Stickers make a car go faster….

BUDGET SPENT SO FAR: $1,025 (estimated, will post a final sheet when time allows)

No, really… they do. As an initial inspection and punchlist is put together for the RX3 it’s plain to see that we have a lot more to do than what we originally hoped for. Right now, the first order of business is the bodywork. We’re still working on locating a decent powerplant core (12A) in rebuildable shape and since we all can’t stand to climb into the pink interior or lift the hood on the car and have a sudden urge to eat bad mexican to balance the Pepto Bismol overload, its the bodywork that has our attention.

Now, initially, we wanted to get the engine bay cleaned up and inspected for bad areas and resprayed, but much to the chagrin of some of the team members, the front driver fender is getting attacked first. This car has seen it’s share of wins, but it’s apparent it got those by going in HOT on the corners, probably two or three cars wide as the driver’s side is m-a-n-g-l-e-d.

So, back on topic, how do stickers make a car go faster? Well… take a look at the pics:

Notice all the stickers are “strategically” placed. Start to peel them back and what happens….yup.. the filler comes off with it!

Now, how does this make you go faster? Well, without those stickers, the filler probably would continue to crack, thus meaning more repairs are required and more money to fix the fender (new fenders for these cars are NLA and used ones run about $250 each if you can find them) and all that money would take away from track time and go-fast parts. You could argue aerodynamics or the coefficient of drag perhaps or even as extreme as a the stickers making it so the fender doesn’t make a mass exit and take out the tire. Either way, stickers are important 🙂

We removed all the bad filler, and start to sand things down for a better look. If you’re not aware, filler absorbs moisture… over the years, this can cause rust to build up UNDER the filler if it wasn’t done properly, or a “cheap” product was used. Since we deal with rust regularly on older cars, we have extra cans of misc fillers laying around to use to redo these repairs. The cost will be factored into the budget, just not sure how yet (perhaps, the cost of a new can less the amount of filler we use??). For now, the repairs need to be made and I’m sure the costs will come out under $25.

Here are some shots of the fender just about ready for new filler.

You can see we quickly ditched doing this by hand and broke out the orbital sander, lol. The cost of the paper will go into the budget, don’t worry! This part of the equation is cheap. Sorry if the photos aren’t top notch. I don’t think the replacement of an SLR lens due to dust/debri damage is in the car’s budget, lol.

To completely prep the fender, the front bumper has to be removed as it wraps around the lower portion of the fender. In this process, some “fun” new discoveries were made:


Notice anything missing? Well, an acute Mazda enthusiast would recognize that one of the front bumper supports is missing. That’s because this thing was hit hard enough that it broke the driver’s side mount off. Why did it break? Because, instead of being bolted on like factory, it was welded (no offense, but poorly) instead to make room for the front suspension on the car. Needless to say, this will have to be rewelded and reinforced.

Here is what the bumper guards looked like as well. Which one do you think came from the driver’s side?


Finally, not that this was really a surprise since we saw when we got the car, but the front spoiler has to be repaired. I’m not sure if we’ll remake a new one, go without for the challenge or get away with a simple fix to this one. We’ll have to see where it falls in the budget.


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