The FD3S RX-7. To spot one on the streets these days is a rare treat. If you’re lucky, you might see the odd FD in traffic on a major street through town; an older gentleman behind the wheel, simply enjoying the rich rewards of proper vehicle maintenance practice. If you’re really lucky, however, you come across someone like Kenji taking their FD for a spin, because, damn.
Hello Kenji! Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Kenji. I’m 36 years old and live near Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Can you tell us something about your car?
Sure, it’s a 1994 Mazda RX7 FD3S Type R. It was imported from Japan by BPO Automotive. It was a new arrival when I was looking around for an RX7 and was in such a good condition I just had to have it. What also helped, was the fact the car was black. I love black cars.
Why exactly this one, what do you like about it?
The FD3S has always been one of my favourite cars, if not my dream car. So when I finally had the money to buy one, the search started. I had to sell my previous car to get the funds, but I have not regretted selling up to buy the FD.
I read something about the engine of the Mazda, it is not a ‘normal’ engine right?
That’s correct. Mazda is the only manufacturer in the world who have mass produced cars with a Wankel engine. Wankel engines are very simple when compared to “normal” Otto engines. Whereas Otto engines have pistons, valves, camshafts and cam belts driven by the crankshaft, Wankel engines only feature Rotors on an eccentric shaft.
The 13B-REW engine basically only has five moving parts. Two rotors, the eccentric shaft, guide chain and oil-pump. There’s no need for a cambelt or camshafts, as the ports – which in an Otto engine are sealed by the valves – are always open. Each rotor housing only has an internal volume of 654 cc, and as such, my car is registered as a 1308cc. When converted to volume of a piston engine, the 1308 cc Wankel can be compared to a 2.6 litre piston engine. With the help of twin sequential turbos, the Wankel produces 250 bhp. Now, with the help of some modifications I made to the car, it produces about 300 bhp.
I think your Mazda has a very ‘evil’ and ‘dark.’ (I like it.) But why isn’t it a happy car with flowers and nice colors?
Hahaha, that’s simple. Because I’m not a flowery kind of guy. I love my cars in basic black. No fancy colors for me. The FD doesn’t need flashy colors or extreme graphics. It will catch the eyes of everyone just by its looks.
How do you use the Mazda? Is the Mazda your daily, track bitch or just for fun?
For the year I’ve owned her now, I’ve used her as a daily, with occasional track use. It’s fun every time I drive her. Soon I’ll be getting a normal daily car though, as the cost of fuel is a bit too much. Wankels are thirsty engines. Most economical I’ve ever driven her is 1 litre per 6.5 kilometers (15.3 mpg). And with fuel prices at €1,75-ish per litre (US$8.64/gallon) for premium gas, you do the math..
Can you tell us something about your previous cars?
I started out with a Nissan 100NX that was an all-show-no-go car. Looked fast – was slow as hell. I still miss the targa top though. After that came my first rear wheel drive; a Nissan 200SX S13 with a 1.8 liter turbo engine. When I sold her, she had about 250 bhp.
Then came my first [JDM] import, a white Nissan Sil80. The 2 liter turbo engine blew pretty soon after I bought her and I rebuilt the engine myself into a 2.1 liter turbo, making 321 bhp. The car was fitted with a rollcage, bucket seats, the suspension was fully uprated to driftspec, and there was a good 2-way diff under there too. I’ve owned that one about three years, before someone wanted to buy my car, and she moved to Denmark. I sold her and started my quest for something never before seen in The Netherlands.
That became a Toyota MarkII JZX90. A big, 4 door sedan. The bigger, evil brother of the Toyota Camry/Avensis. It had a2.5 liter twin turbo engine, which, with some work from me, came to 511 bhp. After owning her for 4 years, she also moved to Denmark. At that moment i bought my current RX7.
Can you compare them with your Mazda? Why or why not?
The RX7 is actually faster than my 500 bhp MarkII, as it’s much lighter, but the fun factor is comparable to the Sil80. Still, for me the RX7 is the most beautiful.
What are the modifications you’ve done so far on the Mazda?
Not too much. You don’t mess around with perfection too much, haha. The front spoiler, and sideskirts were already on the car when I bought her, and they look good. They enhance the stock form of the body very well. I only added the rear diffuser. I also changed the exhaust, and I tidied up the engine bay. Of course, some nice wheels were also needed, and I painted the wheels myself. The green on the wheels is also found in the engine bay.
Some engine parts I upgraded, as some parts were getting old. Why stay stock when there’s better items out there right?
Which piece or part are you the most proud of?
Difficult to say. I like the entire car as a package. I can just sit and stare at her, but if I had to pick something, then I’d say, the engine bay. On every car I’ve owned, I always made sure the engine was spotless and a real eye-catcher. Most of the trophies I’ve won with my cars are for Best Engine. And I’m sure that with the FD, I’ve done a good job.
What are your future plans with the Mazda?
Not too sure. First I need to save a lot of money, because engine work on Wankels is expensive, but my wishlist includes a ported single turbo engine in the regions of 500 bhp, full rollcage, and some nice bucket seats. I’d like to give Time Attack a try someday…
Are you a real Gearhead? If so, why?
Oh yes. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about, look at, or read about cars. When I was 4 years old, I could already tell the different cars apart, my parents told me. So it started out when I was young, and I’ll grow old with cars too.
- How much time do you spend just staring at your vehicle?
- How does the price of petrol in Kenji’s area compare to what you pay?
All images: Kenji Photography