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 |   |  1993 Mazda RX-7 - Sacrilicious
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1993 Mazda RX-7 - Sacrilicious

A Mazda RX-7 with all your favorite JDM parts and the soul of Toyota's venerable Supra

Benjamin Hunting
May 1, 2019
Photographer: Danh Phan

Death, taxes, and the agony of rotary purists: three things that can be counted on from now until the end of time—especially if you decide to build a car like Khiem Pham's '93 Mazda RX-7. At first glance, Khiem's FD might appear to be your typical well-developed, piston-free street warrior, but pop the hood and you'll be confronted by the Wankel enthusiast's natural enemy: a Toyota 2JZ-GTE.

  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 Re Amemiya GT2 Wing

"When I was young, maybe 15, 16 years old, I would flip back and forth about whether I wanted a Supra or an RX-7," he explains. "I had recently sold a project and was looking for my next one, and an old friend suggested I look into FDs. When I saw how much cheaper they were compared to Supras of the same vintage, I picked one up."

For Khiem, it was the beginning of a journey that would see him simultaneously realize his twin Toyota/Mazda fantasies within the same chimeric car, because almost as soon as he got the coupe home to Houston, Texas, from Colorado, the hunt was on for a Supra-sourced 2JZ to swap under the hood. Some of the groundwork had already been done, as the car featured a smaller displacement 1JZ from a previous swap, but it wouldn't last long, as Khiem executed his ultimate vision.

  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 Toyota 2Jz Gte Swap

"Everything about the entire cooling system had to be changed, because the FD mounts wouldn't work at all. I installed a Tech2 subframe and engine mount system to snug it in," he says. "The hood, too, needed an extra 6 to 8 inches of clearance before it would close over the taller motor, which is partly why I went Tech2 in that department. I also ended up using an R154 transmission, because the Mazda unit simply wasn't strong enough to handle the torque I was planning for—an issue that's also cropped up with the stock rear end that's still in the car, and which will need replacing soon."

  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 Car Shop Glow Led Taillights

Working entirely on his own, including installing the TCP Magic widebody kit, RE Amemiya bumper and wing, and prepping the vehicle for its silver Lexus paint, it took Khiem roughly a year from the time the RX-7 was delivered until he was able to finish connecting the AEM EMS Series 2 swap harness, turn the key, and fire up its newly transplanted heart. Tackling all the work himself, he kept the 2JZ's internals stock but built the rest of the motor to include Brian Crower cams, 2,150cc injectors, a Sleeper Designs billet intake manifold and fuel rail, and a Powerhouse Racing manifold, to which is bolted to Precision 6766 turbo.

Feeding the entire setup is an 90mm throttle body, with cooling provided by a Koyo radiator, Spal fans, a Setrab external oil cooler, and a Blitz intercooler. A custom 4-inch downpipe and exhaust send the FD's traitorous engine note out into the world. Running 29 psi of boost, the monstrous Mazda puts down 740 whp at 6,700 rpm and 620 lb-ft of torque at 5,600 rpm on E85 fuel—enormous numbers at considerably lower engine speeds than one would find in a similarly mighty Wankel design.

  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 Bride Stradia Seats

Lest you think the FD chassis' legendary handling potential hasn't been addressed with the same level of care as the car's drivetrain double-cross, rest assured this is one RX-7 that can still hang in the corners, too. The coupe sits on Ohlins coilovers fitted with Swift springs, and a TEIN rear strut back works together with a three-point front strut bar to help keep flex under control.

  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 Tcp Magic Widebody

The brake setup is a mix of Hawk DTC pads matched with an AP Racing big brake kit and a Wilwood proportioning valve, with an ABS delete rounding out the modifications. Stickiness is further assured by way of Falken RT61K+ tires wrapped around Volk Racing TE37SL wheels. Even with the marginal 150-pound weight gain associated with the larger 2JZ engine, Khiem insists the balance of the RX-7 has been maintained and has the scale reading to prove it: The car features a near-perfect 50/50 distribution of mass front and rear.

Although all projects are by definition works in progress, Khiem is quite content with what he's achieved so far. "I might push the boost up another 2 or 3 pounds to get closer to the 800-whp mark, but I'm very satisfied with where the car is now. Besides, I've got to focus on all the factory stuff I've been breaking before I start hitting the track with it, which is my end goal for the build," he says with a laugh.

  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 Nardi Steering Wheel

Despite the predictably sour faces from the occasional rotary-loving keyboard warrior, Khiem also says the overall reaction to his eye-catching line-crosser has been positive. "People are in awe of how much power it makes," he continues. "And honestly, that's one of my favorite parts of the car, too."

  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 TCP Magic Widebody Kit
  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 TCP Magic Widebody Kit
  |   1993 Mazda RX 7 Car Shop Glow Taillights
By Benjamin Hunting
15 Articles
1993 Mazda RX-7 - Sacrilicious
Tuning Menu
Owner: Khiem Pham
Hometown: Houston, TX
Occupation: Media/Marketing
Instagram: @booja
Power: 740 whp; 620 lb-ft of torque
Engine: JDM 2JZ-GTE engine swap; Brian Crower 264° cams; Powerhouse Racing turbo manifold; Precision 6766 billet turbo (1.0 A/R divided); HKS GT2 60mm wastegate; TiAL 50mm blow-off valve; K&N filter; polished valve and plug covers; clear cam gear cover; Driftmotion oil feed and return lines, pulleys; GReddy thermostatic oil sandwich plate; Setrab 19-row external oil cooler; Blitz intercooler, oil cap; custom intercooler piping, 4-inch downpipe, 4-inch exhaust, coolant fill reservoir, fan shroud mount, oil catch can; poly exhaust hangers; Koyo radiator; Samco hoses; Spal electric fans; Fluidampr crank pulley; FEED fuel tank baffle; dual Walbro E85 fuel pumps; CJ Motorsports dual hanger pump holder; Fragola Performance -6 fuel lines and fittings; Summit Racing fuel filter; Sleeper Designs billet intake manifold, fuel rail; RMR 90mm throttle body; FIC 2150cc injectors; Fuelab fuel pressure regulator and gauge; GM flex fuel and IAT sensors; AEM 5 bar MAP sensor, 100-psi fuel pressure sensor: MAC valve boost solenoid; tucked wiring harness; relocated battery, fuse box and relay box
Drivetrain: R154 built transmission with billet forks and custom shifter extension; Clutch Masters/Sound Performance clutch; custom driveshaft; HPP 2-in1 diff cradle brace; Beech Performance short throw shifter
Engine Management: AEM Series 2 EMS
Footwork & Chassis: Ohlins DFV coilovers; Swift springs; TEIN rear strut bar; Kirk Racing roll bar; Sugiyama three-point front strut bar
Brakes: AP Racing big brake kit; Hawk DTC pads; Project Mu fluid; stainless braided lines; ABS delete; Wilwood proportioning valve
Wheels & Tires: 18x10.5 +15 Volk Racing TE37SL wheels in double pressed black finish; 265/35R18 front, 315/30R18 rear Falken RT615K+ tires; Project Kics R40 lug nuts
Exterior: TCP Magic widebody; RE Amemiya N1 05 front bumper with carbon-fiber canards, GT2 carbon-fiber wing; custom rear diffuser; Tech2 carbon-fiber hood; Craft Square carbon-fiber mirrors; Car Shop GLOW carbon-fiber lip spoiler, LED taillights, '99-spec LED combo lights; R-Magic headlights; Lexus Atomic Silver paint
Interior: Nardi steering wheel; Works Bell hub, quick-release adapter; Vertex shift knob; Bride Stradia seats, brackets, sliders, protectors; Sparco four-point cam-lock harnesses; TriPower dual gauge pod; AEM wideband, water temp gauge; Defi boost gauge; GReddy fuel pressure gauge; HKS turbo timer; AiM MXL Strada dash; carbon-fiber shifter panel and scuff plates
Thanks: David Do from Final Form USA and all the Final Form guys; Ken Suzuki from Car Shop GLOW; Nick Fousekis from Falken Tire and the Falken Tire family; Meguiar's; all my friends that have helped me along the way

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