Most of us grew up believing comic book heroes possessed superpowers and wore tight costumes to let everyone know who they were. In Japan, many childhood heroes didn't have superpowers, per se. They contained a higher level of skill or intelligence that made them extraordinary. These heroes were popularized in comics called manga, and there's one series that rings home to all kids who got into Japanese sports cars, street racing, and drifting at an early age: Initial D.
Kohei Miyata followed the anime series like a religion, and while watching his favorite characters improve their driving skills and win races, he fell in love with one particular car: the FC3S Mazda RX-7. With its flip-up headlights and crisp bodylines-both signature design traits from that era—it became the car of his dreams. And his dream was fulfilled several years later, after he finished school, got settled into his job as a car dealership manager, and built a project car already in the form of a Honda S2000. It wasn't until five years ago that Kohei tracked down this particular '89 RX-7. It was bone stock and free of any modifications by its previous owner; however, Kohei still had his fears and reservations.
Like many first-time RX-7 owners, he was a bit nervous about getting into a rotary. He'd never wrenched on it before, and he'd been constantly warned about the engine's reputation of being difficult and expensive to maintain. Those close to him knew how badly he wanted the car, though, and thanks to his wife and fellow LEVELone team members, he was reassured he would have the support needed to put together a reliable and respectable FC that would inspire a younger generation, just as he was inspired by one of the hero cars in Initial D.
Like something out of a fairy tale, the build was finished in a matter of two months without any major complications thanks to the expertise of local shop N-Stage. Starting with the engine bay first, the 13B engine is standard issue with the exception of larger fuel injectors and a TRUST turbo. Kohei passed on doing any type of porting to keep the rotary as trouble-free as possible, however, the upgrades he selected and a proper tune was good enough for 320 hp—no slug by any means. One of the biggest challenges encountered during the build was the V-mount configuration of the intercooler and radiator due to the fact that he wanted to retain air conditioning, not to mention he also wanted to retain the power steering. This meant swapping to an FD intake manifold and rearranging components within the engine bay to accommodate for the V-mount and custom tubbed fenders (one of our personal favorite mods). According to Koehi, the result is a bay that takes cues from top-notch American show cars, a scene he admires and follows in great detail.
The exterior modifications were kept fairly subtle by using a rare Anniversary Racing front bumper and swapping the mirrors and turn signal lenses for U.S. versions. Other than that, the body uses all factory fenders, which seems to be a bit of a rarity these days. Classic OZ Futura Modular wheels in a 17x10 fitment give the vehicle its aggressively wide track, and last but not least, the icing on the cake is the paint. The original red was beginning to fade the moment Kohei purchased the car, so the entire body was sprayed Millennium Jade, a rare color made popular by the Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R.
Although not as in your face as many of the cars you see from Japan, Kohei's FC possesses a flawless fit 'n' finish and has won multiple awards at shows, including Mooneyes and Wekfest. It's not surprising that Kohei is becoming known as the "Jade Hero." In his community, he's looked up to by kids just getting into the scene and is pushing other car builders to step up their game. Sounds like a plot from Initial D...