When building a drift car, it’s easy to get so consumed with making it better… that you end up blowing right past the sweet spot. Case in point: The car goes down for something fairly minor, but instead of a quick/simple repair to get back in the game… you let yourself get sucked into reinventing the wheel & overfixing it. Which leads to BIG mods, BIG expenses, excessive downtime, & massive installation headaches. Pretty soon, the dominos are falling… and your fun lil project has morphed into a track-only, money incinerating, full-out drift car.
And without any sort of regular street usage to keep the car greased & happy…
The drift/track days are your only break-in periods. Therefore, there’s pretty good chance that you’re gonna spend those days on hot asphalt chasing bugs in the wiring, the tune, the suspension, boost pressure, etc.
So at best – the endgame is to have a really well prepared, arguably overbuilt track-only drift machine. For what though? To travel across the country running Pro Am? Hell… maybe so! But that’s a question you have to honestly ask yourself & come to terms with: What are you building? What do you want out of this? And WHY are you doing it?
A lot of drift guys in recent years have ended up with really potent builds ‘technically speaking’.
But in the process of building the ultimate car, they’ve lost some of the grounded, wide-eyed style that built the sport in the first place.
And I’ve begun to notice a general shift in mindset recently. A movement of people going back to rootsie drift builds, and back to a focus on street/mountain style. I don’t know, maybe the sport peaked in a sense & hit a ceiling. More likely, maybe covid had something to do with killing a lot sponsorships & intended travel plans… & simultaneously recalibrated people back to their local scene, their crew, & their passions. Whatever the reason…
This is Sam Kluver’s rotary FC RX-7 from team Dirty Love in Minnesota.
Sam Kluver’s been in this for a long time. In fact, all the Dirty Love guys have been wrenching on each other’s cars & helping each other out since college. That’s where they got their first shop… which basically made just enough money to pay the rent & store their own cars. And for an entire decade before this FC project, Sam owned a crazy S14 Nissan. That S14 had a single-turbo Toyota JZ engine, and had practically been built to a Pro Am level.
Now Sam was always drawn to Mazda’s FC chassis in general…
But he had so much time & money invested into the S14, it just didn’t make sense to start over with a different chassis.
Eventually though – Sam ended up moving to the Twin Cities, and had an opportunity to buy a home with his bride, Becca. There was no avoiding the fact that the S14 would make a great downpayment. So… he decided to sell the Nissan, and was able to put a good chunk down on a house PLUS pick up an FC & get the new project going.
Sam was definitely gonna have to start from scratch…
No sugar-coating that. But this time, he had more of an overall goal in mind for the car. He knew what he wanted it to be.
“It’s called way-finding, princess. It’s not just sails and knots, it’s seeing where you’re going in your mind. Knowing where you are by knowing where you’ve been.” — Maui
Sam aimed to build the FC a little more realistically with a little less power. But the real-world tradeoff – was that it would be much easier on maintenance & consumables… and definitely more street-friendly, & enjoyable.
The project would take a good few years. But luckily, his Dirty Love mates already had tools in hand. Chris Harteau built the roll cage. Harrison Roske prepped & painted the entire car down to the jams. And Andrew Kojetin tackled the redesigned v-mount cooling system in the nose of the Mazda.
Text by Wooley Photos by Cody Helton
Sam Kluver’s 1987 Mazda RX7 Turbo 2
Engine / Trans
S4 T2 13b
Haltech Elite 1500
BNR Stage-3 turbo
FD intake manifold & throttle body w/ JDL adapter
GReddy intake elbow
Gleaseman downpipe to 3” exhaust
Injector Dynamics 1050x P&S
Walbro 525lph fuel pump
Fuel Lab fuel pressure regulator
Blitz blow off valve
LS ignition coils
Mandrewmade custom V-mount setup
Northern Radiator custom 4” dual-pass radiator
Koyo 10-row power steering cooler
ChaseBays remote PS reservoir
Koyo dual 19-row oil coolers
Turbo 2 5-speed transmission
Tomei 2-way LSD
Mike Feiock angle kit
AWR, MazdaTrix, & PBM suspension arms & bushings
Wheels / Brakes
Gram Lights 57C6 17×9 +12 front // 57DR 18×9.5 +22 rear
Acura TL Brembo calipers with Evo X rotors & JDL adapters in front
T2 calipers with FD rotors & Performance MRP adapters in rear
GP Sports G-Four aero
Origin Labs 20mm front fenders
D-1 style vented hood
Shine Auto roof spoiler
RE Type-4 style rear spoiler
Panda Garage / Bride Seats
Custom DLG 4-point bolt-in roll cage (built by Chris from Team Dirty Love)
Nardi Classic 340mm wheel