Search for a new car

So I’ve been complaining about the Prelude being uncompetitive in STS, especially with me behind the wheel, for a while now. It’s kinda heavy, or has small tires for it’s size/weight. Or is not geared high enough for larger tires or does not have enough low end torque to really use larger tires. Anyway you look at it, as amazing of a car as it is, and it is, it just doesn’t fit well into any autocrossing class.

So I’ve been pining for a proven competitive car. Becoming a lemming as they say in the sport. An EF Civic Si for STS. Yes Please. I was looking for a while. Unmolested ones in running condition are tough to come by. Lost out on two via eBay. Found a few that didn’t run. No way to tow them home. Saw a few more with ZC or B18 swaps. More with 20 pounds of fiberglass molded on the body. Um… no. I gave up on that. Next choice was STS2. A CRX or Miata is the car to have in this class. Same problem finding a running un-molested CRX that was also not too far. I might have found one if I had continued looking hard. But another idea took hold.

The dark horse in STS2 is the 2nd gen RX7. I’ve always had a soft spot for rotary engines. It’s the engineer in me. The “FC” RX7 is a good car. Well handling, 50/50 balance. Relatively powerful. The seed was set. After doing some research I found out some of these cars were a little porky. We are talking 2700-2800 curb weight. Still could be do-able but not ideal. The 1986-1988 models had 146 HP. But some of them had a torsen limited slip differential which is illegal for this class. The 1989-1991 cars had 160 HP… via higher compression and an 8000 RPM redline. That made the later “S5” cars as they are known much more desirable.

The creme-ala-creme is the 1989-1990 GTUs model. Yes, that is capital G, capital T, capital U, lowercase s, not GTU plural. This model was stripped of all the fluff for light weight, and given all the good go-fast stuff… save the turbo. Crank windows, no back seat, no sunroof, bigger brakes from the turbo, 4.300 final drive (highest in the FC) and a viscous limited slip diff, which is STS2 legal. It’s clear that this model is killer. A little looking around and it turns out I wasn’t the first one with this epiphany. James Wilson, a San Diego area autocrosser built one of these cars early in STS2’s history. The car was doing well, when he sold it b/c it gets bad gas mileage. Gas mileage, the kryptonite of the rotary engine. It’s a damn shame.

I did manage to find one of these gems for sale on an RX7 discussion forum. It was in my low price range too. Problem was it didn’t run. Second problem was it was in Rhode Island. Shipping a car when it doesn’t run can be real expensive. I was shy about calling up the few “autocross friends” whose phone numbers I have and who have trailers asking if they could help me out. I made a couple posts on our region discussion forum but no one responded. Then my Dad went into the hospital with more heart problems and I figured it would be a bad idea park a non-running car out front of his house. The car eventually went on eBay and was sold. Little did I know, a few weeks later I would get an opportunity to buy a car on this list. To be continued…