There’s no ‘JDM-style’ modifications on this stunning looking FD RX-7 – this is all as authentic as it gets…

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

There’s countless awesome modified Japanese cars in the UK, but no matter how well they’re done, no matter how hard people try, they’re never quite the same as how they would be done in Japan.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

It’s something that’s hard to put in to words, but you can always tell the difference between a car modified in Japan and one modified here. In fact you can even tell when cars that have been imported from Japan already highly modified have been further modified once in the UK; the cars just never seem quite the same, almost not quite ‘right’, ever again.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

If you want an explanation of why the Japanese can do it in a way nobody else truly can, well you’re not going to get one, and nobody could honeslty give you a definitive answer, but it’s clear to see they’ve got a real eye for it, every little detail, and they see things as a bigger picture rather than lots of singular parts decide to bolt on. You know what seems to be the biggest difference though? They don’t give a damn what other people think; they build it for themselves and haven’t got the culture we have here of worrying about what others think, copying others, and having others try and tell you what you’ve done is ‘wrong’.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

A lot of parts fitted to this FD RX-7 would be incredibly unlikely to be fitted if it was a car built in the UK, partly as they’re incredible rare and expensive, and partly as some parts most would imagine wouldn’t look good, but the simple fact is, it’s hard to deny this is one of, if not the, nicest looking FD RX-7 in the UK.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

It’s certainly not the wildest looking one out there, but while it looks absolutely nothing like standard, it almost looks like a factory or race special edition rather than a typical modified car, a car that someone who isn’t a modified car fan might not even realise is modified, just a super cool sports car; and to pull that look off takes a lot more skill then just building a typical wildly modified car.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

So what Japanese car building genius built this stunning RX-7 then? Well, that’s one of the common quirks of buying a Japanese import; nobody knows!

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Ross from rotary specialists Drag Performance spotted this car for sale at one of the huge auction houses in Japan. These auctions have literally countless amounts of cars going through on a daily basis, but with just a few small pictures and a vague hand-written description, in Japanese of course, you have to either have to play it very safe with what you buy, take big risks, or have an incredibly keen eye for the right car.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Thankfully Ross does have that eye, and doesn’t mind a risk too, and that’s how he snapped up this amazing car, despite it not looking as promising to most people in the auction pictures! “The car was filthy in the pictures, brown with thick dust, and looked like an abandoned car” Ross explained. “I could see it had some great parts on it, and I love interesting stuff like this, so I took a chance, had a bid, and ended up winning the car”.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Despite how the car looked, thanks to the exchange rate, shipping, taxes, and the simple fact that RX-7s are just never cheap cars, Ross still spent a considerable sum buying and importing the car, but his love for RX-7s and the way they tune them in Japan made him take this risk, and when it arrived he was very glad he did!

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

“The car same to the UK still covered in a layer of dust, but underneath all that the thing was pretty much immaculate, and after a good wash it was pretty much how you see it today;  pretty amazing” said Ross.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

While the history of the car is still a total mystery, it seems the car was built to a very high standard for fast road or track day use, and simply rarely or never used since the original build, as it’s incredibly fresh, almost like a show car, but has performance-focussed modifications that it’s unlikely any show car would have.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Starting with the most obvious thing, the exterior, the car has the RE-Amemiya GT-AD II wide arches, which aren’t uncommon, but as well as that, this car pretty much has the entire RE-A bodywork catalogue, even the incredibly rare and expensive parts that most have never seen, and these rare parts play a big part in to why this thing looks so incredible.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

The carbon bodywork extensions all round are some of the more obvious additions that make the exterior look extra special, but the wing mirrors, which are great looking in the standard place and therefore almost never moved, have been mounted on front wings on this car, which works way better than you’d ever imagine until you see it, and is a fantastic touch.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Without a shadow of a doubt the most controversial part of the bodywork, and the one most people are least likely to do, are thoserear lights. With the standard style rear lights on RX7s looking so good, changing them to some slightly odd rear lenses seems a strange idea, but the thing is the difference in looks isn’t about the lights themselves, as they’re part of the RE-Amemiya Super-G rear end, actually extends the back end of the car, lengthening it by about six inches vs the standard car, making the the side profile look very different, noticeably longer, almost reminiscent of a long tail GT race car, which suits the rest of the body style perfectly.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Away from the looks, the car is on coilovers like you’d expect, but they’re made by an ultra-high end UK brand, Quantum Racing, who while aren’t famous in the modified car world, make hardcore race car suspension, which adds even more mystery to this cars origins.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Adding to this, the car is rocking a rear rain light, the ultra-bright rear light many race series require cars to be fitted with for racing in low visibility, and it’s even got a few extra braces welded in to the front of the car; was it originally planned to be a race car?

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

Despite the mixture of show car and race car looks, and some very high-end track-spec modifications, the drives fantastically on the road, ad you could genuinely daily drive it no problem at all if you wished. Rather than a heavily tuned engine and a big single turbo, it features a street ported engine and KnightSports uprated twin turbos, still running fully sequential, which means the car is on boost and pulling strong right from just 2000rpm, giving a massive powerband.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

While the interior is pretty standard, it’s a great place to be and you sit very low with perfectly positioned controls in a RX7, and there’s no mistaking you’re driving a true sports car, and a very special one at that, and while it takes some getting used to remembering the mirrors are now mounted half way down the long front wings, seeing them there always reminds you that you’re driving something very special, and it’s honestly a car you never want to stop driving.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

On the day of the shoot, everyone who saw the car instantly fell in love with it, despite most having no idea that it was even a RX-7; it just looks so special and nothing else looks quite like it.

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

This car is actually available for sale, and after seeing this feature we’ve little doubt there will be a long queue of people wanting to be this cars first owner on the V5, but whoever that lucky person is, we hope, while we’re all for them adding their own mods to the car, they don’t change the magic touch that only ever seems to come from cars tuned in Japan!

DRAGON PERFORMANCE MAZDA RX-7 FD

TECH SPEC 2001 Mazda RX-7 FD
Engine
13B-REW 1308cc twin rotor engine, street ported engine, KnightSports sequential twin turbos, Apexi Power FC ECU, HKS GT alloy intakes, V-mount alloy intercooler and radiator, RE-Amemiya water swirl pot, Greddy intake elbow, Dragon Performance alloy pulleys, RE-Amemiya 4inch dolphin tip exhaust system with rolled out tailpipe, HKS EVC-S boost controller, custom alloy brackets.

Transmission
Factory 5 speed transmission, 1.5way plated LSD, rear diff brace.

Brakes
AP Racing 4pot front calipers with 330mm Project Mu 2piece front discs, standard rear calipers with Project Mu 2piece rear discs, Project Mu pads all round.

Suspension
Quantum Racing coilovers, AutoExe front and rear strut braces, custom welded in chassis strengthening bars.

Exterior
RE-Amemiya Facer front bumper, RE-Amemiya GT-AD II wide front and rear arches, RE-Amemiya GT-AT II side skirts, RE-Amemiya AD9 vented bonnet, modified RE-Amemiya Super G rear bumper, RE-Amemiya Super G rear lights, RE-Amemiya fender mirrors, carbon GT rear wing, RE-Amemiya headlight intake duct, RE-Amemiya sleek headlights, RE-Amemiya front splitter, front canards, front wing vents, side steps, rear canards, and bonnet vent spoilers, rear race rain light, rear race tow hook, custom freehand painted pin striping.

Interior
Standard late-spec interior with Nardi airbag steering wheel and white dials, Apexi PowerFC hand commander, HKS EVC-S boost controller.

Wheels+Tyres
9×17 (front) 10×17 (rear) Rays Engineering CE28N forged monoblock wheels painted gloss black with 235/45×17 (front) and 255/40×17 (rear) Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tyres.

Cheers to
Dragon Performance

Words Stav Photography Davy Lewis