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Pure Ecstasy – Widebody & Bagged Mazda RX-7 (FD3S)

17 April 2024

Dan Moller's 22-year journey to create one of the best-quality show builds unveiled in New Zealand in the past decade — an inch-perfect Series 6 RX-7 featuring one of the best paint jobs we at NZPC have ever seen, ticking every ‘feature car’ box there is to tick!

Words: Warren Sare Photos: Glen McNamara

The first time this writer heard whispers of this build was the night before the 4&Rotary Nationals 2022 (I won’t tell you who it was, but he’s a winner at cooking chicken). “You won’t believe this thing; the bro has been working on it… it will even make you smile,” and then he says, “700 hours have gone into the body and paint!” At this point, I am a little confused. After all, we live in the age of social media hype and reveals, so for a car to simply appear is rare, almost novel — let alone one at the very top end of the build scale. Enter Dan Moller and his build team, who have taken a distinctly old-school route in producing a multi-award-winning ride.


Politely, we could say Dan is a veteran of the scene, with the aforementioned 22 years of owning this car after falling in love with ‘anything that made some noise’ back in the day as a young fella in Rotorua, earning $350 a week. Over the course of ownership, Dan says there have been numerous changes in direction and style, and some of it was just absolutely terrible. He’d fallen into the well-known trap of doing something, then changing something else, only to find it didn’t suit, then wanting, or in some cases needing, to start all over again. If you want to take Dan’s advice, then come up with a plan first and try to stick to it. Life, of course, also gets in the way, and a build like this takes resources. So when Dan headed offshore for a period, he actually forgot he even owned the car as it sat in a barn unloved for six years.



That unloved period has well and truly come to an end now. ‘Dangerous’ Dave Matehaere was lured out of a self-imposed retirement to work on this project for Dan, resulting in what both say is their favourite part of the build in the custom hue known as “Volcanic Cherry.” This custom concoction was created by Dave and Dan and seems to float on top of the perfectly aligned panels and integrated BN blister wide-body kit. You see, it turns out that 700 hours isn’t actually how long this process took; that is simply when the team stopped counting. Go over the car at a show, and find a flaw — odds are you can’t.


When you spend that long on the body and paint, you need to make the right choices to complete the look, and the rare Veilside Andrews Racing rims, which measure in at 19×12-inches, are the perfect complement. A mix of JDM racer look offset by a highly polished finish, which reflects the paint and complements the overall picture, just plain works, while being shod in Pirelli rubber further confirms the investment made in both looks and performance.

It’s a show car build, but it is meant for eventual use, so Dan has cleverly chosen to use removable side skirts alongside his choice of airbag suspension. This enables RXTASY to sit right down on the ground with the rims tucked in show mode, with the ability to be lifted up and functional for this summer’s planned cruising and track sessions now that the debut show season is over and the desire to test the fresh heart is kicking in.


How fresh is that heart? Crate fresh, starting with a new S8 engine purchased from Mazda. This isn’t a wild, over-the-top engine; it has been built to be reliable and produce that distinct rotor sound without being too exaggerated and taking away from what, in reality, is what this writer would call a ‘classy’ build. Chee Lam handled the assembly using all-new parts where possible in what has been called a ‘half Bridgeport,’ with a number of PAC performance parts sitting alongside Japanese staples such as GReddy. The engine bay benefits from the welding skills of both Vinny Fab and RSL, who have wielded the welder over various components at different stages.

A BorgWarner S366SX-E was chosen for streetable character and does its work fed by 1500cc primary and 2200cc secondary injectors. Spent gases are managed by a pair of twin 40mm Turbosmart wastegates and exit via a 3.5-inch titanium downpipe and exhaust combo. Show quality is evident throughout with a high level of polish and subtle touches to the owner’s tastes, and Dan believes the engine has the perfect mix of the response that he wanted.


Sitting in the cabin in the Mazdaspeed seats, it is tough to work out what to take in first. Being a car person, your first instinct is, of course, to start the engine, and this pulses away without being a distraction from the overall experience. Engage the clutch, and it’s gentle to the point where it reinforces that this is built to be usable, enjoyable, and seen as much as heard. No harsh twin plates here… yet.

What you hear would be entirely up to you, with the team at Manawatu Soundhub completing a full MTX install in the confined RX-7 cabin, which just tops off the overall completeness of the build. Not built for dB readings, everything is complementary and high end, as you come to expect with this car, making clever use of limited space. If you want to just enjoy the car’s natural soundtrack, simply turn the volume down and turn the engine up via some right foot, and keep an eye on things via the Microtech dash or see how quickly the rare 340kph Veilside speedo is disappearing.


Living in a region that is home to some fun and winding roads, Dan hasn’t skimped on the handling and stopping, with Miracle X bars used throughout and the addition of race compound brake pads and larger slotted discs all round should he want to raise the car up a little and give the near 400kW rotor a little squirt here and there. The Series 6 is a well-balanced chassis to start with, so it doesn’t need too much to meet most drivers’ talent and needs.

I can’t help but feel with Dan that he’s just one of those guys who is relentless, and it does come out during our chat that perhaps a sequential gearbox might be nice to replace the stock box, but then if he did that… well, a 20b would also be nice too. There have been mentions of a keenness for some track laps, and you’d expect that with a set of coilovers fitted, the car would accommodate wide rubber and have ideal levels of response. Dave isn’t shy about a drift lap or three, but it would be a shame to destroy that panel and paint.


In not even 12 months, this car has made a huge impact, and it is clear to us here at NZPC that whatever Dan and his team do, it is top class. In reality, it’s unlikely that a photo will really capture the 700+ hours, and this is a car you want to see with your own eyes. I’d suggest that perhaps for its owner and for the car scene, it’s a solid dose of pure ecstasy, if you will. But then again, Dan’s a guy who likes to change things up, and did we mention that there is also another car in the build? At this point, Dave throws up his hands and claims he is retired again… But we all have a friend like that, and odds are you’ll see this build team in the future.


This article originally appeared in New Zealand Performance Car issue 305


1992 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S)



ENGINE: 13B, 1300cc twin-rotor

BLOCK: 2mm SCR Power Seals, solid corner seals, lightweight pulley kit

INTAKE: CNC half bridgeport, custom Vinny Fab intercooler piping, GReddy compression elbow, pod filter

EXHAUST: Polished Vinny Fab twin-scroll manifold, AES mild steel and stainless steel exhaust system (V-bands throughout), custom Vinny Fab 3.5-inch titanium downpipe

TURBO: Borgwarner S366SXE, Pac Performance turbo beanie

WASTEGATE: Two 40mm Turbosmart CompGates

BOV: Turbosmart RacePort

FUEL: 1500cc primary injectors, 2200cc secondary injectors, custom fuel lines, Bosch 044 fuel pump, custom Dynopower underfloor surge tank, braided fuel lines

IGNITION: Lithium lightweight battery, NGK plugs, MSD leads, AEM smart coils, high-power 200-amp alternator

ECU: Haltech Elite 1500

COOLING: 82-degree thermostat, aluminium Koyo radiator, Vinny Fab intercooler

EXTRA: Pac Performance oil cap, polished oil catch tank and breather, engine damper kit, heat shielding



GEARBOX: Factory

CLUTCH: 3200lb Heavy Duty Auto Clutch

FLYWHEEL: 4.98kg lightweight

DIFF: Diff brace, 1.5-way Mazdaspeed
OTHER: Driveshaft hoops



STRUTS: Airlift bag-over-air system

BRAKES: Hawk Race pads, RDA slotted discs 

ARMS/KNUCKLES: Miracle cross bars



WHEELS: (F) 19×11-inch (+1 offset) Veilside Andrews Racing (R) 19×12-inch (-18 offset) Veilside Andrews Racing

TYRES: (F) 265/30R19 Nitto Invo (R) 285/30R19 Nitto Invo 



PAINT: Custom candy paint (PPG Vibrance ‘Volcanic Cherry’

ENHANCEMENTS: Tinted S8 front spot lights, BN Blister wide body kit, removable side skirts, Sparco fuel flap



SEATS: Mazdaspeed Type A seats


INSTRUMENTATION: Seven-inch Microtech Pro Dash, Haltech PDM system, Defi BF gauges with controller, Veilside 340kph speedometer

OTHER: Stainless steel gear knob, HKS turbo timer, MTX in-car entertainment system



POWER: 365kW at the wheels

TORQUE: 488Nm 

BOOST: 19psi

FUEL TYPE: 98 octane

TUNER: Mark Haynes at Revolution Engine Services


Driver Profile


AGE: Old enough


OCCUPATION: Yard sweeper

BUILD TIME: 22 years


THANKS: Dave Matehaere for the epic bodywork and paint, and his wife Hayley at Pure Reflections for always making it look sharp; Chee Lam at Dynamic Automotive for the tough engine build; Azhar at Pac Performance NZ for always helping out with parts; Mark Haynes at Revolution Engine Services for tuning; Marc Kelsey for RE-Wires; Matt, Heino, and the boys at Autostance for the epic airbag set-up and their work in general; Brendan and the lads at Manawatu SoundHub; and last but not least, my wife Hannah and my girls Zara and Lucia! Shout out to my Reporoa boys.