The best thing about owning a car like this 1993 Mazda RX-7 is the infinite aftermarket support that, even decades later, is still churning out new and exciting performance and aesthetic parts. The worst part about owning a highly sought car like this is that same infinite aftermarket support that tugs at an owner’s best judgment, in some cases, can turn a JDM hero car into a rolling parts catalog.
For Derek Correia, owner of this FD R1, nine years of ownership have resulted in a clean, subtle build and a personal victory both in securing his dream car and maintaining a level of restraint to avoid straying completely from what Mazda originally intended. It might sound silly, praising someone for not snatching up every conceivable upgrade on the planet, but take a closer look at this immaculate example and you’ll understand how sometimes less really is more.
The Big Day
October 30, 2012, was a special day for Correia. “On that day, a pretty much stock twin-turbo 1993 R1 with a blown coolant seal landed on my driveway … with the help of a tow truck,” he recalled. “She still managed to start up with a jump and I was able to drive her to SMG Racing before we began its teardown and rebuild.”
Just 23 years old at the time, Correia had spent years telling anyone within earshot how he was dead set on owning an FD. He’d gone over the specs and potential parts list far too many times and spent countless hours behind the wheel of an RX-7 at full throttle, dashing around “High Speed Ring” in Gran Turismo‘s digital playground. When he finally got an RX-7 of his own, Correia’s list of modifications he’d long kicked around in his head turn into a real-life obsession.
There are certain modifications that most RX-7 owners contemplate from the very start, and Correia followed suit. In his case, however, there was no period of back and forth. The moment his RX-7 touched down at SMG, the car’s factory twin turbos, along with their convoluted and problematic vacuum hoses, were removed. In their place went a single Precision 6266 unit that hangs from an SMG turbo manifold and is backed by a TiAL 44-mm wastegate.
You can spot the GReddy V-mount cooling setup that takes advantage of the open real estate between the engine and front bumper, but what you can’t see is the rotary’s mild street port and RA Super Seals. With fuel supplied by ID1700x and fed by an Aeromotive fuel pump under the watchful eye of a classic A’PEXi Power FC, an easy 429 hp at the wheels with just 16 psi of boost was realized. The engine setup has served him well for years, but Correia has more plans for the future. “The next step will be pulling the engine, painting the bay, and moving forward with a wire tuck along with upgrading to a Haltech Elite 1500,” he added.
The “just right” ride height was achieved with Fortune Auto’s 500 Series coilovers loaded with Swift springs in 10k front/12k rear rates, and the aged factory bushings were ditched for Super Pro polyurethane. A set of 18-inch TE37 SAGA wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes R888R rubber helps keep the car on the straight and narrow, while the anodized matte bronze finish is befitting of the car’s bright red exterior.
A pair of factory seats are used inside the cabin, though low mileage R1 suede versions replaced the originals and the factory steering wheel spot was taken over by a Nardi Deep Corn. A wider gas pedal, courtesy of Garage Alpha, is found on the driver’s side, and a Sake Bomb Garage Spirit R footrest occupies the passenger footwell—both just above plush Mazda Cherry Blossom floor mats. Through the bulbous rear window, you’ll spot the polished Next Miracle X-bar with its butterfly sidebars bolted in place. The majority of the remaining interior remains original-issue. It’s in excellent condition, almost in defiance of the car’s near 30-years of service.
The Rush Is Over
When Correia first took hold of his RX-7, he did everything he could to get the car roadworthy, from weekly parts purchases and putting in as much overtime as possible to support the almost non-stop spending. The following summer, with the car officially hitting the street, all of his hard work paid off. The eight years that have followed that initial race against the clock slowed considerably and Correia has been able to keep the car on the road and in stellar condition. “I’m happy to say it’s still not done since half of the fun is in the build,” he exclaimed.
Photos courtesy of Rafael Rodriguez
1993 Mazda RX-7 R1
Owner: Derek Correia
Engine: Banzai Racing poly motor mounts; mild street port; RA Super Seals; Precision 6266 ball-bearing turbo; Tial 50mm blow-off valve, 44mm wastegate; SMG Racing turbo manifold, racing downpipe; GReddy V-mount intercooler kit, aluminum radiator, compression elbow; Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, 340lph fuel pump; ID1700x injectors; Vibrant AN fuel lines; Full Function Engineering fuel rails; JIC exhaust; Mangaflow mid muffler, Ti muffler; A’pexi Power FC ECU
Power: 429 whp, 350 lb-ft of torque
Drivetrain: JDM 5-speed transmission, Turbo II differential; ACT XT 4-puck clutch; Banzai Racing transmission brace, differential brace
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