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Zoom out

Too often we find ourselves talking about the small details and comparing “the numbers” or basic formula of how a car “should” be set up to be awesome. Sometimes we lose sight of what it really means to be awesome rather than achieving what it should mean to be awesome. Numbers on paper are all fine and good, but what it all really boils down to is how fun the car is when you’re driving it.

(If I could still fit in this, I bet it’d be the most fun car…ever)

I’ve been skimming around and trying to decide on a second project car so that I can eventually turn my tC into a race-only car and have a fun daily driver. This searching has brought me across the RX7/8 LSx conversion. Basically you take out the existing rotary engine (which probably has a broken apex seal by now anyway….zing!) and put a V8 motor in its place. While I can practically hear rotary fans gurgling with barely contained rage about breaking the ‘purity’ of having a Wankel in the engine bay I’m not too worried about it. The swap has been well received by those who are open to having a better motor in an excellent chassis and it’s a relatively cheap and effective swap.

(Wait a minute…that’s not a rotary!)

When discussing this Alex and I got into discussing the handling characteristics of how the change would affect the chassis. In the conversation we got into the ever-present debate about achieving the holy grail of weight distribution and attempting to maintain the car’s 50/50 balance. My argument here is about looking at the big picture though, and while we were bickering back and forth about the impact of the slight weight increase of the V8 we lost sight of the bigger picture.

(The big picture is that you might get to do something this rad some day)

My main point is: Who cares what the numbers say? If the weight distribution changes to 48/52, but the car gains +150 horsepower, a much more enjoyable/usable torque curve, and is really fun to drive…who cares if you lost the 50/50 distribution. Will you have a minor impact to handling? Possibly, but you’re going to be out driving that car all the time and if you do end up bringing it to the limit and you start to get a little understeer, use the new-born torque to kick the back around a little more. Problem solved.

(See, this guy knows what I’m talking about)

In the end it’s all up to preference and what you want. If you want to build (or buy) a car based on the numbers so that you can quote them out to people at a car meet, by all means you should do it. I personally like to get into a car and actually drive it to figure out if I want to keep driving it. Which do you prefer?

– Steve loves unpopular engine swaps

Categories: Cars, Steve
  1. alexg57
    January 31, 2011 at 9:39 am

    As much as I would prefer to modify a Wankel than replace it, I do think it would be really awesome to have an RX-8 that looks stock but sounds like a musclecar.

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