The tuning game is a hard one to play. It takes lots of dedication just to stay afloat, but it takes a hell of a lot more to succeed. There are only a handful of tuning shops in Japan that have managed the latter over the years, and RE Amemiya is one of them. But what makes this rotary engine specialist stand out from the rest is its involvement in racing.
We are of course talking about the yellow wide-body Asparadrink sponsored RX-7 which races in the GT300 class of Super GT. The Amemiya team is currently sitting in second position in the 2006 season after a first place finish at the last race held in Sepang, Malaysia. With over twenty years of experience in the racing world RE Amemiya has without a doubt an advantage offering its customers top class know-how and innovative products. So when the red Super GReddy RX-7 was unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year it was no surprise the RE Amemiya stand was generating the biggest buzz. With such distinctive lines and impressive engine specs we knew this was one car we could not pass on. It took us a while to finally arrange a meeting with RE Amemiya, as the new demo car was far from finished when shown at the Auto Salon. The engine had been put together quickly and needed more work to fine tune and finally map. But when we eventually got the phone call, we got very excited.
The meeting place was set on the other side of the Tokyo/Yokohama Bay, at the end of the Aqualine underwater highway, which connects the urban centers to the vast expanses of golf courses the Chiba peninsula has to offer. In typical Japanese style the Super GReddy 7 arrives at the agreed upon time. Behind the wheel is Ken Amemiya, son of Isami Amemiya, the curly-haired boss of the company. The side ported tri-rotor RX-7 sounds simply amazing. The offbeat raucous idle hints that this is an extraordinary rotary motor, one that packs some serious power. Amemiya-san explains that his father wanted to build a complete street-going rotary super car - a car capable of easily reaching 300 km/h, and that also offered the creature comforts we are so used to these days. RE Amemiya originally started off as a bodywork and painting shop, so it is easy to understand why they have always given so much emphasis to the looks of their cars. And this latest creation certainly doesn't disappoint.
At the center of the whole RE Amemiya 2006 body-kit is the front-end light conversion. If those two round projectors look familiar it's because they are Porsche items, borrowed from the current production Carrera (997 model). Of course a great deal of weight has been shaved off from the front of the car by eliminating the outdated Mazda pop-up lights. The front bumper features a very rounded contour, helping high-speed aerodynamics, and a large central air dam that provides large amounts of air to the V-mounted radiator and intercooler. Two ARC oil coolers, positioned at the two corners of the bumper, keep engine oil at just the right temperature - a must in any highly modified car.
The front fenders widen the front of the RX-7 by about one inch and feature a prolonged bulge originating from the front lights, a very Porsche-like detail. Again aiding in cooling is the vented hood that expels the warm air the V-mount kit irradiates and is held in place by some racecar-like pins for aided safety. Look at the Super GReddy 7 from the front and it would be hard to disagree that this is its best angle. The side of the car is set off by the swooping skirts. These originate from the front fender air outlet and curve up to meet the rear over-fenders, which for added race-car looks have been riveted to the bodywork.
Move to the rear of the car and you are captivated by what is by far the most original rear bumper to have ever been developed for an FD3S. At this point you begin to wonder if the front-end really is the best part of the RE Amemiya Super GReddy 7! The whole center section has been bulged outward with very delicate curved lines and details. Just below the number plate is the rotor-shaped outlet where the dolphin tail exhaust peeks out. Since the FD's exhaust usually sits on the right hand side of the car, the guys at RE Amemiya had to weld in a 90-degree curve after the silencer in order to exit right in the center. This detail has been left on display and adds an even more unique feel to the whole car. Straight from the GT300 RX-7 racecar is the rear carbon spoiler, which makes sure the rear of the lightweight Super GReddy 7 is kept on the road. Setting the red body color off are the gold 18-inchEnkei RPF-1 wheels, which house the enormous GReddy front 6-pot calipers and slotted discs.
Pop the lightweight hood and you really do need sunglasses to look at the spectacularly polished 3-rotor engine. This motor is nothing short of an engineering masterpiece. It looks so tiny, and so well integrated, that it just belongs in the FD's compact engine bay. The large triple intake plenum is the first thing rotor-heads out there will notice, a detail which confirms the usual 13B twin-rotor has been replaced by the triple 20B. This engine was taken from a Eunos Cosmo, a large coupe Mazda built between 1990 and 1996. RE Amemiya prepped it up with better performance seals and added a good dose of side porting for good measure, a must when aiming for big power. The large Trust T88-34D single turbo might seem very large, but remember rotary engines (and we are talking of a triple here!) produce much more exhaust gasses per cycle than an Otto cycle engine, so there are no spooling problems.
As ever, RE Amemiya gives a large emphasis on response so it was an obvious choice to go with the GReddy horizontally mounted intercooler. In this position all the piping can be kept extremely short, while the main core makes excellent use of the cool air channeled in from the front bumper; and the hot air which has passed trough the cooling fins is immediately expelled from the openings on the vented hood.
Trust lightweight aluminum pulleys cut strain on the engine adding to better response and overall performance. Engine management is courtesy of a Motec M800 ECU that had to be custom wired into the car and carefully mapped. With so much polished surfaces, it is very strange that the window washer tank looks like something out of a World War II vehicle! The small nylon bag is actually a Nissan part, and as Ken Amemiya assures us it is a temporary detail that will be eliminated once a suitable container is welded up. Keeping the front structure nice and rigid is an RE Amemiya strut bar, while the Quantum fully adjustable suspension kit offers a good trade off between racecar-like handling and sportscar-like comfort.
Open the drive side door via the red carbon-look door handle and you are instantly aware this is a show car. The whole interior has been custom finished with details only RE Amemiya could come up with. In order to match the red exterior all the plastics have been sprayed red and are joined by red carbon-look detailing, red leather and, of course, the red Bride racing seats. The stock Mazda steering wheel, which was taken from a late generation FD, has had its center section color matched while the steering column trim has been layered in carbon and houses the RE Amemiya boost gauge.
The main instrumentation is again custom made and set off with the two Japanese characters of "Amemiya." Alpine supplied the latest HDD Navigation unit, which features a pop-out LCD touch-screen and is able to keep Amemiya-san out of congested areas of the city. A GReddy e-01 boost controller has been fixed on the passenger side of the dashboard and is easily programmed by a small remote control. Helping to keep an eye on engine vitals are a set of GReddy gauges, which display water and oil temperatures as well as oil pressure. As a touch of class, Amemiya-san decided to fit a carbon rear-strut bar taken from the Super GT racecar, an item rotary fanatics would kill for!
The Super GReddy 7 is an impressive car to say the least. It's the last in a lineup of many cars built in collaboration with Trust/GReddy and a vehicle that embodies what this particular tuning shop is capable of. Once fully broken in, Amemiya-san will attempt to run the car flat out on the wangan stretch of highway to see what kind of top speed she can pull. There is easily more speed potential there than 300 km/h, and we are sure it will not fail to impress.