SNEAK PEEK: Project V8 RX-7

MotoIQ Project V8 RX-7

SNEAK PEAK:  Project V8 RX-7
By Jeff Naeyaert

Normally we don’t do Project “previews” here on MotoIQ, but normally Mike hasn’t ground down 1 of his only 2 typing fingers in a power sanding accident rendering him unable to write and normally the FedEX guy doesn’t bring us as exciting stuff as he did last week!  So here it is, an introduction to Project V8 RX-7!

OK, Coleman’s Miatabusa project might very well be MotoIQ’s “Most Awesome”, but this project promises to be “Most Badass”!  The 17 year old chassis will also be near the oldest, bested only by Project Pathfinder, the most street legal and most fuel efficient believe it or not (apart from the bikes)!  The goal, 400+ California Smog legal hp in arguably one of the best “driver’s” cars ever made.

Let the flame wars begin!  Few conversations on the Internet regarding a swap of a V8 into an originally rotary powered vehicle of any variety end without some Rotard* slinging shit.  MotoIQ readers tend to be quite a bit more intelligent than the knuckledraggers on some of those other forums so we expect it to remain civilized here!  Nonetheless, we will address a number of the arguments of the Rotard along the way and support our claims with good ole fashion evidence as best we can.

*Urban Dictionary defines a Rotard as term used to describe a person who is obsessed with the Wankel design rotary engine, and usually Mazda RX7s in particular, to the point of total stupidity. In the mind of a hardcore rotard, teh RX7 is the finest automobile in modern history, and undoubtedly the best handling car evar. Most rotards will bristle and get quite defensive when confronted with factual issues relating to the fragility of their beloved engine, and will tend to make pointedly idiotic arguments to the contrary.

“The rotard was quite humbled by the depressing task of pulling apex seal shards from his broken turbine impeller, and wondered if by removing them he was upsetting the perfect 50-50 weight distribution of his RX7.”

For Project Most Badass, we decided to ditch the fragile and problematic turbo rotary which had just shit the bed at 60,000 miles with failed coolant seals despite being totally stock and immaculately cared for.  We briefly toyed with the idea of dropping in a Nissan SR20DET or a turbo VQ35HR but as we learned more about the Chevy LS series of V8 engines, especially from us working on Dai Yoshihara’s LS swapped S13 drift car, the more the idea of dropping the (gasp) Chevy engine in started to make sense.

If you Rotards out there can take a dose of logic, listen up, the LS is not your Grandpa’s small block Chevy.  It is not the loose tolerance, 1950’s designed heavy lump of iron that you might be prejudiced to think it is.  It is a fully modern, all aluminum, lightweight and highly efficient powerplant that shares only bore centers and overhead valves with its forefathers.  It is a potent package that is more compact and light than you might imagine.

MotoIQ Project V8 RX-7

There are a number of different variations of the LS engine that can be legally swapped into our FD with the least expensive option being a used LS1 engine/drivetrain combo from a junkyard.  We wanted something new and a little more powerful than the 350(ish) horsepower LS1.  For that we turned to GM Performance and their new 6.2L LS3 E-Rod Crate Engine kit.  This is the same engine found in the 2010 Camaro SS with many design improvements that lend to its increased power over the older Gen III LS engines which we’ll get into in a future installment.  The best part, GM did something awesome and cut through the red tape with the CARB fascists up in Sacramento, making the kit completely smog legal in all 50 states!  Sure there’s ways around smog if you’ve got the money and shady friends, but there’s something to be said about the peace of mind that comes with being socially responsible 😉

So last week we got the call that FedEX had dropped off our E-Rod kit at Technosquare so we scrambled down there to take a few pics and take inventory!

Stay tuned!  In the upcoming installments we’ll take an in depth look into the LS3’s design and show you why this ain’t your father’s Small Block, we’ll shine more light on its virtues that make it a perfect candidate for our Project, guide you through the installation and in the end, god-willing, take it to the smog referee for CARB certification!


GM Performance Parts

6.2L LS3 E-Rod kit from GM Performance
Technosquare’s Howard Watanabe starts snipping his way into the neatly packaged delivery from GM Performance Parts.

See the rest of the unboxing on pages 2 and 3. 

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