This 1993 Mazda RX-7, adorned in a lengthy list of authentic Japanese goods, represents an ongoing debate that blazed all through the days of automotive forum dominance and continues to heat up on your local social feed. The virtual line drawn in the sand divides a group that feels authentic parts sourced from their rightful manufacturer is the right way to build a car, while the other half of the debate has no issue opting for replica versions that sell for a fraction of the cost. Many of those who only want the real deal for their builds, like Andy Lin, owner of this FD3S, are adamant about there being no substitute for authenticity.
Dollars Making Sense
To be fair, we're not all working from the same payroll, and everyone's idea of financial responsibility is as different as our wheel and tire choices. Replica parts offer the look and sometimes feel of the higher priced parts they're emulating yet leave an enthusiast with enough cash to put toward something else. For the purist, the feeling is that if you can't afford something from the groups creating these parts, then you should be patient, save up, and work toward them. Put aside the moral aspect for a moment, and the business portion of this doesn't help out the replica argument since the time and dollars invested in often costly R&D mixed with trial and error put forth by the originators is almost entirely skipped by the replica producer who then reaps the rewards. Some will scoff and say "tough shit," but if they were in a position to create something they poured their heart into, only to have it copied by some guy they'd never met before who was rolling in profits on their behalf, they'd no doubt change their outlook.
Finding His Groove
Andy Lin came to a crossroads early on after having purchased his first FD, a '93 in Brilliant Black way back in 2002. Being new to the chassis, he did his research to learn everything he could about his new car. He adds, "On this journey, the tuners that inspired me the most include some of the most well-known rotary tuners, both then and now, including Fujita Engineering, aka FEED, Panspeed, R-Magic, and of course, RE-Amemiya." There's a lot to unpack with each of the aforementioned Japanese tuning houses that offers different perspectives on Mazda's sports car, and as a result, Andy didn't have a clear-cut vision and his car sampled numerous trends. It wasn't until he found the Best Motoring Hot Version Touge Battle that featured RE Amemiya giving a much more powerful MCR R34 GT-R the business that he figured things out. "From this point forward, my mind was made up - I had to have an RE Amemiya-spec RX-7."
The intention was there, but the dollars certainly weren't. Being in college at the time, the thought of dropping thousands of dollars on an aero kit, then having to get it painted, update the wheels and tires, etc., just wasn't in the cards. So, in 2006, Andy made the tough decision to sell his FD and he concentrated on his scholastic career. However, that dream never really died, it just festered for eight years until he decided it was time to give it another shot, this time in a much better space financially.
More RE Amemiya RX-7 Excellence:
Starting from scratch with a new chassis, the initial version of the build-up was completed less than two years after the car's purchase and included a complete RE Amemiya kit that was imported from Japan and included a lengthy wait. In 2014, the car emerged exactly as Andy had envisioned, and to make the whole thing even sweeter, he was approached by a photographer to get the car featured in Super Street Magazine. After having the exterior of the car shot, the two were scheduled to meet up again in order to photograph the interior and engine bay, but that never happened. "A small mishap at a track day resulted in the car being totaled. After taking some time to recover from the devastation of losing my dream car so soon after finishing it, I set out to rebuild my dream," he recalls.
One of the arguments for those who prefer replica parts is the cost of replacement. Attending a track day, like Andy did, and coming home with smashed aero, a broken wheel, or worse, isn't as tough to swallow when the price of said replacement parts is reasonable. Having seen and felt this firsthand (especially in his bank account), Andy was once again at a crossroads. "A decision had to be made as to whether or not I should spend the money on authentic aero from Japan, or purchase replica aero. After all, I'd already spent the money and supported my favorite tuner once, right?" Having done more than most in terms of the aftermarket parts cycle, it would've been understandable if Andy chose to take a different route this time around, but his conscience wasn't going to let him get off that easy. He adds, "How would I feel if I ever had the opportunity to show Isami Amemiya (owner/founder of RE-Amemiya) a picture of my car in person? Would I feel proud or would I feel shame?"
Dressed to Impress
If you know anything about RE Amemiya, then you already know Andy's FD is fitted head to toe in the Japanese brand's body armor. The unique RE N1 bumper, heavily vented AD9 hood and GT2 carbon-fiber wing are telling, and if you look a little closer, you'll notice the GT-AD kit peeking from under a liberal use of RE Amemiya carbon fiber canards and fender diffusers that sweep back toward a razor-sharp rear diffuser and carbon taillight surround. The white and black combo is highlighted by strategic hits of light blue applied to the RE mirror bases, turn signals and the Amemiya signature decals on the fender diffusers.
The blue touches roll over to the spoke labels on the 18x10.5 +15 TE37 SAGA wrapped in Falken's RT615K+ in 265/35 front, and a meaty 315/30 out back. Hidden behind those iconic spokes are Brembo 4-pot, monoblock calipers, and just behind those you'll find Ohlins DFV coilovers and Super Pro bushings. We've seen the RE Amemiya treatment applied to a number of FDs and we're always impressed, but Andy's carefully chosen parts list and color tie-in is by far one of the best we've seen. Perhaps it comes from dreaming about this build, or an iteration of it, since the early 2000s. The look is absolutely dialed, but that doesn't mean he skimped on the performance portion of the package.
Finding A Balance
Long gone is the twin turbo setup, replaced by a single Garrett GT35R, with fueling handled by 550cc primary and 1680cc secondary injectors which are fed by a Supra fuel pump. The exhaust manifold and downpipe were ceramic coated to help with heat management, along with a custom v-mount intercooler kit. The long-running Apexi' Power FC ECU and Commander is on duty and helps the rotary produce over 400hp at the wheels. You're wondering why something that looks this mean isn't making astronomical, Instagram-impressing horsepower, but consider this - at just 2,600lbs and a 50/50 balance, this FD is an absolute terror. It makes more than enough jam to get Andy into trouble and does so at just 16psi on plain 'ol 93 octane. Quick, clean and downright nasty, this is the type of build that doesn't get it's just due in the current "make it just so you can break it" era. Remember, it was the moderately powered RE FD in that old Hot Version video that originally grabbed Andy's attention, and his focus ever since has been finding that proper balance.
As Fate Would Have It
Look inside the car, and along with the Bride Vios 3 driver's seat and RE Amimya shift knob and steering column gauge mount, you'll notice the steering wheel signed by Amemiya himself. That's not a wheel he picked up on an auction or through a lucky, yet questionable break on some digital marketplace - it came from the man himself. Andy adds, "In February of 2019, a second dream came to fruition. With the help of my friends at Final Form, I had the opportunity to not only visit Japan but to meet Isami Amemiya at his personal shop in Tokyo where he builds all of the TAS demo cars and various competition race cars. And like I always envisioned, I had the opportunity to show him pictures of my car and as he smiled and nodded in approval, I felt a huge sense of pride well up inside of me, making the years of blood, sweat, and tears building the car all worth it."
Car 1993 Mazda RX-7
Owner Andy Lin
Engine Garrett GT35R; HKS blow-off valve, ceramic coated intake/exhaust manifolds, downpipe; RE Amemiya Dolphin tail muffer; Super Power air filter; Tripoint Engineering AST; Supra fuel pump; Bosch 550cc primary, 1680cc secondary injectors; KG Parts secondary fuel rails; SARD fuel pressure regulator; GReddy Profec Spec II boost controller; Apexi Power FC ECU w/OLED Commander; custom V-mount intercooler; Setrab oil cooler kit; XS Engineering ignition amplifier; ACT single stage clutch; aluminum catch can
Suspenion Ohlins DFV coilovers; J-Auto pillow ball bushings; Super Pro bushings; Autoexe front tower bar
Braking Brembo Racing 4-pot billet monoblack front calipers, Type 1 slotted front rotors; custom billet 6061-T6 rotor hat hard anodized clear; RE Amemiya Project Mu SCR Pro 1-pc. rear slotted rotors ; EBC "yellow stuff" brake pads; Technical Racing One's brake duct; stainless steel braided lines
Wheels & Tires 18x10.5 +15 Volk Racing TE37 SAGA; 265/35 front, 315/30 rear Falken Azenis RT615K+
Exterior RE Amemiya N1 bumper (02 model), carbon bumper under sweep, GT-AD Kit III, GT2 high mount carbon wing, carbon AD9 hood, carbon gurney flap for hood, H11 sleek lights kit, carbon rear diffuser pro, carbon double canard-pro; carbon rear super canard, caron front fender diffuser, carbon side step generator, carbon LED rear taillamp finisher, super door mirrors; ReadyGoNext CTA3 carbon air duct for hood; Carshop Glow LED DR/turn signals; Super Now rear tow hook
Interior Bride VIOS 3 driver-side seat, seat rails; reupholstered leather and suede passenger seat; Sabelt 6-pt. harness; RE Amemiya Quicker shiftknob, steering column gauge mont, D-cut steering wheel; Tekniq snap-off quck-release hub; Daikei steel boss hub; Samberg Performance 4-pt. roll bar, rear shock tower harness bar; Defi 52mm boost gauge; Mazdaspeed short shifter; custom alcantara shift and e-brake boots