Passion. That is the first word that comes to mind when looking at Ben Gillespie’s RX3. The attention to detail and work that has gone into this car is second to none. At first glance you may think ‘wow, that’s a really nice clean RX3 wagon’, but it’s not until you start to look closer that things start to get special. Every aspect of this car has been carefully restored or modified to look like it could have been that way from factory, hell all the badges have been painstakingly restored! Not to mention the trim, chrome, paint and bodywork, all have been restored or they are such good condition you couldn’t tell either way. However don’t think this is a show pony that sits in the shed and gets trailered around, absolutely not. Ben wanted this to be driven, and driven hard.

So how did Ben’s love of rotaries start? “Back in about 1993 when I was 14 an older mate got his license and bought a light blue rx4 coupe. As he was leaving a friends place we encouraged him to do a skid, as you do. He went from 1st into 2nd into 3rd with little gaps in the Black marks as it fish tailed up the street. At that stage I knew I needed to know more about these rotaries. I then rode to the newsagents and bout my first rotary magazine”. This led to the purchase of an original RX3 sedan that was Ben’s dream to restore to a high level. However things didn’t exactly go to plan.

After a lot of time and money an encounter with a dodgy panel beater ran Ben’s dream off the rails, the owner ran from the business and left the shell as a complete mess (and back in the 90’s the value of these things was not sky-high) so Ben made the tough decision to scrap it. Yes that’s right I said scrap a genuine RX-3 sedan.

A few years had passed since that incident when Ben came across the wagon in 1999, and thought that it could be a great fresh start as Ben had many original RX3 parts left over from his sedan but no shell to put them in! Luckily the car was a very clean and tidy grandma spec car, think lambswool seat covers, hubcaps and whitewalls. The car unfortunately sat in storage for years (damn grown up commitments) but finally in the late 2000’s Ben dug it out and started his restoration.

Ben’s vision was a JDM style touge racer. After living in the north of Japan for two and a half years Bens passion for the Japanese street style was really ignited. Ben’s imagination saw himself throwing the car around a few corners in the Adelaide Hills, which any Adelaidian would know are top class driving roads, heading to track days and cruising the street. Ben wanted to produce a fairly standard body with enough performance parts hidden underneath to be a very capable and quick car.

Ben did not want to modify, massage or cut anything on the body and chassis. Everything was built to fit the car, rather than the car modified to fit the running gear. “I enjoy it when people look under the car and say oh wow this has got a lot more going on than expected.

Throughout the build originality and respect for Mazda’s initial design was of the utmost importance. Any cutting or modification to the shell was simply out of the question. Everything going on the car needed to be made specifically for the car and not the other way round. The car has not had guards flared or cut in any way and all the factory lines and metal is still on the car. The car has all factory trims and badges that have been restored, original door trims and hood lining. He also has the original warning stickers etc in place. This gives it a more original feel rather than all brand new repo stuff.

Reliability has always been paramount, all parts used were chosen for longevity while retaining a factory looking style and fitment. The seats are a great example, they are cobra clubman race seats that have been trimmed to match the original Mazda trim, a small touch but really makes them feel and home in the cabin of the wagon and gives Ben all the performance and support when throwing the car around a track or some twisties.

Underneath the classic Mazda exterior is where some of the excitement occurs. Just as much care has been taken getting this car set up mechanically as has been taken getting it to look immaculate. Ben has a extend port 12a built by the guys at Jazmac. “The turbo built by Bill at Adelaide turbo services. It’s a high flow unit that I also got the exhaust manifold, rear housing of the turbo and dump pipe ceramic coated to keep the heat transfer down on the hot stuff. Dump pipe and flange along with the exhaust were made by Scott and the lads of MDR race fab”. Power then flows through the 12a turbo gearbox into a Kazz two way LSD.

The setup puts out 145kw at the rear wheels running on a very safe 14psi, which happens to be a lot of fun in a car that weighs well under a ton. 300mm slotted front rotors and R31 rear slotted rotors gives this Rx-3 all the stopping power it could ever need. The front struts have been converted to coil-overs and custom rear leaves have been made to help keep everything smooth around the bends.

So what does all this work equate to? One of the cleanest most well put together cars I have ever laid my eyes on. No it’s not going to break any track records but that’s not what the car was built for, “I achieved a goal of driving to the track doing laps all day and driving home in peak hour traffic with nothing more than a helmet, jerry can and some basic tools just in case. The commute was a 3 hour round trip plus track time and the wagon didn’t miss a beat. Best of all I had an absolute ball driving it at speed and getting to know the car and how it performs. My times weren’t fast, but the smiles were endless”.

Ben has built exactly what he wanted with this RX-3, a car that draws a crowd at the local cars and coffee, handles itself well around the hills and loves a few laps around a track, a truly great all round street car with some staggering attention to detail and something I feel he is going to enjoy for many years to come.


 – My wife for encouraging me to chase life goals
– My son for motivating me to get out and drive
– My mates, the lads for sharing the passion,
– MDR race fab
– Jazmac
– AJ trim
– Restoremaz
– Live-Fast crew for the feature


– 145kw at the wheels on 14psi at 6000rpm

– 12a extend port turbo block
– Factory 12a turbo exhaust manifold ceramic coated
– Factory inlet manifold and throttle body
– Modified plenum
– High flow turbo with rear housing
– 3 inch stainless exhaust straight through
– Aeroflow Billet fuel rail
– 1000cc injectors
– Fabricated Intercooler piping
– Turbosmart plumb back BOV
– PWR radiator
– PWR oil cooler
– Rotaflo rear muffler
– Custom built alloy fuel tank
– Custom length 10mm race leads bring the spark 

– 12a turbo gearbox
– 3 inch tail shaft
– Borg Warner diff
– KAAZ 2way lsd 4:11
– Big axles

– Haltech sprint RE
– Wideband unit
– Crank angle sensor
– LS coil packs 10mm leads
– Hidden engine bay wiring looms

– Front 300mm 2 piece vented and slotted rotors
– Front PBR calipers.
– Rear r31 skyline slotted and dimpled rotorsR
– Rear refurbished r31 calipers
– Wilwood brake bias
– Hydraulic handbrake
– All new brake and fuel lines

– 16×7 Performance Superlight
– Painted in custom charcoal colour
– 205/45/16 Bridgestone Potenza tyres

– Re-chromed and restored all chrome strips, trims, badges and fittings
– Fender mirrors
– New tail lights
– New reverse lights
– New front indicators
– New park lights
– New windscreen

– Custom trimmed cobra clubman race seats
– Rear set trimmed to match in a custom design
– Factory RX3 door trims
– Factory Savanna RX3 tailgate area trims
– Factory hood lining and wheel arch trims
– GT Savanna rx3 centre console/dash
– Pioneer Bluetooth stereo
– 6” pioneer speakers
– Autometer gauges
– Custom made gear lever
– Hydraulic handbrake

– MDR built front coil-overs
– Adjustable strut tops
– Custom rear leaf springs
– Koni adjustable shocks front and rear
– New bushes front to back
– All new ball joints