What is a ricer?
Rice. Ricer. Rice rocket. If you’ve paid much attention to the automotive scene over the past 15 years or so, you’ve probably heard these words more times than you can count. What is a ricer? Well, I guess that depends on who you ask.
Most commonly though, the words rice and ricer were used to describe a car (often but not always of Japanese origin) that was modified in a way that was less than tasteful. More notably, a ricer was a car that was all bark and no bite.
Today the classic rice machine has largely disappeared from the streets, but I don’t think we will ever forget them. They were defined by things like unpainted bodykits, cheap aluminum spoilers, big wheels and huge tachometers.
And as for performance, these cars famously didn’t have much substance to back up their loud looks. A cheap intake and an obnoxious, large diameter muffler were all you really needed to stay on top of the rice game.
Now, about a decade after the peak of the rice movement, you might find yourself wondering what happened to all the people who used to drive these cars. Well, some of them moved on from the car hobby altogether, some changed over to other types of cars and many of them grew up.
Hert & the FC3S
Hert Eugene Jr. is a guy that has no qualms talking about his ricer roots. The Florida native’s first car was a 1994 Honda Accord (with VTEC!) and despite the fact the Accord was marketed as an economical family sedan, all he wanted to do was make it cooler and faster. Later he had a SOHC Civic that he fitted with every bolt-on he could find, hoping to break into the 15-second quarter mile range.
In 2006, Hert bought an FC3S RX-7 and quickly discovered the fun of drifting – honing his skills at a secret spot with his friends. He would go on to own several different rear-wheel drive cars and eventually got a job working at Enjuku Racing, where he learned even more about drifting, car building and the industry in general.
As is often the case, life commitments got in his way and for several years he was without a drift car, instead gettting his drifting fix through video games. Much cheaper and easier right? Hert also thinks it was the video games that kept him comfortable with the feeling of driving sideways even though he didn’t own a drift car.
Last year though, he was presented with an opportunity he couldn’t resist. One of his long-time friends had an LS-swapped FC3S that he offered to trade for Hert’s daily driver Crown Vic Police Interceptor. The downside was that the V8 in the RX-7 was blown, but Hert saw this as the perfect opportunity to get back into drifting after a long hiatus.
Zach, the FC’s previous owner, didn’t use the car for drifting but for drag and street racing – and aside from the built V8 the car was entirely stock. With the RX-7 now in his hands, Hert would end up taking the car in a completely different direction.
He would keep the car V8-powered since the groundwork had already been done, but rather than another high horsepower motor build, Hert went with a more budget-friendly 5.3 liter Chevy Silverado motor sourced from the junkyard.
Along with LS accessories, the 5.3 has a Comp cam and Behive valve springs with an intake manifold from the LSx specialists at FAST. The goal wasn’t to have a ton of power, but to have a reliable, low cost set-up that could be punished regularly on the track and the streets.
On the other hand, if drifting was the goal, the FC3S would need a lot of attention in the chassis and suspension department. He started by upgrading the differential to a Tomei two-way LSD with heavy duty Drive Shaft Shop axles to make sure the V8 power made it to the tires reliably and efficiently.
As for footwork, the car sits on Stance Pro-Comp coilovers with special spring rates and valving for the LS swap, and to give the car maximum agility there are knuckles and tie rod ends from Blue Star Fabrication along with Parts Shop Max toe links and differential bushings.
Inside, there’s a complete S14 dashboard, Sparco bucket seats and a GRIP ROYAL steering wheel with an NRG quick release.
The car’s Blue Star Fabrication roll cage has been built to Formula Drift spec, and though Hert has no plans to go professional, the cage gives some peace of mind when he’s doing tandem drifting with his buddies. If you’ve seen him drive you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Style and fun is king
Finally, there’s the car’s exterior. On a lot of grassroots drift cars, looks are not a high priority but that’s not the case with Hert. To him (and to myself as well) drifting is all about style – and having a cool-looking car is a huge part of the equation.
If you couldn’t tell, a lot of the inspiration for the car’s look came from Mitsuru Haruguchi and his legendary FC3S from the golden age of Japanese drifting. The aggressive aero parts and especially the enormous Big Country Labs wing really help to capture that 326 Power spirit.
When it came to getting some wheels to fill the FC’s widened fenders, Hert knew this would be a huge part of the car’s style. It’s really hard to argue with his choice of the classic Work Meister S1R, measuring 17×9 in the front and 18×10.5 in the rear. He could have easily found something cheaper, but this is one of those cases where having the real thing makes all the difference in the world.
Along with the aforementioned Haruguchi-san, Hert also considers well-known FC3S driver Justin Pawlak to be one of his big inspirations and now that he lives in California, he actually has the chance to drive side by side with JTP at events like All Star Bash.
Hert relocated from Florida to Southern California about a year ago, leaving his job at Enjuku Racing to become the Content and Athlete Manager at Hoonigan Industries in Los Angeles. Now the FC is a regular sight at local SoCal drift events, and when it’s not going sideways at Willow Springs, the car can be found Streetsharkin’ across the roads and highways of LA.
As for future plans, he’ll be working with Enjuku Racing on a Garrett turbo kit for the V8, with a goal to push out 600 or 700 horsepower to the wheels. Other than that, he plans to repaint the car and to “make it look pretty so I can smash it all over again next year”.
Hert has a come a long way from being the kid driving the riced out Hondas. He knows more about cars, he knows more about driving and has managed to make a solid career for himself in this crazy industry. Yet at the same time he still drives a car that many would say is too low, too loud and has a wing that’s too big.
All I’ve got to to say is that if this is being a ricer in 2013, you can count me in.
First of all that wing is ridiculous, the exhaust pipes are alright, something different. Second of all the stickers... like the hellaflush sticker bomb on one side panel? Then all the "Beard Life" stickers... is he trying to get on an episode of Fast'N'Loud? It's a cool car but the stickers kill it.
Hert , is still the same honorable,knowledgeable young man . This is a nice write up. Larry the photos are awesome as always. Yes, if this is 21 st Century RICE. Please throw my S13 right under the RICE TRUCK ! Happy Holidays.
The whole hoonigan thing just bugs me, to each his own I guess but doesn't mean I have to like it or consider it a lifestyle I'd be envious of. I'm probably burnt out by all the "hoonigans" I've meet who are idiot drivers with asshole personalities
Totally loving this car because Hert drives the hell out of it and loves to have fun with friends. Been following him on Instagram and reliving my own time with my old LS1FC, cant wait to build another soon! Great feature and photos!
The fighter jet wing isn't big enough....
This is what it needs:
Yes, rice has disappeared from the streets only to be replaced with stance. TBH, I'd take rice over that.
I love the shit out of this car. The fact that you dropped in a v8 does not bother me one little bit. Brilliant images as always Larry and awesome article Mike.
oh and there's more vids. i'm in love with this car. mad props.
"ricer" is just poor-shaming using cars. Every kid buying wings and mufflers just wanted a cool car, but Americans hate poor people. Poor white guy with a truck = inbred hillbilly goat f#ck3r. Poor while black = n!gg3r. Poor with race car = ricer. Shameful phrases that show the true face of capitalism.
I love builds like this! I can care less what's under the hood, if it gets the job done so be it. LS all the way!
Can't wait for my build!
'sweet' video and creature feature at
@MidWest_Surfer That's how crazy Hert is haha!
@Sam is this your idea of a non rice car then?
and i dont mean that as a negative.
@driveCircles so you'd rather see a car with clear tail lights, a muffler the size of a coffee can, cheap grocery cart wing and 18" Pep Boys wheels?
@bakayaru Nothing wrong with that. The more shaming we would have done as a society the less problems we'd have to deal with today...people need to learn how to take responsibility for their actions, and shaming them for their wrong decisions is part of the consequences they have to deal with. If you really think about it, it's a beautiful thing when a person matures. The reason we have so many losers right now is because of arrested development, nobody is shaming them. What you're doing right now is the same as saying that it's wrong to tell a bum to get a job.
@dem00n HOW DARE THEY PUT A V8 IN AN RX7!!
If there's one thing I hate, it's power. And torque. And reliability. And huge aftermarket support. And light weight. And pretty much everything else that makes an engine great.
Seriously, there is no reason on earth to stick with the rotary when the LS motor exists. Maybe if you're a masochist...
@dem00n yah. shit like this drives jdm purists nuts lol. i'm all for it.
@_drkwbr Don't fucking tell me what to do!
@CGPEXcoupe I would. At least Ricers didn't endanger/inconvenience other people just for the sake of looking "cool".
you are an ELITIST dickface. read the article and learn about our ppl/world or if your butler cant read it to you watch the video http://www.today.com/news/good-samaritan-teaches-homeless-man-computer-programming-2D11650630
You honestly think poor people don't work hard!? I dare you to pick lettuce for a week. I bet you couldn't. You couldn't do construction either. The poor lady working nights at Jack in the Box? Poor people work MUCH harder than wealthy people. Your world would come to a screeching halt if all the nice folks you call "losers" actually stopped working. Janitors, food workers, factory workers. 99% of poor people work damn hard. You focusing on the 1% who are actually lazy, shows just how naive, ignorant, and immature you are. And yes, a punk like you has NO right telling anybody to 'get a job'.
Ricer isn't really a term we use in the UK but I can see how its insulting, its like our word "chav" ('Council Housed And Violent') - in that its a nice label to stick on people who just want the same things as you do but never had the life chances/can't afford the latest X or Y so has to make do with what they can afford. Poverty Sucks., its never as cut and dry as you make out and I'm sure, really that you all ready know that. Anyway, least we can do is understand its (whatever offends you about ricers) coming from the same place as our/your/other builds and passions originate: a love of cars and wanting to make it your own. at least try to give them that.
@Jake Laird I actually stayed out of the comments on this one because I knew that this would be a major point of discussion, and one that I think has no clear winning argument. But for discussion's sake...
Your point is based on bias and hearsay, not fact. The Wankel is NOT inferior to the LS in EVERY way, and it’s ignorant to assume so. Using your logic, the LS is also superior to EVERY OTHER engine people swap them in to replace (SR20s, RBs, VQs, Ford V8s, etc.). The VQ series of engines are superior to the LS engine in nearly every conceivable way, and I would still swap an LS into a 350Z if drifting was the cars’ only intended purpose. Cost being the only reason why. You get a wider performance envelope (as far as drifting’s concerned) for cheaper with an LS engine. The aftermarket was basically invented for the small-block Chevy. The LS is simply the cheapest horsepower you can buy.
Jake, ask yourself this; if the Wankel engine had the financial backing of one of the largest automakers in the world, with the years of engineering and technological improvements that the LS benefits from, do you still think today it would still be considered an "inferior engine"?
The Wankel is unforgiving to mistakes and half-assing, whereas an LS (and piston engines in general) can take quite a bit. A poorly built LS might last a few thousand miles. A poorly built Wankel might not last the first start up. That's my attraction to the engine actually. It rewards a knowledgeable owner, and punishes the idiots. Hert himself has said he's simply too ignorant of rotary engines to own one. My 13B makes more horsepower than an LS1 or the truck engine that’s in this thing, cost me less to build than a swap would’ve (like most RX-7 owners, I looked into a V8 swap before), and has performed flawlessly (on Cali crap-gas no less!) for the past 3 years.
Don’t spread ignorance, Jake. Read a book or two and you’ll see that as an OHV engine there are inherent negative traits to the LS that do not exist in a Wankel engine (which shoots your “inferior in every way” line to shit).If you like LS engines, fine, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that they are an engineering wonder.
@Jake Laird @dem00n So buy a trans am then instead of the only car with a rotary engine
@Jake Laird @dem00n That's like saying there is no reason on earth to stick with imports when the muscle cars exist. Why even start with an RX7 then? Why not get a older Camaro or a Mustang and call it a day?
@vroomtothetomb @apex_DNA And what about reports of pan-handlers making hundreds of dollars daily? Huh? I personally knew a fat bum (I work for a city and deal with these losers on occasion) who sat on his ass all day and smoked dope and did NOT want to work, yet his own brother owned a big company and would hire him any day…the guy was too comfortable living on the street with food provided, cellphone bill payed for by the government (my tax dollars that is), and aside from winter cold and seasonal showers he had nothing to worry about (we're talking about the great state of California here mind you). I know that there are truly unfortunate people out there (my home country for example) but when you have all the opportunities basically thrown at you, I find that being a bum in the richest country in the world is a joke, in MY opinion.
@bakayaru I never called poor people losers. You did.
@bakayaru Trolls also like to take things out of context.
What we can certainly 'comprende', from your egomaniacal rant, is profound elitism, and self aggrandizement at the expense of others. Also proof of the terribly narcissistic view of many online trolls, exemplifying the shameful nature of the term 'ricer'. Thinking you are somehow helping the world become more tasteful by trying to shame others is delusional, and a fascist notion. Poor people are neither dysfunctional nor stupid, and you have no place trying to shame anyone. If you were honest about it, you'd admit that you just like feeling "right".
@TarmacTerrorist @apex_DNA @bakayaru Same question to you, mate - from under what rock did you crawl out this time? The problem is not they can't afford same things people better off can, but that they blindly follow trends to appear "cool"...kinda like the kids from dysfunctional families, they always have to guess what "normal" is, so they imitate others not knowing what they're imitating can be not so "normal" as they think, and a lot of them will continue to make an ass out of themselves until they mature as a person, and if not, that cycle will continue when they have their own kids. Most ricers (or chavs) do happen to come from dysfunctional families, and a lot of them also happen to be poor because of said dysfunction.
For example, I know I cannot afford a Ferrari, but do I buy say a subcompact and make it look like one? NO. But ricers do. What I would do is like you've said to "make with what I can afford", and that is to turn that subcompact into a capable track car that will actually be closer in spirit with Ferrari then one trying to look like one. Comprende?
@Acc This guy knows what he's talking about. In fact, I have Rotary Aviation seals in my car right now. 400+whp for more than three years now.
@Jake Laird Does an LS go BWWAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPP *spit massive flame* BWWAAAAAAPPPPPPP. No? Thats what I thought.
The LS engine is a brilliant engine in its own right but there are certainly more things in life than "AMERICAN power and torque". A V8 RX-7 drives very well and the choice is quite logical for a driftcar but it does feel very odd sitting in an agile sportcar and hearing a pick-up truck every time you touch the throttle!
@FunctionFirst @apex_DNA @dem00n from an engineers point of view, a rotary is really great compact motor .. just not for a car. Its just not good for varying revolutions. In a generator or airplane with its constant speeds its still a good choice, since you can adjust the engine for that specific very narrow rev-range. There still are dozens of manufactures for aviation wankels.
@Jake Laird @apex_DNA @dem00n I challenge the assumption that a rotary is inferior in every way. Properly-built rotaries can run a 5k powerband, something almost no V8's can claim. Fewer running parts, fewer points of failure, etc. However, running, tuning and operating a rotary to run full-tilt takes more skill, commitment and dedication than most people are willing to give.
I think that's part of what's at the heart of the V8 swap hatred, those who are die-hard rotary fans enjoy it for the challenge and the uniqueness of the motor. Swapping a junkyard V8 in an RX-7 is seen as the easy way out.
I don't favor one over the other, but I'm always more interested in rotary motors simply because of the fact that they're so different. That and the sound. Brap Brap fo' life.
@apex_DNA @dem00n I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that the Rotary is inferior in every conceivable way to the LS. However, everything else about the FC RX7 is pretty decent. You're getting American power, torque, and reliability, but in a finely-tuned Japanese chassis. It's the best of both worlds.
Really, why WOULD you stick with a Rotary? For "purity"? It's a 30+ year old Japanese car, who gives a crap?