As car enthusiasts, we’ve all been in the same boat as RX8Club.com forum member Chezmanbespoke. When you’re in your early 20s, making an early 20s wage, and you just want to go fast. And that’s exactly what he set out to do.
Most of us begin our journey with a concept of what we’d like the end product to be. Once we’ve figured that out, we begin to source a project vehicle. One like the 2005 Mazda RX-8 above for example.
Chez purchased the RX-8 in Canada (where he resides) for a mere $2,800 with just under 102,000 kilometers (or 63,400 freedom units for us here in the US) on the odometer. He began by completely disassembling the car, but unfortunately due to other financial obligations, it wouldn’t be until almost a year later that Chez began working on the car again.
Chez had originally planned to turbocharge an LS1 engine, but after some thinking, decided instead to take the naturally-aspirated route. He chose the route because he knew the car would ultimately weigh less with this combination, which ensured a more balanced car for the occasional canyon runs and autocross events.
Let The Swap Begin
With almost twice the horsepower of the factory 13B rotary power plant, Chez knew the LS swap would not come about without any custom fabrication needed. And like all car enthusiasts, Chez knew this would be expensive, which is why he set out to perform the swap by himself, saving as much of his hard earned money as he could.
Since the 13B engine is rather small, the RX-8 wasn’t designed with the need for a large amount of space in the engine compartment. This lead Chez to fabricate his own custom set of stainless-steel long-tube headers, which were made to accommodate the new engine bay’s dimensions.
The transmission choice for this LS swapped RX-8 is T56 6-speed manual transmission. Chez scored a great deal on the transmission ($400), but unfortunately it needed to be rebuilt. Lucky for him, he had a host of T56 components available at his disposal, including retrofitting a main-shaft from a T56 out of a Dodge Viper.
We think Chez’s RX-8 has really come a long way. From a tired, $2,800 rolling RX-8, to what you see above outfitted with the innards of a C5 Corvette. At a total weight of just under 3,200 pounds and with the power the LS1 makes from the factory, we can only imagine this RX-8 being a total animal on the streets and the track.
There’s a lot more information regarding Chez’s RX-8, including information on the suspension setup, fuel setup, and more on his build thread. We recommend taking a look for yourself, as Chez has stated he’s made the thread as easy to follow as possible for anyone looking to replicate the swap.
We’re excited to see what’s next for the car. Chez has informed us that he plans on boring out the stock LS1 to a 6.0 liter, and it will receive a complete forged rotating assembly in the future, with his horsepower goal just over 500 to the wheels, naturally-aspirated.