It’s not too often in our local scene that a car like this appears totally unannounced. Most of the time when there’s a build under-way with parts as rare and exotic as these and a colour scheme as attention-grabbing as this one, people notice. But Chad, the owner of this sublime RX-7, managed to keep a tight lid on his project right up until it’s unveiling at Sydney’s Auto Salon late last year. We caught up with Chad in his hometown of Canberra to bring you this exclusive of the Mazda before it moves on.
Chad has been a fan of Japanese motorsport for years. After watching a lot of SuperGT racing and D1 competitions, he knew he had to buy an FD RX-7 – and in 2007 he did. “Before I bought it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” he says. “The plan was always simple, but out there at the same time.”
As always, it started with a few simple mods; exhaust, coilovers, intake and other basic engine stuff. But the centre-piece of the car was always going to be the RE-Amemiya bodykit. Getting it into Australia was not an easy task, but in 2009 Chad put the wheels in motion. The kit on this RX-7 uses nineteen separate pieces all built to order in Japan by RE-Amemiya. The finished product was made in stages and shipped to Australia bit by bit over the better part of a year.
Every few weeks a new box would arrive with another part of the puzzle, “I had no idea how it would actually turn out for quite a long time,” says Chad. “It was almost the middle of 2010 before we started doing some test fitting.” Chad was determined from the outset to have the Aussie part of the FD build done in Canberra, and not in Sydney. Long before parts were on their way from Japan, Chad had made arrangements with J Racing in the ACT to look after the tough job of piecing it together.
“As Jerry started to put the pieces on the car one by one, I would drop by to check it out,” Chad explains. “It was a total shock when I saw it all finished. I didn’t think it was my car!”
Obviously the gorgeous RE-Amemiya styling is not the only thing on the exterior causing a stir – those 24-carat gold Volk Racing RE30 wheels are about as exclusive as wheels can get.
Chad used Bulletproof Automotive in the United States to source parts from Japan and get them to him in Australia. It’s incredible how small the world can be in some ways. When it came to buying wheels Chad knew that he wanted gold, but he had no idea what was available. He mentioned it to Bulletproof, but never expected the answer he got. “I sent an e-mail to my guy at Bulletproof saying that I wanted gold wheels. He replied telling me that they actually had a set of 19in RE30s sitting in the warehouse. I totally fluked it,” Chad says. “He sent me through a picture and I said I’ll have them ASAP.”
“The back story that I was given about the wheels goes like this: my supplier was sourcing parts and cars and things for the set of The Fast & The Furious. These gold REs were plated for one of the cars in the film, but at the last minute they decided not to use them,” explains Chad. Definitely a lucky break as far as he was concerned.
While all of this was happening, Chad’s brother was working away on his build of an R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R. The two of them bought their cars about a month apart, but had their eyes on two very different objectives. The car that Chad’s brother built was a stripped out track machine, with a hyper RB under the bonnet. “My RX-7 is a great cruiser, but when I got in his GT-R I wanted that same raw power,” says Chad. “I had so much more that I wanted to do to the RX-7, but I’ve been bitten by the GT-R bug.”
So believe it or not, this creation is up for sale. “My brother sold his GT-R to buy a house, and it’s sad we didn’t get to photograph the two cars side by side,” Chad says. “But he wants to get another one, and once the RX-7 sells I’ll be saving for an R35.”
If Chad’s plans for the R35 are anything like this RX-7, we’ll be first in line to see what he comes up with.