“Dream big and be disruptive. If you are doing the same thing as everyone else, you’ve already failed” – Forbes
Interviewer | Clifton Hernandez
Photos | Rafael Gabaldon
Passing judgment is easy. Look at something, and make your mind up about it. It’s human nature in many ways. What separates the small minded from those that think with a bit more nuance is the ability to look deeper and appreciate the subtle (and not so subtle) aspects of a person or place. Ricky “Disruptive” Alduen’s RX-7 is probably one of the most eye-catching FD specimens in South Florida, heck, probably the entire Eastern Seaboard. At first glance, most would brush it off as a trailer queen. A vehicle that goes from garage to trailer, to show floor, and back to the trailer. Not the case. As many natives of the SoFlo area can attest, Ricky actually drives this thing, and with enough power that even he admits makes him nervous, his FD is no primped-up princess.
Street Racing Illustrated: So your car… it looks like a bunch of fun.
Ricky Alduen: Yes! It definitely is!
SRI: Not to go off topic, but you’ve got a matching Slingshot… What gets you more looks?
Ricky: Believe it or not, this one [gestured towards the RX-7].
SRI: The RX-7 gets more attention?
Ricky: With car people, for sure. With the general public, you know, everyone’s going to be like, yo look at that thing, especially when I drop [the Slingshot] down to the ground. But car people give the RX-7 more attention for sure.
SRI: Looking at everything in your garage from the Slingshot to the FD… you custom make a lot, have to admit.
Ricky: I like custom @#$%. [laughs]
SRI: What’s your favorite piece on here?
Ricky: The one you cannot see… my headliner. I have a carbon fiber headliner.
SRI: Nobody has that…
Ricky: Nope. My wheels too. Custom order from Japan, hand assembled, made to order by Mackin Industries. I typically stick to Rays when I buy wheels.
SRI: So we’ve got a lot of “first time” @!#$% on this car, I see. So what originally got you into an RX-7?
Ricky: I’d have to say back in 19[Redacted], I was walking out of High School on my way home like I normally did and out of nowhere I hear this engine idling [makes the signature “brap-brap-brap” rotary sound]. It was a 1984 GSL-SE, a burgundy first-generation RX-7. I just stopped and listened to it. It belonged to a classmates’ father. Every day he’d come to pick his daughter up and I’d just stand there and listen to it idle. That sound… you know, it’s different than any other car. Completely different. I fell in love with it. From the first generation.
SRI: Takes me back to when we used to visit the track down here. Back when it was called Moroso. There used to be this guy in the stands we’d call “Rotary-Man”. He had this bull-horn, and he’d just be losing his mind anytime a car pulled up to the line with a rotary engine. So much fun to be around that kind of passion, you know, for anything. But that’s how I got introduced to the sound of that engine, what made me take notice.
Ricky: Yeah man, it’s that sound, I fell in love with it. And the look, it’s so sexy even back then. It was right then, I was done. I had to get me one of these. But I couldn’t afford it. Obviously, I was still in High School. I saved and I tried to buy one, but then I looked at insurance for it and was like, what?
SRI: How many RX-7s have you had, so far?
Ricky: Three. Two first gens, and this one. There was a point when I had this one, a silver FB, a gold FB, my Veilside 350z [points towards a photo on the wall], and my Spyder Can-Am. All here, in the garage and outside.
SRI: How long have you had this one?
Ricky: Six or seven years?
SRI: So which one was favorite out of them?
Ricky: This one. This one, for sure.
Ricky: Man, what’s there not to like? I mean, I tore it apart. I took every single bolt out. I wanted to take my time and build it the way I wanted. For two and half years it wasn’t drivable. Engine out, front off, seats, interior, roof… a complete shell. We painted the shell-
SRI: Awesome paint job by the way.
Ricky: We painted it in a storage container…
SRI: Sounds like a story by itself. Where did you find this color? Were there any other experiments or was this the color you always wanted?
Ricky: Because of my line of work, I’m used to planning things out way in advance. I had this color in mind before I even had the car. I found it while I was still with my Veilside 350z. A friend of mine, a painter and body-guy, Frankie, pulled up one day with an orange Civic. I told him how much I loved the color and asked if he had the code, and he said “nope, its custom”, but of course, he knew mixtures. The first thing I actually painted this color ended up being the Spyder Can-Am, then the RX-7 and finally the Slingshot.
SRI: You’ve said this a few times in passing since we’ve been here. That you want to be the ‘first’ or ‘only’ with something…
Ricky: It’s not to be the “only one”. It’s a bit different. Like a lot of people do wide-body [with this car], I don’t like wide-body. I like to see, and I respect what they do, but this kind of car you have cut into the body to get more space to roll. I don’t like it. You’re screwing with a car that has perfect body lines. Perfect. I think it was ahead of its time [in terms of styling].
SRI: I remember back in about 2003, Super Street Magazine had this feature, a red RX-7 with like 800HP. I just thought a car that beautiful had no business having that much power.
Ricky: Yeah, you can get a lot of power out of these little engines! Not everyone has a rotary these days. Like even the wheels. Everyone has those Ray Engineering Ts. Not saying that doesn’t look awesome, but I wanted something a bit different.
SRI: What other cars have you owned?
Ricky: I’ve had two 350zs, I had Toyota Corolla 1.8- you had to have a Toyota Corolla 1.8. I had a twin-cam GT-S. I fell in love with the Celicas. You know how it was back in the day. You had the club and the events… I had a friend, who I used to swap cars with sometimes. I’d give him mine, and I’d take his. He had a red convertible. I loved it, so I went and got my own. I got a white convertible and put white seats in it with a bangin’ system (of course). Super-super dope, that was like the pantie-dropper!
SRI: What’s the show scene like for you with the RX-7?
Ricky: I do it for fun, the love. Tell you a funny story. I was on my way back from my shop Pettit Racing. I got on Commercial Blvd approaching i95. On the left, I see Elite Roads doing what they used to do all the time, hosting a car show. I was going to get gas and head home but I wanted to see what was up. Soon as I tried to pull in the crowd just went ‘whoosh’, all around the car, I couldn’t get out… After I was able to park it finally, an hour passed (because the show was ending) and I won first place.
SRI: Just like that? By accident?
Ricky: Just like that, man [laughs].
SRI: You said you were coming back from Pettit Racing?
Ricky: Pettit Racing, yes. They built my engine, built my block. One of the things I did… people do swaps. I don’t believe in swaps for this car, I don’t. I respect whoever does it, I’ve got no problem with a 2JZ or an LS swap but my thing is; this car is unique. It has a unique engine. Everyone else has pistons, this is rotary, keep it rotary. So what I did is, I took out the old engine, and threw it in the garbage and told Cam to build me a new one. Everything in here is new, rotors, housing- everything.
SRI: Where are you in terms of building a show car, versus a race car?
Ricky: I’m right in the middle. I can’t say this is all race, because you’d see me drag racing, but at the same time look at this $#%&. It’s about a balance… got another story for you. I was at an event at Moroso (now called Palm Beach International Raceway), and this kid comes up talking; saying I was “all-show no go” or whatever. I smiled. I really don’t care what people think or whatever. I don’t get into that really. On the way home on the Turnpike, the same kid pulls up next to me. He’s in a Nissan 280. Of course, he starts jumping and revving. Now I’m just cruising; my windows are down, I’m relaxed, not looking for anything. Then he says it again. Yells “Yep! All-show!”. I’m doing like 80 MPH in 4th [gear]. I drop down into 3rd and just like that, I’m doing 140. He couldn’t catch up; disappeared. A couple months later at another show, the same kid comes up to me; says he blew his engine back then! To be honest, the car scared me that day. It just kept pulling. It was really dangerous and I was doing something really stupid! Note to self: Never do that $#%^ again. Ever.
SRI: So you have fun with the car, you’re not afraid to mess around.
Ricky: I like to push it. I don’t trailer it; I drive it around. All the way up to North Carolina. Not a problem. I did that ‘Tail of the Dragon’, it’s the place where you can really just abuse this car. I built this car to have fun on the road. I built it for road racing. I might lose to a car with a big turbo in a straightaway, but curves? Nah.
SRI: You go by Disruptive. It’s written on the car; you reference it on social media. Where did it come from?
Ricky: It’s simple. Disruptive… it’s not about being rowdy or doing stupid things on the road. Disruptive is about expressing our passion for cars in an individual way. The idea is to create a positive impact and try to change the general idea that associates our passion with a negative connotation due to some few that are killing the scene by doing stupid $@#% on the streets.
SRI: You did a sick spread with Super Street Magazine a few years back, how did that come about?
Ricky: One of my sponsors, Apex’i contacted me and said they’d like to install one of their suspension sets on my car. My contact Masaki recommended this set they use for our drift cars. 100% bolt-on and already dialed in, ready to install right out of the box. I put them on and send the pics to Apex’i. After that, Masaki called me and told me he wanted to introduce me to, an editor at Super Street, Sam Du (@duspeed). Turned out, he was going to be here in Miami and wanted to see the car while he was in town. We met up down on South Beach, took some test shots and asked if I wanted to do a spread. Just like that.
SRI: How often do you drive the RX-7?
Ricky: I used to drive it all the time. Now, not as much. Maybe once or twice a month, to make sure everything is working. I built it to enjoy it. If I go to a show, I drive it. Definitely not a trailer queen.
SRI: So… is this your dream car?
Ricky: Yes. This is it, right here.
SRI: Do you understand how rare that is? Just about anyone else I’d pitch that question to would go on these long rants about what they’d been chasing, and what they’d do to it-
Ricky: This is a little boy’s dream come true. I was a teenager in high school, in 9th grade, you know, an earlier model, but I saw it and fell in love with. To be able to have this, x-amount of years later? It’s a dream. And it’s not done. It’s not perfect, I’m still dreaming of rotary perfection.