LS1 RX7 Overhaul - Part 1

It all started when I drove a RWD car at an autocross event after coming from my Subaru - I knew at that moment I wanted something RWD, and fast. After joking around one night at an event over beers, the V8 FD RX7 was proposed as an idea. I ran with it.

After holding out for months, and many offers falling through on the Subaru, I had a gentleman reach out to me regarding a trade: his FD with an LS1, for my Subaru. We both raised concerns about the trade, and tried to figure out the logistics. After just shy of a week of communication we agreed on a place and time.

I drove out to Spokane on September 7th, 2014, and that's when one of the biggest projects I will have undertaken to date would start. This was the first photo I took as we drove my newly acquired, unbeknownst to me, project car for a bite to eat before making the trip back to Bozeman.  

Driving back my friend that accompanied me on the trip and I discussed the less than stellar paint job, and fairly beat interior. There were signs that the car had been poorly maintained, but the severity of it hadn't come to light yet...

I obtained the car for one thing, and one thing only: autocross. So naturally, I took it to the earliest event I could, which happened to be September 14th. Aside from being on tires that were made in Taiwan, and suspension that was clearly not engineered to go around corners, I fell in love. I left early that day on account of the rear end being happy, but I was smitten - the car was everything I wanted for autocross: powerful, agile, and lightweight. The following week I quickly arranged a local purchase of some RPF1s so I could get my Potenza RE-11As mounted up promptly for the next event, which lay on October 4th. 

I drove the car out to Helena, 100 miles away for the largest venue in the state, without issue and snapped this picture early on Saturday morning:

The first day was the most fun I had at an autocross in a long time - the Subaru had always frustrated me with its inability to make it around a corner without the front end losing all hope of adhering to the road. However, on the second day I knew something wasn't quite right - the transmission felt strange and there was a lot of noise coming from the drivetrain. I was also battling an electrical issue where the car kept cutting out. I was stumped. I gave up on trying to drive the car and just wanted to get it back home. The previous owner had informed me that upon inspecting the vehicle before the trade they discovered the transmission mount had broken, but they had it welded up by a reputable shop and it would be perfectly fine. Well, they were very wrong. I pulled it into the shop on Sunday evening and started poking around to see what was causing all of this noise - to which I discovered it was not the mount that had broken, but the entire floor pan had been ripped out, and the tunnel severely dented from the transmission smacking into everything:

The shop had attempted to weld the chunk of floor pan that was removed, while still attached to the mount, back into the car. On top of that, they left the interior in the car and the underside of the carpet in that spot had been burnt - by some miracle the car didn't catch fire. Within the span of 1 month I went from owning a car I could've only dreamed of when I was younger, to one giant mistake.  And so began the transformation of what the car is today...