If you’re a fan of the mighty Mazda RX-7, you’ve not doubt heard of New Zealand drifter ‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett, and surely seen – or indeed heard – his ear-melting quad-rotor Mazda RX-7. Well, after 10 years in his possession, and more than a handful of rebuilds, the professional Kiwi skidder has treated the car to another refresh. And this time it’s got an old-school flavour to it.
Inspired by Mazda’s early rotary-engined years, ‘MadBul Gen 7.3’ aims to blend two magic eras of the rotary engine into one menacing-looking machine.
Teaming the face of a 1970s Mazda RX-3 with the body and bum of Mike’s existing 1990s Mazda RX-7, the new-look MadBul was created with the help of Japanese body-styling legend Kei Miura, and a custom Rocket Bunny kit.
Speaking to CarAdvice, Mad Mike Motorsport manager Toni Cook said the 36-year-old Auckland-born former MotoX rider did the unique front-end conversion in-house, grafting the Rocket Bunny Kit to the car himself.
Cook revealed that the facelift would’ve happened sooner, but the kit – available for purchase through Rocket Bunny – remained boxed until time permitted.
“Mike just didn’t have time last year to get it done,” Cook said. “And he’s quite the perfectionist wanting to do the job himself.”
Although the original RX-7 chassis remains underneath, the requisite ‘old school’ look was achieved by fitting the car with an original 12A Savanna RX-3 grille, a 10A RX-3 central rotor emblem (larger than a 12A emblem and topped with the letters ‘RE’ for rotary engine), and tall, fender-mounted wing mirrors. Topping off the look are deep-dished Rotiform LHR wheels with matte anthracite centres.
For the trainspotters out there, the Japanese number plate on the back of the car is not only legit, it’s the original number plate that used to be on the MadBul RX-7 back when it was in Japan.
Still powered by the same peripheral-ported 26b quad-rotor churning out 400kW (537hp) at the wheels, the updated MadBul features plenty of high-end goodies including lightened and balanced hi-compression RX-8 rotors, a hand-built chromoly crankshaft, 55mm throttle bodies, Motec fuel rails, hand-fabricated tuned length headers, and a 3.5-inch stainless-steel exhaust.
Inside, there’s a six-point roll cage, Takata Racing bucket seats with matching harnesses, and a Sparco steering wheel.
Helping to keep Whiddett sideways when on the move is Tein Super Drift suspension – with custom steering arms and tierods – as well as an HKS six-speed sequential transmission and an all-but-mandatory hydraulic handbrake.
Getting its name from the fateful coming together of ‘Mad’ Mike and Red Bull, Cook told CarAdvice, the team are very pleased with the result of the updated MadBul package (previous-spec MadBul pictured below).
“We change the car yearly, whether it’s the kit, wheels, livery, et cetera; it is forever evolving,” Cook said.
“[It’s a special car because] it’s Mike’s first drift car – the one he took onto the world stage in his first year of drifting. It’s travelled the world and is the eldest of the fleet now.”
If you’re not already jealous, that fleet also includes the ‘BadBul’ RX-8 and 1000bhp ‘RadBul’ Mazda MX-5.
If you’re in the land of the long white cloud – or now intend on heading over – ‘MadBul Gen 7.3’ will make its on-track debut at ‘Mad’ Mike Whiddett’s ‘Summer Bash’ at the Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park, near Meremere in New Zealand (about an hour and a half south of Auckland) on February 18.
In the meantime, tell us what you think. Does ‘Mad’ Mike’s latest old school-inspired creation work, or does it miss the mark? Let us know in the comments section below.