Ah, the ’00s… a time when raves were still cool, my mates still wore suit jackets over t-shirts and mocumentaries were huge. But more exciting, even than all of that, Fujita-san and his highly-modified Fujita Engineering (aka FEED) Mazda RX-7 were breaking records, claiming trophies and pushing the limits in one of the best rotary-powered cars the world has ever seen.
With a mountain of accolades, it’s difficult to choose the most memorable, says Fujita-san. But the one that’s undoubtedly stuck was winning the ‘Touge Max Battle’, as hosted by Keiichi Tsuchiya. The winner of this battle is crowned Mau or Demon King.
Touge Battles were part of the Best Motoring video series, which ran from 1987 to 2011, starting out on VHS and then progressing to DVD. Along the way, many of the country’s top modified performance cars were showcased as they raced on closed mountain passes and circuits during the golden age of Japanese tuner madness.
Thankfully, those videos have not been forgotten and in 2016 the ‘Best Motoring Official’ YouTube channel sprang to life, hosting many of the original battles to view free of charge. If you want to see the full back catalogue though, you will have to sign up as a member.
Those battles in the Class-Max category saw the FEED RX-7 up against everything from the Toyota 86, to the Honda S2000, Nissan GT-R and Silvia to name a few. From what I can see, there used to be a constant rivalry between the J’s Racing S2000 and the FEED RX-7, but Fujita-san ultimately took victory in 2018, knocking a second off his own time, and that of his friendly foe.
So, what makes FEED cars so special? Well, first and foremost it’s Fujita-san himself.
As I touched on in my recent Fujita Engineering shop tour, 99% of the magic that goes into building a rotary engine comes from the mechanic. It takes mechanical aptitude and skill, backed by years of experience and acquired knowledge to tune high-power, reliable rotary engines.
The 1% that remains can be attributed to parts, and the list is long so I’ll put it at the bottom of the page. As you’ll see, the vast majority of parts are FEED’s own creations, but back in the ’00s when they were winning trophies, those components were probably in development stages.
Despite all the modifications made and the performance on tap – 550PS at 6,600rpm and 68kg/m at 6,100rpm on 1.2bar/17.6psi boost – the Demon King is still very much a road car. Not because the ride is compliant or because its Sonic TI muffler is kind to the neighbours, because they aren’t. It remains a pleasure to drive on the road because Fujita-san has managed to retain all the creature comforts, like ABS, air conditioning, a radio, and a full interior (including carpet) that all looks brand new.
All this is at no sacrifice to performance, I can assure you. Fujita-san has managed to keep the A/C system by moving the intercooler back slightly, which, while the cores for the intercooler, radiator and condenser sit vertically, they all have plenty of space between them for air to circulate. That attention to detail is evident right throughout the car; testament to the fact that Fujita-san knows not just how to build a rotary engine, but also a complete FD3S RX-7.
Production of the FD3S chassis stopped in 2002, but it continues to evolve in the hands of tuners like Fujita-san to this day. Every detail and component of this car has been tested, refined, tested and refined again. From the engine to the cooling system, suspension to aero, Fujita-san has made it his life-long mission to perfect the RX-7.
I arrived at the FEED workshop in the afternoon, after only a phone call earlier in the morning to confirm, and even though Fujita-san was busy around the shop with various customer cars, he still agreed to take the Demon King out for a drive. Tracking from the back of a Mazda Bongo, it really was something special to see this car on the road. As I instructed Fujita-san from the back of the Bongo with hand signals only, the acceleration and poise of the RX-7 was staggering. I only had to point at where I wanted him to be and he was there in an instant. Building or driving cars, he really is a pro.
A note from the author: While these shoots look like fun and the photos are ultimately rewarding, behind the scenes was a different story. Lugging camera equipment through train stations, fields and industrial estates is hard graft, as is hanging out the back of a Mazda Bongo. This shoot was my last over the weekend before catching the evening flight back home. Unfortunately, I arrived at Kansai International Airport five minutes late and missed my flight. After waiting a couple of hours for the next flight, I arrived at Tokyo Narita after midnight, with no Narita Express to get me home. Needing to be at work in the morning, I took a local train into Tokyo Central and then another to Shinagawa – still nowhere near home. By this time it was well past 1:00am, so I jumped in a taxi for the remaining two-hour journey. While trundling down the expressway there was suddenly a loud explosion; the rear driver’s side tyre had ruptured for no apparent reason. The elderly taxi driver and I sat in the taxi while he called road-side assist, and the police, while cars and trucks hurtled past us with horns blasting. There was no hard shoulder so we sat, hazard lights blinking, waiting for the cavalry to arrive. Finally, the police showed up, as well as my new taxi. When I arrived at my local station at 3.30am, the new driver explained that the entire fare would be free. Every cloud has a silver lining, right? So, whenever I look back at these FEED stories, I’ll think gratefully about the $200 taxi fare I dodged and remind myself to always be early.
Mazda RX-7 related stories on Speedhunters
Fujita Engineering’s ‘Demon King’ 1997 Mazda RX-7 (FD3S)
Engine: FD3S Mazda 13B-REW, FEED Spec Five side-port, Skill 3-piece apex seals, FEED balanced rotors, 8.5:1 compression ratio, FEED GT3582R turbo kit, FEED offset-mount intercooler kit, FEED throttle body & adapter, FEED Sonic TI muffler, FEED fuel rail, 1,000cc injector, 2x FEED high-flow fuel pumps, FEED aluminum triple-row radiator, HKS F-CON V Pro Ver.3.4 engine management system
Driveline: FEED reinforced FD3S 5-speed gearbox, Exedy Competition R clutch, FEED 2-way limited slip differential
Chassis/Suspension/Brakes: FEED PRO F-09 Demon King spec coilovers, FEED full pillow ball kit, FEED solid support, FEED front & rear tower bars FEED member support, FEED front frame bar, urethane bushes, Auto Exe brake rotors & pads, FEED stainless steel braided brake lines, ABS diversion
Wheels/Tyres: 18×11-inch Advan R-6 wheels, 295/30R18 Yokohama Advan A052 tyres
Exterior: Aflux front cowl Ver2 Type R, Aflux front blister fender kit, Aflux rear blister fender kit, Aflux carbon aero bonnet, Aflux front canard set, Aflux GTII-R rear wing, Aflux Gurney flap HID foglight kit, Aflux dry carbon rear gate, Aflux carbon side steps, Aflux front carbon diffuser
Interior: Bride Gita Demon King spec seats, Nardi Classic 330mm steering wheel, HKS EVC6-IR boost controller, Pivot boost gauge, FEED shifter boot, FEED heavyweight shift knob, FEED e-brake boot
RX-8 just isn't as cool as a RX-7 - period. In isolation a RX8 is a respectable car (innovative too), but human nature is to expect much more with each succeeding generation, not just cars but in general, and the RX-8 simply wasn't "better" than a RX-7. "Better" can be defined differently depending on who you talk to. Some define it by styling, some say performance, some say feel, etc...but the fact that there is crazy demand and skyrocketing price on RX-7's mean the population rules that it is "better"
This is also a case of the lasting effects of that busted Japanese Bubble economy where R&D money simply wasn't there. Another car that came to mind was the post-R34 Skylines. On paper they are promising and as a product it fulfills its purpose but how many tuners you see with those cars?
Toby- helluva story afterwards
To be Honest. I like the rx8 a lot along with the rx7. I'm not sure why it gets so much hate because you can actually build something cool out of one. Case in point Kyle Mohan's Formula Drift rx8. I get that a lot of people think that it isn't like a true successor but people need to grow up. People all said that about the Mark 5 Supra and look at the new supra now.
Well the problem with the RX-8 is that while it looks and handles nice, the renesis engine is a heap of junk compared to the 13B-REW. No turbo means no torque, less power than the RX-8 and it's absolutely hopeless when it comes to reliability. People will swap anything just to get rid of the stupid thing. I've seen RX-8s with VAG 1.9TDi, 1.8T engines. And even one with a Rover 2.0T... how sh*t must an engine be so that swapping in something from a dead british manufacturer seemed like a better idea? Plus the RX-8 rusts as bad if not worse than the RX-7. So objectively the RX-8 is a worse car than the RX-7. Though with a proper engine swapped in (K20, SR20DET for example) it is a quick and interesting car.
I meant "less power than a RX-7" sorry
Absolutely a beautiful piece of machinery!
If there is a car I wish I could afford, it would be an FD. The lines just attract me to it every time.
Damn that story at the end is a really crazy one!
"Ah, the ’00s… a time when raves were still cool"
don't tell that to my ex gfs....
The RX-7 is such a cool car
This is an amazing build as always
This car by way of it's history, is a legend of the scene. This is not a usual cover, this is for many, an icon. Along the same lines of HKS Evo, Mines R34... What I love about Feed cars and it comes from true workmanship and knowledge, is maintaining basic functionality and being an absolute giant slayer. For many years, I loved watching this with its T04Z dominate. Love the coverage
Best Motoring was always rigged. Back when they ran the Touge Challenge at Willow Springs for the American Touge series an MR2 beat an NSX in raw time to move into the finals. If you recall the final battle was an NSX vs a GT-R. I believe at the time Kei Office was moving into NSX parts and chose not to put a vehicle that was faster as it had less marketability and financial gain for the people (Tsuchiya) involved.
As soon as I learned about this I started noticing a lot of additional things they would do--in one episode they purposely put a C6 Corvette on all season tires when the rest of the field was on r-compounds or sports tires as I believe the Japanese call them.
Anyway, super cool car but I have never taken anything from Best Motoring or the Touge Battles as serious information. They are like the Japanese version of Top Gear. Fun story I'm not sure many people know! Another reason why I don't like the media in the automotive sector / the media in general. It's all about profits. Not real cars and tuning.
Now you guys just need covered Assist M4 and J's Racing Maou
I was waiting for that follow up article, I enjoyed reading that one, Toby !
I wonder what Fujita-san thinks of the RX8, is it really that bad that he wont touch it ? Is there really no business case to be had for a shop like his. What does the car community of japan think of the RX8 anyway ? I always hear about the "glorious" FD and FC chassis, but the RX8 kinda gets pushed aside, even here on Speedhunters ! Last thing I saw on here was Dino´s post about the Panspeed RX8 (Still eagerly waiting for his test drive).
I reckon that people are already looking at the platform given that prices for the RX7 must be climbing steadily, like with so many other great japanese cars.