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AUTO MESSE WEB(オートメッセウェブ)

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FC3S ‘RX-7’ Rotary Engine Transplanted Into Mazda ‘Familia Van’

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TEXT: 青木邦敏(AOKI Kunitoshi)  PHOTO: 青木邦敏(AOKI Kunitoshi)

  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978
  • Based on Mazda's 4th generation Familia Van released in 1978

The plan started with the RE engine installed

RE Amemiya, famous as a rotary specialist, is often consulted by aged car enthusiasts who want to drive their memorable cars. The Mazda Familia Van presented here was also a request from an owner who fondly remembers those days, and there was a strong desire from the owner to have a rotary engine installed if the vehicle was also to be restored and built. This is why the planning of the Familia Van started with the RE engine installed.

Dare to stick with NA

It is really interesting and amusing that it is not just a nostalgic car, but a bold idea to produce it as the Familia Rotary Van. This project was initiated by RE Amemiya in collaboration with Gouda Sheet Metal, and the restoration and parts reassembly and transplanting work began.

Based on the 4th generation Familia Van launched in 1978. Mainly used as a commercial vehicle, it had a 3-door and 5-door grade system, but this time the customization was based on the 5-door type.

The work was divided up among the members, each with their area of expertise. Gouda Itachi was in charge of the body repair and restoration, while RE Amemiya was in charge of the other functional parts, engine, drive train, suspension review, and overall tuning.

In 1978, the Familia van was powered by a 1.4-litre straight-4 SOHC engine with a maximum output of only 82 hp. With little torque and no power, you can imagine how slow it was to get off the line. Modern technology was used to revive such an inefficient machine as a comfortable car. The key to this was the installation of the RE engine.

The power unit prepared by RE Amemiya for the Familia Rotary Van was the 13B unit used in the FC3S “Savanna RX-7”. RE Amemiya dared to stick with the NA unit for this installation. The reason for this is that, considering the character of the car, it is not a car that is designed to be driven hard, but rather to be driven comfortably around town. For this reason, the 13B unit itself is not a pertained unit with an extremely loud noise, but a Bridgeport specification, RE Amemiya’s specialty, which is easy to handle and provides a smooth feeling.

Maximum output is 210ps!

Another important point is that, rather than making everything new, a Weber 45φ carburetor has been installed as a tuning that also places importance on the period style. The maximum output of 210 hp was thus extracted. Incidentally, the transmission had to be changed along with the engine change, and an SA22C Savanna RX-7 was used.

The stock suspension, which is just too soft, has been tuned for the front only, using the SA22C as a base and strengthening it. The rear, on the other hand, is still a leaf spring system, and although RE Amemiya has made its upgrades, they are not satisfied with it as it is, so this is an issue for the future. Also, with the increase in power comes the need for improved braking performance, and this has also been addressed by incorporating a brake system for the FC3S.

The combination of the Familia van, a symbol of old-era cars, and the rotary engine is intriguing to the generation that knew the car back then. The slightly dull white body color also fully embodies the Showa taste. The RE Amemiya Familia Van, with its unique looks, has been successfully improved, revitalized, and revived as a vehicle that is outstandingly enjoyable to look at and drive.

translated by DeepL

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