Words: René Vermeer Photos: Danny Wood
There are a few key players here in the New Zealand car scene, and one of those is Lars Thomsen — owner and operator of Vinny Fabrication. Known in the New Zealand car scene for producing some of the most insane rotary products welded and produced in house, there’s no doubt that when Lars got his hands on his own build, it would be of epic proportions.
Graham, the previous owner of this bright, immaculate machine, knew of Lars’ passion for RX-7s. A rare factory yellow model, Lars had always dreamt of building an all-blacked-out version. When Graham finally decided to part ways with his beloved car, Lars was quick to make his move. “When he sold it to us, it still had the original tyres on from when he purchased the car eight years ago,” Lars told us. Little did he know that this purchase would mark the beginning of an extraordinary journey, showcasing Lars’ own off-the-shelf designs and his team’s exceptional titanium work, a rare sight in the New Zealand car scene.
Under the hood of this 1992 Mazda RX-7 lies a heart that beats with raw power and precision. The 13B, 1300cc twin-rotor has been given a semi–peripheral port (PP) block, delivering that iconic pulse. Enhancing the intake system is an East Coast Rotary lower intake, complemented by the factory upper intake and throttle body. The exhaust system, including the manifold and mufflers, is Vinny Fab titanium weld porn, providing a unique touch to the car. Although gigantic on most petrol engines, the Garrett G40-1150 turbo and a 60mm Turbosmart Progate GenV wastegate ensure optimal boost-control power capability, while the Turbosmart Raceport blow-off valve (BOV) adds a distinct sound to the mix. The fuel system boasts a Vinny Fab custom surge tank, 400-litre-per-hour (lph) AEM fuel pump, and an AEM Electronics V3 water-methanol kit to ensure that the 13B is safe at all power levels. Igniting this powerhouse is the Vinny Fab IGN-A1 coil kit, managed by a Haltech Elite 1500 ECU, paired with a custom Get Connected wiring harness. Keeping temperatures in check is the Vinny Fab V-mount cooling kit.
While the engine rotates, the RX-7’s drive system stands strong. The factory gearbox remains intact (just!), while an Exedy twin-plate clutch ensures smooth and precise shifts that can match the power the 13B is now producing. A lightened flywheel adds a touch of responsiveness, and a Cusco Type RS 1.5-way differential keeps the power efficiently distributed.
Supporting the RX-7’s aggressive stance are AirRex air-ride struts, providing a versatile and adjustable suspension set-up. RZ big brakes, along with Dixcel pads and discs, guarantee impressive stopping power. The arms and knuckles remain factory, combining reliability and performance.
The fitment on Lars’ RX-7 is nothing short of captivating. The 18×9.5-inch (+16) Work Meister S1 3P wheels in matt black with a gloss black lip, adorned with gold assembly bolts, command attention and sit perfectly when the AirRex struts are on their lowest setting. They are paired with 225/40R18 Kenda KR20A tyres in the front and 235/40R18 Kenda KR20A tyres in the rear, ensuring maximum grip on the tarmac — until boost comes on, that is!
As our eyes wander over the exterior, we are captivated by the stunning Sunburnt yellow paintwork, skilfully applied by Andrews & Gilmore Collision Centre. Factory Series 8 enhancements add a touch of aggression, perfectly complementing the RX-7’s lines — does an FD3S RX-7 need much else?
Inside the cabin, the focus is on performance and functionality. The factory seats offer comfort and support as Mazda intended back in the ’90s, while a Works Bell steering wheel adds a sporty touch. The instrument cluster has been upgraded to an AiM digital dash, encased in a custom surround, displaying vital information at a glance.
With Lars’ passion for performance, it’s no surprise that the RX-7 boasts impressive numbers. Producing a staggering 459kW at the wheels, thanks to Mark Haynes at Revolution Engine Services’ expertise, this rotary-powered machine is a force to be reckoned with. Running at 27psi of boost and fuelled by 98 octane with a water-methanol injection system, it delivers a thrilling driving experience and will make that power all day long.
Lars Thomsen’s journey with his custom 1992 Mazda RX-7 showcases the passion, dedication, and collaborative spirit that fuels the New Zealand car scene. With a rare factory yellow body, combined with Lars’ own designs and the team’s titanium craftsmanship, this RX-7 is a sight to behold, a testament to the endless possibilities when dreams meet skill and determination.
This article originally appeared in New Zealand Performance Car issue 303