For John Ubalde, his father is the main contributor to his passion for cars since his father loved working on his Mustang and he taught John along the way. Growing up for John in the ’80s revolves a lot around playing Hot Wheels and watching CannonBall Run, Smokey and the Bandit, Dukes of Hazard, Knight Rider, The Wraith, Mad Max, and James Bond and that really made a huge impact on John. He got so hooked into cars that when he watches those movies, he kept repeating the car scene over and over again.
John had a nicely built 13B rotary FD for a decade and he always wanted an LS version of the car. His dream was to have both versions of RX-7 (Rotary and Piston) in his garage. Sadly, his rotary built RX-7 called Pretty Blue 7 caught on fire and was destroyed (our deepest condolences) but John did not give up and that was when he decided to build his LS dream RX-7 codename Phoenix7. John found an RX-7 which sat outside for almost 7 years under all sorts of elements and thanks to him the car was given a new life. Just by looking at the picture of the final product, it made me drool all over my laptop. This build is a perfect example of excellent execution.
Before we go any deeper into the car let’s address what’s under the hood. I’m sure by the title everyone would have known it’s an LS Swap RX-7 and the V8 swap will disappoint some, but I believe that this car would make the original manufacturer quite pleased. The FD was professionally built by Hinson Supercars in Alabama and they gave the FD a low mileage aluminum LS1 with Patriot Heads, Cams and pulleys. The whole engine was given a full rebuild and nothing was left stock. The car currently puts out about 415 RWHP and 380 Torque. The engine is paired with a T56 6-Speed Transmission with Ford Cobra 8.8 Differential. To keep things cool in the summer, John’s RX-7 has a full working A/C. While the car engine is being put into place, the body was being taken care of by Grandmasters Paint Care where they can get the Custom 50th Anniversary Red Metallic with Candy paint back to its former glory by performing everything including ceramic coating. The full installation and completing the car was meticulously done at the same time. The engine, cooling system, transmission, and diff are running completely on Amsoil lubricants.
As of writing this article, a Fortune Auto 500 Cup Kit System is being installed to the car and a set of classic Blitz Type-03s wheels are being specially built with a special step lip design. When the new wheels are put onto the car, it will give a 90s era feel with a modern flair. John also told us that he is planning to install a forced induction setup sometime soon so expect a much more crazy output from this bad a** looking car. The RX-7 FD is currently running on a set of BFGoodrich G-Force Sport Comp-2 tires where the front is 225/40/18 and rear are 255/35/18. With these tires, John is constantly looking forward to attacking a couple of hairpin turns.
John Ubalde extends his heartfelt thanks for: Team Hybrid I really have to give a lot of love and thanks to my brother Jeff Ubalde for introducing me to the team and being there when I needed his support. I would also want to give thanks and respect to Leader James Lin and Chapter director Sergio Guevara for considering me and my build for this opportunity. Scott Dean chapter director of San Diego.
Photographers credits: Dominic Estanislao And Christian Dizon
Car: 1993 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S)
Engine: Corvette LS1, Patriot 64cc Stage 2 Heads, Ported & Polished, 650” Lift Springs, Titanium Retainers, 2.02” Intake Valves, 1.57” Exhaust Valves, Patriot Cam 225/229 .580 .590 114+4, Auto Specialties pulleys, Custom Short Steel Headers, MSD 8.8mm Wires w/ jackets, T56 6-Speed Transmission w/ Hinson Transmission Mounts, Hinson Motorsports T56 Short Shifter, Ford Cobra 8.8 Differential (3.55 gear) w/ Hinson Dif. Mounts, Fully working A/C and adjustable HEID Power Steering, Walbro 255 Fuel Pump, Micron Inline Fuel Filter, Battery Relocation kit to Passenger Bin, Custom LRB Aluminum Cooling Panel, Custom Cold Air Intake Piping, Custom HOWE Aluminum Radiator, Custom Volvo Radiator Fan setup, Custom 4” Exhaust Piping, ReinHard Titanium Double Cannonball Exhaust
Power : 415 RWHP / 380 Torque
Exterior: WRAP: Avery Dennison “Roaring Thunder” (Red/Blue color transition), PAINT: Custom 50th Anniversary Red Metallic with Candy paint, 99 Spec OEM Mazda JDM Front Bumper, MazdaSpeed Carbon Fiber Front Lip, LegSport Carbon Fiber Front Canards, LegSport Carbon Fiber Side Deflectors, 99 Spec 3 Piece Rear Adjustable Spoiler, ODULA Carbon Fiber Center Spoiler, Re-Amemiya Carbon Fiber Large Side Fender Vents, Shine Auto Carbon Fiber Side Skirt Extensions, Re-Amemiya Carbon Fiber Pro Rear Diffuser, Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser Vortex Generators, Seibon TS Carbon Fiber Hood, AeroCatch Flush Hood Pins, APR Carbon Fiber GT3 Mirrors, Car Shop Glow V2 LED Front Turn Signals, Car Shop Glow V1 LED Rear Tail Lights, Rear Heavy-Duty Tow Hook, LED Headlights
Interior: Custom SEIBON Carbon Fiber Door Panels, Carbon Fiber Center Console, Carbon Fiber HVAC frame, Carbon Fiber Gauge Dash Frame, ProSport Premium EVO 60mm Digital Gauges (Oil Pressure Peak/Hold, Oil Temp Peak/Hold, Water Temp Peak/Hold), Carbon Fiber Triple Gauge Pod, Carbon Fiber ProCar Reclinable Seats by Scat Racing, SPARCO Seat Brackets, NRG Short Hub Steering Wheel Adapter, NRG Quick Release V2, STATUS Racing Carbon Fiber 350mm Steering Wheel, SPARCO Seat Rails, Weighted Neo-Chrome Shift Knob, Custom Aluminum Dead Pedal, Alpine INA-W910 Stereo, Alpine SPR-50C Type “R” Speakers
Suspension: Fortune Auto 500 Coilover Cup system, Stainless Steel Braided Brake lines, BREMBO Cross-drilled and Slotted Rotors, EBC Racing Brake pads, Adjustable updated Tie Rods, ABS Delete w/ WILWOOD Proportioning Valve, HURST Line-Loc
Wheels: Work Meister S1 3 Piece Wheels, 18×9.5 Front R-Face, 18×10.5 Rear O-Face, Powder Coated Intense Blue, Faces “SuperWrap” vinyl spray Gunmetal Silver, Custom Gold bolts, BF Goodrich Comp2 Tires, 225/40/18 Front, 255/35/18 Rear
Sponsors and Build Support: BFGoodrich, Amsoil Lubricants, CarLock.co, Omnium Auto Styling, Grandmasters Paint Care, Fortune Auto Suspension, STATUS Racing, @ChamorroBoy86, Hinson SuperCars AL