The Kansai region of Japan is home to a wealth of automotive enthusiasts. Although my time spent there is often regulated to being trackside at circuits like Suzuka and Central, every once in awhile I’m afforded the opportunity to meet some people outside the circuit.
Such was the case last February, when I was scheduled to be in Osaka for a few 80R photoshoots. Wanting to make the most of my time there, I reached out to Kazuya to see if he was available to meet up for a quick shoot.
Early Monday morning, as I made my way out of the hotel lobby to the quiet side street, I was met with an expected, but brisk February air. I looked up in relief to see the overcast skies, sealing out any sort of direct light; perfect for photos. Although this weather is typical at this time of year, Japan has a way of surprising with the occasionally sunny day. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case today, as our work for the morning entailed photographing a car that I have been following for quite some time now, and shooting in the naturally diffused light of the morning has always been my favored conditions.
I sat on the railing across the street from the hotel entrance while I finished my coffee and took a few minutes to wake myself up. Because of our busy schedules, Kazuya and I agreed it would be best to meet as early as possible. I had a small window during my time in Kansai, and with it being the weekday, he had work responsibilities. Despite the obstacles, we both wanted the opportunity to photograph his FD, so we made it happen.
This is a good time to mention that during the photoshoot I took some video of Kazuya’s FD. You can check out the PV on our YouTube channel if you haven’t yet seen it.
A few moments later, where the small side street meets the bypass, I see Kazuya and his grey FD make the right turn towards the hotel. Having followed each other on social media for awhile now, I wasn’t a stranger to the car, but seeing something in person is always a bit different.
After he parked, we said our introductions and chatted a bit about the where to go for the shoot. Kazuya is a nice guy, whose youthful cheerfulness compliments his resoluteness in ambition. Currently working for a company involved in automotive trade, remains well connected in the industry. Like many car enthusiasts in Japan, Kazuya fell in love with the Amemiya clad FD3S after his introduction to the popular manga Initial D, and quickly became determined to create his own vision of the RX7 when he had the means to do so. Years later, his second FD, the one you see here, has given him the chance to make that happen, as he continues his quest to build the best looking FD in Japan.
I put my camera gear in the trunk, and we departed for our first location, which was to be Yodobayashi station, just over the river from Umeda. It was a spot that Kazuya himself frequented often for a quick photo or two of his car.
Stepping into the passenger seat of the RX7, I am greeted to an immaculate interior, mostly OEM with some choice upgrades that give the two seater an updated look. An array of Defi gauges including oil pressure, oil temp, water temp, boost meter and larger tach rest atop the dash, giving Kazuya access to all the necessary engine vitals. A rare Knight Sports 300km speedometer dash replaces the OEM unit and sits behind a GReddy Profec B boost controller.
A flat bottom OMP steering wheel in suede with yellow stitch, and a Bride low max Stradia bucket seat provide a much more sporty appearance and driving experience. Kazuya doesn’t often frequent the track, but has had the chance to drive the car at the more local tracks like Suzuka and Central – not in a competitive capacity, but as an enthusiast.
We headed down the main thoroughfare, Route 176, away from Osaka Umeda and crossed the bridges over the Tosahori River. Yodobayashi is a subway station that runs adjacent to the river.
From the pedestrian bridge spanning the Route 176, looking down towards the river.
One of the more interesting buildings along the road leading away from the station is the Starbucks at the base of the Links building. Aside from the cool architecture of the two story building, the back side and roof is a living wall. I really enjoy the incorporation of plants, trees, and general foliage in city centers. Unrelated, but worth a mention.
After the short 10 minute car ride, we arrived at a bustling station surrounded by mid-size concrete buildings, complimented by rows of lush green trees; an almost perfect backdrop to the Porsche Crayon Grey RX7. The weekday commuters had already begun their journeys into the office, many of them shooting curious looks towards the FD parked alongside the street; a site that’s not totally out of place for us, but probably something they hadn’t expected to see on their way to work.
Kazuya’s FD is so perfectly constructed, the effectiveness of it’s simplicity almost goes unnoticed; the list of modifications on this car is short but powerful. RE Amemiya provides a timeless class to the late model RX7s that is truly unmatched.
Kazuya opted for a full RE GT-AD II widebody that includes almost the entire accessory line from Amemiya. The AD 9 carbon hood is paint matched and decorated with exposed carbon from the RGN hood vents and the AD 9 ducting gurney flaps.
The N-1 Facer front bumper is complimented with the Sleek headlight kit, replacing the pop up headlights, and bringing a more modern look to the old chassis. The RE Pro Canards, and Car Shop Glow front under panel, both in carbon, create an aggressive front end that looks perfect on both the track and expressway.
Each of the GT-AD II kit pieces are immaculately installed and washed in a Porsche Crayon Grey.
The CSG fender gurney’s do well to tie in continued carbon accents along the car, like the Craft Square GT mirrors.
The rear of the car is graced with more Amemiya goods, like the carbon Bowtech Generator set that sit on either side of the rear diffuser.
An Esprit 052 1800mm GT wing, a popular choice for the FD, rounds out the remaining aero on the car.