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Rocket Bunny Mazda RX-7 Is Why You Should Never Abandon Your Dreams
Today is the 7th day of the 7th month of 2021. Do you know what that means? While most normal petrolheads or just regular people won't think much about it, rotary enthusiasts around the world are celebrating RX-7 day! Gatherings are going on all around the planet, and in some places in Japan, there are hundreds of these machines getting together for some track action.

Rocket Bunny Mazda RX-7 Is Why You Should Never Abandon Your Dreams

1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Is a Widebody Rotary Rocket That's Best Bought by Heart
So I thought the best way of celebrating 7's Day is by showing you one of the coolest FCs I've spotted in a while. And what makes this car even more special is the fact that it has been built in Europe. First of all, there aren't that many FCs on the continent to begin with, at least not that many Turbo ones. Secondly, those who do get to drive those cars around, don't often go that far in terms of tuning them, as most of their budgets are being spent on maintaining them functional. It all started with a game of Gran Turismo
I got in touch with Gianluca Nacciareti, a 34-years old petrolhead from the north of Italy. Gianluca is the owner of this Turbo II, and I was curious to learn more about his story. It seems that video games have influenced a lot of us as we were growing up, and Gianluca is not an exception. When he was a kid, his father gave him a gift that would change the way he saw cars. That gift was a Gran Turismo 1 videogame for the Playstation 1.

That's how he first realized he has a special attraction towards the RX-7, and particularly speaking towards the FD3S version of the Japanese sportscar. When he was just 19 years old, he committed himself to the, sometimes difficult task, of buying and taking care of an FD3S. At the time he bought the car, 15 years ago, it was fully stock, and the odometer only showed 33,000 miles (53,108 km). He's only driven it for about 18,000 miles (28,968 km) since, but that feels pretty much normal for these cars.

Since 2006, he's added four more cars to his collection, including a 1996 Nissan Silvia S14, a 2018 Toyota GT86, and a 2018 Abarth 595. These are cool cars, no doubt about it there, but it was the FC I was going for from the beginning. I asked Gianluca how the car came to be in his possession, and as I've often seen with these cars, there was quite an interesting story behind it all. A happy ending is not promised, but it'll be one amazing story
Back in 2013, he started browsing the classifieds in search of a first-generation RX-7, the SA22C, but he didn't have much luck in finding one. Wondering around through rotary groups in Italy, he found out that someone who owned an RX-8 had two, second-generation RX-7s as well. Gianluca was in a bit of a stalemate, as he was supposed to travel to Japan in just two weeks. "I promised myself that, when I return, if the FC is still up for sale, it would be mine. And the rest is history".

He ended up buying one of the two FCs, a car that is probably rarer than most Ferraris in Italy. It may be hard to imagine, but there are less than 30 units of the Turbo II in the country. Not an easy car to come by, indeed. I must say that I have been thinking about getting a wide body kit for my FC as well, and I always find myself torn between several kits: Rocket Bunny, RE Amemiya, and Foresight. So I felt happy to see a fellow FC owner that had made the big step of converting his car in such a manner.

As you would expect, Gianluca has made quite a few changes to the car over the years. This is a 1991 model, that was built in July, so one of the last units to hit the market. It's still running the original engine, and the odometer now shows 64,000 miles (103,000 km). A lot of usual parts have been changed or upgraded. There's a new water pump in there, oil cooler lines from Racing Beat, silicone radiator hoses, and an oil pan gasket to stop it from leaving behind oil stains wherever it is parked.Winners never quit, and quitters never win
The turbo is still stock, but it was rebuilt to have it working flawlessly. I'm surprised to see that he retained the stock top-mount intercooler as well, but unless he decides to take things over the 250 horsepower level, it should work just fine. As with any rotary project, Gianluca has been tempted to sell the car in the past, as he encountered some issues with the engine loom that proved difficult to fix. But after opting for a new, custom-made solution, he told me that he's happy he decided to fight for his dream.

I imagine that anyone who has ever owned a rotary before, and perhaps most project cars owners as well, has experienced that feeling of wanting to throw in the towel. These cars can be nerve-racking at times, and even someone with a strong will may have his patience tested with them. But everything changes when you're driving. Even though Gianluca's FC is still pushing around 200 horsepower, there are a host of other mods to make the driving experience more pleasurable.

He's worked on improving the maneuvrability of his rotary-rocket, by adding a RE Amemiya front strut bar, a Mazdaspeed rear strut bar, a Driftworks rear camber link and to top it all off, he's using the same coil overs as I am. I'm talking about the HSD Monopro units, which have proven to be very reliable so far, although every speed bump tends to feel like a nightmare if you're doing more than 5 mph (8 kph). Choose by heart, not by brain
Those aren't all the upgrades on the car, as we haven't even gone through the aesthetic changes. This FC is much wider than it was when it left the factory, as it's now rocking a full Pandem Rocket Bunny V1.5 kit, which has generated different opinions in the rotary community. Although I wasn't that big of a fan of this kit when it was launched, seeing Teruyoshi Iwai driving the wheels off of it in D1GP made me feel otherwise.

And I'm happy to see that Gianluca's car is also sporting a set of RE Amemiya mirrors, which do look fairly cool, at the expense of providing really bad visibility. For the wheels, Gianluca chose a set of Watanabe R-type rims, in 17x9.5, with a -20 ET all around. With this car being RWD, and with no driver aids, it does like going sideways quite often, so it's good he chose a set of Toyo Sport tires in 235/40/17, to provide the much-needed grip.

The car has been repainted in purple and black, and there's sort of a Midnight Purple vibe to it. With so many cars in his garage, I was curious to learn how driving the FC felt by comparison, and he mentioned that: "It's like you take a seat and drive the 80s instead of a car. The FC is the best handling car I have at the moment. It's a bit aged when you compare it to the S14, but superior in everything. It's on another level. The FD is in the top 3 cars of all times for me, alongside the F40 and the Diablo, so I can't compare the FC to it."

There are a lot of people that keep themselves away from rotary cars, so I wanted to know what Gianluca would recommend to someone who's considering the FC as an option. "I can say that, with many other cars of that era, that we, or they, must make the buying decision with their heart, not with their brains. It's the only way nowadays".

Although 200 horsepower on this light chassis is still a lot of fun, I asked Gianluca what he'd do to the car given an unlimited budget. And there could have been only one answer: a naturally-aspirated, 4 rotor swap! So thank you Gianluca for keeping the rotary dream alive, and once again happy 7's Day to all your rotor heads out there! It isn't easy going down this route, but it might just change your life for the better!

 
 
 
 
 

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