James Bullions’s stunning, slammed Mazda R100

James Bullions’s slammed Mazda R100 may look simple on the outside, but it harbours mind-boggling engineering under the skin

Photographers: Chris Thorogood

James Bullions just wanted a street car his wife could cruise with the kids. “It was never meant to be a show car,” he says of his incredible 1969 Mazda R100, which, as you can see, is now exactly that. “Then Owen [Webb] said he wanted us to unveil it [at Summernats], so we took it to the next level.”

First published in the March 2024 issue of Street Machine

The entire car was built by James’s good mate Nathan Goodwin from the RAR Embossed workshop on the Gold Coast. James actually bought the car off Nathan, who’d already started the project quite some time before. “It’d been sitting on his mezzanine roof for about 10 years, so I purchased it and then we set about finally getting it finished,” says James. “I wanted to build something subtle, keeping the original styling but tweaked to my liking. I’m not about big bodykits and showy bits, just improving on what’s already there.”

The boys went to town on the little machine, and if we were to list every single modification, we’d be here for ages. For starters, it sits on an all-new chassis, with a handmade floor the whole way through that’s been raised 120mm. The sills and rear quarters have been extended a further 70mm to complete the dropped look, and underneath the sheet-metal engine bay is a full tubular front end. The original three-piece bumpers have been converted to single-piece and tucked further into the body.

“When I first bought the car, the 20×10.5 FR1s were already under the rear,” James says of the Simmons rims. “Nathan said they came with the car whether I liked it or not. So, we built it around having the right stance on those.”

The paint is a Land Rover Gondwana Stone Metallic, laid down by Travis Cowley. “He dialled in the bodywork, and sprayed it at his work, as I don’t have a paint booth,” says Nathan. “That was late December, so it was just a crazy time to get it done [in time for Summernats 36].”

James loves his rotaries, so that was the only choice for the R100’s engine. It’s no ordinary 13B, though: “It’s a full billet engine built by SIK100 Racing, which is completely unnecessary for an aspirated engine!” James laughs. “But I’m a sucker for billet stuff, so it’s what we went with. Aspirated was easier over turbo with the space and getting it done, and turbos suck away the noise you get from a peripheral port – which is what I love most about this engine.”

The Billet Boss catalogue got a full workout, with three of the brand’s billet plates, a billet X40 eccentric shaft, CNC rotors, billet sump and timing cover all adorning the rotary. The intake is a Pro-Jay Bully with eight Bosch 800cc injectors, controlled by a Haltech Nexus R5. James reckons the package is good for 11,000rpm. “The engine will do 280-300hp, and then we have that nitrous there that’s jetted for a 200-shot,” he says. “So all up, it’s around a 500hp combo, which is plenty for a car as small as this one.”

Behind the 13B is a Toyota R154 five-speed manual, sending power to a beefed-up HiLux diff. One thing you can’t see is the new firewall acting as a sandwich plate between the engine and gearbox, sitting underneath the raised tunnel. “Details like that nobody else knows except Nathan and I, but that’s what happens when two OCD people build a car!” James laughs.

It should comes as no surprise that the interior has also been completely re-imagined. The basic shape of the dash was retained, but Nathan had to cut and modify the lower section to suit the new tunnel. The centre console was added, and James insisted on having ample room in the rear seat for his kids. “Chris from Trim FX took care of the leather, and he was great to work with on this,” says Nathan. “We used the Recaros, and even those have been recessed into the floor, because James is a big dude, and it’s important to me that the owners actually fit in their cars so they can use them comfortably.”

The build took around 12 months of work to complete, but it came right down to the wire to get the Mazda in the hall at Street Machine Summernats 36 for its grand unveiling. “It was a mad thrash; I barely got a break over Christmas, but it was well worth it,” says Nathan. “We didn’t know what to expect taking a small Japanese car to Summernats, but the reception was really strong, which is the important thing for me. The trophies didn’t really matter so much.”

Even so, the Mazda scored plenty of tinware in the elite judging, with a Top 20 placing, third in Top Engineered, and second in Top Tudor. “To go there and win stuff was pretty surreal; full credit to Nathan and everyone that pitched in to get that result,” James says.

You probably won’t see the R100 in any more show halls, though – James has already had enough of that. “Next it’s going to Rotary Revival, where I’m going to drive the bloody wheels off it!” he says. “We’ll also start cruising it around with the family as well, which is exactly what we built it for. I’ve got a wagon in the build for Summernats 38, so keep an eye out for that one – it’ll be twice the car this thing is.”


Paint:Land Rover Gondwana Stone Metallic
Brand:Mazda 13B rotary
Induction:Pro-Jay four-barrel
ECU:Haltech Nexus R5
Plates:Billet Boss studded, solid inserts
Housings:S6 RX-7
Extension shaft:Billet Boss 13B X40
Fuel system:Eight Bosch 800cc injectors
Cooling:PWR radiator
Exhaust:Stainless 2.5in
Ignition:Haltech IGN-1A
Gearbox:Toyota R154
Clutch:Direct Clutch Services twin-plate
Diff:HiLux, 35-spline, 4.88:1 gears
Front:FC RX-7 coil-overs
Rear:Four-link, QA1 shocks and springs
Brakes:Wilwood 294mm discs (f & r)
Master cylinder:Wilwood
Rims: Simmons FR1; 17×7 (f), 20×10.5 (r)
Rubber:185/35R17 (f), 275/30R20 (r)

Nathan Goodwin at RAR Embossed; Matt Barnsley at The Render Garage; Travis Cowley for the paint; Chris Horvat at Trim FX; Chris Fakinos at SIK100 Racing; Charles Williamson at Billet Boss; Travis Lister at ProSpark Auto Electrical; Emman Pethyon at Motorsport 3D; Matt Young at EziSteer; Jamie at GAS Wheels & Tyres; Gavin Brookes at Garage48; Mick Lange at Lange Motorsport; Andrew Ruhland at Bliss Custom Machining; Pravin at Elite Surface Coating & Detailing; Gary Kendall at Fab by Fester.