Every July marks a special date for all RX-7 owners. For those who don’t know, the 7th of July is a date that’s reserved to celebrate the very car that cemented Mazda’s reputation in racing and performance circles. It’s been three years since Manila officially joined the annual worldwide celebration of 7's Day in 2016, and suffice to say the small tight-knit community that keeps these vehicles running is still alive and well within the city.
For this year, we’ve reserved a few spaces across Butamaru Ortigas exclusively for RX-7s that would make it to the gathering. Despite having invited a good number of owners to the meet, I anticipated that a few of them wouldn’t make it – I understand the reality of running a rotary afterall. That said, we only had a humble – yet appropriate – seven RX-7s present during the meet. Six FD3S and a lone FC3S.
These sevens, while familiar to some readers already, have continously been developed by each of its owners through the years – hence come packed with subtle changes. With different approaches and goals for each car, every RX-7 has been modified in different ways. Every year then there’s always something different at the table despite having the same cars present.
For starters, my very own Deep Green Metallic ’99 RX-7 is now sporting a new set of Gram Lights 57CR wheels compared to the Mazdaspeed MS-02s I ran last year. I made the switch to 18 inch wheels for wider tire sizing and better overall traction. I also added a side skirt I picked up from Up Garage in Japan to give the car a more streamlined profile.
Aesthetics aside, my engine bay recently received a full re-working of intercooler and radiator pipings into a V-Mount configuration. This arrangement, courtesy of ProFab Ph (yes, the same guys that hold the record for Fastest Diesel in the country), allows for better cooling thanks to direct airflow to both the radiator and intercooler.
The other, brighter green FD present is the racecar we affectionately call ‘Baygon’ (go figure where that name came from). This is effectively a stripped out racecar that has the most aggressive porting and engine setup among the rotaries in our stable. We bring this car to the circuit now and then to test the limits of what can be done to a rotary engine without all the A/C equipment in the way. While it suffered from an engine seizure out on track last March, it’s now back with a fresh – and much louder – bridge-ported motor. This car is usually trailered to-and-from events, and such was the case during the meet as well. If you need to know just how loud this car is, try to ask the other tenants around Ortigas Home Depot. They didn’t seem too happy every time we fired the car up.
The black FD at the start of the lineup is perhaps the first development car that was used to test and create a working recipe for other RX-7s that followed. Being the car of our Rotary Maestro, this car has seen several motors and gearboxes and still continues to be a guinea pig for new, more aggressive power-adding solutions. Currently running on E85 with six injectors as opposed to the standard four, it looks like we’ll see more power out of this seven soon. That said, the GT Wing out back isn’t just for show.
The orange FD that came in last is more oriented towards drag racing more than anything. Fitted with a larger turbo and a solid differential out back, that seven is known to crack into 11’s on the quarter mile. Hopefully we ought to see it break its personal best soon!
While our numbers this year weren’t as many as the past couple years, it’s still safe to say that the rotary engine community in Manila is still thriving and continuing to develop Mazda’s iconic sports car. Seeing as the years won’t get any kinder on these cars, we still have our work cut out for us to keep our pistonless machines spinning.