Saturday, October 12, 2019

Typhoon 19 (Hagibis) Arrives... So What Do I Do?

Courtesy The Weather Channel
Well luckily, as my car is safe and dry over at Nismo Omori Factory, I'm not too concerned about the damage this typhoon is causing Japan. Although described as the "biggest storm in decades" - (with train service stopped and supermarkets closed!) so long as I have power and water, my family and I are safe. Plus, we don't live near any rivers and we are above sea level so I'm not worried about damage to my other car either.

So of course I've been watching YouTube and checking the web for car related stuff.  Especially R33 GT-R related items.  And was pleasantly surprised to see that my LM obsessed friend Steve has uploaded this very educational and well done video. I think I've seen a few similar ones from dealers, but those are always a bit suspicious (what are they trying to sell) and then by people who aren't long time R33 GT-R owners/fans as well as the annoying ones by "influencers."  I also find humorous those videos where people with no real driving experience give their "expert" opinions...Pfft...

Anyway - in Steve's case, he and his wife have TWO R33 GT-Rs, and one Kohki (series 3) which is likely one of the lowest mileage ones in the world. So, he's in a position to actually COMPARE back to back his higher mileage LM with his wife's KR4 Kohki.


Enjoy the video and check out his other videos, all very well done.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Yes, Still At NISMO OMORI...but that could be a good thing?

Long time readers will recall when I had my car at Mine's to receive its new engine - that took a long time too. The latest news is that I'm still trying to get an estimate on certain work I want done but I've been told very apologetically by Takasu-san at NISMO that vendor that they use for part of the work is booked solid but they are trying to get my car taken care of as soon as they can...

Meanwhile, my friend Alessandro sent over some photos which I will share here. (Thanks! And yes, I may have an opportunity to drop into NISMO for some work related business next week in which case I will make sure I check out my car in person...)

First, he dropped into NISMO today to inquire about some work on his second car (Z33) and was kind enough to make sure my car was still there.
Nice white V-Spec there as well...wonder what the engineless car is??
Second, as I was too busy to attend this year's R's Festival, he was kind enough to send me these photos of NISMO's R33 demo car - not sure if it's called the Grand Touring or the Clubman Race Spec but in any case they had this car at the Festival, with an interesting new prototype part.

Such a nice clean engine bay! Gives me some ideas...
Note I've annotated the photo with 2 arrows - one green and one red.

For the GREEN one, I'm interested in why NISMO engineers chose to leave this space uncovered. Usually the cooling (slam) panel extends all the way across, if not including the space behind the headlights like the Garage Defend version, then at least covering the space between the headlights. It seems to me that leaving the space open like that defeats the purpose of having the panel there.  I am guessing that NISMO needed that space there to allow enough air to enter into their new prototype carbon air intake, OR this was done because the panel was not allowing heat to dissipate well (this is a claim I've heard about the full width Garage Defend panel from the guys at Mine's, Nissan Prince Tokyo and NISMO).

As for the RED arrow, I'm curious as to why this tube like thing needs to be there - Ale told me it was to allow for space for the radiator bracket - but it appears to actually block airflow into the intake.  My guess is that, as a prototype part, this was done as a quick solution to accommodate the bracket, a quick and easily solution in order to get the part made in time for the R's Festival.  I'm hoping that if this part goes into production, then the space for the bracket will be molded more closely to the bracket.

Let's take a closer look:

Obviously not true NISMO quality... look closely
As Ale explains in his post, up until now upon installation of the NISMO inlet pipes, the instructions have been to take a heat gun and literally soften the ABS plastic OEM airbox cover to allow for re-fitment over the pipes (which are taller than the OEM).  I did this as well (actually, I had Sugimoto-san at Nissan Prince do it as he had a proper heat gun) back when I installed the pipes.

Looking closely at the photo above, while the carbon at first glance looks quite gorgeous, I see what look to be bubble in the clear coat. And what's that weird molding residue on the left edge there right in front of the cut out?

So as a believer in function over form, I'm curious as to whether this is indeed an improvement or just for looks. Something I will inquire into next time I'm at NISMO, hopefully soon. If this actually provides for objectively better breathing, then my car's overly long stay at NISMO will have been worth it!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Proper Update - Exactly What IS My Car Doing at Nismo Omori Factory?

So as Dino posted recently on Instagram:



What, indeed have I been up to? As I indicated in these posts - A Quick Visit, Dropping My Car Off, and then a short update - I have been purposely vague about what is going. The reason is quite simple - I literally have had no idea, up until now, what work I might ask the guys at Nismo to do on my car. Also, getting down to Nismo on a weekday is always problematic, because they close at 5PM! Which means I'd have to find an excuse to leave work early, which as you might suspect isn't easy for me these days.  But somehow, a couple of weeks ago I did just that, grabbed a ride with Dino and we drove down to Nismo, arriving just as they were closing up the shop.  Luckily for me Takasu-san and Ochiai-san were busy with other customers and so after a few minutes walking around and taking some awesome photos, they were ready to talk to me.

Naturally, I got excited seeing this (and excuse the large watermarks...experimenting with a watermark app):

Wow. Just wow!
You can see that not all the overhead lights were on...






Love those functional vents!
Anyway back to my car - first, I have no interest in replicating Nismo's very nice Grand Touring Car BCNR33. Or creating a CRS version of it. Also, practically speaking, I don't have that kind of money either.
Nice but so many things I'd do differently...
When I dropped off my car with them, I told both of them (with Ochiai-san being the chief mechanic for my car) that I wanted them to test drive my car, then put it up on a rack and find out everything wrong or damaged with the car, no matter how minor. We would then be able to plot out exactly what needed to be fixed by Nismo, what could wait, and what could be handled by other shops. They agreed to the plan, but told me they would have to replace all fluids in the car first, then do the road tests. Sure, the car needed an oil change anyway...

The result? Ochiai-san says the car drives fine. The Mine's engine is not to his liking but in comparing it to the Nismo crate engines, it's just a matter of personal taste. He doesn't like the extremely quick response, preferring the more smooth OEM like response (i.e. with more turbo lag) of the Nismo engines.  Not unexpected since he builds them.  Ok - that's fine, I was planning on someday getting Mine's to do a bit more work on the engine anyway. Not everything has to be done by Nismo.

As for the body - they found a few rust spots (As I suspected from being left out for 6 months in Chiba near the Pacific Ocean, thanks to Worx Auto Alarm) but nothing major. Otherwise the body is in great shape - good enough that they discouraged me from having to repaint the entire car. They did point out some minor issues such as the fitment of the BNR34 diffuser (jack point is off due to the larger capacity diff cover) and how the Do-Luck floor support bars made jacking up the car more difficult (never mind that the car was put on a lift up at Do-Luck when it got installed -note the small rubber blocks used...). So frankly I'm not sure what to make of their claim.


So then what would they recommend I do? This is when they brought out their Chassis Refresh Menu which in essence replaces all bushes and suspension (links) components as necessary. This actually was not a bad suggestion, because I have never replaced the bushes in the rear subframe since I've owned the car (and thus the car has probably never had them replaced) and I installed most of the Nismo link set back around 2008. So no doubt the rubber bushes have degraded, some more than others.  I suspect that replacing everything at once is the closest I'm going to get to that "new car feeling" we all dream about.



We could of course simply replace all the bushes, as I'm sure some of my brothers and sisters in the car world have, but when it's Nismo... well no doubt labor costs to do so would plus since some of the links have surface rust, might as well go ahead and replace the link and the already inserted bushing at the same time - and I have no problem with that as I have plans for the old parts that would come off.

Anyway here is a nice closeup of the parts they replace during this "Chassis Refresh"-
Note, not all of these parts have to be replaced on my car.
Now of course Nismo Omori Factory has various other "menus" for the BCNR33. It starts with their RB26DETT Engine Menu,  with different options for their engine "refresh" as well as S2 and R2 packages. Next they show a link to their CRS car, suggesting that you too, if wealthy enough can get your car converted to one I guess. Not for me, if I repainted it would be a different color. Plus I'm enjoying my custom leather interior too much.

There is also their RB26DETT engine analysis menu, as well as their vehicle analysis menu.  Both of these inspections also replace all the car's fluids as part of the menu.  Then comes the chassis refresh menu which they are proposing for my car, followed by their interior refresh kit. The interior kit I was intrigued by, but it's mostly for the BNR32, for the 33 it's just seat covers and the steering wheel.

Their next kit, what they call their "countermeasures to aged deteriorated parts" is basically a collection of certain parts that deteriorate over time and affect the car's performance - in this case ignition related parts, the air flow sensors, and the analog G-sensor. Obviously no problems with these parts on my car, especially since I have had the Tarzan digital g-sensor from Do-Luck and now their DTM2.

Finally they have their R35 Brembo brake kit. Which I don't need of course.

View of my car from inside the showroom (near all the parts being displayed and sold).
So what's the plan for my car? Well, I'm very tempted to go for the Chassis Refresh menu, of course. But any Nissan dealer could do this. So, what can I do only at Nismo that would set my car apart?


The journey continues...

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Return of the 400R! The "New" Skyline... plus a few extra!

So those of us diehard 33 fans know all about the 400R. 
Photo credit: https://gazoo.com/ilovecars/introduce/181216.htm

Here in Japan, Nissan has brought back the 400R! Sort of.

Basically it's a home market Infiniti Q50 Red Sport - 3 years delayed.  Actually, since 2013 when Nissan released this V37 Skyline as an Infiniti in North America, Europe, China and Australia, in the Japan market the car has been marketed and sold only as the Skyline - there are no Infiniti dealers here, plus it would be brand suicide to eliminate Nissan's most famous car model name. Unfortunately, this car had the Skyline name but it also had Infiniti badges (grill and trunk), and further had the shittiest (and I do not say that lightly) 2.0 turbo engine supplied by Daimler (part of a cross investment scheme that was not exactly good thinking). Or, you could get the classic VQ35 engine, but it came with a hybrid system so it wasn't exactly sporty (although Nissan hybrids are designed to emphasize sportiness over gas mileage, actually). 

So it's taken a long time but Nissan has FINALLY released a proper Skyline - same car as before but with a proper engine (VR30DDTT), all Nissan badging and the classic round (kind of) tail lamps. Further for the top of line 400ps versions, they have resurrected the 400R name. This is controversial with some in Japan saying it's good to highlight the most powerful Skyline ever but with others saying this detracts from the heritage of the R33 GT-R.  For me, I'm happy there is finally a decent Nissan sedan sold here in Japan that I'm interested in buying for myself...

Anyway some photos from the first day the car was announced here in Japan at Nissan HQ.
Looks good from afar although the lights aren't completely round...(and reminds of some of the recent Mazda designs...)
Little touches like the flares in the rear bumper are interesting. I was hoping for larger exhausts though.
Heh heh return of the 400R!!
Unbelievably affordable pricing actually. Can't believe what Lexus charges for its 400ps cars...
Not sure about the red brake calipers but I guess I can always get them repainted...
The metallic black is very nice...as you may know the front of the car is supposed to stylistically tie the Skyline to the R35 GT-R. Bonus is the fact that for cars equipped with ProPilot 2.0, the smooth lines are better for sensor placement.
Black though would be a nightmare to keep scratch free, even with Nissan's actually functional Scratch Shield paint...
Silver not bad either but I already have a silver Skyline...PS you can see the small infrared camera mounted on the center of the dash. That's to sense when the driver isn't paying attention when the car is driving itself.
This is what we call the "Hagane Blue" - exclusive to the Skyline. Not feeling it...
Really liking this darker blue...
But I wonder if there will be a Nismo version. I will have to ask around. If so it won't be blue...
Yes, that is a woman with her dog in the baby carriage...
The love it or hate it (mostly) steer-by-wire thing. Looks like all Skylines in Japan will come with this, damn...

In conjunction with this "new" Skyline, Nissan brought out some other Skylines to remind us how great the Skyline Brand really is...

1974 Skyline Hardtop 2000GT (the C1100
Beautiful blue (sensing a theme here) C110. 
The Fourth Skyline.
R30 Skyline. Something I missed writing about in my visit to the Prince Skyline museum. I remember seeing so many of these when I visited Japan in the early 80s.
1981 Skyline Hardtop 2000 Turbo GT-E/S

And yes R31 Skyline.  No way this would pass modern safety requirements (look, no B pillar!)
1985 Skyline 4 Door Hardtop GT TwinCam 24V Turbo Passage
(Period correct - the name reflects the over abundance of Japan's "bubble era" I think...)

There were two more interesting cars...

S21 Skyline Sport - hand built Micholetti bodies
Not sure how many were built - but again blue!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, this is a Prince, not a Skyline.

The very first Skyline - the 1957 Skyline Deluxe.

And finally - Nissan chose not to bother with displaying the over emphasized R32 and R34, but DID leave this historically significant Skyline on display:
Oh yes. The R33 Skyline GT-R that set the under 8 minute record at the Nurburgring. 
So I see that my friend Dino has now posted a photo of my car taken during our last trip to Nismo Omori Factory.  


Guess my next post will have to talk about that then....

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Prince Skyline Museum, Part 2 - The Cars!

In Part 1, I showed the gifts and historical tidbits on display at the Prince Skyline Museum. In this post, I am going to focus on the cars.  It's a small museum, so not that many cars but still an interesting selection with a good historical focus.

Anyway - once you go from the gift shop area downstairs into where all the cars are and follow the arrows, the first car you see is this one:
Wow so 90s! Check out that aero...
In a way, simple...
I don't know much about Tommy Kaira cars, but this is likely to be interesting for 32 fans.
For a full review of this car, see my EARLIER POST.
My eye was drawn to another one of my favorite Nissans, the R31 GTS-R


Those classic tail lamps! Huge spoiler! Gigantic rear deck speakers and BBS mesh wheels! If only I had the garage space...

And that SUPER SQUARE dashboard. Love it!

After salivating over this prime example for a few minutes, I decided to head to the opposite corner and start at the chronological beginning.

At the opposite corner, hidden in a literal garage built into the side of the museum, I first found these trucks:
The Prince Homer.  Who knows where they got the name from...(actually they got it from the Homy... yeah yeah awful...)
Prince Homer - 1974, 1.6L engine. 
1965 Prince Light Miler
Imagine if Prince had taken over Nissan, would all the cars have this emblem?
The Prince Light Miler. Ignore the Japlish...4 cylinder OHV 1.5L engine
Obviously not the original bed but I wonder if it was actually wood back then too...

Then coming back into the museum, I think this is where it all begins in chronological order:


Prince Truck - check out that rear view mirror!
Here we go with the cars...
Not a Skyline but a Prince Gloria
Prince Gloria 6 Estate - Station Wagon FTW!!
Prince Gloria Taxi Spec!
1964 Prince Gloria Open
Here are the obligatory 3 brothers, lined up. Nothing special about the 32 and 33, but the 34...
Turns out to be 1 of the last 7 to be made at the Murayama factory.
yawn... bayside blue... see it everywhere...yes I'm jaded...
Right in front of this display were some race cars. Let's take a closer look.

First, one of the Skyline Silhouette race cars!




Finally - now we're talking. R33 Power!

Amazing how small the wheels are and the tire sidewall so tall!

Looks pretty modern actually - sequential shifter and the digital MOTEC dash
I was interested in these carbon parts - wonder what the rear ones do - cool? Downforce?
Another poster I want for my garage.
I actually think this wing would be street legal in Japan (it doesn't extend past the fenders)

I was really curious about the aero set up on on the front bumper (yep always looking for ideas)
What's going on here?
Ok so let's focus on the old Skylines they had there:
The very first Prince Skyline - ALSI-1 (1957-1964)
2nd Gen Skyline - S50, S54 S5,7 (1963-1968) - this is the one called "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" due to its track performance
1966 Skyline 2000GT-AII (S54-AII)
Close up of the specs of this car.
1966 Skyline 2000GT-BIII (S54B-III)

Close up of the specs.
3rd Generation Skylines (C10 series) 

Here it is. Hakosuka GT-R. Not sure why the placard lists it as an "HT2000" GTR? Pretty sure it's a typo...Hard top 2000?
4th Generation - C110 - check out where the gas filler cap is! And ignore that sign, it's pointing at the C210
Background silver car is C110 car above with 4 round headlights.
Foreground white car is the C210 with the two square headlights, as below
C210 Series (and R30 in the back I forgot to take a photo of!)
Now yes I know I've missed a few - for some reason I guess I forgot to take photos of the R30, but not to worry, I've got a blog post on that coming up soon!

If I ever win the lotto, this COULD be what my garage looks like...