A purist is “one who desires that an item remain true to its essence.” Often times, a purist strives for uniqueness by staying within the known conservative realm. In the automotive scene, acronyms such as JDM, USDM and DTM may sound very familiar. Often times, capturing and preserving how automobiles were originally made or improved in Japan, United States, and Europe in terms of parts / aesthetics are religiously followed and admired. However, there are individuals who seek to bend these boundaries and want to be simply creative on their own way – simply channeling their creative juices to their own standards and satisfaction.
By no means will I consider myself a purist but I always had that niche to stay with the norm and conservative. Don’t’ get me wrong, I have always admired people that have been open minded, brave and bold enough to go with their own inventive – instinctive ways. In one of the events, I’ve met Ryan and Ulysses, individuals that pushed their personal boundaries, ingenuity, automotive knowledge and engineering. One gentleman at an event where I met both guys said it best, “It took a little more thinking to put it together.”
Ryan Castro owns a 1995 E36 M3 along with numerous Bavarian machineries through the years. The avus blue E36 M3 coupe looked like one common E36 on the road. Close your eyes – listen to the rumble it makes and it is more than likely that you will second guess yourself. The E36 M3 packs a 5.7L LS1 aluminum block from a Camaro SS under its bonnet. It zips through freeways or from time to time track days using its 350 whp and 311 ft-lbs of torque Americana centerpiece. The LS1 aluminum block was also paired with a T56 – 6 speed transmission with a Z06 clutch. This is also equipped with a rebuilt 3.91 LSD with a 40% lock up.
Road turns and curves are handled by custom BC racing coilovers with custom spring rates. Also added to the E36 were Turner front – rear sway bars as well as Mason Engineering front – rear strut bars to provide some extra stiffness.
Closely look at its stoppers and one will notice the C6 Z06 Silver 6 piston calipers paired with the 355 mm DBA slotted rotors and PFC-Z brake pads. Stainless steel brake lines were also installed at each corner. This M3 uses Miro 111 18×9.5 +20 offset all around with Hankook V12 EVO 245/35/18 as its street kicks. On track, Toyo R888 255/35/18 is the tire of choice.
Subtle exterior modifications of the M3 such as the Max Velocity GTR front lip and Hard Motorsport Fender Flares add to the deceptive euro look that this midnight blue machinery goes for. EVO II Recaro seats with Corbeau 4pt. harness, Kirk 4pt roll bar, MOMO Champion steering wheel, STRI 60 mm Tach -water temp -oil pressure gauges and AEM UEGO wideband were all installed to prepare the E36 for any track battle.
Similar to that of Ryan’s midnight Euro machine, Ulysses Aguayo chose a similar path for his knightly FD after numerous (2) rotary powerplants failed him. Ulysses owns a 1993 Mazda RX7 R1. Sitting still this RX7 looks simply stunning. With the one too many tasteful modification added to the RX7, one will think that this came straight from the JDM gods. However, peek under the hood and you’ll see an LS2: 6.0 liter V8 from a 2006 Pontiac GTO. This was also paired with the GTO’s T56 6-speed transmission. Ulysses also installed a Hurst short-shifter with Steeda Tri-ax shifter handle while an E40 ECU keeps this RX7 always in check.
The FD’s front end was completely converted to a 99 OEM front end spec with the front lip. The taillights were also switched to the 99 spec. Shine Auto OEM style 20 mm wider front fenders were also used to accommodate some wider wheels and tires. The rear fenders were also widened to 25-30 mm for the same reason. Top Fuel style rear wing, Shine Auto Sanai rear diffuser and feed side skirts complete the devious but understated look of the RX7.
Keeping this FD close to the ground are Tein Type Flex coilovers. Optimizing cornering for its track day run ins are Powerflex polyurethane suspension bushings, AWR solid front sway bar mounts, OEM front / rear sway and strut bars. SSR SP1 black face is the wheel of choice with 18×10 +25 all around sizing. However, an 18×11 +8 rear set is already on its way to provide a more intimidating look to an already aggressive bearing. SSRs were mounted on Hankook Ventus RS3 – 265/35/18 Fronts and 275/35/18 Rear tires.
Keeping the all black theme – JDM RX7 RZ spec Recaro seats (Carbon Kevlar shells), complete Di-noc carbon wrapped dash/clusters/hvac/shifter, Redline leather wrapped transmission tunnel cover and shift boot can be seen inside this FD. FlyRX7 center quad gauge pod with the 4 Prosport gauges and the Nardi 350 mm Deep Corn racing wheel with Works Bell hub cannot also be missed.
Of course most of the work was put into the engine and drivetrain. Aside from the Pontiac GTO transplant, this FD used components from a Ford Cobra as well. 2003 Ford Cobra IRS differential with OEM carbon traction-lock LSD and Samberg Rod and Custom rear Cobra differential cradle were also used to transmit all that torque and rotation to the massive rear wheels. Professional products LS2 fuel rails and Supra Denso fuel pump were also installed to keep this V8 from thirsting. Greddy 3.5” exhaust and custom stainless piping fabricated by Rene Motorsports fulfills the exhaust notes that Ulysses wanted to hear out of his black beauty.
Purists may be cringing just by the thoughts of doing american muscle V8 swaps especially to such iconic vehicles as the M3 and RX7. However, one can’t deny that V8 swaps are now common -to get that certain torque and horsepower that one desires. As shared by Ryan and Ulysses, the engine swap gave them a reliable and a well balanced car on the track. Parts are also cheap and now easy to get. For the laborious settings that these engines were put to, they are extremely satisfied with what they have accomplished. What both these men have put together may be a purist’s nightmare but what counts is the completion of what was once an ingenious vision.
Until the next one… Peace.