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c0rbin9
c0rbin9 Reader
11/29/21 8:37 p.m.

This is not the usual cheerful build or amateur racing GRM content, but I thought you all may be interested. Honestly, this car will probably not see rain, let alone track days (though I would like to autocross it at least once.) The third-generation RX-7 has been my dream car for what seems like a decade, and I finally acquired one.

There is just something awesome about all the 90s Japanese halo cars, and the FD with its twin turbos and lightweight is my favorite of the bunch. The more I searched the classifieds, the more it became clear that only one particular spec would do - an R1 or R2 in Vintage Red. I fell in love with the color and sporty spec and also like the fact that it doesn't have a sunroof, so the double-bubble roof is more pronounced.

Possible candidates came and went - I even almost won an extremely nice R1 on eBay, but was shut out of bidding at the last minute due to an unexpected verification screen (thanks eBay). That one really stung! I eventually got into contact with the winner and found out that my high bid was $1,000 higher than his, so I would have won the car. In retrospect though, I'm glad things worked out as they did...

A few weeks ago, a seller that I had previously been in contact with finally got back to me and let me know that their car had just been inspected at Sakebomb, and would I still be interested in the car. Yes I would! This particular car had been posted on Craigslist with scant information, and it took a while to get enough information from the seller. What I did know is that it had 14k miles (yes, 14k!) and was stock except for an aftermarket head unit. The history of the car is a bit unclear, but the Carfax shows it has been in California its entire life and had been driven sparingly for the past ~15 years. Of course, engine compression was my primary concern, and I asked the seller if they could bring the car to Sakebomb in Fremont for a PPI, which they eventually did. With the PPI indicating healthy compression (and noting that the tires were original, backing up the mileage claim!), I made the seller a final offer, and they accepted.

My plan was to fly out to California to look at the car, drop it off at Sakebomb for some much needed fluid/filter changes, and then have the car be picked up from their shop on a trailer for shipment back to Texas. Here are some photos of the car when I first saw it in the seller's driveway:

The Cressida in the background was, oddly enough, part of the Craigslist ad for the car - perhaps part of the reason the seller did not have more serious local interest in the car. Long story short, I was blown away by the condition of the car. It is as close to a new FD as I have ever seen, though admittedly my experience is limited. Even the A/C worked! The test drive was only my second time driving an FD. I did my best to inspect for accident damage and everything seemed gravy, though who am I kidding, I was going to buy the car as soon as I saw it! After a brief hiccup at the California DMV, we had the paperwork squared away, and I was sitting alone in the DMV parking lot with a new car and nowhere in particular to be. On the way to SBG:

My initial driving impressions were very positive. This is by far the fastest car I have owned (I'm weird and have only owned cheap 80s/90s German/Japanese cars, though have driven faster ones), and I was surprised at how much push it has stock, even though I was reluctant to push it too hard. The rotary engine is awesome and has this addicting sound that I can only describe as a metallic "ripping" - videos don't do it justice. The ride to SGB was mostly uneventful, though it made me realize the need for paint protection film. Despite the low mileage, the paint is pretty swirled out and has some heavier clearcoat scratches where someone aggressively rubbed the paint (probably to remove a stain), so a paint correction is in order. Just a light polish - my primary goal is to preserve the clear coat (which I believe to be mostly if not 100% original), not correct every tiny scratch. Arrival at Sakebomb:

The guys at Sakebomb were very hospitable and even took the time to hear me complain about the DMV. Was fun hanging out at the shop, highly recommended visit if you need to bring your car for service in the area. The car was there for changes of the transmission, differential, and clutch fluids as well as the coolant. Spark plugs, fuel filter, and oil had already been done. Initially thought they wouldn't be able to remove the wheels to do brake fluid due to the lack of a wheel lock key, but later found out that the original wheel lock key is actually in its holder on the left side of the cargo area with the rest of the jacking tools. So brake fluid is still on the list. One thing the guys at SB mentioned before the fluid flush was that it shifts poorly - I had noticed it was difficult to get into first/second during the test drive, but thought maybe FD gearboxes are just balky. I actually have a receipt from 1995 showing that the transmission was rebuilt by Mazda due to issues with 5th and reverse, makes me wonder if they did it 100% correct. It still is a bit crunchy/high effort going into second, though I'm not sure what is normal on these. My current daily is an Integra GS-R with that famous Honda shift quality, so my reference point may be skewed.

The car arrived to my house last week and it is great. Can't drive it much until I get new tires - I'm currently on the hunt for a set of unchromed stock wheels (unreinforced). Last week I greased the door hinges with Wurth HHS, protected the interior plastics (Aerospace 303 Protectant), and gave it a quick wash with Optimum No Rinse - no point in going all out since it is getting paint corrected later.

What are my plans for the car? Mainly return it to 100% stock (I would like to replace the head unit and wheels with stock non-chrome items - will also give me an excuse to store the original tires) and get the PPF installed ASAP so it can be driven without worrying too much. The doors (especially the driver's) requires a good slam to get it to shut even after greasing the hinges, so some realignment of the striker may be in the future. May replace the stock radiator/AST as a preventative. Right now I'm going to enjoy the car stock for the foreseeable future, but also plan on owning it for a long time and would eventually like to do a catback, downpipe, PowerFC, and have it all tuned by Chris at RP in Garland. A few more pics:

Waiting at the gate to take off for California. The photo is of the plane I flew on, a 787 Dreamliner, which was very nice. Unusual for a domestic flight to be on a big widebody plane like this.

Here is a photo from the delivery. You can see the FD peaking out on the top. Very exciting moment.

Taking delivery #2 (I have always wanted to say "taking delivery.") The whole shipping operation from Plycar was very professional and impressive. There was a C7 Corvette below my car, and a Porsche 959 in front... driver said it was a replica. The truck pulling up on my residential street caused quite the commotion on Sunday night and brought damn near half the neighborhood outside to watch. A couple of kids were enamored with the FD.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/29/21 8:44 p.m.

In reply to c0rbin9 :

That is totally wicked!  Nice story and nice score!

Jay_W
Jay_W SuperDork
11/29/21 8:45 p.m.

That is my favorite car from the land of the rising sun and still looks fantastic. Nice score, man. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
11/29/21 8:46 p.m.

Sweet car; that's a great example of what is still one of the best looking cars made. I hope you get to enjoy it a ton. 

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/29/21 8:50 p.m.

Ohhh man, I am so happy for you! What a car and what a story already!!

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
11/29/21 8:55 p.m.

Nice car - you scored a great car.  

jh36
jh36 GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/29/21 9:01 p.m.

Gorgeous!  I love what you have!  Congratulations. 

HNNNNNGH!

c0rbin9
c0rbin9 Reader
11/29/21 9:04 p.m.

Thanks guys. If anyone else has an FD, I would love to see it.

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/29/21 10:22 p.m.

Congrats 

Sakebomb and RP and great so you're in good hands. I'd definitely do the downpipe - and maybe a highflow cat to preserve the original 

Regarding the shifting, have RP check the clutch fork. They break. Also bleed the slave. 

c0rbin9
c0rbin9 Reader
11/29/21 10:38 p.m.
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) said:

Congrats 

Sakebomb and RP and great so you're in good hands. I'd definitely do the downpipe - and maybe a highflow cat to preserve the original 

Regarding the shifting, have RP check the clutch fork. They break. Also bleed the slave. 

Thanks for the advice on the clutch fork, I'll keep that in mind. My first thought was air in the clutch lines, so I had them bleed the clutch when it was at Sakebomb. They also replaced the transmission fluid with Redline MT90, though I have heard mixed opinions on that fluid on RX7Club. I'm not the biggest fan of Redline and I asked if they could use something else, but that's all they had on hand. Clutch fork sounds like a good thing to check.

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/29/21 11:30 p.m.

One of the most beautiful Japanese cars ever. I would kill for a stock low mileage one. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/30/21 12:30 a.m.

Congrats!  I've actually never been to SBG (it's about 20 miles away), although I've thought about taking mine there to see if they can figure out why my clutch is doing weird things.

I put MT90 in my transmission when I did that clutch, it was vastly better than whatever the previous owners of my car had put in.  I actually thought the transmission was broken when I got the car, it was that hard to shift it properly.  After changing the fluid out it shifts fine -- not as smooth as a Miata or an S2000, but nothing to complain about.

 

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/21 7:46 a.m.

All the RX7 s I had really liked Mobil 1 gear oil in the trans. The biggest thing I noticed was lower trans temps and yes better shifting. I never tried Redline in them so I don't have a data point for comparison. 
 

Also this is absolutely Grassroots. People mistake Grassroots for being cheep. It is not. Grassroots means at the local level aka non professional. It does not imply cheapness. You can have a grassroots Ferrari club/event.  Grassroots is people getting together at the local level and doing something together or having a common goal.  Net worth or what you spend or have is not part of the definition.  

Opti
Opti Dork
11/30/21 8:00 a.m.

Congrats. That is a beautiful car. I looked for about a year and never came across one as clean as yours. Im a little green over here.

KyAllroad
KyAllroad UltimaDork
11/30/21 8:48 a.m.

A friend of mine autocrosses one locally.  He's owned it for over 20 years, maybe since new I'm not entirely sure.  Fast and loud!

mr2peak
mr2peak Dork
11/30/21 8:56 a.m.

Welcome to the ownership experience! This one is mine, about as different from yours as possible. Going medium size single turbo in January, most of the parts are here just waiting on the downpipe. '99 spec plateless bumper will be going on, keeping the widebody, a little de-rice and more power. Had a massive wing when I bought it. Twins are maxed out at ~16psi which isn't sustainable long-term, but tons of fun.

SBG is really nice to deal with. The RX7 world is hit or miss with shops and suppliers. If you want something, generally a good idea to plan it out well in advance.


FDs are super fun to drive, and gets a lot of attention from all sorts of people. You'll have a blast.

Powar
Powar GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/30/21 9:46 a.m.

Congrats on getting exactly what you wanted! My '93 R1 isn't nearly as nice as yours, but I'm definitely having a great time with it.

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
11/30/21 10:02 a.m.

The MTL (75/80 iirc) shifts smoother when cold. The MT90 holds up better to higher temps because thicker. I think the FSM specifies 90 weight. 
Amsoil and the special, expensive Ford stuff are also good options 

c0rbin9
c0rbin9 Reader
11/30/21 11:32 a.m.
dean1484 said:

All the RX7 s I had really liked Mobil 1 gear oil in the trans. The biggest thing I noticed was lower trans temps and yes better shifting. I never tried Redline in them so I don't have a data point for comparison. 
 

Also this is absolutely Grassroots. People mistake Grassroots for being cheep. It is not. Grassroots means at the local level aka non professional. It does not imply cheapness. You can have a grassroots Ferrari club/event.  Grassroots is people getting together at the local level and doing something together or having a common goal.  Net worth or what you spend or have is not part of the definition.  

I don't think Grassroots necessarily means cheap, and some of the builds and racing efforts on here I would definitely not consider cheap! I meant more that this car is the antithesis of the GRM mentality in the sense that it will be preserved and valued as a collectors item rather than used as a tool for its intended purpose. This post also doesn't involve wrenching or racing, which most GRM user car posts seem to be about one way or another.

c0rbin9
c0rbin9 Reader
11/30/21 11:39 a.m.

Loving the photos of all these beautiful FDs!

Congrats. That is a beautiful car. I looked for about a year and never came across one as clean as yours. Im a little green over here.

 It took me 2+ years of consistently posting WTB ads on forums and FB marketplace, constantly scouring the classifieds, etc. before I found this one, on Craigslist of all places. My criteria were no accidents or rust, stock body, factory sequential twins, a decent interior, and no sunroof. I was also partial to VR and either an R1 or R2 for the extra goodies (dual oil coolers, front shock tower brace, microsuede seats, etc.). Not a super restrictive list, yet it still took two years to find a car. Good condition FDs are extremely rare, and becoming more rare by the day.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
11/30/21 12:03 p.m.

Congrats; they are one of the best looking cars of that era. I friend as a super clean all sotck example, love the car. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UberDork
11/30/21 12:16 p.m.

Beautiful and congrats. 
 

owned all the Japanese halo except RX7. FD was and is always my fave, but dont have cojones to deal with rotary or apex seals. Living vicariously through you 

 

i write this from the plane as i am also on a fly to get a car 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/21 12:31 p.m.

Wow!!!  Well bought!  An original vehicle is super hard to find, a lot of them got modded all to hell when you could find them for $10k.

 

My brain kept going "what's wrong with the powerplant frame to where you don't want to drive it? Usually those only break on big turbo cars launched on slicks" until i realized you meant paint protection film.

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
11/30/21 1:58 p.m.

Congrats! The FD is one of those cars that feels really special to drive, especially when all the bushings are in good condition and everything is still tight..

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