Old Rotary, New Tricks: Checking In On A Favorite
Same Car, Different Flavor

It’s not often that we feature the same car twice on Speedhunters; especially not in the span of a year. But Phil Sohn’s FD3S RX-7 is a unique case.

Easily one of the most well known RX-7s on American shores, Phil’s Mazda is a car that’s constantly evolving inside and out.


In fact, when I first saw images of the updated car I had trouble even recognizing it as the same machine that we showed you guys last year, such is the work that Phil has put into it since.


And it’s not like this is the first time Phil has changed things up. Since he first acquired the FD back in 2003, the car has gone through many different stages, some unrecognizable from the one that came before.


This is just the latest iteration of a car that Phil has owned for much of his life. The same car he and his wife used on their second date way back when. The same car that his son experienced his first ride around the neighborhood in.


Phil has many friends who have also built highly modified cars, and he has often seen them struggle to find motivation once their cars are complete. Sometimes the cars get sold off to a new owner, while other times they wind up sitting and collecting dust.


Phil has treated his RX-7 as something more; he takes as much satisfaction from constantly changing the car as he does from sitting back and looking at a ‘finished’ product.


So what has changed on the FD since the last time we saw it? Well, there are a number of things, including a few notable alterations to the exterior.


Gone is the chameleon color of the previous version, swapped for a much subtler, handsome shade of metallic gray. The front bumper has been changed to a Japanese Knight Sports item, and the rear end now features a carbon fiber ducktail wing.


The previous iteration of the RX-7 had Ganador mirrors, but it’s now sporting a pair of fender-mounted carbon fiber items to further differentiate it.


There have also been some updates under the hood, namely the switch to a BorgWarner EFR 8374 turbo setup.


Not surprisingly, Phil has also changed out the FD’s wheel and tire setup. This time around he went with a set of Gram Lights 57FXXs from the RAYS catalog.


The wheels measure 18×9.5-inch +25 in the front and 18×10-inch +20 in the rear with Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tires all around.

Unbroken Bond

The cockpit of the RX-7 has seen significant changes as well. Gone are the custom gray upholstered seats of before and in their place a more traditional set of black Bride Vios III buckets. Another big change is in the dashboard, which now sports a custom-integrated iPad setup which functions as tachometer, speedometer and a display for many sensors.


Other custom touches include a new carbon fiber hatch cover that Phil made himself, something he believes might be the first of its type in the world.


Despite the constantly changing nature of the car, Phil isn’t fickle or unwilling to commit to a particular style or theme.


If anything, he says the constant tinkering and reinventing has only made him build a deeper bond with the car.


Yet even with all of the changes he’s done to the RX-7 over the years, he knows at heart it’s the same machine that’s been with him for so long.


And after years of building and rebuilding, Phil has become deeply familiar with every part of the Mazda.


Needless to say, we expect more changes are on the way for Phil Sohn’s ever-evolving Mazda RX-7 and we can’t wait to see what the next iteration has in store.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia

Photos by Louis Yio
Instagram: lusciousy

Cutting Room Floor


Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

This thing is sick. Aggressive, cohesive and tasteful.


love it, great stuff.


Fender mounted mirrors + ducktail? ლ(´ڡ`ლ)


Dream car, congrats on this build
Phil sohn, is he the guy who made the rx8 sohn adapter ?


Questionable styling but overall I approve. Long live the rotary!


Man that back end is gorgeous... Great shots!


At this point it's the family pet


My goodness. Keep it up Phil!  Been following your builds for the past few years.  Truly inspirational.  Just never gets old!


Inaccuracies in this post:
Feed Front Fenders (Shine Auto Replicas)
Feed Rear Fenders (Shine Auto Replicas)
Ducktail Wing (Rocket Bunny Knock Off)
Rear Diffuser (Alibaba China Knock Off)
R Magic Headlights (Phil has the Evo R Catalog and magically R Magic headlights that EvoR Replicates?)
RE Mirror Knock Offs
Vehicle is worse than the original post. Come on guys...


I count 11 fake parts on this car. How many can you spot?


Wait 12... forgot PlastiDip if that counts.


@hmmm how can u tell it? i will like to learn


@hmmm  I'm ok with knock off parts if his track use is enough to warrant it. Definitely wouldn't use real body parts on the track unless I was sponsored.


Really........ Who cares???? Looks great to me


Great build! Think I spotted it at import Alliance in Atlanta earlier this year. Beautiful FD!


@hmmm Jealousy sure is an ugly thing


@hmmm why do "fake" parts matter, i mean because technically anything you do to a car that you don't buy directly from that brand dealership or isn't from factory is "fake." this is just a fine example of people bending  the rules, or in this case changing the lines of the fenders. (or anything you pointed out) the guy, or the guy he bought the parts from changed big name parts just enough so he could sell it himself, he still paid for all of the materials and everything it took build said parts. He still put man hours into building the parts, just because it isn't a big name company body/car part on the car doesn't make it fake in anyway possible.


DRiFTaddict wtf?  support fake parts? without REAL there is no fake...someone  must support real
if they make their own design, it is ok
rota grid?  Vork Ravs? Shine?  Suck large


@turbo BEAMS ae86


@turbo BEAMS ae86 Because this build has been posted on countless automotive internet forums in literally every community and been featured in magazines. With any awesome build you look for more information about it, the shop, or individual. In this case he posted his original modifications... (simple google search "herblenny shineauto"). Disheartening. 
It's ok to build whatever car you want but don't take credit for parts that aren't actually on the car. (or don't post about it all over the internet). A lot of us frequent Speedhunters as a resource for automotive news, trends, builds, events, etc and is regarded as one of the best (if not the best) non-monetized members of media still standing. So it's rough to see a car over and over not representing the truth. (especially when other people spend serious money on builds and are never recognized or care to be recognized.) This is just one too many times.


This is what i call the real and the true way of enjoying cars..Salute respect to the owner..


@hmmm Someone call the Wambulance!


@hmmm  really? This matters to you why? The car looks cool and with that turbo set up it is probably ridiculously fast


@turbo BEAMS ae86 DRiFTaddict the mark up on Japanese made parts is ridiculous, hence why people copy them. Maybe if the Japanese garages wanted to be more competitive they'd license their products for production by companies like Shine, so they see revenue and customers see value.


I would like to see more of this re-feature type post on speedhunters. Obviously this is an extreme case, but it's really cool to see how different the same car can be after 12 months. It could be sort of like a macro version of the speedhunters project cars.
Perhaps if done the right way it would even encourage people to do things different or break away from the norm.
My $.02 anyway


Hey Louis, I'm not sure how many times you've been out to Road Atlanta, but there really are so many more interesting areas to shoot a car. Your shots are decent, but I strongly encourage you guys to start exploring some of the dope areas in the compound whether on or off track.


@hmmm I HIGHLY doubt that this car has a bunch of knock off parts. If you have met Phil, you would know he is all about real JDM parts. He has most likely been building Mazdas with rare parts for longer than you've been alive buddy.


Nicely done!


my Aunty Alyssa got a nice twelve month old Hyundai Equus Sedan from only workin part time on a pc at home.see it here=====net.pro70­­.ℭomllllllll


my Aunty Amelia recently got an awesome 6 month old Hyundai by work using a lap-top... read this post here
❥ ❥ ❥ ❥ ➥ ➥  ➥ http://tinyurl.com/ztkz6fy


This is what Mazda RX-9 should be.