As far as knockoffs go, the FC3S Mazda RX-7 is one of the best. I’ll quickly explain that rude point in case you think I need to check my head, but first, let’s set the scene…

Months of word ping pong with the owner of this 1989 RX-7, Kohei Miyata. It will be worth the wait, though, as I’m sure you’ll soon agree.


I first met Mr. Kohei last year when we shot his NA2 Acura NSX-T with another USDM spec LHD NSX from the Level One Japan team. In addition to the NSX and this RX-7, Mr. Kohei is also the owner of a USDM Honda S2000, EK9 Honda Civic Type R and Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI.


There’s a wide variety of front- and rear-wheel drive, performance and utility in his range, and while the two smaller Hondas share similar powertrains, the rotary-powered Mazda and Golf are diverse enough to keep things going interesting.


When Kohei-san got the RX-7, it was stock and finished in Blaze Red, which made it much cheaper than the Crystal White FC3S.The latter is more popular in Japan, thanks in part to a certain Red Sun car Initial D.


Fortunately, Kohei-san never intended to keep cars in stock, so the color of the car didn’t really matter. With the AR-F front bumper installed, there was only one paint option, and that was Mr. Kohei’s favorite color, green. To be exact, Nissan’s Millennium Jade.


A number of different wheels have been fitted to these cars over the years, including RegaMaster Evos and Autostrada Modenas, but the current 17×10 inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37V with Classic Bronze set fitted is perfect in my opinion. Tein Super Drift shocks with Swift springs ensure a snug fit.


Mazda’s interior, however, is nearly all original. As far as the eye can see, bulky plastics and cloth are used most of the time, but there are some necessary upgrades, namely Mazda RX-7 Infini full bucket seats, Renown Monaco steering wheel and half-bolt-on roll cage .


Taken together, all of these aesthetic modifications have earned Mr. Kohei a host of awards from Mooneyes’ Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show to StanceNation’s Japan G Edition. He was awarded “Best Mazda” at Wekfest Japan.

While it’s good that Mr. Kohei’s efforts are being recognized at Japan’s biggest tuning car show, that’s not really what Mazda is all about.


With its tuned 13B turbo rotary engine housed in a potted, shaved and wire-folded carriage, it’s not just a looker, it’s a cooker too.


The factory-installed engine is still stock internally, but Kohei-san has heavily modified it externally, mostly around a large single Trust TD06-25G turbocharger. There’s an N-stage v-mount intercooler, Sard and Tomei fuel system upgrades, and a custom exhaust consisting of Kakimoto Racing headpipes and RE Amemiya titanium mufflers. Engine management comes from an old Japanese tuning favorite – A’PEXi’s venerable Power FC.


At the beginning of this post, I went wild accusing the FC RX-7 of being one of the greatest knockoffs of all time, so I need to explain my reasons…

Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Japanese automakers unabashedly borrowed design cues from their foreign counterparts. While it’s mechanically very different, it’s not hard to see that the Porsche 924 and later the 944 provided more than a little inspiration for the FC3S Mazda RX-7’s silhouette.


Personally, I love it, and the reason I think this knockoff is one of the best knockoffs ever made is that it looks better than the original. Kohei-san has tastefully upgraded his RX-7 to make it even better again.


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