The Mazda RX-8 is one of those cars with a love it or hate it reputation.  As the successor to RX-7, it had some rather large shoes to fill, especially with the FD3S being one of the most stylish cars of its time, the design that still gives any enthusiasts’ heart a flutter when it is seen.  Mazda’s designers didn’t fall short in the looks department, the RX-8 sporting a sleek and aggressive body from the factory.  While the previous FD3s RX-7 sported a twin-turbo 13b rotary, the RX-8 came equipped with a N/A Renesis rotary engine that left much to be desired in terms of power, but kept with the balance of the car.  While the aftermarket has developed for the Renesis people like our man Naoki Ishijima don’t need much power for what they do.  Time for a little form & function.  Allow us to introduce the street drifter from Aichi Prefecture, Naoki Ishijima and his RX-8.

Photos By: JC exclusively for

From the countless videos I’ve seen, and the stories I’ve heard from friends that have visited or moved to Japan, the level of drifting over there is very high.  Drifting has exploded over the last 5-6 years, and while the rest of the world caught on, it didn’t mean that the Japanese sat idly by and watched.  They kept on doing their thing and honing their skills to stay where they are, and that is most certainly on the top.

While Ishijima-san’s RX-8 may look like a pampered show car, it is anything but as he drifts this thing on the track every chance he gets.  I know I’ve harped on drift-missiles before, but there is nothing wrong with driving your car hard AND keeping it looking good.  Our man here clearly likes to do both, because when the car isn’t posing for cameras, it’s out on the streets or the track getting sideways.  I’m not one to like RX-8s, but I seriously love the look of this one.  It’s aggressive and in-yer-face, and gets driven in the same manner.  Ishijima-san, you sir are doing it right.

So let’s start with those devilishly good looks.  Vertex Japan always comes with the goods and produces a wide range of stylish and aggressive body kits.  Ishijima-san’s RX-8 sports a Vertex Lang front bumper and side-skirts complete with front canards.  To toughen up the rear end, a Veilside rear bumper with diffuser was added along with a Veilside rear wing.  To really up the aggressive stakes, the car was finished in a matte black paint job.  Matte black might be a bit played out, but I can’t see this car working in any other color, especially a car that spends its nights sliding around Japan.

Of course the aggressive kit matte paint wouldn’t have the same effect if the car was 6-inches off the ground and rocking some stock wheels.  As we like to say, the lower the better, and Ishijima-san’s RX-8 gets down in all the right ways.  Equipped with Endless Zeal coilovers with 24kg spring-rates in the front and 20kg spring-rates in the rear, this RX-8 can ride absurdly low and not worry about those fenders getting beat up.  Megan Racing control arms allow for more camber adjustment and get those Work wheels tucking under the fenders nicely.  The Work Emotion CR Kiwamis look fantastic and are one of my favorite, one-piece wheels to come out in awhile.  With super-concave faces, and measuring up at 18×10.5 +15 all around, they match the car’s aggressive demeanor perfectly, and provide a light-weight and durable wheel that can handle the abuse of drifting.

The interior of the car is all business, and looks the part of a street drift machine.  Partially stripped and fitted with Bride Zeta III seats Ishijima-san’s car is also fitted with a full cage plus some extra bracing by way of stitch-welding the chassis.  As I mentioned earlier, the aftermarket has developed quite a bit for the Renesis engine, but Ishijima-san has kept things relatively simple because he doesn’t plan to stick with the 13b much longer.  Plans are in the works for a 20b swap, the formidable 3-rotor engine from a Cosmos.  Unlike most people though who end up turboing the potent 3-rotor to make gobs of power, Ishijima-san plans to keep it N/A, because if you haven’t heard a big-ported 20b, well I suggest you go on YouTube and do some searching!  Ishijima-san said it best, “turbo is good, but the sound of N/A rotary engine is amazing!”  This is definitely a car that touches on all bases and proves that you can have your cake and eat it too with a car that both looks amazing and gets driven hard too.  It’s also great to be sharing such a fine example of a car that doesn’t get enough love.  While the RX-8 may have left the factory not living up to the standards the FD3s RX-7 set, Ishijima-san has certainly made up for it.

[toggle_item title=”Wheels/Tires/Suspension” active=”true”]Endless Zeal F&R Damber
24/20 spring rates
Work Emotion CR Kiwami (flat black custom)
18×10.5 15 & 18×10.5 15
215/40R18 & 215/40R18
Dixcel Brake Rotors, Project Mu pads
Stabilizer Mazdaspeed
Strut brace Cusco
Megan Racing Arms[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”Exterior” active=”false”]Vertex Body Kit
Veilside Rear Bumper
Veilside Spoiler
Flat Black Paint
Customer RX7 Wing[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”Interior” active=”false”]Nardi Steering Wheel
Bride Zeta III seats
Willand Seat belts
Custom cage
Defi gauges[/toggle_item]

[toggle_item title=”Engine” active=”false”]Clutch AutoExe
Flywheel AutoExe
Air cleaner AutoExe
Muffler Tanabe Ultra Medialion
Frontpipe JIC straight pipe
Oil cooler Mazdaspeed[/toggle_item]