Cooper’s classic car to come
FANS of 1980s home-grown Australian touring cars will remember the sight and sound of Allan Moffat dominating the 1983 championship in his rotary Mazda and the wasp-like buzzing of the engine as it proclaimed its arrival.
While Cooper Crowley is too young to know about group C touring cars, he knows what he likes and that is the sound of his uncle's Mazda RX-2 sedan, complete with the obligatory "chook cooker" rotary engine.
"I like the noise and it looks great when it is driving," Cooper said when asked about his uncle's new toy.
"But he has to look after it for me, that is the deal."
A recent arrival from Penrith, west of Sydney, the RX-2 promises plenty of fun for Cooper when he is older. Until then he is content to watch his uncle put it through its paces.
Modifications include replacing the standard carburettored 12A - equivalent to a 1.2-litre engine - with a fuel-injected and turbocharged 13B unit from a late-model RX-7.
The car also sports an after-market engine computer to provide "a bit more kick" than the factory standard computer.
"He wanted something different, everyone he knows has Falcons and Commodores and he wanted to have something that is different," Cooper said.
A lengthy list of modifications hint at the RX-2's true purpose, including a Toyota Supra five-speed gearbox and twin-caliper front discs from a Holden Commodore for extra stopping power.
While Cooper's uncle wanted to remain anonymous, he did let on that the car had already spent time at the drag strip at Willowbank Raceway but he was "not sure" if or when it would do laps of the Queensland Raceway or Echo Valley circuits.
"It makes 330 horsepower at the rear wheels, we have the dyno sheets from PAC Performance in Sydney, they did most of the work, including making sure that it is all road legal," he said.
The interior is very much in keeping with the performance promise of the driveline, incorporating a pair of fixed front racing buckets, although the harnesses are not fitted, instead standard three-point seat belts are used to keep the occupants in place.
"The dash has also been refitted with performance gauges, so I can keep track of what is going on under the bonnet."
The rear seat and doors were also retrimmed with new vinyl, leaving Cooper with a lot to clean but little work to do in terms of finishing the car off.
"All I have to do is wash it and we can take it for a drive whenever we like, it is fun," Cooper said.
As a weekend car, fuel consumption is not an issue, with even standard rotaries renowned for their thirst, while tuned versions require regular visits to the bowser.
Cooper has promised to help clean and polish the Mazda until it is his to own.
"I can't wait until I am old enough to drive it, then it will be my ride," he said.