To think this humble little RX-3-dressed Mazda 808 was once powered by a featherweight piston engine pushing about as much power as a Yugo with a misfire! Check it out now.

For some, an accident is heartbreaking; this often is the reason a few outstanding performers get put aside, only to be found years later with weeds growing past the roof-line. But this wasn't to be the case for Jon Blanch from RX Engineering in Newcastle, Australia. Having already run a personal best time of 10.10 at 138 mph with 480 rwhp, Jon's Mazda 808-turned-RX-3 met its match when he returned to the traction compound with more boost and 550 hp at the tires.

Jon is a fairly even-tempered guy; not much fazes him. He just tells it like it happens; nothing more, nothing less.

"I gave more boost off the line the next time I went out, and to my surprise, it came up really hard. So much so that the back bumper hit and the rear tires left the ground!" he remembers.

His 60-foot time was an impressive 1.36 (set by the rear wheels), but when the front wheels returned to the ground, the car suffered what automotive scientists might call "hitus deckus maximus." Here's the list: the suspension bottomed out, the front rims were flat-spotted, the waste-gate was smashed clean off, the right-hand chassis rail and strut tower were bent up 2 inches and worst of all, there was a particularly noticeable crack in the A-pillar. Ouch.

It was enough to put Jon's racing schedule on the back burner for a while. Yet Jon wasn't sure what a "while" meant and 18 months later, he had the car back in action, far better than it ever was.

After the big incident, Jon set on the task of making what was broken, unbroken again. With Newcastle Smash Repairs wielding the hammers and dollies, the car was gradually returned to its former glory.

The front and rear guards were trimmed to stop metal and rubber conflicts under racing conditions and a little bit of outer shell massaging was done under the rear guards for added width. Inside Jon had an eight-point, steel roll cage fitted to suit ANDRA (Australian National Drag Racing Association) regulations and fabricated a new dashboard assembly from aluminium. From there, Jon took the car to Kai Ferguson, who coated it in its current shade of "red hot sting" duco.

Engine-wise, the JC Cosmo 13B remains much the same as its previous state and from standard has been race-ported, has extra dowels, an external oiling system which feeds a clearanced crank/bearings and most importantly, factory Mazda 2mm apex seals slotted into clearanced Cosmo rotors.

Boost is supplied by a child-eating Garrett TA45 turbo running a .72 compressor housing mated with a 76mm impeller wheel and a .96 turbine housing on the back. With 480 hp at the tires, Jon was running an average of 20 psi boost, yet he's had it up around 25 psi recently and says "it'll still take a fair bit more." The boost travels via 2.5-inch plumbing, is chilled by a custom PWR tube and fin intercooler and is kept steady by a PSR 45mm wastegate controlled by a Turbosmart E-Boost.

Exhaust gases leave the turbo via a 4-inch downpipe and travel right to the back through a custom-built mandrel-bent system. Jon does run a nitrous oxide system, but says that its main purpose is to get the stall converter up rather than to develop power.