‘Mad’ Mike hits Kyoto’s Rocket Bunny

See what happened when Mike Whiddett checked in with Kei Miura ahead of the start of Formula Drift.
By Binoy Parikh

Kei Miura is a truly unique individual. He's the brains behind one of the world’s leading aero parts design shops, Rocket Bunny.

'Mad' Mike Whiddett and Kei have been friends for years and worked together on some of Mike’s dream car builds.

"Growing up as a baby boomer, our generation didn’t have cell phones, so we made our fun with cars and everyone was into driving and cars back then," says Kei Miura, as he reminisces with 'Mad' Mike at his shop in Kyoto.

"When I met Mike for the first time I was amazed with his passion for rotary engines, as even in Japan they were pretty rare. I was inspired by the development they were doing with the rotary engine in New Zealand."

It was this meeting that led the pair to many creative designs and collaborations, which you can see is evident on Mike’s builds over the years.

We've got the best pictures from Kei and Mike's catch up in Kyoto ahead of round one of Formula Drift 2017.

Rocket Bunny factory in Kyoto
Rocket Bunny factory in Kyoto © Graeme Murray

"Rocket Bunny is one of the leaders when it comes to aero parts, so you might expect a huge factory and showroom," says Mike. "Here you see Kei Miura’s shop, which is so typical of Japan, so low key and modest, but the work that comes out of this shop is world class

Kei designs
Kei designs © Graeme Murray

"Kei has his special tools, which are his mind, his laptop and his CNC machine," Mike expains. "With these simple tools he's able to create such amazing leading styles.

"Many people don’t know that Kei designs aero parts for more than 40 different brands. I'm so honoured to get to work with Kei and here we are working on our next collaboration for the next generation of our BADBUL Mazda RX8.

"The fresh designs are looking wild and I’m looking forward to releasing this creation!"

Mike: "Kei’s office is littered with rad memorabilia, it’s cool to see the same stuff that I am into inspires him as well. He has everything from old school Japanese wheels, old RC cars, Atari arcade games, original Macs to amazing books detailing his designs.

'Mad' Mike jamming on Kei's simulator
'Mad' Mike jamming on Kei's simulator © Graeme Murray

"It was cool to jam on Kei’s personal simulator," Mike added. "He already had one of NZ’s tracks and cut some laps in the iconic Mazda 787B, the sound effects and the simulations of this game are so on point."

"Kei’s CNC machine is the tool that works the magic," expains Mike. "It literally works non-stop cutting moulds from big blocks of polystyrene.

"We got to see it cutting some unseen Liberty Walk stuff, which was going through the manufacturing process.

"Once the moulds have been cut from the initial 3D CAD drawings, fibreglass panels are then produced from these moulds, before being painted and fitted to cars all over the world."

Kei Miura
Kei Miura © Graeme Murray

Mike on Kei: "One of the perks is meeting such cool people in my travels. Kei's one of the coolest out there and it was such a pleasure to hang with him again. Kei is such a talent, and a humble guy, we are so stoked that we get to work with such people on our projects."

Cruising the streets of Kyoto in Keis E30 BMW
Cruising the streets of Kyoto in Kei's E30 BMW © Graeme Murray

"Kei enjoyed the spin I took him for at Gatebil in Norway when we first met," says MIke. "So he was stoked to return the favour, cruising and scraping the streets of Kyoto in his latest E30 BMW."

"Kei added the finishing touches to his VW, then he insisted I take this little pocket rocket for a drive convoy style with his E30," says Mike. "We broke a few necks as the locals enjoyed seeing the styling of his Euro creations. It was rad cruising the streets."

Kei Miura and 'Mad' Mike
Kei Miura and 'Mad' Mike © Graeme Murray

"This part of my job is just as exciting as the driving," Mike explains. "It’s all about the challenges of creating dream cars.

"The task ahead is to transform the Mazda RX8 into a fresh-looking pyscho screamer that’s ready to shred and these designs are where it all starts."

Mike Whiddett
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