26 March 2013
People lose focus too easily. When confronted with a new project and the vast choices available when selecting upgrades, it’s often far too easy to get lost in it all. Getting the latest flashy part can distract from sticking to the original plan, which is why tuning shops are a great help to guide customers in the right direction. As Sakakibara-san of Wacky Mate tells us, cars are for driving and that’s pretty much all they focus on when it comes to advising their customers. You can’t get more down to earth than that. When you take a look at some of the rides these guys have built, it quickly becomes obvious that Wacky Mate knows how to fuse function with performance. Their RX-7 demo car is a testament to this simple way of thought - aggressive and powerful, but built with a certain focus that doesn’t spoil its drivability.
Located a short drive south from Nagoya, Wacky Mate has never been one to limit its area of expertise on a particular model. Sakakibara-san and his trusty mechanics always enjoy working on a variety of cars. They are known for thinking outside the box, able to custom fabricate anything in order to fit a specific part, or build a complete car from the ground up. It might be hard to believe, but this is something that is getting harder to find in Japan, where everything is available in a catalogue and delivered in a day or two. When it came time to build up their FD3S demo car, the idea was simple: the car had to serve as an example of what could be done with a reasonable budget to create a well-balanced setup.
First up is the chassis. While the FD might boast modern-looking lines, there is no hiding the fact the car first went into production twenty years ago. Body stiffness has also come a long way since then, so Sakakibara-san addressed this with the addition of a roll cage. It not only tightens the feel and handling of the car, but it also adds an element of safety seeing that it often participates in Wacky Mate-organized track day events. Under the car, the rubber bushings around the suspension links are replaced with pillow ball-ends and harder polyurethane items, giving an instant increase in precision from the driver seat. Seeing as the car still serves as a daily driver for one of the Wacky Mate mechanics, a certain level of comfort was needed, so the suspension couldn’t be too extreme. This is where A’PEXi N1 dampers come in - a tried and proven setup that does the job both on the street and on the track.
Quality power delivery was far more important than outright horsepower numbers, so the 13B engine under the bonnet received a well thought-out series of modifications. First up, the twin-rotor was taken apart, ready for a series of side port openings on each of the housings. The shape and size of the ports were matched to the rest of the engine spec to give good low-end pick up and a strong mid range. Once the apex seals were replaced with fresh items, the motor was put back together and dropped into the engine bay, ready to receive the rest of the upgrades. Mounted on an HKS exhaust manifold is the externally-gated GReddy TD-06H-25G single turbo, which replaces the sequential blowers the FD comes with as standard. A custom titanium exhaust system and GReddy front pipe helps channel away spent gasses, as well as intensifying the rotary exhaust note. A large core GReddy intercooler was chosen for the application and plumbed into position with custom piping and a Fujita Engineering intake elbow for better flow. An A’PEXi Power full computer unit custom mapped for both street and track carefully manages the 800 cc/min injectors and extracts the best from the engine.
According to Sakakibara-san, the 414 horsepower the car develops is just right for a balanced FD, but the modifications don’t end there. The stock transmission was replaced with a six-speed HKS sequential, mated to an HKS twin plate clutch for instant, raw gear changes. It might be a little heavy around town, but it’s such an essential part of the character of the car that it was an easy choice to go with. The driveline is beefed up with an OS Giken LSD to help cope with the 332 lb-ft or torque the 13B also develops.
With high levels of performance comes the need for matching looks; something that hints at the capabilities of the car. For this, Japan’s best rotary specialist relied on RE-Amemiya to transform the RX-7. The AD wide-body kit has become a signature look for RE-Amemiya. On this particular application it looks very well-suited paired with the white 17-inch Volk Racing TE37 wheels. The stock pop-up headlights have been retained and with the addition of contrasting carbon detailing (Craft Square mirrors, front fenders, diffusers and the front and rear spoilers), it gives a unique feel to the car. Open the driver side door and the upgrades continue with a set of lightweight Bride bucket seats and a Nardi steering wheel. Auxiliary instrumentation has been kept to a minimum with the Power FC Commander taking center stage on the center console, while the Blitz boost controller is easily within reach on top of the steering column. The three dash-mounted GReddy gauges are positioned towards the driver, displaying water and oil temperatures and oil pressure - all vital parameters when doing a spot of track driving. For those in-the-know, the tall gear level and white HKS shift knob hint at the serious transmission upgrade this FD hides!
Wacky Mate really ticked all the right boxes with this RX-7. Customers are even encouraged to take the car out for a drive at circuits like Suzuka, where the shop regularly organizes track days. We’re pretty sure a few laps in this beast would be the best sales pitch any tuner could receive!
Vehicle: Mazda FD3S RX-7
Built by: Wacky Mate
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Engine: 13B side-ported Rotary Wankel
Horsepower: 414 hp
Torque: 332 lb-ft
Side-ported 13B engine
HKS (external wastegate, SPF filter)
GReddy (TD-06H-25G turbo, front pipe, front pipe, intercooler, alternator pulley)
Wacky Mate (custom titanium exhaust system, racing radiator)
Custom (intake pipe, intercooler piping, air separator tank, oil catch tank)
Fujita Engineering intake elbow
In-tank fuel pump
700 cc/min injectors
A’PEXi Power FC ECU
HKS exhaust manifold
HKS (twin-plate carbon clutch, 6-speed sequential)
OS Giken 2-way LSD
Chassis / Suspension:
A’PEXi N1 Dampers adjustable suspension
Pillowball bushings all round
Wheels / Tires / Brakes:
Volk Racing TE37 wheels - 17x9 (f/r)
Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tires - 255/40 ZR17 (f/r)
RE-Amemiya (AD front bumper, AD front spoiler, bonnet, AD front wide fenders, carbon fiber fender diffusers, AD side skirts, AD rear over-fenders, carbon rear diffuser, carbon vortex generators, carbon fiber rear wing)
Craft Square carbon side mirrors
Cusco bolt-on roll cage
Bride bucket seats
Nardi steering wheel
Works Bell snap-off steering wheel boss
Blitz Dual SBC boost controller
Power FC Commander
GReddy gauges (oil temperature, oil pressure, water temperature)
HKS (shift knob, extended shift lever)
Audio / Mobile Electronics:
Pioneer Carrozzeria head unit