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.

Driver profile:

  • Name: James Wilkinson 
  • Location: Nelson
  • Occupation: Vehicle importer / salesman at WS Imports

1993 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S)

  • Engine: 13B, 1300cc, twin-rotor, bridge ported, aluminium Koyorad radiator, GReddy intake elbow, GReddy Type R blow-off valve, Trust T78 turbo, Sard external wastegate, four 850cc injectors, A’PEXi Power FC ECU
  • Drivetrain: Factory five-speed gearbox 
  • Interior: Razo gearknob, suede Momo steering wheel 
  • Exterior: Resprayed gloss white, S8 front bumper, S8 lights, S8 lip, S8 rear lights, S8 wing, Mazdaspeed side skirts
  • Suspension/brakes: Cusco strut brace, AP Racing four-pot calipers, slotted front and rear rotors
  • Wheels/tyres: 18x10.5-inch Work Emotion D9R, 225/35R18 Evergreens

NZ Performance Car: Hey James, super-clean RX-7. We understand you’re a vehicle importer — is this one of your personal vehicles?
James Wilkinson: Hey guys. Yeah, well this one I imported to sell, then I found out what was done to it and decided to hold onto it. 

It must be hard importing such rad stuff, you must be in a dilemma every time a shipment comes in. What other personal cars have you held onto?
(Laughs) Yeah it is! I have a couple I have held onto. I have a K’s Silvia S13 with 239kW (320hp), a track-spec wide-body R32 Skyline, a 522kW (700hp) GT-R R32 and a Super GI Hiace van for the daily commute and duties. 

And out of those, which one is your favourite, and why?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one! Probably the S13, as there aren’t many around like it, and it’s super fun to drive up through the hills. 

When the RX-7 landed, what state was it in, and what did you do to it?
It was in a pretty bad state. It was a dark green, the paint was all faded and the clear coat was peeling off. After complying it here in New Zealand, I had it resprayed in gloss white, added the S8 body parts, gave it a tune at NDT Developments and slammed it on big wheels. 

Do you have any further plans for the RX-7?
Na, nothing in the near future. It’s finished for now, I love the look and the power. 

Thanks for chatting to us, James. 

This article originally appeared in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 232. 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.