Over two decades after its introduction, Mazda’s third generation RX-7 remains arguably one of Japan’s sexiest creations. Sleek exterior lines matched perfectly by a racing-inspired interior and a unique power plant make for one iconic sports car. However, as with anything performance related, envelopes are pushed, boundaries are flirted with, and crazy ideas stir up trial and error rather quickly.
In the case of the FD chassis RX-7, the sometimes-temperamental rotary serves as both a source a pride and sore subject - depending of course on whom you ask. For those who completely understand and can find the right combination, the factory engine is a godsend and able to produce astounding power from the lightweight 1.3-liter Wankel.
On the other side of the spectrum are those who cannot and will not spend their hard-earned money on a rotary. Period.
Mark Mozaffarian lies somewhere in the middle. While he doesn’t necessary despise all things rotary, he purchased this 1993 Mazda RX-7 Touring Edition with the express intent of ripping its heart out in trade for GM LS power prior to doing anything else. He’d seen the swap completed successfully, and interested in building a potent streetcar, he wanted to try it himself.
We know what you’re thinking; LS swaps are common practice these days and it seems as if there are more V8-powered examples than rotary versions roaming the streets and local tracks. There may be some truth to that, but this particular Mazda RX-7 was built back in 2007, when there weren’t too many of these around.
When the car was purchased, an order was placed for a 2004 GM LS6 and a Tremec T56 tranny. The majority of LS6 accessories were sourced from a 2000 LS1, including its A/C compressor, so that Mark would have a fully functional build rather than a barebones swap and chassis. To increase performance a bit more, basic intake and exhaust upgrades were made and included an HSC intake and stainless headers, custom exhaust piping combined with a high-flow cat and a 4-inch Espelir muffler. An avid road racer, Mark wanted the Mazda RX-7 to be capable of weekend track days and opted for Racing Beat sway bars, JIC FLTA2 coilovers, spherical bearings and a Hinson bump-steer correction kit.
As wild as the engine bay was, Mark wanted to avoid prying eyes as much as possible and the exterior modification were kept to a minimum. An R1 lip, rear wing and JDM taillights were bolted on and custom rolled and flipped rear fenders allowed 18x10.5 CCW’s with a 315/30-18 Falken Azenis footprint. Working in the auto body industry, it wasn’t a big surprise when Mark had the entire car re-sprayed silver and the front end was covered with clear bra adhesive.
In the end, Mark’s efforts produced a home-built RX-7 that was sleek and timeless, sporting LS6 power while retaining all of the car’s native amenities (including A/C) and a stealthy exterior - success even by today’s standards, seven years after this build’s inception.
Behind the Build
Mark Mozaffarian’s 1993 Mazda RX-7 Touring Edition
Engine 2004 GM LS6 crate engine; T56 6-speed transmission; OBX differential; Espelir 4in. exhaust; EFI Live PCM programming; Random Technology hi-flow cat; Spec stage 1 clutch, flywheel; ¼in. steel skid plate around oil pan; HSC LS6 cold-air intake, custom aluminum driveshaft, fuel system, torque arm, adjustable power steering kit, dual-pass radiator; FAL 16in fan; ASC Speed Metal fan shroud; Odyssey 925 Gel mini-battery
Suspension JIC FLTA2 coilovers; Hinson bumpsteer correction kit; Delrin bushing set w/spherical bearings; Racing Beat anti-sway bars, front anti-sway bar reinforcement
Braking Project Mu SCR 2-pc front rotors; Hawk HPS pads front/rear
Wheels/Tires CCW Classic w/black anodized centers, 18x10 +50 front, 18x10.5 +35 rear; Falken Azenis 615, 275/35-18 front, 315/30-18 rear
Exterior Silver Stone poly paint; 50mm widened rear fenders; shaved factory emblems; R1 rear wing, front lip; JDM ’99 taillights; MIS clear bra
Interior Recaro Speed bucket seats; ASC Speed Metal brackets; Sparco Ring steering wheel, hub, quick-release hub, Lithium P shift knob; fully functional HVAC and gauges