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Posts filed under ‘Engine Swap Hall of Fame’

The Engine Swap Hall of Fame:
4-Rotor Mazda RX-7 FC Build

April 23, 2012 by Matt

4 Rotor Mazda RX-7 FC Build Project 2nd Gen FC3S 26B John Huijben RX7Club

This build isn’t even done yet, but the engineering and fabrication is so stunning that I feel compelled to feature it.

The skinny? It’s custom-engineered, 2.6l, peripheral port, 4-rotor Wankel engine transplant into a 2nd generation (FC) Mazda RX-7. Every piece is so jewel-like that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

John Huijben, an engineer and machinist based in the Netherlands, decided on a bit of a whim to put this engine together in his spare time. In his words, it’s more of an engineering exercise than anything else, and not meant to be a part of a fully integrated car. Put another way, it isn’t remotely the most practical or sensible way to build a powerful RX-7, but Lord help me if it isn’t absolutely fascinating. My kind of project, in other words.

4 Rotor Mazda RX-7 FC Build Project 2nd Gen FC3S 26B John Huijben RX7Club

Here’s the shell: a basic Series 4 (’86-’88) RX-7, a touch rusty, stripped down the degree it’ll have to be to accept the engine.

4 Rotor Mazda RX-7 FC Build Project 2nd Gen FC3S 26B John Huijben RX7Club

One of the build thread’s highlights is the CAD work. Stunning exploded views precede almost every major update and illustrate the benefits of careful design over a less thought-out, more improvised approach to engine building.

4 Rotor Mazda RX-7 FC Build Project 2nd Gen FC3S 26B John Huijben RX7Club

The slide throttle in particular is a complete work of engineering art. Less restrictive than a conventional butterfly throttle, especially at WOT, its design and implementation are peerless.

4 Rotor Mazda RX-7 FC Build Project 2nd Gen FC3S 26B John Huijben RX7Club

The part of the 4-rotor build that takes the cake, though, has to be the custom eccentric shaft (a rotary’s equivalent of a crankshaft). Instead of mating two e-shafts from smaller, 2-rotor engines, Huijben decided to design and machine his own custom piece from a solid steel billet (shown at top in photo above). Given its precise balancing, oiling and harmonics requirements, it’s a tour de force of engineering.

I’ll definitely be keeping up with the build’s progress. Can’t wait to see it come to life for the first time!

H/t to Aaron for the link to the build. Thanks!

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series showcasing awesome engine swaps and builds. Read the other installments here:

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The Engine Swap Hall of Fame:
Hilly’s Audi V8 Lotus Esprit

November 10, 2011 by Matt

Hilly Lotus Esprit S3 Audi ABZ V8 Engine Motor Swap Motorgeek

For anyone interested in wild and wacky engine-and-chassis pairings, visit the Motorgeek community Projects subforum. On any given week, there are at least two dozen projects underway involving major engine relocation (a mid-engined V8 Golf, for example), completely custom sheetmetal fabrication and insane power builds. It’s mostly Audi- and VW-related, but some non-VAG stuff does pop in from time to time.

One of my all-time favorite project threads on Motorgeek is dedicated to Hilly’s Audi 4.2l V8 and 6-speed transaxle swap into an S3 Lotus Esprit. Ditching the anemic and temperamental stock 4-cylinder engine, Hilly went for Audi’s all-aluminum unit, in the process creating a sort of proto-twin-turbo V8 Esprit, a homemade version of what the automaker would later do themselves. You can browse the whole build thread here (it’s worth the read); I’ve grabbed a few highlights:

Click here for pictures and video!

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The Engine Swap Hall of Fame:
Mark Stielow’s ’69 Camaro

September 15, 2011 by Matt

Mark Stielow 1969 Camaro

I love engine swaps. My first major car project was an engine swap between two first-generation RX-7s, and it was great fun, albeit challenging. However, even the trial of simply replacing a car’s existing engine with an identical one served a purpose: It reinforced my admiration for guys who can combine disparate engines and chassis. There aren’t many more ambitious or exiting projects for us shadetree mechanics, and guys who do it right become heroes in their respective niches of the automotive community.

Mark Stielow 1969 Camaro Engine LS7 LS9

One such hero is Mark Stielow, owner/builder of the above ’69 Camaro, as reported in Car and Driver. Beneath the legendary first-generation F-body skin, Stielow has crafted a thoroughly modern car. He has either upgraded or replaced every bit of ’60s engineering, bringing it completely into the modern era—except, of course, for the styling. The spec sheet reads like a car nut’s fantasy: Supercharged combination of LS7 block and LS9 heads, Tremec 6-speed, Truetrac LSD, Brembo rotors and calipers, hydroformed subframe, rack-and-pinion steering, coilovers all around, 756 hp. Yep, 756. The acceleration figures (4.1 seconds 0-60, 11.8 1/4 mile) won’t impress many muscle car buffs who hone their cars solely for performance at the drag strip, but consider that Stielow’s Camaro can hang with the best modern sports cars on the road course as well, and it’s completely civil and tractable around town. The bandwidth here is amazing. As the automotive equivalent of a 60-year-old decathlete, it’s almost without peer.

Mark Stielow 1969 Camaro Dashboard Gauges

Granted, it is a “money no object” kind of endeavor. Stielow obviously had the resources to select the best parts to perform his time-warp makeover on the ’69. But pigeonholing him as some kind of “credit card racer” would be an insult to the attention to detail required by the necessary fabrication, and what’s more, Stielow’s ability to fine-tune the components to work together to extract both the savagery and docility. Make no mistake—it’s one thing to bolt-on all the most expensive geegaws you can find in the catalog; it’s quite another to have the skill to get them to “talk to each other” and make the whole more than the sum of the parts. From the looks of it, Stielow has resoundingly succeeded.

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series showcasing awesome engine swaps and builds. Read the other installments here:

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