Wide Body Dreaming:<br /> The Rocket Bunny RX-7
’90s Kids

In the past few months I’ve often written about how the Japanese sports cars of the 1990s have become icons for an entire generation of auto enthusiasts who are now settling into their adult years. Just as earlier generations idolized that HEMI ‘Cuda down at the local drive-in, or the Lamborghini Countach from the poster on the bedroom wall, these people grew up dreaming about Acura NSXs, Mazda RX-7s and twin turbocharged Toyota Supras.

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Sure, the cars have changed over the years, along with the ways we are exposed to them, but the feeling has always been the same. Each generation will have automobiles they dream of buying when they have the means to, and there’s a reason why many are predicting that Japanese sportscars will be the next big boom in the collector car market.

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But the one thing that is different about this group from the ones that came before is what they dreamt of doing to to their cars. While the ‘Cuda or Countach guy might have fantasized about parking his car in the garage, waxing it on Saturdays and taking it out on Sundays, the younger generation saw their cars a bit differently.

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Rather than just wanting to own something like a Supra or an RX-7, these guys wanted to start playing with their dream cars – fitting high-end tuning gear from Japan, turbo upgrades, rare body parts, larger wheels and more. It was this younger generation of hot rodders that helped kickstart the tuning movement in the 1990s.

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One of these people was Jim Pan. Jim got his start modifying Japanese cars back in 1991 with a Mugen-equipped Honda CR-X. He went on to build many other cars too, including an AWD Eagle Talon TSi, an EK Civic Type R and one his favorites – a Competition Yellow Mica FD3S RX-7 with a full array of Blitz parts. In 2001, the FD was wrecked and Jim replaced the car with a Honda S2000.

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In the following years, Jim saw himself moving towards European cars. He founded a club called TWCompetition and was involved in a number of builds that ranged from BMW M3s and AMG-Mercedes to a twin turbocharged Ferrari 360.

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In 2009, Jim started a series of car shows called Tuner Galleria, and this led him to making even more contacts within the automotive aftermarket. He met Kei Miura for the first time in 2012, right when the new Rocket Bunny Scion FR-S kit was hitting the market.

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A year later Jim traveled to Japan where he visited Miura-san’s shop in Kyoto and discussed the idea of future collaborations. Eventually, he invited Miura to come to the 2014 Tuner Galleria Chicago event, held last March. When Jim caught a glimpse of the upcoming Rocket Bunny kit for the FD3S RX-7, he was sold.

Trans-Pacific Collaboration
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Not only had he fallen in love with TRA Kyoto’s latest design, he’d long thought about picking up another FD, and the timing seemed to be perfect. In May of last year, Jim bought a 1993 RX-7 R1, having already discussed with Miura the idea of doing a build for the 2014 SEMA Show.

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With the car in his possession, Jim got to work on the build. Rather than just building an FD that happened to have Rocket Bunny parts, he wanted to fully embrace the TRA Kyoto style with a cohesive theme.

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Once the kit had arrived from Japan, the FD went under the knife for its wide body transformation. Along with the complete Rocket Bunny kit, the car was also fitted with a Rocket Bunny rear diffuser and Rocket Bunny LED turn signals.

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Diamond Auto Body also performed some subtle custom work to the FD’s exterior, shaving and smoothing the factory side-markers, antenna and rear spoiler holes.

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Once the bodywork was complete, the car was finished off with a coat of BASF Red Pearl paint, which contrasts nicely with the gold vinyl lettering, and really helps to accent the finer details of Miura-san’s design.

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Jim also has a close relationship with the team at Stance Suspension USA, and when it came time to ugprade the FD’s footwork he fitted the car with one of Stance’s prototype monotube coilover setups with external reservoirs and an air cup kit for extra adjustment.

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Along with the coilover package, the chassis has also been upgraded with Whiteline bushings and a number of additional braces mounted both beneath the car and inside the cabin. Together they add some much needed stiffness to the 20-plus-year-old FD3S.

The Red Bunny Rolls
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To further embrace the Rocket Bunny theme running throughout the car, Jim went with a set of the new 6666 Mesh wheels produced by Enkei. They measure 17×9.5-inch -30 in the front and 17×10.5-inch -80 in the rear, with beefy Nitto NTo1 street-legal road course tires to complete the package.

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Also of note is are the StopTech Trophy brakes that can be found at both the front and rear. The larger 4-piston units barely clear the 17-inch wheels, with just a credit card’s space between the caliper and the inner wheel.

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When it comes to power, things have been kept mild to this point. The rebuilt 13B has been street-ported and fitted with a balanced rotating assembly while the turbos come from an Efini-model RX-7 – as do the intake manifold and Y-pipe. Elsewhere there are upgrades like a full 3-inch Invidia exhaust, CSF radiator and an Extreme Turbo Systems intercooler with gold anodized piping.

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It seems, however, that the current setup is just temporary stop on the way to something more extreme. When asked what he has in store, all Jim says is “wait and see.”

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Inside, the cabin of the RX-7 has been kept subtle and street-friendly. All of the interior plastics have been replaced with new OEM Mazda parts and other little touches include custom Alcantara shift and handbrake boots.

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The most substantial change inside the car is the addition of edirb 023 carbon fiber bucket seats with Bride rails and Takata Drift III 4-point harnesses.

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Elsewhere, you can see the aforementioned Miracle Cross Bracing and the tank for the Stance air cup kit mounted in the rear hatch area.

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As for future plans, Jim is continuing to work with Stance and Auto RnD to dial-in the FD’s suspension parts, and there’s also that mysterious power upgrade he hinted at. Aside from that, Jim says he’s already made plans with Miura-san for another Rocket Bunny build for the 2015 SEMA Show. Busy times ahead indeed.

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Cutting up factory bodywork and fitting a pile of aftermarket parts might not be the traditional thing people have done with their dream cars, but that desire to tweak and customize is really a quality that defines an entire group of Japanese performance car enthusiasts. To me there’s certainly something cool about a group that sees a dream car as something you modify to your own taste rather than something you just buy and drive. Now, I just wonder if tastefully modified RX-7s will sell for as much as their mint, original counterparts at the 2040 Barrett-Jackson auction?

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike
mike@speedhunters.com

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
larry@speedhunters.com

Jim Pan’s Tuner Galleria/Rocket Bunny 1993 Mazda RX-7 R1

Engine
Mazda 13B street ported/polished with balanced rotating assembly, Efini twin turbos, Efini Y-pipe, Efini upper intake manifold, Efini lower intake manifold, Bonez 3-inch stainless downpipe, Bonez 3-inch stainless performance catalytic converter, Invidia exhaust system, Denso Supra fuel pump, CSF Performance radiator, CSF Performance radiator cap, Extreme Turbo Systems front mount intercooler with piping gold anodized, Pettit Racing TKT cold air intake, Pettit Racing 180-degree thermostat, Pettit Racing 185-degree fan switch, Magnecor spark plug wires, Garfinkle oil pan brace, Optima battery

Driveline
Factory FD3S 5-speed gearbox, OS Giken STR twin-plate clutch with flywheel, rear counterweight, C’s Racing Short Shifter

Suspension/Brakes
Stance prototype monotube aluminum coilovers with external reservoirs, air cup kit, Whiteline rear control arm lower inner & upper outer bushings, Whiteline rear differential bushings, Whiteline rear toe arm inner bushings, GReddy front strut brace, Mazdaspeed Power Plant Frame, Racing Beat front swaybar mount brace, Next Complete Miracle Cross X Brace, Next Miracle upper/lower parallel bar, Next Miracle Butterfly bars, StopTech Trophy 332x32mm 2-piece rotors & 4-piston calipers (front), 328x28mm 2-piece rotors & 4-piston calipers, stainless steel brake lines, Auto RnD hydraulic E-brake

Wheels/Tires
6666 Mesh wheels by Enkei 17×9.5-inch -30 (front) 17×10.5-inch -80 (rear), Nitto NT01 tires 235/40R17 (front) 255/40R17 (rear)

Exterior
Rocket Bunny wide body kit, Rocket Bunny rear diffuser, Rocket Bunny LED turn signals, Diamond Autobody shaved side markers/antenna/R1 rear spoiler holes, BASF/RM Pearl Red Paint, Takata tow strap, Armored Down Studio gold vinyl decals

Interior
New Mazda OEM interior plastics, Alcantara shift and E-brake boot, Delrin shift knob, edirb 023 carbon fiber seats, Bride seat rails, Takata Drift III 4-point harnesses, custom Berber floor mats

Cutting Room Floor
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79 comments

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1

This is 7 looks pretty nice I must admit.
For me, I hope to own a pretty clean stock FD, maybe in a year or two hopefully. I think its one of the very few cars that look beautiful factory stock.
You are certiantly right about how the 90's Japanese sports cars will be the next big thing in the collectors market. We've already seen it happening with the JZA80 and NSX. The FD3S is well on its way there too. I've seen most examples, even poor condition ones going for at least 16K here in SoFlo.

2

love this! gold is not my thing but id love to daily this.... well done rocket bunny for making another nice kit, this time complementing the original body lines of the FD3S

3
turbo BEAMS ae86

just godly...
dont like all these bolton fender trend, but,,this one is villanous..

Keep that dream alive..FD3S..AE86..R32/3/4..keep these legend alive..in any style of ur choosing..

4

Me like

5

Really cool. It could use different wheels, though; I think meshes look silly on anything as modern as an FD.

6

Can anyone build one of these LBW/RB cars without plastering it with tacky stickers, or gold intercoolers or just leave it clean?
Also that first shot is proof as to why bagged cars only look good sitting still....the front looks super goofy when driving.

7

You can make one without stickers mate. But be careful there will be one guy out there that doesn't like them without gold stickers and he will vent it on the Internet and ask someone to make one for him.

8

Spaghetti The front end uses an air cup system.  It was raised in that photo to clear the yellow speed bump up ahead =).  The stickers are mandatory for SEMA builds in appreciation of the companies and partners that were all involved in the build.

9

Hard to believe the fd design is over 20 years old now. Still looks sooooo good.

10

Spaghetti real race car with real sponsors. Not just some dude that slaps stickers on for the hell of it. People copy cars like this. This is the benchmark.

11

Really nice car, and great photos. While I'm not the hugest fan of the Rocket Bunny style, the build quality and fitment of the kit looks spot on. Nice touch with the gold intercooler too.

12
turbo BEAMS ae86

3nigm4 amen..

13
RyanChristopherSmith

Next have Frank from Racetune build up that motor.

14

I'm sure they're two very different cars for different purposes, but how does it compare to that twin turbo Ferrari 360?

15

Been waiting a while for an FD Rx7 feature car and this was a pretty worthy example. Originally when it was FRS's and Silvias I wasn't a huge fan of bolt on overfenders but when I first saw a completed Rx7 I was converted. Having said that I'm not sure I could bring myself to do this to mine (cutting up the panels would be the hardest part) but if I was fortunate enough to own 2 then one would look similar to this in a heartbeat.

16

I love it! Simple, clean and no silly camber/stance. 
One for the books.

17

"Now, I just wonder if tastefully modified RX-7s will sell for as much as
their mint, original counterparts at the 2040 Barrett-Jackson auction?"
That's just it, Mike.  "Tasteful" is constantly changing and always evolving.  I'm sure the original hot rodders in the 50s thought what they were doing was cool, but the problem was just like today - A lot of people simply hack up older shit and do a shitty job modifying it.  The cars that are done right will probably always be great cars, but they will go out of fashion, and they'll begin to look like it was set in another decade.   With so many poor jobs done on modifying cars, the people with lots of money will start investing heavily in stock vehicles, just like what happened to Musclecars from the 90s to 00's.  The rare, low mileage, stock ones will be worth fortunes.  The majority of used ones will be kind of hack jobs, so they won't be worth as much.   The same thing is going to happen.  If I had a bunch of money right now, I'd buy the stockest, cleanest, best example I could find of the NSX, RX7, 300ZX, MKIV Supra Twin Turbo, Subaru SVX, 91 CRX Si, ANY Prelude si 4WS, 1991 Integra GSR, ANY integra Type R,  and probably an Isuzu Impulse RS just for kicks. Probably an MR2 as well.  In about a decade, they ALL will have doubled their value, easily.

18

The only two things I'm not keen on are the overhang of the spoiler onto the taillights and the LEDs on the front. Other than that its spot on.

20

shufflz Spaghetti Well said.

21

I LOVE that front lip. Wonder what an FR-S version might look like?

22

Somehow the deep dish rims and meaty tires combination like that, just doesn't feels right for me.

What it need is 1 inch bigger wheels (18"), with thinner tire profile and some light stretch to it. That would be perfect!

23

Somehow the deep dish rims and meaty tires combination like that, just doesn't feels right for me.

What it need is 1 inch bigger wheels (18"), with thinner tire profile and some light stretch to it. That would be perfect!

24

ADDvanced I completely agree with your comments.  Stock cars are already commanding a higher value than modified versions.  There are a handful of guys out there buying up modified FD's and returning them to stock and then selling the aftermarket parts on the side.  The 90's is definitely the decade of the Japanese sports car.  For those fortunate enough, its nice to keep a completely stock version and one modified to personal taste.

25

Brett Allen I'm with you on this.  Would love to find a clean '95 Base FD in Chaste White to keep the Rocket Bunny company.

26

ChrisMcNamee The F360TT belonged to one of my friend's from TWC.  He owns TwinLuxe.com.  It was featured in FORZA magazine several years ago.  Completely different cars and way before its time.  Now we have Heffner, Underground Racing, etc., adding twin turbos to all kinds of cars!  Even within the FD scene, much has changed since I owned my '93 CYM FD back in the day.

27

Were are all these rx-7 ive seen like 4 in the netherlands?
They're so good espcially with this kit

28

Are thoso cars road legal ?

29

If i where to change something about this car and lbw or rb cars in general is work away the bolts but that just my taste

30

Nice build ,but I like RE-Amemiya much more than Rocket Bunny !

31

Really cool car and those crazy fenders are superb

32

@Mike  It's your opinion but, personally, it appears that is trying too much with a stock body. I preferred the Rocket Bunny any day of the week.

33

You know how people always say "pics just don't do it justice, you gotta see it in person." That's never the case with Larry.

34

Febrian XR Couldn't agree more, something about those deep dish rims really doesn't work for me.

36

Spaghetti Just look for a privately owned widebody. These show builds were made to look pretty for camera, and have sponsors and latest decals from Rocket Bunny, etc.

37

Febrian XR Damn shame, I hate hearing stuff like this.  I think the wheels and meaty tires are perfect.  I've always been a fan of the right sized wheels with meaty tires (and this is coming from a guy who has rocked 20" wheels on a Mustang.... with the right, 305, meaty tires) for a few reasons.  This car looks pretty "show" but is setup, especially once the motor has more work done, to look good and get the job done performance wise.  That stretched tire crap is so ridiculous.  Hey, I get it, some people don't care about performance and just want a car that looks good and can drive down the road.  That's just not me.  I think cars should look good and more importantly perform well.  That's why we modify, to make them better.

38

JustinOdijk Yes.

39

EHSCHMIDT Thanks for sharing this feature on our RX-7!

40

Car looks awesome Jim!! Thanks for reaching out to us to be part of the project.. Looking forward to the next one!
Larry - Great photos as always... Mike way to bring it home!

41

TUNERGALLERIA you're welcome it's one of the coolest RX7's I've never seen!

42

Not a massive fan of the car itself but that intercooler colour ❤

43

Jim_TunerGalleria ADDvanced Yeah stock will likely always be worth more unless the modified example happens to be a very famous car with a lot of history behind it.

44

Mike Garrett Here's to hoping Kei Miura becomes the Japanese equivalent of Carroll Shelby =)!

45

Checked the car out at SEMA, it was surprising/refreshing to not see a stripped out interior.

46

I love Miura San's designs, but every one in a while he should try hiding the bolts, like Keith did with the Scion Tuner Challenge's car.

47

I like how there isn't a single shot of the engine bay... so the only relevant modifications are Trendy body kit (check), wheels (check), and air suspension (check). Wait a minute... am I on SpeedHunters or StanceNataion?  #MAXIMUMFAIL #WEHAVEFAIL #PLAYEDOUT

48

Thats insane.. I was next to this car at a traffic light in the Bay Area about a month ago and was flipping out..

49

BottlefedGT500 Febrian XR LOL okay

50

@Diego I was JUST going to say that I liked the overall style of this car, but that the next level of beauty should be to mold the fenders in instead of just settling for the bolt-on look. :-)

Great job in any case!

51

RocketFunny You'll notice the lack of camber adjustment or stretch... So, no stance per se.

52

Such a good looking car, and that paint colour is absolutely beautiful, definitely the right choice!

53

This is even better than I thought it would be when you guys made the teaser article a few months back.

54

damn this is so nice ¡¡¡

55

didn't actually like the rb fd3s but i guess all it took was to have it done in that gorgeous pearl red to convert me.  :)

nice build, though i hope they have something in store power-wise too.

56

This car is WAY cool. The only thing that slightly bothers me is that rear brace, it looks just a shade overkill. That and the notch out of the flare for the gas cap cover, but that's just a beauty mark on a supermodel.

57
turbo BEAMS ae86

@Mike me to but this RB one good also

58

Really nice car, and great photos.
---
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59

Make sure you guys check it out in presentation mode.

61

who likes cars pledge this game we need this to happen only for pc and mac its a amazing game https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/street-tuning-evolution-car-building-racing

62

BEAUTIFUL!

63

Japanese sportscars will be the next big boom in the collector car market. http://friv4schoolonline.net/

64

Needs more rotors!

65

I love the color of this car. great
---
Signature: http://www.games2girls2.com/ | http://www.kidsgamesonline.net/

67

edirb? As in bride backwards?

69

SHE is a real masterpiece! This is the sort of car that young guys sow their wild oats inside of. I love it.

70

Great article. However, modifying cars is not unique to the 1990s generation vehicles. American, Japanese and European classics have a long history of modifying with crazy bodykits and wild conversions. But its only the immaculate stock vehicles that hold their value and are sought after. Look at how the Nissan GTR32 have become much more popular in the recent couple of years. There value has jumped up for stock, low km examples. Highly modified examples are still worthless.

71

wrt Some people don't care about dollar value. It is much more interesting when something is unique, radical, or even extreme. And there's very few stock factory vehicles that are really out there in terms of styling. And depending on the production numbers they may not be unique at all, like you can see one nearly every day. This RX-7 is pretty unique due to low production and the stock styling is pretty nice. But this kit takes it to a whole new level. Only bean counters worry about value, especially if you don't plan on selling it anyway.

72

wrt why would you buy an expensive vehicle like a GTR, then return it to stock. Did you not buy the car to have fun with it & customize it... and make it your own??? Just buy a new stock Nissan if you are not sportscar material.

74

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75

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79

It looks strong, I want to have it

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