Rotary Rocket (Mazda RX-8)

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Some might opine that cars serve as an extension of one’s personality. This certainly holds true in the case of this example – a carbon-clad RX-8 that looks understated even with one of the longest list of modifications we’ve ever seen. This speaks volumes of the man behind the project. During our casual conversation, it is apparent that Eric loves to modify his car. But that does not mean adding any new component that’s available in the market. The cohesive nature of his modifications makes it all the more appealing, and it’s respectable that this project is being supervised on a RX-8 – a rev-happy, balanced driving machine only a niche section of the local motoring fraternity can appreciate.

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What is in the RX-8 that exudes such a rare appeal, then? We reckon that the powertrain gives it a bespoke character. The 1.3-litre rotary motor might be torque-lite, but the engine is tuned to be extremely flexible, enabling the driver to keep the revs at boiling point. It needs to be kept at higher RPMs to be enjoyed, unlike turbocharged cars that greet you with a huge slap of turbo torque once full boost is underway.

But Eric feels that this is precisely why the rotary engine is so inviting, as it engages him to drive it hard, while being in full control. That makes perfect sense too, since the RWD drivetrain allows Eric to toggle with throttle adjustability – an experience that can be felt more naturally if the car is driven by the two rear rubbers.

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But that doesn’t mean that Eric’s RX-8 can be overlooked at the performance department. He reckons that it is now pushing approximately 260bhp – highly commendable for a naturally aspirated unit. And it’s all the more admirable that the mileage of his car is well above the 100,000km mark. Eric’s ownership experience with the RX-8 can be considered as a dedicated one, changing the engine oil once every 5,000km to ensure smooth running of the rotary motor.

The committee member of Rotorhead SG also emphasises the “need” to stick with regular servicing intervals, as the components need more tender loving care than other performance variants. But that’s a tradeoff for more exclusivity and possibly more engagement behind the wheel – an intrinsic feel that could not be replicated in modern, tech-laden cars.

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Given its sporty credentials, we would not primarily associate the RX-8 with functionality, but Eric believes that the suicide doors allow for a much more convenient entry and exit to the rear seats – perfect for the father of one who also uses the car to ferry friends and clients.

It is beneath the hood that makes it a truly bespoke machine. There are no lack of ingredients to beef up its potential, such as undercarriage components from Autoexe, RE Amemiya and Knightsports. All these serve to enhance the dynamic potential of its chassis – not an easy feat considering that its OEM state of tune already has near-perfect weight distribution for corner carving endeavours.

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And despite extensive levels of modifications on the exterior, they are left to rock the blacked-out theme, apart from the rims. According to Eric, there are only a couple of cars running the Super Advan 18″ SA3R version 2 rims – in a triangular design we reckon fits well with the rotary heartbeat. It’s all the more striking taking into account that the golden touch is engulfed by dark, sinister aesthetics throughout the lengths of the car.

What’s next for Eric? He’s very keen to renew his COE when the right opportunity strikes. That’s certainly great news for petrolheads, as only we will understand that the true joy of driving are derived and amplified by these JDM cars. In this instance, old is definitely gold.

Mazda RX-8

Engine
Greddy radiator and R magic radiator cap, Greddy lighten pulley, Mazmart water pump and thermostat, Hayden ATF cooler, Mazda big throttle body, Racing Beat air intake with Racing Beat air duct, Odula high flow intake with Odula resonator cap, Racing Beat lighten rotary rotors, semi bridge potted engine, R magic racing energy oil filler cap, Sohn adapter, BHR ignition coil, Knightsports 4Beat-SE ECU

Undercarriage
Autoexe front and rear strut bar, Autoexe front and rear member brace set, Autoexe front and rear anti roll bar, Autoexe front and rear adjustable end links, Autoexe sport tie rod end, Autoexe mastervac brace with brake stopper, Stoptech 6-pot big brake kit, rear Stoptech brake rotors, Super Advan 18″ SA3R version 2 rims with Advan AD08 tyres, HKS Hipermax 3 coilover, RE Amemiya battery relocation kit, RE Amemiya oil surge tank, Cusco bubble tank, Mazda 16 rows oil cooler (left and right), Knightsports sports header, Knightsports power camber, Knightsports titanium rotor tail exhaust muffler, Mazda 1-way LSD, Racing Beat 5.125 final drive, Level 10 (USA) bulletproof 6 speed RX-8 torque converter

Exterior
Chargespeed front, side and rear full carbonfibre aerokit, Knightsports carbonfibre GT wing, carbon side air duct and side mirror, RE Amemiya carbonfibre bonnet with Autoexe damper, RE Amemiya carbonfibre rear tail light, Mazdaspeed rear V7-220 F1 light, Mazdaspeed aluminum fuel lid, Autoexe sport window visor

Interior
Alcantara front console upholstery, Mazdaspeed carbon panel parts, hydro dip carbon panel parts, Mazdaspeed rotary engine push start button, Mazdaspeed gear shifter, Feed Fujita engineering gauge pod, Defi 52mm CR (oil temperature, water temperature and oil pressure), Mazdaspeed aluminum sports pedal set, Mazdaspeed sport floor mat set with aluminum heel plate, Autoexe sports steering wheel, Feed Fujita anti-glare rear mirror, RE Amemiya blue anti-glare side mirrors, Leg Motorsports door armrest, customised optic light, room light and “devil” light

 

ICE
Focal K2P 2-way component with Xcarlink Bluetooth integration kit, Focal FO 5.500 -5 channel amplifier, Alpine processor, Bazooka RX-T1 triangle subwoofer

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