RS Refine: Their Story

Some of you may have heard of RS Refine and some may even own a set of RS Refine deep gauge rings today or in the past. But do you know the history of RS Refine? I want to share their story as told by Mamoru-san himself:

I had been working for two years after graduating from high school and was still riding a moped, not really interested in cars. In 1996, at the age of 20, I decided to buy a car and started looking for a good car. At that time, Japan was in the heyday of sports cars, with the 180, Silvia, Skyline, Lancer Evo, and small cars like the Beat, Cappuccino, AZ-1, etc. It was a paradise.
I wasn’t interested in cars at all, but every time I talked to my friends who had bought cars at the age of 18, I began to think that I wanted to drive a car that other people around me didn’t have.

My father was a car enthusiast, and as soon as he bought a car, he would modify it in some way, so we didn’t have much to talk about, but when it came to buying a car, he was eager to help me. My father used to drive a Honda S600, and at first he recommended a Suzuki Cappuccino, but the conversation grew louder and louder, and we decided to buy a roadster. My mother was against it, but she allowed me to buy a roadster as long as it had airbags.

When I went to the dealership, they had a VR edition on display, but it was deserted. At that time, seven years had passed since the launch of the Eunos Roadster in Japan, and domestic sales had dropped below 20 units per month. The boom was long over. When I first bought the car, it was compared to other sports cars and I was ridiculed a lot. I’m sure everyone has been told why. I think it goes without saying.

The Internet was not widespread in Japan, so I relied on magazines and Road & Star for information. Since it was a rural area, there were not many roadster riders, so there was no interaction. During the first private inspection, I complained about the scratches on the vinyl windows that were wiped dry, and a local auto glass store agreed to replace the top.

At that time, someone from a local club put a flyer in my wiper to go to the Roadster Jamboree with me. This was the beginning of my fascination with the roadster. At the Jamboree, there were about 200 roadsters, all with their own modifications, and I was inspired to try my hand at modifying one. At first, I only added parts that I could get at car parts stores, but as the Internet began to spread, stores specializing in roadsters began to have their own websites.

I set up a website called “The Startpage of Roadster” to collect and post information. It has been stored in the web archive since around 2002. The design and address have been changed. I think it was started in the 90s. Looking at the records, it seems to be the year when DEWA’s meter panel was installed. Since I had made the start page for the roadster, I was introduced by a junior colleague to help a local tuning store make their website. The manager was in his 30s. He quit his job at a Toyota dealership, started his own store, and exhibited a tuning car at an auto show in his twenties, so I can call him my mentor. Seeing him produce and sell original parts such as ARISTO made me want to produce original parts too. At that time, my car was full of carbon parts, and I was sometimes called a carbon enthusiast.

A few years later, when the NC was announced, I was driven by the desire to put carbon parts on it, so I went to Mazda with my mentor to buy interior parts and made carbon parts at an overseas factory that also made interiors for car manufacturers. The carbon cutting blade alone cost about one million yen. It took a few months, but we successfully started selling the product and it was selling well. We were only selling in Japan, but after selling out one lot, the Lehman Shock hit. As a result, Japan’s appetite for consumption cooled down. We could not increase production. At this time, many Japanese stores specializing in roadsters closed their doors. I remember that I had to delete many stores from my link collection. The 90’s was also the time when Japan’s bubble economy burst, so the stores that made the great parts for the Roadster when it was first released had already disappeared. Even in Japan, in the 2000s, various parts were not available.

I had always admired the T-House meter ring and wanted to bring it back again. But just making one would be a copy. I didn’t have the money to make it myself, so I wanted to revive the vent ring first. The only option in Japan was D-Cuatro’s Vent ring, but it was poorly made of pressed aluminum. I wanted a heavy duty ring with machined aluminum, so that was not an option. I had to make one.

I looked for and found a domestic supplier who could machine it with great equipment. In making it, I was concerned not only with the material of the aluminum, but also with the surface treatment. A touch and feel that will move you. I requested that the surface should have as much of the spindle’s mark as possible.  I wanted to be able to tell with a single glance that this was machined from a single piece of aluminum.  It was an unusual order for the vendor, so he had to go back and adjust the speed and so on, but he made it perfectly.

With the money I got, I started on the meter ring, and while the T-House ring has a very smooth surface, my ring has the same treatment as the vent ring, and I extended it to the very edge of the board.  I also made a black anodized version to match the black based modification. When making the meter ring, I contacted Mr. Dewa and decided on the thickness of the lens so that it would not interfere with his meter cap. Mr. Dewa told me that he couldn’t make a meter ring with lens because his friend was injured by the lens of the meter when he had an accident, but soon after I launched the ring, he made a ring with lens. I never talked to him directly, but I think he saw my ring and wanted to make one.

After that, I made several lots of meter rings. I think the ratio of overseas to domestic sales is probably about 1:1. I am really grateful to everyone who contacted me, who only speaks Japanese, and paid the high shipping fee to buy my products. Since the Beijing Olympics, the cost of materials has gone up several times. When we ran out of stock, we didn’t know when we would be able to make more. I was really happy when you said you would help me with the group buy.

Now I can make roadster, MIATA and MX-5 owners smile again! That’s what I’m looking forward to the most. Each piece of work is a story to tell and a chance to interact with them. I’ve been busy with work and haven’t been producing for a long time. I was finally able to resume my production activities in earnest last year. I’m happy to be able to communicate with various owners through Instagram overseas and Twitter in Japan. I’m glad to see that translation is working better than before on DeepL. But I still don’t understand a lot of the MIATA terminology. Where did you buy that [tombstone]? I didn’t understand the meaning at first. It’s been 25 years this year since I bought it when I was 20 years old, and I’m happy that there are still many parts I want and want to make.



父はHONDA S600に乗っていた事もあり、最初はSUZUKIカプチーノを勧めてきましたが、ドンドン話が大きくなり、折角ならロードスターを買うという事になりました。母は反対しましたが、エアバッグをつけるならと許してくれました。




私は、情報をあつめ、掲載するサイト「The Startpage of Roadster」を立ち上げました。







私はT-HOUSEメーターリングに憧れていたので、もう一度復活させたいと思いました。でも、ただ作るだけはコピーになってしまいます。個人で製作するにはお金もなく、まずは ventringを復活させたいと思いました。