500hp @20psiMemo to the guy who opts for the sportbike instead of the sports car: We don't blame you. And to the guy who'd rather crank over all 1000 or so cubic centimeters of his Kawasaki Ninja or Honda CBR than several more liters of six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged automobile power: We understand. And to the guy who deals with near-death experiences caused by stupid people in SUVs the size of Sherman tanks; with rain clouds that appear out of nowhere on an otherwise sunny day; and with home-mortgage-like insurance premiums-all for the unmatched power-to-weight-ratio thrills that are unrivaled by anything other than a bike: We get it.
Few devices on four wheels, no matter how costly or well-modified, can match the adrenaline-induced acceleration and cornering prowess offered by $10K's worth of the right bike. And few cars have the ability to make an inexperienced noob scream "oh shit" like the average sportbike can. If you've ever ridden any type of sportbike worth anything, you'd know this. Robert Mealey does.
Mealey doesn't just like bikes-they're a part of his life. Really. Motorcycle and auto dealerships run in the Mealey family. He sells Hondas, Kawasakis, Yamahas and Suzukis to his fellow Floridians and, we're sure, to the occasional aforementioned noob. Despite all this, Mealey's passions are also directed toward an R1 Mazda RX-7, one that comes about as close to the feel of a sportbike on four wheels as you'll ever get. He describes his initial experience with an RX-7 as that of driving "an overpowered go-cart with doors." Close enough.
Mealey's 13B was completely...
Mealey's 13B was completely overhauled and ported by Pettit Racing, and fit with a single-turbo kit from A-Spec Tuning capable of well over 500 hp.
The same year Mazda decided to kill the RX-7, Mealey took the opportunity to testdrive a used '94 model for the weekend. He fell in love with the car, but, like many would-be RX-7 owners, shied away from buying it because of the less conventional, somewhat intimidating rotary engine. Face it. If you've ever contemplated buying any RX-7, you know the same thing's crossed your mind. Rotaries aren't exactly the most common platforms, and expensive fires are not uncommon on early FD models. So it goes without saying that RX-7's paired with brave souls seem to be the norm. But Mealey's not a wuss. Even though he passed on the FD and bought a Corvette. He knew he messed up. The Corvette sucked, and visions of little Wankels soon clouded his brain once again. OK, it wasn't exactly soon. It took Mealey 11 years or so to once again consider entering rotary-dom, but that's beside the point. It started with the purchase of Mazda's newly released RX-8, which Mealey realized would never really be as quick as he'd like, and commenced with the purchase of a friend's late-model RX-7, an R1 to be specific.
Now would be a good time to mention just why the '93-'95 RX-7 is so badass. For one, it's really a no-compromise sports car with one of the most sophisticated sequential turbocharger systems ever made-even today. The system is comprised of two small Hitachi turbos, one for near-instant low-rpm torque, and the other for high-rpm full-throttle good times. Those in the third generation RX-7 market didn't care if the coin tray was conveniently located, or if the glovebox's cubic-inch count was sufficient relative to God knows what. No, the FD appealed mainly to those looking for a no-holds-barred, well-balanced race car they could drive on the street-legally. The twin-rotor, 13B is good for an impressive 255 hp, not exactly jaw-dropping horsepower figures but enough to warrant more than a few major automotive magazines to acclaim the RX-7 as superior to cars like Dodge's newly introduced Viper. Accolades like these are not hard to come by when you've got a 50/50 weight distribution; a front/mid-ship, RWD engine configuration; and a low center of gravity-all accompanied by a relatively favorable power-to-weight ratio.
But back to Mealey, who, just over a decade after his first RX-7 testdrive, now owned his dream car-an FD of his own. No matter that it was rotting away under a tree. With not so good paint. And dry-rotted tires. And a clunky, rough running, unreliable engine. So maybe it wasn't Mealey's dream RX-7, but it was his. And he knew what he wanted to do to make it right. He also had the $70K it took to make it happen.
A Nitrous Express intercooler...
A Nitrous Express intercooler spray bar further chills the GReddy intercooled charge air before the 13B gobbles it all up.
Mealey's FD has a set of custom...
Mealey's FD has a set of custom JLine 10RL2 18x10's up front with monstrous 13.1-inch Brembo rotors and four-piston calipers crammed behind. Grip is provided by Nitto NT-01 rubber.
A sizeable chunk of the $70K...
A sizeable chunk of the $70K spent on the RX-7 went toward a number of goods from Alpine, some of which surround the Nitrous Express bottle used for the intercooler spray bar system.