The painted signs on the roller doors of the Fujita Engineering workshop in Sakai, Osaka are a little faded, and there’s a little more grey in the hair of owner Yoshiharu Fujita. But the passion, charisma and spirit of FEED (Fujita Engineering Evolutional Development) has not changed for almost four decades.
When I told Mark, an ex-RX-7 owner, that I was visiting FEED, I could feel his excitement from the other side of the world. He proceeded to send me some links to videos of FEED and Fujita-san’s own FD3S RX-7 from back in the day.
Watching the videos was actually a little spooky, and I began to question my own existence and the very fabric of time-space continuity. Although I had visited the shop the day before, the footage from almost 20 years prior showed the place looking exactly the same. Had I entered a time bubble? Had the fabric of time been ripped open and distorted by the rotation of Mazda rotary engines? It was all very bizarre.
This is just one theory, but I’m sure the reality is a little more straightforward. Honestly, I think things haven’t changed because they haven’t needed to. Why change perfection?
Outside the FEED workshop are two main yards jam-packed with RX-7s. They’re mostly FDs with a couple of FCs thrown in for good measure, all in varying states of decay or rebirth, depending on how positive a person you are.
Personally, I see two yards full of potential awesomeness. The shells are mostly donor cars and the rest are either customer cars or Fujita-san’s own, many of which have served as bases for R&D over the years.
Being the best in your field of expertise doesn’t happen overnight, and it generally doesn’t happen when you’re a jack of all trades. Most tuning gods are deities of one or maybe two chassis and engine combinations. Just look at Kazuhiko ‘Smokey’ Nagata and the GT-R or Akira Nakai and Porsche. Fujita-san is the Mazda equivalent and has been obsessed with rotary engines since the age of 16.
Fujita-san’s first car was a Familia Rotary Coupe. Next up was a Capella Rotary Coupe, then he progressed through the Savanna RX-3, Cosmo AP, SA22C RX-7, Eunos Cosmo 20B, and finally all six JDM iterations of the FD3S chassis.
What Fujita-san doesn’t know about rotaries isn’t worth knowing.
In Fujita-san’s private collection is his ‘Demon King’ FD3S RX-7, Afflux Version V FD3S RX-7, an early FD3S RX-7 with a sunroof, and a mostly stock FD3S RX-7 Spirit R. Then there’s a SA22C Savanna RX-7 powered by a 13B bridge-port, and an NC Roadster with a side-ported 13B-MSP Renesis (RX-8) engine.
Fujita-san started FEED in 1982 when he was 26 years old, initially as a workshop for servicing rotary cars. In his spare time he started building his own track-focused weapons and the rest is history.
Today there are three basic departments at Fujita Engineering – the main FEED brand selling general tuning products, Afflux is the aero brand, and Sonic is the exhaust brand. All products are the result of decades working with the FD and FC chassis.
In the late ’00s and early ’10s, FEED made a big name for themselves with their Afflux body kits and tuning parts. Regulars at shows like Tokyo Auto Salon, their builds have become synonymous with RX-7 styling and performance modifications.
The Afflux range of body parts includes everything from side skirts and aero components to full front and rear end conversions. The Afflux Version 5 kit is the most drastic rework of the FD’s features, with Ferrari F8-esque front headlights and a Lotus Exige-esque rear end. For me, it’s still one of the best-looking FD3S kits out there.
On the tuning side of things, FEED supply everything you might need to improve the RX-7 chassis. Products include coilovers and other suspension components, exhaust and intake upgrades, cooling systems, and now even a FEED big brake kit. But, all those parts are really meaningless unless Fujita-san puts it all together for you. As he says, the secret in building a fast, reliable, big-power rotary is all in the knowledge and assembly. There’s a little more finesse required than with a reciprocating engine.
The result of 40 or so years of dedication to the rotary engine means Fujita-san has perfected the art of building fast Mazdas, and the trophies, plaques and medals that are stacked to the roof of the showroom are testament to his ability. When I asked him what some of his biggest achievements are, he replied, twice, there are too many to list. The second time he simply sent me photos of his vast sea of trophies.
Some of the events that Fujita-san and his Mazdas have dominated include Touge Max, Demon King Championship, Amkread Drag Battle, Stolz Rotary Meeting and various Option and Option2 competitions. Looking at the mountain of trophies, I dare say he has entered and earned a place in just about every tuning event in Japan over the last few decades.
It was surreal to meet such a legend and see how one man has refined the FD chassis beyond the original Mazda engineers’ wildest dreams. Next time I’ll show you around the actual Demon King car and maybe take you for a spin, if you’re lucky. In the meantime – and because it’s 7’s Day – I’ll leave you with a few videos of Fujita-san and his cars in action.