Kuroi 7: Looking's Ultra Pristine FD RX-7 Drift Car
Osaka is well-known (and popular) for a lot of things: its friendly people, amazing local food (try takoyaki or okonomiyaki if you're ever there), a relaxed atmosphere and, of course, is home to some of the best drivers and car builders in all of Japan. At the Meihan All-Star Drift GP, I was able to connect with one of these drivers, who also happens to be the owner of Looking Body Tuning and Color: Yuichi Asada.
Best known for his cream-colored AE86 Levin (that can be seen regularly attacking Meihan), Yuichi is recognized locally for assembling cars that have been in international magazines and won numerous Best of Show awards at Tokyo Auto Salon, Hella Flush and Offset-Kings, just to name a few.
His latest project, dubbed Kuroi 7 (which translates to "The Black 7"), is what can easily be described as the cleanest FD3S RX-7 that I've ever seen. The shop is a quick walk from Kita-Hanada station, a 20-30 minute ride south of downtown Osaka using a local train. Walking out of the station, the combination blast of 100-degree weather and humidity was brutal, and as I walked the town's narrow streets, there were no sounds of cicadas like you'd expect in Tokyo. Instead, it was quiet and felt largely unfamiliar...that is, until I found their FD parked out front.
There I met Yuichi and his partner, Hitomi Okada, who helps him out with bodywork and tuning, and is also known for her drifting skills at Meihan with her Nissan 180SX. Without much time to spare, we pulled the car out into the neighborhood and let the sweet sound of a bridge-ported 13B rotary wake it up.
This RX-7 is what the Japanese refer to as the heisei-edition, or seventh year model (yes, that's the traditional way to count the year in Japanese). For most of us Americans or those unfamiliar, including me, it's a simple 1995. It took about three years to finish, in which time Yuichi learned how to build and port rotary engines, and to which he applied his newfound knowledge to complete.
Far above and beyond all else, this car is all about cleanliness. All its modifications flow smoothly, enhancing the already curvaceous lines of the FD as opposed to distorting them completely. As the Osaka/Kansai region is home to many aero parts producers, Yuichi had the freedom to choose from a mixture of aero components to achieve the exact look he had in mind.
This FD features a Knight Sports two-piece front bumper, FEED front and rear fenders, Afflux carbon fiber side diffusers and a RE Amemiya rear bumper. Complementing the mirror-black finish are vented headlight covers, carbon fiber side mirrors, a rear deck spoiler and a custom vented carbon fiber hood that allows air to flow down to the one-off V-mount intercooler and radiator set-up. These additions were done so well that the car feels as if it comes this way from the factory; one would hardly guess the rear fenders were riveted on, that's how clean the install is.
The suspension and brakes are fairly stock except for G-Master coilovers and a pair of rare Satoru Works knuckles to provide more steering angle. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an HKS sequential transmission that's upgraded with an ORC twin-clutch and equally distributed with a Mazdaspeed limited slip differential.
At its heart is a self-built, bridge-ported 13B REW that's been outfitted with a large, single TRUST T78-33D turbo, with exhaust going out from a TRUST manifold and down to a custom 90mm titanium exhaust. Boost is dialed in and kept in check with an HKS GT wastegate, a GReddy Profec boost controller that's set at 1.5 bar and an A'PEXi Power FC that is tuned to produce a total of 600bhp.
What's cool is that Yuichi's FD still retains a full interior with a custom 8-point roll bar that's painted the same gunmetal gray as the engine bay, passenger compartment and trunk. Yuichi and his passenger are kept safe and sound with a pair of Bride Gias II Low Max seats, while an HKS shift knob and Nardi steering wheel round off the remaining interior modifications.
As expected, the car has seen plenty of track time as do all of Looking's projects. It looks as fresh out of the paint booth as it always has, without the typical damage associated with drift cars. The only signs were the large piles of tire fragments lying on the driveway after it had been washed off.
Yuichi is more often than not, a quiet guy. He doesn't have much to say, except for when I start talking to him about his favorite car. Before I can even say it, I see the answer over in the corner and it becomes crystal clear. He starts smiling after I say "Hachi-roku." You can tell when someone loves something so much that they can't contain their emotions at the mere mention of it. Of course the AE86 is his favorite.
Yuichi's next project will be a labor of love and a demonstration of all the experience he's gained from building all these cars, a naturally-aspirated, 3-rotor AE86, and two additional projects down the road that also include a 2JZ-powered S13 and a 20B FD3S RX-7. If any of those cars are like the Kuroi 7, then there's no doubt they'll be equally amazing and track tested.
1995 Mazda RX7
OWNER: Yuichi Asada
HOMETOWN: Osaka, Japan
ENGINE: 13B REW Bridge Port; TRUST T78-33D turbo, 840cc injector and exhaust manifold; 90mm titanium exhaust, HKS GT wastegate, custom v-mount intercooler & radiator
DRIVETRAIN: HKS sequential transmission; Mazdaspeed LSD
ENGINE MANAGEMENT: A'PEXi Power FC; GReddy Profec
SUSPENSION & SAFETY: G-Master coilovers; Satoru Works knuckles; 8-point rollbar
WHEELS: Cosmis Racing S5R
EXTERIOR: Knight Sports front bumper; FEED front and rear fenders; Afflux carbon side diffusers; RE Amemiya rear bumper
INTERIOR: Bride Gias II Low Max seats; Sabelt harnesses; HKS shift knob; Nardi Deepcone steering wheel