The state of California is not one that has been known for its high-performance legacy for the last 35 or so years, and this is namely because the West Coast is where being “environmentally friendly” is a way of life. Does this mean that we’re a lot cleaner than the rest of America? We’re not at liberty to say, but if there’s anything that California’s smog laws have accomplished it’s that it’s done away with a lot of the region’s previous smog alerts.
Fortunately, the LS performance market has opened the doors for smog-legal builds, even those of the hybrid-import types. Our friends at MotoIQ have made smart sense with their LS3-powered, RX-7 build, but their challenge has not been getting an LS-driven hybrid to work successfully on the streets – it’s been cutting the red tape to make this clean machine righteous in the eyes of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The E-ROD LS3 setup from Chevrolet Performance is 50-state smog-legal, making it an awesome choice for repowering everything from classic musclecars to RWD imports like this Mazda.
MotoIQ’s Jeff Naeyaert describes the website’s success in getting the state’s DMV to get them the pass that they needed to get the small rocket smog ready – “A trip to the DMV and a smile got us a one-day pass from the lady behind the counter with the date of issuance left blank…we wouldn’t have to go back and wait in line again!”
But this is not to say that MotoIQ’s LS Mazda conversion has gone without technical tribulations, “We did have a couple of check engine lights to clear before we could visit the referee,” explains Naeyaert of the minor glitches resulting from the LS3 engine swap. “The first diagnostic trouble code was P1336, ‘Crankshaft Position System Variation Not Learned,’ which was actually expected.”
Are LS conversions ever easy on small imports like our featured RX-7? Probably not, but MotoIQ and Jeff Naeyaert have won the battle, and we know that they’re on the way to winning the war once their V8-stuffed Mazda sportster is complete and ready for battle!