FD + broken thumb= Higher Education

It was just after graduation, 2004.  I had decided to sell my 1990 GXL and then my second 87′ that I had painted.  I sold the GXL for $950 and the 87 for $3600.  I don’t know what happened to either of the cars.  The guy who bought the GXL said that he intended to V8 swap it.  I sold the 87 to a guy who came from the bay area.  He got a really nice car at a great price with fresh paint.  What I got was, a jump start on my way to owning the pinnacle of RX-7 design.  The 3rd generation RX-7 (FD) was in my crosshairs.  The hunt was on, I scoured the internet checking rx7club forums, craigslist, and autotrader.  After a while of searching I found a 93 Montego Blue Automatic touring model with 212k miles and it was only 350 miles away from me down in Burbank, CA.  By most peoples standards they would have passed on this car based on those facts alone.  But at $9500 the price was right.  I contacted the seller for more information, the engine was rebuilt around 180k miles and ran good.  Second owner and had been well maintained.  The car had tokico 5 way adjustable shocks, greddy intercooler pipes/elbow, a downpipe, and silicone vacuum lines. Other than that it was stock.  My friend Kyle and I made the trek down to Burbank to look at the car.  I test drove the car and fell in love, even though I hate automatics.

These pictures are from the day I brought it home

I purchased the car and drove it home with a box full of extra parts and receipts from the original owner.  It didn’t take long until I was researching the 5 speed manual swap and everything that entailed.  Which included an engine harness, clutch and brake pedals, transmission, ECU, 9.5lb flywheel, and 4.10 rear end (as opposed to the 3.90 automatic rear end).  It took about a month but I found most of the parts in one place in the bay area.  A real score.  The only problem was that I had never undertaken such a large project.  This is not a simple swap by any means and my wrenching experience had basically been, oil changes, installing an HKS intake, and a catback exhaust.  I called up my friend Ben at Rotary Evolution (Karack) on the forums who I had made friends with through many RX-7 club meets in my FC’s.  Between him and I and another friend we labored through getting everything swapped over.  Ben did most of the work and was totally awesome.  I really could not have done it without his help.  While we were pulling out the automatic the transmission slipped off the jack and landed on my thumb, which was now broken.

That same day I had a pre-enrollment interview with the rep from Universal Technical Institute (UTI) about attending and learning how to become an automotive technician.  When he asked me if I was really passionate about cars I simply held up my thumb wrapped in ice.  Seemed to be enough of an answer for him.  (More on my experience at UTI in the next post)  So we finished up the manual swap and the car…. didn’t start.  But my time was up with Ben he had to head home to Marysville.  I did more research about the swap and figured out that there was a dash connector from the engine harness that needed some re-configuring.  I’m not proud of the work I did, but I hacked up some wires and connected them according to what I had read and got the car running!  It wasn’t good work, but it was running.  I took it for a test drive and was blown away by how much faster the car was with the light flywheel, manual gearbox, and 4.10 rear end.  Night and Day difference.  I was ready to go out to slay 350z’s, Camaros, WRX’s, and S2000’s.  Needless to say this car got me in trouble pretty quickly.  A speeding ticket that nearly lost me the car straightened me out.  Knowing that a technician cannot be insured at a dealership with two points kept me on the straight and narrow.  I drove this car daily and even got to go to a few autocross events.  This car taught me a lot about driving and controlling a vehicle.  It also taught me that I needed to learn more about working on cars because I was CLEARLY in over my head with this one.

As you can see the car went through a few phases.  From stock body with no spoiler to an R1 spoiler and finally to an RE-Amemiya tail light spoiler.  I owned the car for about 30k miles and the car wouldn’t pass smog.  I had just begun working at Mercedes Benz of Oakland and making decent money but I needed a car to drive to work from Dublin to Oakland. I began shopping for STi’s, EVO’s, and C5 Z06’s.  I listed my FD for sale for $8500.  The guy who bought it flew in from Illinois to pick it up and drive it back.  Unfortunately he didn’t make it, as the motor gave out going over the Sierra Nevada mountains.  He managed to rent a truck and trailer to tow it home.  He began an LS1 swap that he never completed and sold it on to someone else who supposedly finished the job.  I attempted to find this car for a short while before purchasing my second FD last year and that was all the information I could find out about it.  Do you own my old car?  Would love to see what it’s up to now!