Builds: Sr20-powered Mazda Rx-8

When it comes to scouting out cool car builds online, one of my favorite places to visit is the builds section of the Driftworks forums. There are lots of S-chassis and other typical drift builds, but there are also some very unique project logs thrown into the mix. You’ll find everything from classic European cars being outfitted for sideways action to more modern projects like this Mazda RX-8 out of Ireland.

Just so we know what to expect, this car comes from the same mind as the SR20DET-powered Altezza that Paddy featured last year. After the Altezza sold, Brendan began the hunt for a new project car and the result of the search was this 2004 Mazda Rx-8.

As soon as the car was delivered, the tear-down began. One of the first things to go was the stock Renesis rotary engine.

From there it was on to the interior, where damn near everything was stripped out.

With the plan being to use the RX-8 as a track day special, there wasn’t much need for the creature comforts that Mazda added to the car when it left the factory.

As the car was stripped of its excess weight, parts for the build were gathered. While the thought of keeping the car rotary-powered was considered, in the end it was decided that an SR20DET swap would be a familiar and cost-effective choice for this build.

Within no time the SR20 was acquired…

…along with an RB25DET transmission with adapter plate.

Brendan is planning on doing quite a bit of custom body work, and this set of Work Meisters was used for measuring purposes. The wheels in the photo are 18″x11J and 18x”13.5J (the same wheels off the Altezza), although the sizes won’t be quite as extreme when the RX-8 is complete.

Other goodies in the growing pile of parts include this pair of Bride bucket seats with head protection.

Brendan meanwhile began building a custom hood for the car, using a pair of vents that originally came from an S15 Silvia hood.

A later view showing the vents fully molded into the factory RX-8 hood.

Next it was time for the full roll cage, as fabricated by a friend of Brendan’s by the name of Mr.Stone.

Brendan happened to have an AE86 TRD rear wing laying around, so he decided he would try to make it work with the RX-8’s trunk lid for a unique look.

The thought of an RX-8 with an 86 spoiler might sound strange, but I don’t doubt Brendan’s ability to make it look good.

A view of the front bumper and side skirts when they arrived. They won’t be installed though until they are modified to fit with the car’s widened look.

Progress on the interior with the a custom pedal box installed in place of the factory pieces.

In this view of the SR sitting in the engine bay, you can see how far back the motor sits.

In this more recent shot we see the engine and trans fully mounted in the bay, along with the V-mount intercooler setup. From here it’s just piping and other small things before the motor swap is complete.

If you’d like to follow along with the progress on this project, be sure to check out the build thread over on the Driftworks Forums. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see how the final product turns out.

Here’s hoping that Paddy will be able to shoot it in all its glory once the car is finished.

-Mike Garrett

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25 comments
danrx8
danrx8

Thinking about doing the same to my rx-8. how much did it cost you? i know how to do this all myself so i dont need to pay anyone. so how much would it cost for the engine tranny etc....

hashtagfatlaceillestlifestyleryO
hashtagfatlaceillestlifestyleryO

funny how this car has a bigger following on DriftIreland, whenever I see it on DriftWorks he updates the thread and barely anyone replies.

FlatWoodsM
FlatWoodsM

Thanks for the good articles Speedhunters. The rest of you clowns suck. 

datsunsss
datsunsss

An RX-8 powered by an SR20? Could it be any more awesome!?!?! Can't wait to see the final product, judging from the Altezza it should be fully sick! Thanks for sharing...

JBVVT_i
JBVVT_i

nice project man!!! Would he mind to send me the RX8s throttle?? hahahaha 

Numptee
Numptee

Nice build so far....but I have to wonder how the under-dash factory bracing can have so much surface rust on it for a relatively new car? I'm working on a 1992 car at the moment which has sat in my carport for about 4 years with a leaky windscreen, and it only had slightly more rust on it than that!

Andrew
Andrew

youtube PowerFab Automotive. Been there. Done that. :)

pstar
pstar

Whats with ill-cultured rednecks over the decades always, ALWAYS taking away a unique and cool rotary engine from a unique and cool rotary vehicle, putting some cheap, boring, played out, common-as-dirt engine in its place, and somehow thinking they made something cool?  Featuring an SR20 or LS powered anything is a lot like featuring cars for their ebay seats or department store alloys.

mark666
mark666

Mr.Gordan never disappoints. Every one of his builds has been pretty amazing. Definitely a build to follow. Oh, and you can keep up with his antics on his Facebook page. facebook.com/teamchihuahua2012

KietaPhillips
KietaPhillips

Wow...all I can say. Never really a fan of the rx-8's, but can't wait to see the product of his work.


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