Weekend Warrior: big-single RX-7

Posted in Cars, People

We don't only feature fully modified vehicles in NZ Performance Car magazine — the mildly modified daily drivers get a look in too! It doesn't matter what it is, if you're passionate about it, modify it, and drive it to work every day, we'll showcase it.

  • Name: Cam Leggett
  • Location: Auckland
  • Occupation: Graphic designer

1990 Mazda RX-7 Series 5 (FC3S)

  • Engine: 13B S5, stage-two ported plates, ported exhaust ports, turbo S4 rotors, 3mm Rotary Aviation super seals, solid corner seals, S6 upper intake manifold modified to fit S5 lower intake tract, custom four-inch compression tube, custom front-mount intercooler, three-inch intake piping, Garrett GT30/40 turbo, 45mm Turbosmart external wastegate, GReddy Type R blow-off valve, AEM fuel pump, AEM fuel-pressure regulator, four Injector Dynamics ID1000s, Aeroflow fuel rail, Speedflow fuel lines and fittings, RX-8 NGK plugs, custom steam-pipe manifold, three-inch front pipe, custom three-inch centre pipe, twin Fujitsubo stainless mufflers, Speedflow oil lines and fittings, A’PEXi Power FC
  • Drivetrain: Factory five-speed, LSD plate diff
  • Interior: Nardi steering wheel, Trust gear knob, Recaro driver seat, Omori boost gauge
  • Exterior: Ganador mirrors
  • Suspension: KTS adjustable coilovers, Cusco rear strut brace, front strut brace
  • Wheels/tyres: 18x9.5-inch Volk Racing TE37, 225/40R18 Nankang Ventus R-S2

Hey Cam, that’s one seriously clean RX-7 you have there. What originally attracted you to the RX-7, and how long have you owned it?

Thanks guys, I really wanted a genuine Series 5. She’s a 1990 and manufactured near the end of the year, so one of the last few ever produced. The other attraction was its colour — they look best in black, in my opinion. Another plus is she’s a GT-X, which is the lightweight model tipping in at 1250kg. I’ve owned her for almost two years now.

Had working at NZ Performance Car influenced you into the rotary scene, or is it something you’ve always had a thing for?

When I was a young lad my brother had a couple of RX-3s, so he made sure I was a Mazda rotary enthusiast from a young age. Over the years I have owned many performance imports, and I can say working at NZ Performance Car makes you want to try all types of flavours, however, the Mazda RX-7 has always been dear to me, as has the Mazda rotary engine.

What was the reason for the engine upgrade, and what work was completed? 

I really enjoy weekend driving on open country and coastal roads, along with the odd track day with mates, so I wanted the build to be a solid foundation of good performance and reliability along with the engine set-up I always dreamed of. I opted for quality parts in the build, and brand-new items in all the important places. The block was fully rebuilt, and a big Garrett turbo and manifold was fitted along with a high-quality fuel system for plenty of give at high boost levels. A trick custom intake compression tube and intercooler set-up was made with optimal breathing and cooling in mind. I chose Speedflow lines and fittings to keep oil and fuel pressures up. The engine’s managed by an A’PEXi Power FC ECU. She performs extremely well in a very safe run-in map (170kW at 7psi). I look forward to dropping in the 15psi spring!

What was the reason for going with the S6 intake manifold? 

The Series 6 intake and throttle body is a good upgrade, as it has far superior flow and increases low- to mid-range response and torque while being much better suited for a large turbo application. It also looks way nicer.

Do you have any future plans for the RX-7, or is she perfect?

I’m 90 per cent there. I would like an OEM driver seat and stereo to tidy up the interior to keep it simple and original, and maybe drop in a bolt-in half cage. The TE37s you see here are on loan from my good mate at Lee Sang Racing, as these are my dream wheels for the car, she will go back on her genuine BNR32 GT-R wheels which look pretty tough, too. Other than that, I’m 100-per-cent happy. A quick big thank you to Lee Sang Racing for all your knowledge and help, Kevin for his quality workmanship and attention to detail, and Jacky for the awesome dyno tune, cheers guys! 

Thanks for chatting to us Cam, we’ll see you at the next track day! 

Photos: Cam Leggett

This article was originally published in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 226. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below:

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.