It’s one thing to see passion – in cars, often the end result of hundreds, if not thousands of hours of build time – but it’s another thing entirely to feel it. And at Sevens Day at Daikoku PA I didn’t just feel it, I was overwhelmed by it. It started as a sudden increase in awareness, a thrill, as soon as we went down the famous spiral off-ramp from the Wangan Expressway towards Daikoku PA and built as I saw the glimpses of so many awesome rotary builds below.
It finally hit me, though, once I had stepped out of Dino from Speedhunters’ car (it was he who kindly gave me a lift there) and had a chance to look around. This wasn’t just some meeting in a parking lot. This was passion. This was fandom. This was dedication. Essentially, this was love.
And what love it was. Varied, like all love, in its forms, yet identical in its passion. From FB to FD and RX-8, with even a little Miata thrown in, every person with a car there was saying, “Here is my love. It is my own. Make of it what you will”.
There is a great strength in such variety and passion. It means the scene, bar a lack of source material, will probably never die. Even today there are so many endless permutations of rotary love that it’s hard to get your head around it.
Take, for example, this Porsche-headlighted, carbon-braced spyder. Were it not such a famous car in the rotary scene, you’d be hard pressed knowing what it was. Yet at the other end of the spectrum, you have those dedicated to keeping it pure.
Either is a perfect representation of rotary love, yet both are completely at odds with the other. I adore that the scene has this way of thinking.
As with life, in-between the two extremes lies the majority. Those who tune their cars to varying degrees but keep the shape within recognisable limits. Most go the aftermarket route, either keeping things subtle and modern…
Or not so. Given how ‘current’ most of the Mazdas on show were, it was a shock to see somebody running an old-school Veilside kit and Advan tri-spokes. But like I said, that variety is the bedrock of rotary tuning.
Given the size and significance of the day, I wasn’t surprised to see many ex-demo cars show up. Most were of the RE Amemiya variety. From this little beastie above…
To this rather legendary machine. Complete with dry carbon mirrors and white flames under the clearcoat, it’s a stunning piece of work.
The pair was joined by a few other examples bearing Ama-san’s creative touch, too. This FD below kept it old-school with its white Regameisters, while just across and to the right of that…
Sat a rather more recent car that should definitely need no introduction to those into JDM tuning.
I have to be honest in saying that I have, until now, never been a fan of the Porsche-headlighted look on Sevens, and that’s despite having seen them in the metal at the Tokyo Autosalon. Yet, as more experienced heads have pointed out before, there’s a lot to be said for seeing a car in its natural habitat, and seeing this beauty at Daikoku PA made me realise I had been wrong. They still may not photograph well, but they look awesome in reality. That even goes for the rear.
As we saw in the third shot of this article, one of the more extreme RX-7’s in existence also made an appearance, the now dark blue (it started off light back in 2009) Genki 7. I have to say I prefer it in this colour, and both in pictures and real life, it just drops jaws.
It is just such a complete car. From the mind-blowing exterior to the immaculate engine bay that hints at its pale blue past, almost nothing about this car is wrong. If I could find one criticism, it’s that the wheel fitment isn’t perfect, but that’s because the offset was chosen to work with aero wheel covers in its original show car guise.
The variety at Sevens Day didn’t just stop with Ama-san’s creations, though. If the Lotus headlights on this Genki 7 didn’t appeal, how about these TVR Sagaris ones below?
Bonnet fitment aside, the kit was pretty well put together, and certainly one way to stand out from the crowd. Even the back (below) was well done. As a first-timer, it’s things like this that show just how much energy the rotary scene still has, and how much acceptance there is of uniqueness, even today. It knocks you over.
Of course, being Japan, there were a few examples of a very different kind of passion on show as well – namely anime and cute cartoon characters.
This particular FD was a prime example of an ‘itasha’. For those who are unaware, itasha is a portmanteau of ‘itai’, meaning painful, and ‘sha’, which is the Chinese reading of the Kanji character for car. It literally means a car that is painful to look at. This may be true for some, but you just kind of have to love the zaniness of it.
See what I mean? When it comes to soft toys, though, there was only one winner that day, and that was this canary yellow FD3S, sporting probably the biggest ‘Rillakuma’ you can buy.
Rillakuma wasn’t just on the bonnet, either. He and his girlfriend were sat in the interior. How the owner managed to get these soft toys to Daikoku PA is another matter altogether. Friend with a truck?
There were those who chose to show off their passion for cartoon characters in a slightly more subtle way, though. This absolutely immaculate FC showed allegiance to long-lived Japanese favourite Gatchapin.
However, a closer look at its show-worthy engine bay revealed the owner decided the maccha (green tea) colour meant a name change for the poor guy, with ‘Macchapin’ written on the sign in the top right.
One little anime-related detail that caught my eye in another part of the parking area was sitting on the back of this dropped RX-8. Can you see it?
Yup, it’s the cute little Doraemon-themed helmet, complete with slightly creepy fake hair out back, proving you don’t even need a soft toy to pledge your allegiance to a famous cartoon character.
Gladly, subtlety didn’t just extend to the anime realm. As we saw before, some drivers kept it nice and simple on relatively unadorned cars with just a few choice mods, and that seemed to be a theme no matter what era you chose.
Whether it was FB’s…
Or, while a little on the extreme side, FD’s. By the way, the ‘Cars’ windscreen covers were a popular choice at Sevens Day.
While extremely rare, a few people even went the OEM path to keep their rotaries subtle but menacing, with this lone FD3S sporting Mazdaspeed accoutrements.
That said, subtle isn’t for everybody. Yup, that’s a prancing horse on the steering wheel of the lurid purple FD.
As we saw from the earlier red RX-8, more recent rotaries are also not immune from a bit of extreme aesthetic treatment. While tasteful, I doubt even racing teams can fit this many stickers onto one panel.
One thing you quickly realise is that, despite its name, Sevens Day isn’t just for rotaries, or even just Mazdas. A wonderful aspect about checking out the machinery at Daikoku PA is seeing the other cars the event attracts. R32 GT-Rs sneak in, for example…
While other Skylines take a slightly different approach, choosing to stand out via their immaculate Millennium Jade paint and nice body kits.
Of all the non-Mazda cars in the main parking section of Daikoku PA, though, this Volvo was the one that most shook me out of my rotary-induced stunned state. Given its NACA bonnet duct, carbon rear wing and trio of A-pillar gauges, plus the fact this is Japan, I’m betting some pretty serious horsepower lies under that bonnet.
Even outside of the main parking area, awesomeness abounded. This trio of supercars decided to use the day to show off, and while the Gallardo was nice (slightly let down by a terrible carbon wrap job on its wheels), it was the widebody C6 and F50 that did it for me.
For the C6, the fact there was one there at all was perhaps one of the biggest surprises, followed by the extremeness of its widebody kit. I’d estimate there was at least a full two-and-a-half inches on each side over the standard Corvette. The crystal-encrusted headlights were perhaps a little over the top, though…
As was the ridiculous skull stuck onto the rear bumper, but that just made me laugh, in all honesty. It’s still a great car.
As for the F50? What can you say? It’s stunning. The fact it was stunning even with a bodykit says a lot.
Of course, the owner decided to stick a Nurburgring time on the rear three-quarter panel just to ram the point home about its speed.
As well as stick an A-Team badge on the rear. A bit much, or just a bit of fun? I’ll let you decide.
After wandering back into the main parking area, I snapped a few more shots, then decided my brain had had enough. Like I said at the start, Sevens Days is an overwhelming experience. It’s got it all – variety, passion, history, cars ranging from immaculate originals to extreme ex-demo cars and even the odd supercar, and it packs it all into one of the most iconic locations in car-dom. Is there a better way to experience Japanese rotary car culture? I think not.
And as I left the Daikoku PA, I knew my sadness at departing meant I would be back. Losing my Sevens Day cherry was great, but it only gets better with experience, no?