If you spend enough time browsing the Internet’s endless car communities (it also happens with real-life events) you’ll eventually come across the respect all builds mantra. This normally invites those who have negative comments regarding a controversial custom vehicle to display a more inclusive attitude. And if there’s one project that recently set social media on this path it has to be the blue, camber-crazy Mazda RX8 driven by an enthusiast named Luke (aka stancypants).
Mostly a product of the 2000s, the RX-8 is now in the affordable aficionado car league, with a good-condition example trading hands for around $15,000 these days—that value can vary quite a bit depending on the condition and mileage of the sportscar.
Factor in the RWD rotary fun, and you end up with a massively appealing sportscar. The downside? No big secret here: the reliability issues of the otherwise splendid Wankel engine (between 189 and 238 hp, depending on the version), which is why LS swaps are not uncommon in the U.S.
Even without the smooth power delivery and vocal nature of the rotary engine, the RX-8 remains the choice of many enthusiasts, with its practical, four-door (think: tiny rear suicide doors) nature meaning you can also daily the thing.
This RX-8 is different
At the other end of the spectrum we have eccentric builds that send jaws to the floor and @stancypants’ RX-8 is one of the most extreme we’ve encountered to date—but have you seen this RX-8 cosplaying as a Cyberpunk 2077 Quadra V-Tech?).
Luke, to use the name the enthusiast lists on his Instagram account (54k followers at the time of press, plus 91k on TikTok), is a man who doesn’t conceal his M.O. on social media: “I build cars to hurt your feelings”
And his RX-8, which seems to currently be in its third iteration, clearly has the potential to back that up. I came across the Mazda in a video that shows the car attempting to drive onto a trailer and damaging itself in the process. Watching the clip—the second one below—made me Google “RX-8 oil pan” and thinking this is one way to beat the 1.3L Renesis at the oil-eating game.
Trailer shenanigan (and extreme social media reactions) aside—the first post below shows the vehicle did eventually make it onto a trailer—the Mazda’s vivid blue shade, its race-look wing/mounts, or its Japanese Takeyari-style (bamboo spear) exhaust are not even the main attractions here.
That title is reserved for the extreme stance of the car. You see, the custom overfenders can barely contain the super-sized, mega-offset wheels with stretched tires. Then there’s the negative camber and the microscopic ride height, which means that all the ingredients for the Hellaflush subculture that seemed to gain traction last decade are here—the Hellaflush builds I’ve seen come with a static (suspension) setup, but we’ll get to this below.
Speaking of which, Quebec authorities banned Hellaflush back in 2014, citing the negative impact such mods have on a vehicle’s handing.
Now, as Jalopnik states, the U.S. has not followed Canada’s example, even though driving such a car in America might see the police pulling you over and having the car inspected. And with this kind of setup guaranteed to fail the inspection, restoring the vehicle to its original form is what you’ll have to do to be able to drive on the street again. In addition, playing with suspension geometry to this extent also means that your insurance company has the legal right to deny compensation for a claim.
Yes, the police has pulled the Mazda over
While stancypants’s RX-8 does come with air suspension, at least on the rear axle, that camber is there to stay. And sure, this Mazda is mostly a show car, as his Instagram shows that the vehicle has even toured multiple cities. But we can also see videos of the machine being driven on the road, which does seem like a gamble as far as safety is concerned.
In fact, there are even clips of the police stopping him, with the footage appearing to have been recorded recently (you’ll one such vid below). However, it seems that such incidents haven’t made a difference.
As you’ll notice in this Insta post from @moderndayhotrods, people also point their finger at the sloppy-looking welds used to bring the coilovers and the lower control arm together for lowering the front axle (u okay, little Mazda?). Is this a case of studied negligence? I’m not sure, but it’s clear that some serious resources have been invested in this project.
I wish to look past the antics (yes, people are tagging fellow wild driver WhistlinDiesel in some of the posts). This way, I can mention my respect for the fact that this RX-7 appears to have maintained its Wankel heart. However, don’t ask me about the scenario that led to me picking up the awesome brap-brap voice of the rotary engine… as I’ve already described it above.