Life in the Fast Lane
By JOSEPH ANTONIO / For the Reporter
Zach Mazzei of Shelby County has a need, a need for speed. Since 2006 when Mazzei bought his first car, a 1997 Toyota Celica, he has had an insatiable appetite for anything vehicular. “Ever since I bought that car I just wanted to drive faster and faster,” recalled Mazzei, who rebuilds cars as a hobby.
For Mazzei, the initial stages of his work are conceptualized in his imagination long before the first spark plug is connected. “Most of this work is done in your mind. You have to focus what you want it to be first” Mazzei said.
Mazzei’s latest project has been retooling his factory 1994 Mazda RX7. The car originally possessed a 1.3-liter 13B 2-rotary engine with 255 horsepower. Now, the car is a mere shell of itself. “I put in a super rare engine from a Cosmo that I had to buy from Okinawa,” claimes Mazzei. “The engine has three rotors and it has given it a totally different sound and feel to it.”
However, Mazzei did not stop there. Among the new additions to his sports car are a roll cage, coil over suspension, racing seats and harness, racing tires and some 2002 OEM Mazda panels from Japan. The car now is equipped with a single 80mm turbo engine and 1,000 horsepower while still maintaining a weight of only 2,800 pounds. “I wanted to make a car how Mazda should have made it. I tried to embody the most universally appealing features I could imagine,” said Mazzei.
After dedicating much of his free time to the production of this vehicle, Mazzei’s ultimate goal is to enter his rare creation into such contests as the Nopi Nationals, Seven Stock (the largest annual gathering of Mazda rotary enthusiasts in the world) and the Sema Show in Las Vegas. Aside from that, he also has something else to validate. “I want to someday prove that for under $100,000 you can have a car faster than a Bugati Veyron,” he said. The world’s fastest car is priced around $1.5 million.
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