Controlled by a MicroTech LTX12S ECU that was wired by Darren Whalen and tuned by Jon, the four Bosch coils fire through Magnacor leads and a set of NGK Racing plugs.

Fuel is fed by a pair of Bosch 044 main pumps, rated together at 1400 hp, via a pair of 3/8 lines to a Paxton regulator, which keeps fuel pressure to six 1000cc (96 lb/hp) Rochester injectors-nice and even. Although the intake manifold appears standard, it's been power ported (extrude honed) and has dramatically improved flow characteristics.

Coming from a V8 background, Jon had already been through his fair share of automatic transmission R&D and didn't want to deal with many painstaking manual gearbox and clutch upgrades. With this in mind, he sought the experience of Al's Race Glides in Sydney to build a Ford C4 automatic.

Fitted with a rotary adaptor plate, the C4 was given full rollerized internals, a reverse-pattern full-manual valve body, a trans-brake, Dominator 4500-rpm stall converter and an extra deep oil pan that holds the well-cooled oil and PWR trans-cooler.

Power from the C4 is transferred down a custom one-piece tail-shaft to a shortened Ford 9-inch diff fitted with a 4.56:1 full-spool and 31-spline billet axels. On the front, the 808 sits and squats courtesy of factory springs coiled around 90/10 struts. Up the back, the car retains factory leaf springs fitted with two extra leaves and is kept in check by a pair of additional two-link bars and Koni shocks.

Underneath, the car runs a set of 15-inch Weld Alumastar rims (3.5-inch wide on the front and 8-inch wide on the rear), which usually wear Mickey Thompson drag rubber.

On the occasion that Jon drives it on the street, Advan and Michelin street tires take over traction duties. He also removes the now-fitted wheelie bars when he hits the street; they tend to scrape entering the driveway at his house.

The interior was kept fairly simple as drag racing was the intended career for the Mazda. The factory seats were removed in favor of Sparco race buckets. RPM 3-inch five-point harnesses and any other parts that could be improved without adding a lot of weight were handed to Andrew McFadden from Salamander Bay. The custom dashboard now hosts Auto Meter gauges and a MicroTech dash unit to keep Jon and the engine on good terms with each other.

With all the repairs done, Jon and the RX Engineering crew made their debut at the brand-new Western Sydney International Dragway at the Jamboree (jamboree.com.au), an event heading into its 14th year in Queensland, but brand-new to Sydney. From start to finish, the car repeatedly improved its times, finishing with a ball-tearing 9.32 at 144.98 mph.

Jon confidently says the car still has plenty left in it and the modified leaf-spring rear-end is more than capable of securing a good relationship between increased horsepower and the current available traction. So, if current standard keeps going, John is hoping he'll be able to see an 8-second pass some time this year.

As part owner of MicroTech global, Jon spent some time in the United States and Puerto Rico in 2003, helping to promote and instruct the tuning of MicroTech Engine management systems (as found in world-class cars such as Jose Torres' 6-second RX-7 and Domenic Rigoli's world-record holding 8-second WRX).