Super Autobacs, ever heard of it? The blue-on-orange logo is stamped on a few cars in Super GT (JGTC), on the Garaiya from ASL, in our coverage, and you may have even stopped by the North American store located in California. The Autobacs Group began with one store in Kansai way back in 1974-about the time Nads was in his seventh year of college. Since its inception the company has become the equivalent of Japan's Pep Boys, only not as crappy. With over 500 stores, there's practically a few in every Japanese city; many of these stores take it upon themselves to build demo cars to entice chumps like us to spend money on parts that make us look good, go fast and get laid. Take note: Most if not all the work done on these demo cars is kept in-house to only further tempt would-be customers to drop coin.
Enter the Super Autobacs Chiba-Naganuma '98 Mazda RX-7 demo car.
If you were in Tokyo earlier this year for Auto Salon you may have seen it there; if you weren't in Tokyo earlier this year then it sucks to be you. This car is so insane it depresses me to own an FD. Maybe I should use it as inspiration, but frankly I'd rather just whine like the little bitch I am. The branch responsible for this orange and carbon fiber monster is Chiba's "wOOw Factory." The one goal for this project was to take an FD that's over ten years old and make it fresh, like what you'd expect in an '06 Mazda. All the work was done in-house at the wOOw branch and the build was somewhat difficult-the whole project took about a year to complete. One of the biggest challenges was the FD's very tight interior, but that's no shocker.
Before you even get to the interior, you have to get past the widebody exterior. It's quite a humbling experience. Simply put, it looks like RE Amemiya shot his wad all over the car. It all starts with RE Amemiya's hot N-1 front bumper, but the same bumper also got some carbon love in the form of canard pros and the almost-obligatory carbon undersweep. Amemiya's sleek headlight conversion and AD carbon hood complete the brand-specific front. This alone gives the car a street fighter-ish look, but the rolling catalogue doesn't stop there.
From profile the car is still an FD, but we'd class this one as a SuperFD with carbon fiber front fender diffusers, GT-AD front widebody fenders, side skirts and molded rear overfenders-all from Amemiya. Oh wait, there's just a little bit more. The arse-end gets some Amemiya lovin', too (um, that came out wrong) in the form of a Pro rear carbon fiber diffuser with the optional Bowtech generators, taillight covers and an outrageous GT-R wing. If it weren't for the biggie Grex four-pot brakes up front and 57Pros we'd swear this particular 7 was a shop car built by the rotary master himself, and not Super Autobacs.
All doubts about who put this FD together will quickly dissipate after sneaking a peek at the interior. The Chiba team has done up a fully-custom interior in beige front to back. I don't believe it (and hate to admit it), but beige never looked so damn good. There's a reason why it looks better than perky breasts. It's not the nasty-ass vinyl that plagued the US models, it's fresh leather and suede.
The stock seats were dumped and the wOOw Factory found some non-reclinables that fit: black Recaro TS-G buckets with blue Willans four-point harnesses. Even with a Defi Link Display and HKS EVC5 above it, the Carrozzeria AVIC-XH009 GPS nav unit looks like the Mazda factory intended it to be there. The other gauges from Defi are on the passenger side (bah, who needs an airbag) and look almost at home, too. A few of the other aftermarket touches in the cabin are the Power FC Commander near the blue gauge cluster. Alfa Sonic amps, subs, crossovers and speakers have consumed all the remaining space in the cockpit and rear hatch.
You'd think a car with so much attention given to aesthetics would get no bling in the engine bay, no go for its show. Then bring your attention to the honkin' HKS T04Z turbo-it's capable of around 450 horsies at the wheel. Other choice go-fast bolt-ons come from HKS, like a Super Power Flow Remixed intake (who the hell comes up with these names, anyway?). Collectively, our favorite touches are a GReddy pulley set and the V-mount ARC intercooler with custom-polished piping done by the guys in Chiba. Additional fuel for the larger Fujita Engineering injectors is fed through an HKS pump then handled by an A'PEXi Power FC rounding out the package.
For a car that would do well at a Hot Import Nights we're stoked it would do okay at a Time Attack, too. With only about 55K, you too can build something this sick. C'mon, go do it.
Autobacs, Transform And Roll Out
Back in '03, after over thirty years and 500 stores, the Super Autobacs heritage was finally brought to the US. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of visiting one of the stores in Japan (like the Chiba Naganuma location shown in these pics), this means that it is fully accessible to us Americans, at least if you live close to Southern California. Walk through the front door and you feel like you've just bypassed a 13 hour flight to Japan and are smack dab in the middle of one of the largest auto parts and accessories stores on the planet. Those three dudes with the giant, Jonny-sized heads over at Pep Boys better watch their backs. Super Autobacs offers everything from stock replacement parts all the way up to turbo kits, though we didn't manage to find any Super Street rubber floor mats or steering wheel covers. We're sure they're sold out and are just on back order because they're that dope.
Owner Super Autobacs Chiba-Naganuma
Daily Grind The Pep Boys of Japan
Under The Hood Fujita Engineering secondary injectors, throttle body and fuel pressure regulator; HKS GT-R fuel pump, Super Power Flow Remixed intake, T04Z turbocharger, exhaust manifold; ARC V-mount intercooler, Fujita Engineering metal AST; Trust pulley set; RE Amemiya exhaust; Knight Sports Metalit Super Cat; Super Autobacs Chiba custom intercooler piping; NGK spark plugs
Drive Train Re Amemiya twin-plate pro clutch; R-Magic transmission; ATS Carbon LSD
Brains A'pexi Power FC plus the sexy Commander; HKS EVC5
Stiff Stuff Aragosta coilovers; TIR antiroll bar; RE Amemiya Rigid rear antiroll bar and rear strut tower bar Super Autobacs Chiba-Naganuma strut tower bar
Rollers 18 x 10 RAYS Gramlight 57Pro wheels; 245/35R18 (front) and 275/30R18 (rear) Yokohama Advan Sport tires
Stoppers Trust GReddy four-piston forged brakes
Outside Re Amemiya Facer N-1 front bumper, Canard Pro, carbon undersweep, AD carbon fiber hood, front fender carbon diffuser, front fenders, sideskirts, GT-AD molded rear over-fenders, Pro rear carbon fiber diffuser with Bowtech generator, rear taillight covers, GT-3 wing and sleek headlight conversion
Inside Recaro TS-G racing buckets; Willans four-point harnesses; full leather custom interior by Super Autobacs Chiba-Naganuma; Defi BF gauges (boost, oil pressure, oil temp, water temp); MOMO steering wheel; Fujita Engineering heavy way shift knob and engineering carbon fiber sidesteps; push start ignition; HVAC controls relocated
Ice Carrozzeria AVIC-XH009 GPS navigation; Be With MM1 head unit; Alfa Sonic amp and speakers; Audio Technica cables
Props Razor Ramon Sumitani, not really