As the old saying goes, there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Equally, I believe there is a fine line between a hot rod and a shit box. As hoons, many of us likely skirt this line with our cars on a nearly daily basis. Limitations on time, budget, and give-a-shit put us in places where we are willing to sacrifice the visual cues of our projects for a bit more go-fast or just a few more tenths of a lateral g. How far are you willing to go, though? At what point does not caring what other people think about your ride turn into an attention-seeking, deliberate disregard for aesthetics?
This morning, someone introduced me to the “Zero F**ks Given” RX7 that was featured on “the youtubes” on friend of the ‘verse, Matt Farah’s show. This car and video brought all of these questions forward in my mind, and I began to play jump rope with the fence on whether I loved or hated it. On its face, it is a seemingly well executed 5.0 swapped RX7 assembled with quality parts. The RX7 started life as an automatic 12A car that didn’t really deserve to be saved, and was turned into a tire roasting monster. It is kitted with sticky tires, and it appears to be driven both hard and often.
Loves: The bare interior. The Hankooks on Diamond Racing steel wheels. The V8 soundtrack.
Hates: The douchenugget decals. The exposed speedometer. The massive hole cut in the hood.
The driving experience sounds like a bucket of fun, akin to being attacked by starved, crazed weasels. This is a car that will kill you dead without thinking twice about it, and that makes me want to take it back home for a quick fling, but I doubt I’d introduce it to my mother. The RX has insanity in spades, and seemingly an experience not to be taken lightly.
I appreciate that this car was built by a 17 year old kid, “delivering pizzas” to make it happen. When I was 17, I could barely build a lego set, let alone complete an engine swap. It is good to see that there are younger generations that are still interested in cars, working hard, and getting dirty. All of that said, there are parts of this car that just seem to scream “troll”. It seems that a lot of the grunginess of this build is intended to get a rise out of people, rather than a lack of funds. He has put in as much effort making his car look like a trash heap, as some guys put into a concours quality detail job.
I really like the “mentality” behind the build, but the execution leaves me wanting. Not wanting much, mind you, but wanting, nonetheless. As I said earlier, this car makes me wonder, consider, and question other builds that I am intimately familiar with. Namely, my own Porsche 944 project, and a friend’s bulletproof Beetle. Neither are particularly attractive, but not to a fault, and while they may not be the fastest things in the world (in fact, I think the Beetle may be the slowest thing in the world), they do provide us with the smiles we ask of them.
Project 944, while not quick, has been trained to work well in the corners. Significant efforts have been put into lightening the car and performing “OEM Plus” handling modifications, and the factory 145 horses seem to be doing the job well enough for the time being. It was purchased for a paltry $1500, and even after a top end rebuild, and a pile of other parts, I still have less than $2500 dollars in it. It adds all of $7 per month to my insurance rates, and makes my driveway a much classier joint.
The paint is pitiful, the seats are torn and cracked, it has a few electrical quirks, and it is loud, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. At a recent Porsche meet, I won an award entitled “Most Aesthetically Challenged”, and I was a proud papa going up to accept it. The car has travelled more than 180,000 miles, and I plan to put at least another 180,000 on the clock. It may never get the paint job it needs, but there will always be room in the budget for more power, bigger brakes, better shocks, springs, torsion bars, and tires.
The “bulletproof” belongs to my friend James. He picked it up last summer for a song, and proceeded to do the SOP Volkswagen modifications. Lowering modifications measured in feet rather than inches, interior updates (one of which included safety belts), extra gauges to keep track of the antique engine’s operations, and engine work to keep things running for many miles to come. A Volkswagen freak, through and through, James uses his Beetle as an extension of his personality. A little old, a little broken, but it just keeps plowing forward, racking up the miles, and living life to the fullest.
While I’m sure Corbin Goodwin (owner of the RX7) will “give zero f**ks” about my criticisms, that’s exactly what I would expect. Luckily, it’s his car and he can do with it what he wants. If it were mine, however, I would rivet in a bulge over the exposed intake manifold, rivet on some fender flares and add wider steel wheels and stickier tires, then put a small fairing over the exposed back of the speedometer on the hood. Aside from that, I would drive the nuts off of that car, and have a ton of fun doing so.
What are your thoughts? At what point does the line blur? Which side of the line are you on?Images: Corbin Goodwin (RX7), Bradley Brownell (944), and James Carr (Beetle) Source: The Smoking Tire