Friday, April 19, 2013

Buyer Story: Savannastang: 1979 Mazda RX-7 w/5.0 V8 Swap

 We love getting emails from people who purchased a car on the Daily Turismo because it gives us closure about cars that we wanted to buy.  The cars on these pages aren't featured because we are getting some massive kickbacks from sellers, they are here because we think they are awesome and would want to drive them.  This is certainly the case for the 1979 Mazda RX-7 w/5.0 V8 swap featured in January 2013 and we recently recieved a nice email with photos from its new owner, Alex N.

 Alex N reported that the acquisition of his V8 powered RX-7 went smoothly with the exception of some unexpected rust which he reports isn't that bad.  The RX-7 looks great in the photos he sent us and seems to be properly used.  It also sounds properly gritty & raucous in this youtube video.

Some canyon carving...

Parked at the top...

A Japanese car show...

It is good to see that Alex is showing off the sweet 'Merican V8 under the hood of that RX-7 every chance he gets...we'd do the same.  The following are some specs he shared in the comments of the original post:

-Stock 1991 Mustang 302 mated to a T5 trans
-2 1/2" straight pipe exhaust to a flowmaster 60 muffler
-aftermarket Crane coil

-Chassis and body
-4 point roll cage
-Pacific body kit and wing

-Suspension and rear end
-All suspension and rear end was updated to 1985 GSL-SE parts
-4x114.3 bolt pattern instead of the stock 4x100
-larger brakes
-Koni Yellow struts
-Unknown springs most likely racing beat or eibach
-worn out steering box that needs a rebuild or replacement
-4.08 rear end gear
-currently on 205/60/14 tires mounted to 14x5.5 GSL-SE aluminum wheels

-Autometer tach with shift light
-carpet stripped by previous owner
-ripped seats

curb weight: 2450
whp: around 220
torque: 270lb-ft

Current 0-60 is just under 5 seconds if I can get grip.

Overall the car was a good buy. I love it. I've never driven anything that is fun to drive at all speeds. It's constantly engaging you as a driver. It's just as fun running to the post office as it is driving through the hills. Going down a main street in town it turns heads and gathers attention. At carshows not so much, people who actually take the time to look at it appreciate it and spend at least 10 minutes talking to me about it asking questions. That being said it did some with some problems. There is some minor surface rust on the interior and a portion of the spare wheel well was cut out. There are countless wiring problems and grounding issues with the swap, tach, and water temp gauge installs. The headlights don't go down, rear defroster doesn't work, and the battery drains itself if the car isn't started every week.

All of this being said I wouldn't trade this car for anything. I feel connected to it when I drive. If there is anything else you want to know just ask.

Got your own buyer story to share with us?


  1. ~ i've got a driving impressions question for you, Alex. presuming you have some wheel-time in a stock, or at least a rotary powered RX-7, how does your RX-V8 compare? i'm asking as an enthusiastic fan of this type of conversion.

    1. I've driven a stock 1980 RX7. The car handles and is balanced as well as it could as if it had a rotary still in it. I'd have to say, the positioning of the engine is one of the most important parts of the swap. It is very important to keep the car as a front midship set up. The car in stock form handles beautifully, the idea of swapping in a v8 seems like it would completely ruin the handling of the car. After driving the car you'll realize that it actually makes the car better. The car has a perfect 50/50 weight balance, but the center of mass has changed more towards the engine. The car is extremely neutral. It would rather slide sideways with all four wheels than understeer. I haven't felt any hint of the snap oversteer that these cars are infamous for. If the tail end does come out a quick countersteer is all that you need to correct it. The cars acceleration is absolutely brutal. It breaks the tires free in first and second gear but its completely controllable at any speed. Anything I left out?

    2. ~ that is about as concise and complete as i could possibly understand without driving the car for a few weeks! thanks very much. i've driven the stock RX and respect the way it feels. to improve upon that with a 5.0 ...
      ! can't even believe the fantastic deal you've made. very special car, many happy miles ahead.

    3. Haha thank you. I'm absolutely in love with the car. I am going to go to a ford 8.8 rear end. The 4.08 rear end is a bit too low for daily driving the car. I've been able to push 25mpg with it. I plan on putting as many miles on the car as I can.


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