Growing up in what many enthusiasts consider the golden days of the modified car scene in Australia, the '80s to early -'90s we all had our dream cars. Cars we either drooled over in the magazines, at shows or saw cruising around the streets...
Local car lovers and self-confessed rotary fanatics Steve Trandafilu & Steve Jovanovski were certainly no different.
While both of these guys had cars that they oogle over as youngsters, each has their own favorites of the lot and while they both happened to fancy RX2 coupes in particular, each were for very different reasons.
Steve Trandafilu caught the modified car bug from an early age and has owned a string of cars over the years, so many he's lost count! From bump stop-riding Geminis in his P-Plater days to a highly modified S15 and even a well-known tubbed R100 mock up known by the plates TOOSIK.
All of these cars gave Steve many good memories over the years but there was always a longing for his favorite model, the RX2 coupe.
After regrettably taking his RX3 off the road in 2006 to transform it into a race car a few years earlier, Steve's desire to cruise again became too strong to resist, not helped by the fact that many of his mates were cruising again and the local meets at Bunnings were gaining popularity. It was at that time Steve decided that he had to get another car.
Steve searched high and low for the right car at the right price but kept coming up short. Steve even ventured to Qld a few times only to be disappointed. That was until he came across a RX2 Coupe on Facebook.
Heading out to Western Sydney to check the car out Steve was already excited being that 1. It was a Series 1 RX2 Coupe, just like the one he'd dreamed of owning... And 2. It was red, again just like the one he'd dreamed of owning... So you can imagine his level of enthusiasm when he found out that it was THE actual car he'd stared at for hours on end in Fast Fours & Rotaries magazine Vol9, No8. The 20B-powered coupe known as SIC002.
Obviously that story ended with Steve handing over the hard cash to own a piece of rotary history as he likes to put it.
While the car no longer had the big 20B between the strut towers the car's powerplant was still substantial enough for a bit of fun, running a 13BT combo.
Unfortunately the fun didn't last long at all with the engine dropping compression after only a month of ownership which meant Steve was once again unable to cruise. Not keen on this situation Steve promtly got in touch with the boys at Pac Performance to book the car in for a full overhaul to give the little red coupe the setup it deserved
Now sitting between the strut towers is a Pac-spec bridgeport 13BT bullet fed by a sizable Garrett GT4094 turbo, assisted by a host of proven accessories and presented with impeccable taste with satin wrinkle finish powder coating. Being a street car the boys ensured that everything was above board as well in regards to legalities including plumbing back the external wastegate and BOV as well as fitting a shielded air filter.
The whole show is controlled by a Haltech PS1000 ecu and tuned by the rotary-wisperer himself, Rockey Rehayem to the tune of a respectable 400rwhp at just 14psi on 98 PULP through the built Jatco 3-speed automatic.
Inside the cabin is just as clean as the exterior and so Steve has left most of it as he bought it with FD RX7 front seats fitted, all trimmed in tan vinyl. Steve has added his own personal touches to the cars interior though including re-fitting the factory RX2 dash and console, adding the Momo wheel as well as fabricating a custom fascia for the Haltech Racepak logger dash and Turbosmart E-Boost II which blends in nicely with the factory trim.
Since getting the car back on the road Steve's also added a few other bits and pieces to the car including a sexy set of satin/glass black FR18 Simmons rollers, replaced the factory badges and tail light lenses with new and even tracked down the hard to find chrome trims for the front windscreen.
Apart from that it's been straight cruising for Steve, often with the wife or kids on board. Steve also recently drove the car to the track for the first timeand laid down a wheelspinning 11.2 second pass in full street trim.
For Steve Jovanovski it wasn't all about a car he admired from a magazine. In his case it was a car he'd actually already had the pleasure of owning.
Seen here back around 1990 is Steve's original series 1 RX2 coupe which sported a 12A mildport. At the time Steve was 19, fresh off his Ps and cruising around Wollongong and frequenting the popular modified car hot spots in Sydney including La Perouse, Harrys Diner and Auburn Maccas every Sunday afternoon.
A stout little car back in the day with more than enough grunt for a teenager, Steve had plenty of fun in the car and has plenty of memories to go with it however, not all were positive.
Fast forward to 2016 and the local car scene is once again alive and flourishing and Steve is basically having his face rubbed in it as he works away at his Pizza Shop which happened to be located across the road from Bunnings where the Monthly Meets were held at the time.
Seeing all the old school and muscle cars out cruising again, all seemingly without getting hassled had Steve aching to get back behind the wheel of something cool so with his wife's permission, the search began.
At the time Steve wasn't overly fussed with what model he was after so long as it was a rotor. Luckily it wasn't long before he spotted a car that caught his eye and like a gift from the man above it so happened to be a blue Series 1 Coupe. Steve couldn't believe his luck, it was like it was meant to be and he wasted no time in snapping it up.
Like the red coupe, Steve J's blue beast had also graced the cover of fast Fours magazine, back in 2007 with an in-your-face blower setup hanging out the bonnet. these days though she's running a much milder yet still feisty mildport 13BT combo.
Yes, the car is turbocharged and if you're staring at the photo above thinking what the hell...No you're not going blind.Steve's coupe is running a rear mounted TO4 turbo under the boot just behind the upgraded Hilux diff.
Although it's hard to see in the photo, this unique setup has been well thought out by the previous owner with a shielded air intake and scavenge pump for the oil return back to the engine. Equipped with a small water-2-air cooler it put out 300hp at the wheels which Steve says is more than enough for a cruiser.
Inside Steve V's RX2 has also copped a full tan retrim, this time in leather with Toyota Supra seats replacing the standard Mazda offering. other additions include the Momo tiller and a wicked old-school Redback spider gear knob as well as a Microtech Digi dash working with the LT10s ECU.
The detailing doesn't stop there tho, even the boot is decked out in tan leather around the custom fuel setup feeding the thirsty two rotor.
Apart from a quick tidy up of the body, a full detail and fixing up some of the wiring Steve has pretty much kept the car as it was, preffering to enjoy the car rather than unloading cash on it.
As you would imagine, both of these guys are more than just a little bit proud of their rides and get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from them when out cruising.
We certainly love seeing these two cruising around the area and regularly out at the IMCC Monthly Meets and given the reception they receive we're probably not the only ones. If you want to see more of these immaculate coupes, head over to the Feature Car Page HERE for the rest of the snaps from our photo shoot.