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JDM Palace Imports RE-Amemiya '98 Mazda RX-7 FD3S

Meet a California enthusiast who owns and drives one of Japan's most iconic JDM sports cars

Steve Enomoto
Dec 14, 2015
Photographer: Jorge Nunez

Photo Processing Ryan Lugo

You can be the greatest, you can be the best, you can be the King Kong bangin' on your chest. In the JDM world, these keywords defiant of a massive ape banging its chest represent the rotary tuning giant RE-Amemiya. The entire rotary and RX-7 industry roots stem from this pioneer, which started in '74. The founder, Isami Amemiya, has expanded its motorsports scope to such sanctions as D1 Grand Prix and Super GT. But like the most of us, RE started in the streets and grassroots racing. Back in '80s, when public "racing" activities were rampant in Japan, Amemiya-san could be found piloting variously tuned SA22 RX-7s, whether on the dragstrip, top speed trials, or even cross-country cannonball runs.

1998 mazda rx 7 r magic racing carbon fiber hood Photo 2/13   |   1998 Mazda Rx 7 R Magic Racing Carbon Fiber Hood

Fast-forward and the brand Amemiya-san created more than 40 years ago is regarded as the Holy Grail for hard-core Mazda fans. Sean Shokuoh of Northern California is one enthusiast who has kept his eye on RE-Amemiya since he knew how a rotary worked. Sean has devoted much of his life to Mazdas and racing. He also owns a company called JDM Palace, which imports all the Japanese goodies you can think of such as Junction Produce, Aimgain, and more. He built a '96 Mazda Miata that was published in Super Street four years ago; however, the two-seat roadster was more of a sunny day cruiser and show car than a car he could whip around the track. It was time for Sean to bring out the big guns...

1998 mazda rx 7 re amemiya gauge cluster Photo 3/13   |   1998 Mazda Rx 7 Re Amemiya Gauge Cluster

We discovered this RE-Amemiya-built FD3S, which made its debut at Wekfest San Jose last year—Sean's ace in the hole. Many speculated that the vehicle was built by conventional means in which an aero kit was shipped over from Japan, then painted and installed in California. The rumors of the engine being built by some stateside rotary shop were also going around. Boy, they couldn't be more wrong... The truth is, this vehicle was manufactured by RE-Amemiya in Chiba, Japan—even the VIN plate reads "RE." It was then raced for several years on some of Japan's most prestigious racetracks before it was retired and put up for sale. Sean was able to find a way to purchase the car from its previous owner, load it on a container, and ship it stateside to make it his new personal weekend toy.

1998 mazda rx 7 re amemiya ad gt aero kit Photo 4/13   |   1998 Mazda Rx 7 Re Amemiya Ad Gt Aero Kit

With a turnkey race car that was designed to take on plenty of abuse, Sean was having the time of his life driving a piece of JDM supercar history. That is, until his fourth race when the rotary went kaboom. The sensible solution? One would think to take the car to the nearest Mazda specialist and rebuild it. For Sean, he placed an order to RE-Amemiya for a full bridge-ported Wankel. It was only a matter of months until the new 13B arrived and Sean was back on track putting his RE-Amemiya RX-7 around Northern California's local road courses.

1998 mazda rx 7 13b re engine Photo 5/13   |   1998 Mazda Rx 7 13B Re Engine

If you are a pure rotary head, or even a JDM purist, this machine will give you goose bumps. It must be seen in person! When we interviewed Sean, it actually felt good not to hear the ol' excuse, "Oh, I love RX-7s, but I hate how fragile the 13B is, so I swapped it for a 2J/LS." If you're a real race junkie, you know power is not everything. It's more about how the powerplant can efficiently relate to the rest of the chassis. Many RX-7 owners in the U.S. have a power-hungry mentality, which clashes with what RE-Amemiya and several other JDM tuners have believed in for years—responsiveness and balance are key. Sean's RX-7 doesn't have plans to set the next time attack record or even be driven on the street, but it's a machine designed to handle Fuji Speedway and Tskuba Circuit with its balance of power, weight, and control. And perhaps the best part about it for us is that you can save yourself a trip to Japan to witness an actual RE-Amemiya-built FD3S scream down a track. Just listen for him in our own backyards of California.

Memoirs of a Miata

Sean might possibly be one of the most hard-core JDM Mazda guys we know—just take a look at his '96 Miata we featured in the September '12 issue. Zeal coilovers, Endless brakes, BBS wheels, a very rare Pit Crew Racing front end, plus much more. It's quite possibly one of the sickest JDM-themed Miata builds we've seen stateside!

1998 mazda rx 7 oltex gt wing Photo 9/13   |   1998 Mazda Rx 7 Oltex Gt Wing
1998 mazda rx 7 volk racing te37 sl wheel Photo 13/13   |   1998 Mazda Rx 7 Volk Racing Te37 Sl Wheel
By Steve Enomoto
24 Articles
JDM Palace Imports RE-Amemiya '98 Mazda RX-7 FD3S
Tuning Menu
Owner: Sean Shokuoh
Location: Folsom, CA
Occupation: Owner of JDM Palace
Power: 475 hp on race fuel
Engine: 13B-RE with full-bridge port; block built by RE-Amemiya; TRUST/GReddy TD07 turbo, stainless exhaust manifold, intercooler with V-mount setup; Ron Davis radiator with V-mount setup; Fujita big throttle body; 90mm stainless exhaust; HKS air induction filter, HKS Twin Power ignition; 350-lph Walbro in-tank fuel pump; SARD collector tank, fuel pump, 1000cc injectors; Optima battery
Drivetrain: OS Giken five-speed manual transmission, twin-plate clutch; RE-Amemiya limited-slip differential; 4.3 final gear; C's short shifter
Engine Management: A'PEXi Power FC and Commander; custom wiring harness; GReddy PRofec Type S; Defi gauges; HKS turbo timer
Footwork & Chassis: Aragosta Special Circuit coilovers; 16kg HyperCoil springs; SuperNow pillow arms, billet engine mounts, inner and outer tie rods; Cusco sway bars; Autoexe tower braces, lower chassis stiffening braces; GReddy transmission brace; Feed fender brace; Sparco front tow hook; RE-Amemiya rear tow hook, lower radiator/sway bar chassis brace
Brakes: Brembo F50/F40 calipers; Endless floating rotors and hats; custom brackets; Project Mu pads; Tilton proportioning valve
Wheels & Tires: 18x10.5" front, 18x11" rear Volk Racing TE37SL wheels; 265/35R18 front, 285/30R18 Toyo R888 tires
Exterior: RE-Amemiya AD-GT aero kit with bumpers, front fenders and rear over-fenders, carbon-fiber rear diffuser, front under sweep, side and fender diffusers, rear wind generator, canards, sleek lights, aero mirrors; R-Magic Racing carbon-fiber hood; Voltex carbon-fiber GT wing; SexyStyle rear lower wing and light covers; Mazdaspeed roof wing; Tamara Racing F1 carbon-fiber third brake light
Interior: RE-Amemiya carbon-fiber meter panel, 300km meter, steering wheel; R-Magic carbon-fiber gauge pod, Power FC holder; Recaro SPG Pro Racer and SPG3 seats; Sabelt harnesses; Bride brackets; Manny rollcage; JoyFast weighted shift knob
Thanks You: RE-Amemiya; JDM Palace

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