That’s right… last weekend I took my car down to a world famous Honda tuner…the Spoon Sport’s tuning shop, TypeOne.
For good reason – I was to become their first ever R33 GT-R customer for their revolutionary product, their Rigid Collars. This is a product that they make not only for Hondas, but other brands as well – and it’s been a hot seller in Japan, reviewed favorably in the Japanese motoring press – so much so that Spoon Sports set up a dedicated website just for this product.
The concept is this – by necessity of the factory manufacturing process, the subframes and the body are attached by way of bolts. However, due to the need for speed (versus precision), there is considerable leeway in the space where the bolts go in. This means that the subframe is not always perfectly aligned with the body.
This video explains it better than me.
Yeah, right. Hard to believe it works, and the video is a bit hokey. Plus, it's a Prius they use to demonstrate, of course that car needs help in the handling department. So would it work with a GT-R?
Anyway, I got to the shop a bit before the appointment time, and found these interesting Hondas there.
That's a fully tuned Spoon S2000 with hardtop, as well as carbon hooded Euro Accord!
Spoon-tuned Fit... wonder if the wife would let me get one of these, seems very practical!
The process to install the Rigid Collars was simple, but it did take this lift and an engine support/lift thing (in order to allow for enough space between the subframe and the body… or you could get a strong friend to help??)
They did the front first.
After - you can see the silver ring, those are the collars.
Here is one of the rear places where the collar goes in. Huge gap huh.
I took a picture of the instruction manual they had (this is for the R32/R34 GT-Rs, the kit which they had developed the week before). You can see that up front, 8 collars are needed, and 4 in the rear.
Here are the collars – not all of them are round, some are the half-moon shape. Necessary, as some bolts are not designed to be completely removed.
After they finished, they took some photos for their blog
Here is the link:
And then it was off to get test driven, to make sure everything felt right.
My impressions – well, as it was raining when I got back in the car, I expected to not feel any difference – but I did immediately.
First, the ride of the car seemed more secure, more direct. I had not adjusted the coilovers, but somehow the ride seemed more firm.
Second, feedback from the steering wheel was much improved. I am not sure whether this is because the “numbness” that I had noticed on-center is gone, or whether the off-center feeling comes on quicker, but either way, feedback is much better.
Third, after the roads dried a bit (after a short trip to Nissan Shinagawa – see next post), I went for a drive on the expressway. Lane charges are much sharper, and accelerating on a curve is not as nerve-wracking – just point and shoot.
So the overall result is that the car feels much more agile. Not so much at low speeds, but it gets better the faster you go. In conjunction with the Nismo Performance Dampers and all of the body stiffening, I’ve probably done all I can to improve handling, short of replacing all of the bushings with steel and spot welding the body.
I then dutifully posted my impressions on the UK GTROC forum…
but was met with lots of skepticism. Which, I suppose is to be expected. My feeling is that anything new and unusual, will be met with doubt. And, yes I suppose for many people the price is expensive – as we know many people can barely afford to own, let alone properly maintain and tune, Skylines (including myself, LOL!).
But, in the end – I have them installed on my car, I felt results, and I’m happy with the results, so who cares about what others think, especially when they haven’t even installed them on their cars (armchair GT-R tuning? LOL)!!