Mazda MX 3 – Import Tuner Magazine

18 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Mazda MX 3 – Import Tuner Magazine
Mazda MX-3

Mazda MX 3 – MX It Up

It doesn’t take a German philosopher to imagine what goes on here at 2NR. It also doesn’t take a regular Bob Saget to imagine how many crappy cars are trying to get in these hallowed pages. There’s the usual pitch, WEll mA dizzLe fO gizzle Tizzle, hEE’s mY cIvIKizzLe slAmmED fO sHO. Whatever.

Then from time to time we are reminded that there are still real car guys left out there, guys that aren’t afraid to try something different; to take the road less traveled and burn it up as they go. If it weren’t for these guys, it would be back to contemplating suicide for me. Enthusiasts like Jonathan Walsh of Melbourne, Fla. and cars like his 1994 MX-3 are beacons of hope that bring me back from the edge.

This MX-3 has been carefully built with both style and performance in mind, and is both fast and beautiful.

Walsh started out like any other MX-3 owner. His baby was mostly stock with just some stereo mods. Then came a turning point: a loss to a friend’s Civic in an impromptu race.

From there, he began to take hits off the go-fast crack pipe. A little help from www.mx-3.com and soon Walsh had pieced together his own custom turbo setup. The stock 1.6L four cylinder received a port and polish job from Leon Performance in Palm Bay, Fla. The cylinder head was port matched with the intake and exhaust manifolds in preparation for boost. Then Walsh himself began the installation of the custom turbo setup.

The MX-3 received a JDM Mazda 323 turbo manifold, an IHI RHB-5 turbocharger, a HKS Super Sound BOV and an A’PEXi front mount intercooler using a NX N-tercooler kit. Additional power was added with an Unorthodox Racing underdrive crank pulley, a Ractive free flow air filter, and a HKS 3-in. exhaust system. A Walboro 255 fuel pump and 440cc injectors keep the now very thirsty engine fed.

The only drivetrain mod is an ACT custom clutch installed to handle all the horses that suddenly showed up. Every guy out there with a grocery-mobile wonders, How do I get this Achieva to run a 10.2 quarter? The most common answer is turbo, but then the Achieva explodes its guts halfway down the road.

The key to making a factory normally-aspirated car work turbocharged is in the tuning. Correct control of this car is maintained using an ATI fuel management unit, a GReddy Profec B, and an A’PEXi SAFC. The MX-3 originally laid the smackdown with 88 whp on the dyno.

After all the engine work, the MX-3 ripped out 195.5 whp and 199.2 lb-ft or torque at 6 psi of boost. Currently the car is running a very rich 10.2:1 air/fuel ratio and Walsh is still trying to build up the car and tune it up to run even more boost.

Walsh loved the newfound power his surprising little MX-3 was putting out, but a simple trip opened his eyes to how things go down on the left coast. At the L.A. Hot Import Nights, Walsh began to see visions of what he wanted for his own ride.

The MX-3 had a bolt-on bodykit and a paint job, but soon emerged with much more. A custom molded front bumper was fitted to the car and all the handles, emblems, antennae and rear side markers were shaved. The MX-3 was then bathed in Ferrari titanium silver and supplied with a carbon-fiber hood combined with a set of Volk GTNs to finish the new look.

The wheels, sized 18×7.5, use Nitto tires in a 215/35-18 size and give that sexy zero fenderwell gap.

Mazda MX-3

Next up for attack was the interior and stereo system. Walsh crammed a very complete stereo system into the little MX-3. In place of the stock equipment is an Eclipse 55060 head unit, MB Quart 1-in. front tweeters and 6.5-in. mids, 1-in. tweeter rears with 5.25-in. mids, an Eclipse 12-in. aluminum subwoofer, PPI 450 amplifier, 250 amp and a 6.8-in.

TV screen. Walsh also threw in a GReddy EGT gauge and Autometer boost, A/F and fuel pressure gauges to monitor the engine’s health. That’s quite a comprehensive list.

But Walsh wanted the whole package for his car. Red suede was used for the front and rear door panels and they were color matched to the set of racing seats installed for added support. The only thing not color matched was the custom full carbon-fiber dashboard with TV enclosure.

To keep the car turning, as well as going straight, Walsh turned his attention to the suspension. Stock pieces were tossed and in went Mazdaspeed struts with Ground Control coilovers. Ractive front and rear strut bars were added to increase chassis stiffness and aid in handling.

Braking was upgraded with a Precision Brakes Company Wilwood four-piston caliper 13-in. brake system, stainless-steel braided brake lines and new brake fluid. These simple suspension mods combined with increased power and upgraded wheels and tires created a real performance machine, perfect for taking on dinosaur Mustangs from both stops and corners.

The MX-3 you see before you is an exercise in originality and creativity. These are the cars needed in the import scene: different and complete. This Mazda isn’t done with mods though.

The MX-3’s motor is currently being built up to run 16 psi on the street and 22 psi at the track. With just 2,300 lb to carry around, this Mazda will not only make you look, it’ll blow your doors off.

Mazda MX-3
Mazda MX-3
Mazda MX-3
Mazda MX-3
Mazda MX-3
Mazda MX-3
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