Tamon Design x Katayama Racing: A One Of A Variety FC3S RX-7

Japan has a capability to push me out of my consolation zone after I least anticipate it. That is a type of occasions.

Again in September final yr, I made my very first tour right down to the Okinawan archipelago. This brief Speedhunting journey was centered round a particular meet held inside a U.S. Air Drive base.


Whereas in Okinawa, I spent most of my time with Mike and the remainder of the fellows from MMF AutoworX, a small workshop that predominately helps U.S. army personnel stationed on the island with their modified automobile wants, by sourcing, prepping, sustaining and promoting JDM automobiles.


The vibe at MMF was not like something I’ve ever skilled in Japan. However Okinawa normally is so much like that. It’s very a lot ‘Japan’, but has its personal distinct character.

MMF AutoworX


The MMF AutowerX constructing is situated within the small, conventional seaside village of Yomitan. Visiting the realm, I truthfully felt like I used to be on the set of The Karate Kid Part II (I’m exhibiting my age right here!). Fortunately I didn’t must struggle anybody to the loss of life.


Mike and Steve at MMF have been in enterprise collectively for seven years, and over that point they’ve slowly constructed up a practical workspace with a cool ambiance.


There are a few bays to work on automobiles and an workplace, whereas the remaining is a mixture of cupboard space and memorabilia. It feels extra like a person cave than a enterprise, however that’s in all probability as a result of so many outlets I’ve visited have stuff in every single place and barely any area to maneuver round in.


I spent a while nosing round all of the fascinating stuff on present.


I cherished the seat show above one of many service bays. Who is aware of what automobile that pair of plush OEM velour seats got here out of?


On high of standard upkeep and trouble-shooting, MMF AutowerX does loads of of fundamental efficiency and styling improve work.


Over time they’ve amassed a big assortment of second-hand elements accessible for buy, and many of those are saved out of the best way up on the store’s mezzanine flooring above the workplace.

On one shelf I discovered these {custom} sakura-themed JZX100 taillights that Mike has {custom} made abroad. They arrive with their very own controller that permits you to select from an array of flashing patterns. They’re fairly cool, however don’t anticipate to cross your shaken (roadworthiness inspection/registration) with these fitted!


Whereas it was a cool spot to hang around in, the actual cause I used to be right here on this explicit day was to shoot this – Mike’s FC3S Mazda RX-7.

It is a true one in all a sort construct, not just for the {custom} exterior which was designed by Shoji Tamon of Tamon Design, however due to the engine which was refined by Japanese rotary royalty, the late Yoshimi Katayama of Katayama Racing.


Other than the odd wheel swap to alter up the look, Mike hasn’t meddled with the RX-7 an excessive amount of since he took possession. I don’t suppose anybody would need to given its uniqueness.


A earlier proprietor commissioned Tamon-san to design the one-off exterior, however it was bodywork specialist Nakamuraya-san who executed the imaginative and prescient completely.


The Katayama-tuned Mazda 13B rotary engine up entrance advantages from a fairly giant Belief T67 turbo. It additionally has a fairly giant radiator, as a result of Okinawan warmth is no joke. I discovered that out the second I landed on the tropical island.

To assist the extent of enhance the T67 can produce throughout the rev vary, the gas system has been upgraded to ship all of the hi-oku gasoline a thirsty rotary craves. A tough-piping package plumbs all the opposite parts, just like the Belief intercooler, StillWay consumption elbow and bigger throttle physique, in place.


All advised, the 13B is producing round 400hp, and Mike has put all of its explosive high finish to good use over the twisty roads you’ll discover on Okinawa’s northern facet. The MMF cranium and wrenches plaque is one thing Mike affixes in all his automobiles’ engine bays as soon as he deems a construct full.


I’m an enormous fan of the FC’s ’80s-spec cabin, so I used to be completely satisfied to search out this one largely intact, joined solely by a number of choose upgrades. These embrace a bolt-in Safety21 roll cage and Momo steering wheel, however the very first thing that catches your eye are the custom-trimmed MMF AutoworX bucket seats.


To totally respect the automobile, to not point out hear it in motion, we headed out to some enjoyable and picturesque roads close by.

Embracing Tropical Japan


The extra time I spent in Okinawa, the extra I picked up on its variations to mainland Japan. Certain, you’ll be able to apply the Japanese cookie-cutter type of infrastructure and urbanization, however the actuality is, Okinawa could be very a lot its personal place.


Okinawans are proud individuals with a really various historical past and tradition that has needed to abide and align with Japanese society. Sadly although, the island prefecture has largely been left to fend for itself, and that has resulted in a quantity of points that will problem its financial future.


It’s an actual pity, however for a rustic that places its capital metropolis forward of every part else, not a extremely a shock. That mentioned, Okinawa rewards everybody who lives right here and visits with merely gorgeous surroundings. It’s additionally an superior place to shoot automobiles, and Mike parked his FC up alongside a quiet street that crests a grassy hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean.


It’s the small print that actually set this FC off, the carbon fiber hood and mirrors contrasting properly in opposition to the vivid yellow paintwork. Whereas I’m all for the #savethepopups motion, the mounted projector conversion does give a race automobile really feel to the Mazda.


I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen an FC RX-7 on Prodrive GC-010E wheels earlier than, however they’re an excellent search for the automobile. For the reason that shoot, nonetheless, Mike has swapped them out for a set of RAYS Volk Racing TE37s, which you’ll by no means argue with. The brakes have been upgraded with Belief GREX 4-pot entrance calipers clamping down on slotted rotors.

Opening the motive force’s facet door, I observed the period-correct GReddy enhance gauge mounted rather than the air-vent. On an excellent day and with decrease temps that needle hits 1.2bar (17.6psi) fairly simply.


The yellow tartan seat cloth is such a pleasant solution to convey a little bit of colour into the in any other case completely black cabin.


It’s in these very visible moments that I all the time have nostalgic emotions. Being within the presence of those superb creations from the previous, I can’t assist however surprise in the event that they’ll ever be matched.


Honest play to Mazda for preserving the Miata/MX-5/Roadster alive, however am I the one one which thinks they’ve simply brushed the entire RX-7 factor beneath the carpet?


Figuring out that he was solely going to be a brief caretaker of such a particular construct, Mike has just lately put the distinctive Tamon Design x Katayama Racing RX-7 up for sale. He’s ticked ‘FC3S’ off his to-own listing, and is now trying to choose up one thing utterly totally different.

I’m simply completely satisfied to have had the prospect to shoot this one-of-a-kind creation.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare
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