Sean Shokuoh’s 1998 Mazda RX-7
In the last half-decade or so, a handful of popular Japanese sports cars have reached a level of “hero” status in the eyes of many tuners and enthusiasts. The term is bestowed open vehicles that, while not necessarily halo cars or even supercars for a particular manufacturer, adhere to a set of classic attributes. They’re sleek, often long-nosed, usually rear-drive performance machines and, above all, driver’s cars from the 1990s. One prime example is the third-generation Mazda RX-7. And if the FD3S (the platform code, sometimes abbreviated to “FD”) – is among this elite group, then Sean Shokuoh’s 1998 showstopper is reaching “superhero” status.
Sean owns and operates JDM Palace, an independent importer of Japanese car parts in Northern California. His RX-7 might be his greatest find from across the Pacific; it was built by legendary tuner Isami Amemiya’sspeed shop, RE-Amemiya, in Chiba, Japan. It raced for several years on some of the country’s most iconic circuits before it was decommissioned and put up for sale. When Sean learned of its fate, he scraped together enough to purchase the Mazda from its previous owner and ship it to the US to become his personal plaything.
As a track car for Sean, it is set up for the rigors of motorsports. Under the hood is a bridge port 13B-RE rotary engine built by RE-Amemiya – not what came with the car, but a replacement purchased after the first powerplant let go on one of its track outings.
The 13B’s turbo system now sports a TRUST/GReddy TD07 turbo, stainless exhaust manifold, and intercooler in a V-mount configuration, with a Ron Davis radiator forming the other part of the “V.”
The fueling, induction, ignition, and engine management systems have all been equally upgraded with help from A’PEXi, HKS, Walbro, and SARD, among others, as has the drivetrain with improvements via OS Giken. Facilitating grip are elements such as Aragosta Special Circuit coilovers and Toyo R888-shod 18-inch Volk Racing TE37SL rims. Halting its progress is the job of Brembo brake calipers, Endless rotors and Project Mu pads.
The RX-7 is sparse, equipped with only the essentials, as a proper circuit car should be. Twisting the wind around the sports car is an elaborate RE-Amemiya AD-GT aero kit, which includes bumpers, front fenders and rear over-fenders, a carbon-fiber rear diffuser, front under sweep, side and fender diffusers, rear wind generator, canards, sleek lights, and aero mirrors. An R-Magic Racing carbon-fiber hood, Voltex carbon-fiber GT wing, SexyStyle rear lower wing, and Mazdaspeed roof wing supplement the RE kit. Inside, the famous initials are found on the carbon fiber gauge panel, 300km speedometer, and steering wheel. Recaro SPG Pro Racer and SPG3 seats with Sabelt harnesses keep driver and passenger in place, while a JoyFast weighted shift knob keeps shifts smooth and decisive.
Ahead of the 2018 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) trade show in Las Vegas, Sean tried his hand at a different kind of challenge, entering his prized FD3S in the ENEOS x Super Street SEMA 2018 Contest – which he won! The contest was searching for a vehicle that represented the ENEOS brand and JDM culture (which Sean’s car has in spades). As its winner, he earned a display spot at the prestigious show to represent ENEOS and Super Street Magazine. It was a high honor, indeed – a distinction worthy of a superhero car.
Photos courtesy of Super Street Magazine