It’s Thai, but it ain’t Sabai: Supachet’s modified Mazda3 is spoiling for an urban brawl
Brooding wide over four blistered shoulders, Supachet Kamwilai’s Mazda is everything to this car-freak’s eyes. And I’m willing to bet you can’t stop staring either.
All ate up with arches, this BN generation Mazda3 is lost to an extreme and singular style that makes RAUH-Welt Begriff seem reserved and Liberty Walk look limp. Custom designed and fitted by Garage Unique, every slash of splitter and flash of high-gloss carbon fibre sear with fire brand flashes that are one of a kind. Even amongst the out-there cacophony of the Bangkok tuning scene, this newly completed ride knows how to get itself noticed.
Before we dive deep into the looks and life of Supachet’s haute hatch, let’s recap all we know about Thai car culture. Perched on the west side of the Indochinese peninsula, Thailand is several thousand miles closer to Japan than us and it shows in the parts, cars and styles favoured by go-faster locals. It’s not quite that simple though, as import taxes can easily quadruple the price of anything brought into the country. When you’re based in Nonthaburi or Chiang Mai, you’ve really got to work for your WORKs. (Other brands of high-end JDM goodness are available.)
The result is a national scene which infuses traditionally Japanese styles with locally sourced parts, a can-do culture and a uniquely Thai focus on bright, exuberant builds. Bippu has made it big in the nation’s cities, while the popular street warrior aesthetic best encapsulates the local ability to reinterpret pre-existing looks as their own. We covered two of Team Liberate’s street warrior builds earlier this year (an Evo-Look last-gen Lancer and a 666whp MR2 Turbo) and the style shows no signs of dying down. Think buckets, cages, dials, coils, big money wheels, time attack-tall spoilers and sooooo much carbon fibre. It’s all street warrior. And it’s all good. But Supachet didn’t want that.
The 41-year-old Bangkok native wanted something different, something which didn’t conform to the candy-coloured clamour. Crack the cabin doors and you might wonder why. It’s all a bit… not very…. anything.
The interior hardly crackles with luxury, but nor is it race ready. It simply wears 20 shades of plastic almost-black, set off by the usual clutter of factory-fit amenities. Were it not for twin pressure gauges and a neat cluster of air ride control switches thrown far back on the transmission tunnel, you could be in any bundle-a-baht commuter.
Peer under the bonnet and there’s scant excitement to be found. That’s a two-litre SkyActiv inline-four, swaddled in sound deadeners and producing barely 120 horses, plus the same six-speed slusher it wore on the Mazda factory floor. Huge quad exhausts add some bite at the rear bumper, but there’s nothing else to grab your attention. Not even a cheeky ECU remap. That’s no reason to throw rocks, mind. By maintaining the standard interior trim and running gear, Supachet has built a head-jerker that can mix it with the morning commute.
It all started in December 2017, when Supachet collected the keys to his new Mazda. Bog standard and box fresh, the humble hatchback might not have offered much – forming a stark contrast to the Nissan Fairlady in which our guy started his driving career. But its owner had vision. The build began.
Tinted windows and a black spoiler extension got things off to a subtle start, followed by full-length sideskirts and a pronounced front splitter. Combined with a set of 15-spoke alloys, they endowed the mid-size machine with a nuanced OEM+ punch. Round the rear, Supachet skipped his low-key script and plumbed in an aftermarket exhaust with four swollen tips. Connected by a horizontal dash of body colour white, they offered the first hint that this hatch was going places and still sit on the car today.
With the bolt-ons, um, bolted on, Supachet decided to dream big. His Mazda needed stance and he soon settled on Hop-Up Airsus, a Bangkok workshop, to complete the installation. Founded in 2010, Hop-Up sprung into life after firm proprietor Lhee fabricated custom air suspension for his own Toyota Crown Majesta Bippu build and found his calling. Since then, they’ve become one of the go-to slam specialists in Thailand, working on everything from proletarian pick-ups to air-cooled Porsche rarities.
To get the Mazda3 arch tucking, Hop-Up dovetailed one of their own eight valve air suspension systems with boot-mounted VIAIR compressors, a pair of in-car pressure gauges and a collection of in-car control switches. The result is neat, with the compressors and tank sitting in three shaped and shallow recesses in the boot floor. Lit by rings of bright-white LEDs, they sear through the hatchback window to highlight the car’s floor-touching talents.
Supachet was overjoyed. But a nagging thought kept crossing his mind: his freshly slammed machine needed slamming rims. Hop-Up were only too happy to help. “As soon as we finished the air suspension,” they explain, “Supachet started looking for new wheels. We had a set of WORK Seeker SX alloys in our workshop and they caught his eye – he was really keen to put them on his car.” His heart was set on the deep dished five-spokes, but Hop-Up had a reality check in store: they just wouldn’t fi t without a set of wider arches. Luckily, Lhee had a solution. “Polly at Garage Unique is a friend of mine, so I suggested Supachet send his car there for a widebody kit.”
The idea resonated with Supachet. “My aim was to have a car that’s unique,” he smiles. “I wanted to have the very first widebody Mazda3 in Thailand.” The decision to ditch his current kit and involve Garage Unique was straightforward too. “I’ve seen loads of cars by Garage Unique here and they always look cool, so that’s why I chose them. Their style is just like their name – unique!”
We can’t argue with that. Garage Unique created the bodykits for the two Team Liberate cars we’ve covered before, both of which dazzle with the firm’s blend of extremity and extravagance.
The Mazda build is no different. The front shouts with a jutting carbon splitter, while the rear counters with a shining carbon strafe and an ornate diffuser that drops down hard to the left and right. The rolling side skirts, complete with carbon flashes, draw you to the floor. The long-lipped rear spoiler jets away from the roofline to shock the sky. Yet you always come back to those wheel arches, each one studded with vents, exposed bolts and bold, clashing curves. The fronts take it even further, standing on struts of carbon fi bre which slash against the partially exposed tyre below.
“We created everything on this car,” says Pol Supakorn Wongklahan, Garage Unique’s owner. “We didn’t use a single part we had to adapt. It was a real challenge coming from nothing and it took almost four months.”
Working together, Supachet and Pol took the opportunity to make something that would stand out. “It’s been very popular here since we finished it,” Pol continues. “I couldn’t choose a favourite part of the kit. I love it all! Supachet let us get creative with our style but always shared his opinions, so we could make the Mazda exactly what he wanted it to be.”
Their work has clearly paid off. This isn’t your usual race-inspired street warrior. It’s slipped the world of circuit style and landed somewhere between a concept car and a kid’s drawing, the perfect expression of Thailand’s automotive imagination.
TECH SPEC MAZDA 3
Mazda 3 body with standard bumper and full custom Garage Unique bodykit, featuring: lacquered carbonfibre front splitter with support struts; riveted front wide arches with vented rears in lacquered carbon fibre, full length side skirts with lacquered carbon fibre inserts; riveted rear wide arches with integrate rear vents, lacquered carbon-fibre boot panel insert, rear diffuser with lacquered carbon-fibre end caps and painted highlights, high-rise rear wing and twin lacquered carbon-fi bre faux wing vents; WORK numberplate surrounds.
Standard Mazda 3 2.0-litre SkyActiv inline-four with standard Mazda SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic transmission; quad pipe exhaust system.
Hop-Up Airsus eight-valve air suspension system with VIAIR boot-mounted compressors and Air Lift 3P digital management; WORK Seeker SX 18×10.5J front and 18×11.5J rear alloys with Federal RSR 235/40R18 front and 265/35R18 rear tyres.
Stock Mazda 3 interior with twin armrest-mounted backlit pressure gauges and integrated air ride controls; recessed boot floor sections with white LED feature lighting.
Words Emma Woodcock Photography SerialOne