A Coupe That Isn’t, Drifting And Dogs

For those of you following my blog you’ll know I like drift cars and wasting many many hours of my life surfing (window shopping) for cars. I also love small technology that produces big power. Well today I stumbled across a car that first grabbed my attention because of its suspiciously low price. Further investigation and my attention transformed into incredulity as I learned of its stats. This then led to total excitement as I read and watched reviews – had I found the perfect drift car that I could pop to the shops in with my girls (dogs) in the back?

So what is it, I hear you ask.

The Mazda RX-8

Before you snub it as just another Jap sports car, I beg you to stay with me for a little while. It doesn’t boast the same twin-turbo bhp as the legendary RX-7, but nevertheless, its displacement, power and redline numbers are beyond impressive.

This is thanks to its 1.3-L Wankel engine. That’s right… 230-bhp from a 1.3L engine that revs out at 9000-rpm. Sounds too good to be true, and in a way there is a draw back that attributes to its cheap second hand pricing. This 1.3-L unit doesn’t just drink fuel; it downs it as though in a drinking competition. You would expect an average 1.3-L engine to do around 45+mpg (combined) but the RX-8 will only do 24-mpg – that’s less than my 2.0-L turbo Subaru!

Apart from its thirst, the rest is all good. Due to the RX-8’s unique doors, it appears to be a coupe on the outside, but pull a catch hidden on the inside and rear doors open like suicide doors, albeit small (enough room for the girls though). The power is fed to the rear wheels via a (LSD) Limited Slip Differential, perfect for drifting.

So, all in all, this car offers looks, the right set-up for drifting and enough room for my dogs.

And before any animal lovers start complaining, my dogs like drifting – I had a lot of practise in an icy car park earlier this year and they loved it. They told me so…

Planning For My Drift Build


Having drifted my WRX Wagon and my Prodrive, I am now seeking a more suitable drift machine, something RWD and a little tail happy.

I love the look of the more retro drift cars, such as the AE86 and the 180SX. Securing a half decent machine isn’t expensive, but it will usually come with high mileage. So I guess the first thing to do will be to check compression and give it a damn good servicing, perhaps adding performance plugs and leads. It will be a turbo so I’ll change for a CAI filter if it doesn’t already have one.


Next up will be the brakes. If they are looking worst for wear, I’ll change them all round and go for a durable pad such as Yellow Stuff. Because the handbrake will be used to initiate a drift, extra attention needs to be given to the rear pads (maybe go for a harder pad?).

Now I should have an MOT worthy Nissan 180SX to throw around. But first I will need to add a strut brace to keep the chassis a little stiffer, and if my budget allows, I’ll invest in a set of coilovers, otherwise just a set of stiffer and lower springs – cutting springs seems arduous and not worth the effort.


As this will be a toy and not my daily driver, I’ll literally tear everything out and replace the seats with two bucket seats and an extended drift handbrake lever.

The 180SX comes with an LSD (Limited Slip Differential), so that saves wielding the diff.

By this point, I should be ready to get sideways and hone my skills to link a few slides together.