Benny's 323 is an absolute powerhouse and it makes you smile as easily as it drinks ethanol. To tell a complete story here, we need to travel back in time to learn about this Mazda's life a decade ago and even beyond. Watch closely as it crosses paths with Benny who is in a mindset of spinning rotors and the drag strip.
Earliest documentation of the car dates back to the mid 2000's where it got engineered for the roll cage and the basic blueprint drivetrain setup it has now. Pretty clear to see the future this car had ahead of it. Fast forward a few years to 2010. Car isn't in Benny's ownership yet but its certainly showing its desirability to the world. Running under the plate alias PIG323. Willowbank Dragstrip is hosting its annual Queensland Jamboree event, and guess who's taking away the W in the 28 x9 Street tyre class ? Yeah the plucky 323 ! Running a consistent string of low 9 second passes whilst pulling 2 foot wheelies off the line ! Don't care who you are, thats badass.
Benny's love for cars and Drag racing stems from his Dad, whom had a LH SLR5000 Torana and drag raced back in the 80s. Pretty easy to see the passion would rub off on Benny and his brother. Benny was interested in drifting for a while, but the technology and engineering of Drag racing really interests him greatly. That and the G forces fed your way as a reward for stomping the go pedal gives off the same emotions as the first drop off a roller coaster every time. The Rotory bug bit Benny shortly after he sold a 34 skyline and had some money on hand. A series 1 Rx7 was listed for sale from a mate of Bennys and he pounced on it. High revving na motor in a light, sharp lined sports car. Whats not to love ? Benny enjoyed that for a few years before moving on.
Circling back to the 323 now. 5 years down the track the car was sold off as a roller and built again with a S5 Bridgeport, S5/t60 high flow turbo, supra box and Rx4 diff. The Turbo was later swapped out for a gt42 and then the car ran an 11.3 on 98. The car was sold off to one more owner until Benny bought it a couple years ago. VL turbos were in the search box at the time but this car popped up one day; pitching that it had been caged and engineered in the description. Don't think Benny's eyes read any further down the ad after seeing that. He picked the car up late 2018.
Amazing car acquired. Time to sit back and a hear smooth, sweet story of how Benny flys past the Qaurter mile timing boards as they read an 8 second pass. Nah sadly not the case for this instance. Benny did a few small fixes to the car and threw some rego on it, drove around 10 or so times and before buying some b45 Simmons with Semi slicks wrapped around them. With the tyre pressured lowered, Benny gave a strong hit to see how well it would haul with some good rubber under the car only to find the celica gearbox internals instantaneously melted from the torque. Not too phased, as a built auto box was always in the cards for the 323 the car was parked up.
Searching for a box was underway; A contact off a friend was Benny's in road to a guy who did c4 gearbox combos in wholesale. The deal Benny was promised consisted of a built box, Bell housing, converter to his required specifications and the rest for 5k. Sounds too good to be true ? It was.
Couple months of battling with the installation of everything, the car was sent to Raceonly to get tuned again as they originally tuned it when the 3 was first built. No more then 5 minutes past at the Raceonly shop and the guys had already spotted 20 problems with the car. Rotary problems that is; The timing of the motor was off severely, The torque converter felt off and the engine was stuck in a tug of war with the gearbox.
With high suspicions on the quality of the gearbox, Benny sent it to Al's Race glides and the Torque converter to TCE in Melbourne. Low and behold the suspicions were right. The Torque converter was fried and when the box was opened up to be inspected.... Totally standard internals, nothing upgraded in sight. The input shaft wasn't true either due the the belhosuing not being square to the box. All in all everything except the billet yolk was destined for the bin. Benny was met by a generous hand as the Raceonly guys offered to do a brand new c4 auto package for a very discounted price. A compression test was done on the motor to reveal a 60psi reading; So the engine was getting a rebuild too. " It looked like someone had thrown scourers in the housings and smacked the rotors with a hammer, they were dented to buggery " to quote Benny. Everything was to be replaced with brand new parts apart from the plates. Unsirprisingly this snow balled while updating the rotor setup and soon all the accessories were picked straight from the Raceonly catalogue and joined the mod party.
15 months after originally going off the road, the 323 returns. Feeling like a different car. Different in its power delivery and even its reliability. The professionalism of work on the car was evident on the surface level but flows deep into the internal pieces below. Omar and the team at Raceonly being available 24/7 to help with questions, advice and troubleshooting on the car was immeasurable. No example stands for this better then December 2020, the car made it's debut at Rotary Revival. Troubleshooting for 3 hours in the heat the day before with the team to discover a bad Earth for the Transmission oil cooling fan. Omar was logged into the Adaptronic assisting from home on his day off. The issue was solved and the car ran on 24 Psi all day without fault thanks to their hard work. The realisiasaton after the successful day was utter bliss for Benny. All the hassles and heartbreak from the bad gearbox, had a silver lining thanks to finding a decent workshop who went the extra mile to make the customer cars perform as they should.
At the time of writing this article Benny has struck some horrible luck as the rear plate let go during a high rpm pull. A crack erupted in the s5 plate and boiling oil was srpayed everywhere almost starting a fire. Plus when the engine let go Benny lost all brakes; luckily he had good run off room and came to a halt safely. Car is off the road and Benny is underway on the next stage. Billet Semi Peripheral ported FD motor, A brand new G series G42 1450 turbo, 4 link and 9 inch rear end as well as 8 injector Pro Jay Typhoon inlet and a mechanical fuel pump as just some of the headlines of whats to come. Once thats complete, the car will finally make it to the drags and make some passes with Benny driving. Doing what it was doing best a decade ago.
1977 Mazda 323
- Raceonly spec 13b Bridgeport motor, 500hp weight 1100kg with driver
- Proboost GT42 Turbo, 60mm wastegate, 3 inch exhaust system with AES mufflers,
- Turbo Eboost 2 boost crontroller,
- Raceonly 180amp alternator kit, Raceonly multi rib pulley kit, Raceonly IGN1A Coil kit, - - Pac HD intercooler, Pac premium Cooling Package,
- Raceworks overflow and catch can, Plazmanman Clamps and inetertcooler piping powder coated + S5 inlet
- Adaptronic m6000 ecu with all sensors and safeties,
- Snow performance stage 3 Water Methonal injection kit,
- Raceonly space Motorsport Harness
- Autometer sport comp II gauges
- Hughes 900hp C4 transmission
- Raceonly cast steel bellhousing, TCE 6000rpm converter
- B&M Pro Ratchet Shifter
- Locked Rx4 13b Diff
- Strengthened tailshaft
- Simmons B45 wheels, 15x6 / 15x8
- 195/50 front 225/45 Nangkang AR-1 Rear tyres
( 235-60 Mickey Thompson ET street S/S rear for racing )
- Volvo 4 Piston front Calipers and Commodore Discs
- Injector Dynamics 2600cc injectors, Turbosmart 1200 Fuel Pressure regulator
- Raceonly E85 Lines throughout
- Reconly / speed flow fiittings
- Custom 70L fuel cell retaining factory filler location
- Twin Walbro 460 pumps
- Factory replacement Monroe shocks
- Reset King Springs
Body and Paint
-Mazda Aurora white respray
- Full weld in 6 point rollcage
- Velo GPT seats. Velo magnum 6 point harness
- Battery relocation to boot, External cut off switch
Instagram - @bennybice