Words and photos by Michael Chandler
Somethings happen because someone works hard, long hours, for days and weeks on end. Somethings, like this shoot, happen because of pure circumstance. If, on the day I saw two of the cars featured here, I decided to make a left turn instead of a right this might not have happened. Thankfully, I made that right, and got the ball rolling on this shoot.
The two cars I saw were the Black FD and the purple SW20. Seeing either of the cars would be awesome, but seeing both, cruising around together brought up all sorts of images of Daikoku Futo. I put the word out on Facebook, and almost immediately someone responded.
Brad, the owner of the red FC RX-7, said they were friends of his. He acted as go between, and helped set up the shoot. Oh, and he drives a red FC. A red coupe with pop-up headlights? Let’s look further at this child of the 80’s.
Captain Coolpants might not have some cool things (like a turbo, or torque) but he does have some sweet ass S5 taillights. That’s gotta count for something.
And the 17″ Racing Harts, courtesy of a Mazda Protoge5, fit nicely. And the gold looks great with the red. Enough of the opener, let’s get to the feature and headliner.
Mid-engined sports cars hold a special place in the hearts and minds of us enthusiasts. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, even Acura made their top tier sports cars mid-engined. And so did Toyota*. It’s fitting that Tayler’s MR2 wears purple, it is after all the color of royalty.
Wedged in the middle of the MR2 is the venerable 3S-GTE, a two liter, turbocharged four cylinder that also powered the all wheel drive Celicas that eventually got Toyota in deep trouble with the FIA. Thankfully, there isn’t any sort of trickery going on in this particular motor, but it is making all sorts of glorious noises.
A modern classic like this needs modern classic wheels, and the 5zigen FN01R-C fits that bill perfectly.
Those same wheels, albeit in a different color, set off the classic lines of Kaiden’s FD. Like its contemporaries, the Supra and 300ZX, the FD RX-7 ditched the angular lines that defined the previous generation and became more rounded and smooth. While it came with pop-up headlights from the factory, Kaiden’s has been fitted with a set of flush mounted lights. Despite the omnipresent lights, the shape is still instantly recognizable.
The front bumper, fenders and hood have all been replaced with pieces that shed weight and help with air flow. Air flow, especially through the engine bay, is key when you’re dealing with an engine the size of a basketball, but weighs as much as an LS1.
But what an engine it is. Despite the publicized “short comings” (they’re not the torqueiest motors, but they can make plenty of power without eating apex seals every other day), the 13B is a legendary motor. It has powered some blisteringly fast cars, and if you can shove one into a Miata, you’ll have yourself one hell of a roadster.
I’ve noticed something with the youths. It seems that they’re gaining an appreciation for some of these modern classics. It could be because they’ve realized that the more mechanical cars have a feel that the current cars don’t have, or they might be dropping into their price range. I doubt that last part to be true, but then again, when I was in high school my budget for transportation was enough to grab a new shop deck for my skateboard every now and again, so my views may be skewed. Either way, seeing more of these cars in the hands of young enthusiasts is a good sign for the future of us, the enthusiast.