Monday, January 21, 2013

New Page - NISMO R33 GT-R Catalog

I've added another page - the Nismo R33 Skyline GT-R Street & Motor Sports Parts options catalog. Putting aside the ridiculous Nismo pricing as well as the parts themselves (which I cannot believe were cutting edge at the time - 17 inch wheels, anyone?) there are some pretty interesting parts, such as the combo radiator/oil cooler as well as the oil cooler with a separate water tank (swirl pot).

Also some interesting tidbits such as - that titanium strut tower bar cost only 69,800 yen at the time (!) and also came in an aluminum version; and the assorted motor sports parts they sold (but were not street legal!).

Anyway, check out the page... I may have to see what other catalogs are out there that I haven't posted yet!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

First Ever Visit to Midori Seibi (and dropping into Do-Luck)

So the day after a freak snowstorm hit Tokyo/Yokohama, I found myself using my car as a snowplow...most of the roads were clear, but some side streets (like the street I live on) still had snow in the middle of the road, so I drove slowly, praying that Kabe-san at Rapt did a good job on painting my front lip spoiler...

Anyway, the UK GTROC guys are in town, and since Midori Seibi is only a few kilometers where I live, I drove out there to meet them.  I arrived a few minutes before they did, so took the opportunity to take a few pictures.

When the guys arrived, they checked out the requisite Midori demo cars - both the R35 and R34 were there. But I started to chat with the senior person there (both Uchinaga-san and his wife were not there), who turned out to be their son! AND, it turns out he is a quite a fan of the R33 GT-R... in fact, he owns one and gets asked all the time about why R33 vs the others as he's well known in the industry. He knows more than me, and immediately pointed that the criticism about the longer wheelbase of the R33 was nonsense (the R35 is longer than any of them, and its performance is superlative) and the sad fact that when the R34 was introduced, these new and "better" cars apparently were not successful in the N1 series races and the teams had to revert back to the faster R33s. He was also kind enough to show me a couple of unique one-of-a-kind mods he did to his car:

1) Replacing two of the three gauges in the center 3 gauge (Nismo) cluster with modern (i.e. digital) replacements! Uchinaga-san told me that he did this himself in his spare time.  What do people think? Note he kept the front torque meter but replaced the oil and boost gauge with two temp gauges. His goal was that, if you knew nothing about R33 GT-Rs, you would believe this was stock equipment. I have to agree, it is very slick...

2) He also did the same to the main instrument panel (I apologize for the blurred picture, I was so excited) where he replaced the stock oil pressure gauge with a modern Trust one in white.

He also was kind enough to check out my car, and give me a few pointers, which I will have to work on in my spare time.  Just to save you the suspense, he recommended one way to freshen up the engine bay (such a pretty engine, those faded XXXXX really detract from the clean look), and also taught me a bit about how to properly ground the car.

So two new projects just by visiting Midori Seibi! Awesome!

Also, I am pleased to report that Midori Seibi continues to work on a couple of new parts for our second generation GT-Rs.  Not sure when they will be released, but he said to check GT-R Magazine for details.

As Do-Luck is on the way home, after the GTROC guys and I parted company, I stopped by Do-Luck to just say hello to Ito-san - which of course turned into a couple hours discussion about various car stuff. Turns out he too is working on some new stuff for the second generation GT-Rs, so we will have to wait to see what develops. Ito-san also gave me some suggestions on what I should do next on my car - both in the handling and the engine department.

So stay tuned, this will keep me busy this year...

Race Driver Akira Iida and His Preference for R33 GT-Rs!

Just a short video clip where Iida-san takes a modified R33 GTR for a spin at Ebisu circuit, and explains why the R33 is his favorite of the second generation GT-Rs.

Akira Iida, by the way, recently set a new record for lapping Nurburgring in a production car.

Things to watch for in this clip (besides the girl, obviously):
1) What kind of hood/bonnet does this car have? Would it look good on my car? (hint: this is related to some aero ideas I have)
2) Suspension set up. If Tsuchiya is saying that weight transfer to the front isn't happening, are the spring rates too hard up front? I wonder what it is? (I was thinking of having my Ohlins DFVs rebuilt soon...)
3) I thought it was funny that the car has a nice Alpine stereo and separate tweeters up front...

Apologies as this video is not directly related to my car, but it did give me some ideas.

Thanks to Facebook friend Nadz Asyraf who posted this link to the R33 GT-R Facebook page on January 1.

Enjoy! And stay tuned, I DO have some mods coming up soon...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Look for 2013

Happy New Year!

Ok, so for some people these may only be subtle changes, but for me they are pretty big, as the car has been pretty much untouched body-wise for the 7 years I’ve owned it. So this is how my car looked when I picked it up last Saturday (hood open as spark plugs had just been changed) from RAPT.

First, and most obviously yes I had the front lip spoiler painted body color, KR4.

As a reminder when I bought the car, I discovered that the previous owner had painted it black, and that black paint had begun flaking off. So it was always a matter of painting it (or wrapping it in 3M Din-oc) – I just had never thought it would look good in body color, preferring the black or carbon look. So what do you all think?

Second, as at least one person guessed from a previous post, yes, the car now sports Nismo 400R side skirts (complete with very cool functional ducts for brake cooling). 

Here is a close-up of the side scoops (lit from below):

Honestly, I am still not sure of this look, because I think the stock side sills actually give the rear more “flare” than these do… on the other hand these Nismo side skirts are taller and wider than stock, so give the car a new look. 

From certain angles (like above?), the car looks smaller than it did before, I think.  Plus, the functional side scoops are tempting me… shall I go for rear brake cooling, or some oil coolers?

Lastly, a repair. As I mentioned in that previous post, the rubber seal for the rear window had begun cracking and separating, so a new rubber seal was needed. Happy to report, that repair went perfectly, car now has a brand new seal around the rear window. Some peace of mind for me.

So what’s next? A couple of projects are still sitting in my garage, calling out for completion… I get the feeling 2013 is going to be a busy car year...