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Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? I liked the styling of it from back in the 80's and still even now. I would just have easily gone for a Mazda 626 GT, which mechanically this car is at the time there were none for sale I like both so I was happy with either. Its like the Probe and MX6 - Ford badge, Mazda engineering, 4 door platform instead of two. Why this one? I like black on cars, I wanted a sunroof double head cam and fuel injection and 5 speed gearbox. I forgot about these until I got a ride in this one way back in Feb 2006. It was a cheap old car that fit my tight budget at the time and to me looks cool and was pretty fast - for what it is. Describe the modifications you've made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? Modding started when replacing maintenance items. Added 8mm champion ignition leads, pod filter which looking back isn't really an upgrade, just basic stuff like that, got some cheap 17" rims. When I did the clutch I went for a slightly stronger one. I replaced shocks with heavier duty gas ones, got low king springs, sub and amp. Biggest thing I've personally done is a full respray in Pantherschwartz (panther black) Metallic using PPG Deltron paint system. Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? I think they all compliment each other and help make the car what it is. How did you go about selecting the specific parts for this build? Any installation tips to share? It takes luck and patience. That TopTown bodykit was 4 years of searching. I won it on Trade me (Craigslist) for $131.Sometimes generic parts can fit. I know a CRX and Civic 88-92 short shifter can fit my gearbox. Sometimes GE Mazda parts can fit. It takes some research and makes you think outside the box and makes you get creative. What are you planning next? Turbo! It is possible and is currently in the research stage before I start investing and collecting parts for the build. Two things already are against me for boost - this FE dohc is 10:1 CR which limits amount of boost, plus side it also has very strong internals and can handle about 400 hp on factory internals - I'm not going anywhere near that. I'm looking for 10 - 12 psi and around 220 hp at the wheels. Mazda N/A G series box isn't that strong, have found ways to overcome that. Megasquirt 2 for the ECU, Evo 5 fuel rail and 540cc injectors - if I do want to increase the boost later I will upgrade. I'm thinking Garret GT2860 or TD04/05 for turbo, small with fast(ish) spool . This is my fun/weekend/cruise car with the occasional track day, I'm looking for reliability and drive-ability - this is not a serious all out power build it's just having fun with a car that is rarely done up. What’s been the biggest challenge with this build? Lack of parts aftermarket and general since its old and stupid prices for parts in NZ. Money and Supercheap (Autozone) Will not get this boosted. But within that comes the reward - here is something which can possibly be done when properly researched with dedication and some hard work. It's not going to be easy and it doesn't bother me I'll I've had this car 11 years and it will be mine for many more with a turbo on it. I've done the turbo myself, strengthed the gearbox (some will need to be send for pressing, there needs to be welding, I will get a pro to tune this as it is a high CR engine). I have made this car mine and once the turbo is on done 99% of the work myself. The best car is the one you build yourself.
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