You probably thought it was cool the first time you successfully did a burnout or donut in your truck. You also probably thought it was cool when you got a tuner installed and put down 1,000+ lb-ft of torque, but you haven’t seen anything yet.
Enter “RX-H8,” a 2004 Mazda RX-8 belonging to Comhghan Locke, based out of Limerick, Ireland. Comhghan runs the Bodge Rides Garage there and made his mark when he took his Land Rover Defender 110 and gave it a Cummins 6BT.
The Defender (top) was what inspired Comhghan to make the leap to Cummins on the RX-8 (bottom).
You might be wondering, “Ireland? Where do you find 6BTs over there?” As it turns out, there are a number of box trucks (“7.5 tonne,” as Comhghan referred to them) ranging from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s that have these motors. “Most of these trucks have rotten cabs and won’t pass inspection, so they go for pretty cheap,” said Comhghan.
“Where you run into trouble is that it’s very hard to find ones with Bosch P-pumps – most are VE – and almost all of them are non-wastegated Holset HX35 turbochargers, which are quite limited in performance,” he added. Comhghan gets around this by using the usual tricks: screwing in the max fuel screw, fitting in boost pins, and turning the star wheel down to get fuel rapidly delivered to the cylinders. As the RX-H8 is intended as a drift car, it will need all the help it can get to lay down power instantly.
From the intercooler to the steering rack, everything had to be made to work on RX-H8. Comhghan has been working on this project since June and plans to have it wrapped up by January 2017.
Comhghan was struck with the idea to take on RX-H8 earlier this year after he pulled tools out of his Defender to take measurements of the RX-8’s engine bay. “I had some new people in the garage, and a buddy of mine wanted to show them the engine in the Defender so he opened the hood,” said Comhghan. “I noticed the 6BT and stopped. I went over, measured it, announced that it would fit, and then was categorically told that there was no way it would work! Naturally, I set out to prove them wrong.”
Since that time, Comhghan has been on the winning side of the argument. “We’ve been building since June of this year,” he said. “So far, we’ve stripped the car, modified the chassis to take the added weight and torque of the Cummins, fitted a BMW E36 steering rack, fabricated a custom driveshaft to the RX-8 differential, installed drift-style wheels and tires, moved the cooling system to the rear, and installed a bucket seat.”
That leaves plenty left to do for Comhghan, including camber adjustment, modifying the front hubs, and adding more steering travel. If everything goes well, he will get the RX-H8 dialed in for track testing next month. “Realistically, there will be a few test days in January, and hopefully it will fairly dialed in by March or April in time for the drifting season,” he said.