work is to a superior standard. I'd definitely recommend his services!’
‘AN RE AMEMIYA KIT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO GO’