As I drove down the ramp that leads into Daikoku PA, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was prepared to drive in, see no rotaries, and drive straight out. But it seems even the challenges that 2020 has thrown at us so far aren’t enough to keep people away from their automotive passion – in this case a unique, triangular-shaped one.
So I’m happy to report that 7’s Day 2020 was celebrated in Japan, even if the size of the gathering at the world-famous Yokohama parking area was a fraction of what we’ve become used to seeing over the last decade.
But then again, that was to be expected, and I was genuinely surprised at how many cars made the trek over on a weekday evening. It was a good turnout all things considered.
After visiting Pan Speed the night before, where I spent a good few hours talking to Komoriya-san, it was awesome having another day to ponder over all things rotary.
It’s in instances likes this that Daikoku PA becomes something akin to an automotive museum. These brand or model-specific meets act as both history lessons and a visual representation of current styles.
So while I was walking around taking shots of sweet rides like this clean FC3S on Work Seeker F40-style wheels, I was talking my eldest son through the history of the RX-7 and what makes it so special and different from other Japanese cars.
In retrospect, that was probably not the best idea as he’s been pestering me for two days straight, asking when we’re going to get an RX-7. He prefers the “rounder one,” but only if it has a big wing at the back.
I did try to steer him away from such ideas by delving into the reliability issues of the rotary engine, but the kid has a point: They look amazing and they sound unlike anything out there. Another one to add to the list, I guess…
Not that the thought of RX-7 ownership hasn’t entered my mind before. If you’ve been reading my 7’s Day posts for the last 10 years, you’ll already know that I do quite like FCs.
And there was a lot of FC goodness to feast my eyes on at Daikoku. I swear, the older these cars get the better-looking they seem to become.
Even better, every car in this red lineup was on period correct wheels.
This particular FC stood out to me the most. It reminded me of the tuned RX-7s I saw when I first arrived in Japan in the early ’90s. It’s so cool to see owners preserving this now vintage style.
7’s Day is also a reminder of how the Fast and Furious franchise grew the RX-7’s appeal. It’s funny, because we car enthusiasts made fun of the first few movies, ridiculing how they portrayed the scene and made the cars look tacky and cheap thanks to gawdy paintwork and graphics, and excessive use of nitrous and under-glow. The reality is that those movies introduced a new generation to modifying cars, which in turn ended up shaping the aftermarket world as we know it today.
Right, back to the proper JDM stuff… As I touched on earlier, the turnout at Daikoku was obviously down compared to what we are used to seeing, but that didn’t mean there was a lack of interesting cars.
The sheer number of aftermarket aero parts for the FD3S never fails to amaze me. You can sculpt something really unique with this platform.
On the other side of the coin, the older these cars get the more it makes sense to leave them stock bodied. Check out this zenki; aside from a body color-matched front lip, a decent ride height and a set of RAYS Volk Racing ZE40 wheels, it retains the factory look and rocks it beautifully.
This kouki on the other hand was bone stock, right down to its factory ride height and wheels. This really is something you don’t see every day.
For complete contrast, it makes perfect sense to bombard you with images of FDs as far from factory-spec as possible. Which style do you prefer?
And then there was this unfortunate FC3S owner, who arrived at Daikoku just as a patrol car was driving into the on-site police station. After the officers looked over the RX-7, they asked its owner to accompany them inside.
Fast forward 90 minutes and he rejoined the meet, albeit now sporting a koshou or ‘out of order’ sticker on the RX-7 because his wheels poked out too far from the guards.
Fans of JDM style buy replicas of these stickers online and display them on their cars to be, well… JDM. But you really don’t want to receive one from the Japanese police. Essentially, it means your car has to resit its shaken inspection, which can be a painful experience for modified car owners at the best of times.
Japan is getting stricter and stricter by the day when it comes to car modifications, so local enthusiasts really need to be extra careful.
That said, at least the police didn’t ruin the 7’s Day party until later in the evening, which allowed a few more owners to arrive and join the display of rotary goodness.
Had this yellow FD turned up when the police were pulling over the red FC, I’m certain it would have received a nice red sticker too.
‘No officer, it’s stock height I promise. Look, it only rubs a little bit…’
As day began turning to night, it reminded me of just how important it is to have places like Daikoku PA to hang with your friends on special occasions like this.
For a few hours we all forgot what a crazy year 2020 has been so far, and instead just enjoyed cars as we’ve done since forever.
Just as I was about to put my camera away for the evening, I snapped a couple of images of this sick wide-body RX-7 as it rolled in.
For me, it only reinforced the fact that the FC3S rocks, and that Mazda did things so right back in the day with the whole rotary movement and the evolution of cars it spawned.
7’s Day 2020 at Daikoku Parking Area was an awesome evening out until the police moved everyone on. While the majority of cars headed over to Umihotaru PA, I called it a night and drove back home extremely satisfied.
Our next appointment with Daikoku PA will likely be on August 6 for 86 Day, but until then I trust this was a post you really wanted to see from Japan.
Dino Dalle Carbonare