For the second year in a row I’ve missed 7’s Day Japan, but as I sat in my Bangkok hotel room thinking about all the RX-7 goodness Dino would be hunting and I’d not be, my phone rang. On the other end of the line a voice demanded that I head to the loading dock at the Impact Arena (where the Bangkok International Auto Salon was happening) to check out how the local Mazda RX-7 faithful celebrate July 7th (7/7).
Although I had planned to head into the city and soak up the Friday nightlife, without a moment to waste, I grabbed my equipment and hailed the first cab.
In hindsight, I should have known that taking a taxi in the afternoon across the city would have disastrous consequences, but I had plenty of time to think about it as we crawled our way through traffic at no more than 2km/h. By the time I arrived it was night and had begun raining.
I thought it might all be over, but to my surprise (and relief), the familiar sound of modified Wankel engines reverberated around the loading dock area. My cultural exploration was still on.
While pacing up and down the rows of RX-7s, a few things quickly became apparent. The first: almost every RX-7 was a late-model FD3S.
There were a few FC3Ss sprinkled among the crowd, including this track-focused example, and even an older SA22C sporting carbon fiber overfenders, but FDs made up the vast majority of cars.
No thanks to the incredibly restrictive laws enforced by the government, getting older cars into Thailand can be a difficult and very expensive proposition. Both the FC3S and FD3S fall into that category, but with more scope to modify the later-version RX-7, the FD is far more popular in Thailand’s enthusiast circles.
The second thing I noticed, which consequently also plays a part in why FDs are more popular than FCs, is the fact that wide-body kits are really hot in Thailand right now.
Possibly only in Japan could you find an area filled with more RE Amemiya and Rocket Bunny-kitted RX-7s.
Although the variety of colors and wheel combinations kept things interesting, most of the cars followed the same modifying recipe, and I was starting to wish there was a little more variety. Of course, there’s a high probability that some owners retreated home with their cars before the bad weather blew through.
But just as that thought crossed my mind, something different caught my eye – an FD3S RX-7 fitted with a full R Magic Armor aero kit.
The Veilside kit does an amazing job of turning the FD into something radical and unique, but R Magic aero is in a whole different league. This kit transforms the FD’s exterior image into that of a track devouring monster, and this build by Masterpiece Body Service and Nagaoka Thailand channels the spirit of R Magic’s Japanese time attack machine.
Only at the rear does the car beneath the FRP and carbon truly reveal itself, and I would have loved to check out what’s under the hood to see if the engine is just as heavily modified as the exterior. At a guess, I would say that it is.
On that note, my third and final observation at this meet was power.
The desire for power is a common theme in Thailand. Turbos the size of your head found can found in a variety of cars, and at the Auto Salon there was even a dyno competition outside that anyone could enter to see who had the most power.
The Hunt For Power
Toon, the owner of this FD3S RX-7, is a perfect example of a Thai enthusiast who craves power over everything else. Like many modified FD owners, he chose the RE Amemiya’s wide-body kit to upgrade his car’s exterior, but it’s what you can’t see from the outside that Toon has invested the most in.
Along with large a bridge-port, the rebuilt 13B has been rid of its sequential twin turbo system in favor of a big single GReddy unit. All the supporting performance modifications are present and accounted for too.
Another common trend in Thailand is a JDM-like row of gauges on the dash, and in this respect Toon has gone all-out with six traditional Defi meters plus a Defi-Link Display unit.
In gunning for a 10-second ET on the quarter-mile, Toon rebuilds his engine with a revised combination every year. He’s getting very close to his goal now, and on one of his recent runs at the strip he managed a mid-11-second pass while falling out of the groove and having to save it. Check out the video below.
7’s Day in Bangkok might not be as big as what Dino experienced in Tokyo, but that’s not what is important. What is important is the love that the enthusiasts have to come together and celebrate the rotary, whether it be in Japan, Thailand, or anywhere else around the globe.
One thing’s for certain – I need to get back here again. Same time next year, perhaps?