Friday, April 29, 2016

So What Did Dino Think? (His Impressions Driving My Car)

As I noted in my earlier post about our visit to Worx Auto, my friend and motorjournalist Dino Dalle Carbonare drove my car for the first time in the 10 years plus I've known him (and hence, our R33 v R34 debate).

Sometimes, when you've owned a car for a long time, things that are not right, seem or become normal. So, once in a while it's nice to have a professional who's driven hundreds if not thousands of new cars, give you some honest feedback. So I was excited that Dino agreed to drive my car the 2 hours to Worx Auto Alarm...

As soon as we set off from his house, the first words out of his mouth were, "wow this is tight!!" He was, of course, referring to the newly installed and still-being-broken-in Getrag 6 speed.  He showed me what he meant - no play in the stick shift from side to side, in any gear.

Although, in conjunction with the new gearbox, he found it odd that the Nissan Prince techs set the clutch release point so high up in the clutch pedal travel.  This is one (easy fix) item I will get checked out soon. Although to be honest, it hadn't really bothered me much before. Maybe it's because those of us vertically challenged guys find it easier to heel and toe, not having to push the clutch pedal all the way down to the floor?

He also loved how stiff the handbrake was. Something about the one on his BNR34 coming up loosely and almost vertical...

Soon after, he also exclaimed "I love the brakes" referring, of course, to the R35 Brembos on the car. We discussed whether, in his opinion, the increased volume AutoSelect master brake cylinder would be a worthwhile upgrade.  While it might provide more pedal travel (i.e. make it feel "softer") I think we both agreed it was fine the way it was, on the OEM BCNR33 master cylinder.

After cruising for a bit, while it seemed to me that he was quite busy unnecessarily shifting up and down due to the short gearing, he remarked how it made him feel really involved in driving the car. Reminded him of his first Alfa, I think is what he said.

Having myself and Dino and both of our respective kids on board, the car was plenty quick, although it was obvious the gearing was helping, and that, with no one else on board, the car would feel even faster.
His usual pose, he said...
He also liked the way the steering was very progressive in feel, taking the car into fast sweeping corners as he turned the wheel.  Also, unlike myself, he felt that the on-center dead zone I complain about, was minimal at best, and in fact that it had plenty of good on center feel. (I guess the NSX, which is my standard, is simply out of this world?)

For the interior, we agreed the second generation GT-Rs have such comfortable seats. Dino being as "tall" as he is, and me much shorter, neither of us felt any discomfort after our 4 hour roundtrip journey.  He also liked the LED illumination of the main gauges and 3 sub meter:

Of course, being Italian, the complaints or "observations" came on very quickly as well.

First, as I had told him when we first climbed in, Dino agreed that perhaps the car's Ohlins DFV coil-overs needed to be rebuilt. While the springs seem about right, the rebound is a bit too stiff (response slow?) for non-racetrack roads, resulting in a bit of jumpy behavior on other than perfectly smooth roads.

Then, while cruising at high speed, Dino noted a slight shimmy in the steering wheel, going straight. Likely an alignment, or wheel balance problem.  Both of these problems I plan to address soon.

Other minor niggles include, not being able to see out the back very well.  The rear window tint, while legal, may be a bit too dark (except, of course, when some idiot with illegal high beams is right behind you, as we experienced on the way back).
Something about the trunk being too small...yeah ok the tint is probably a bit dark too...
Since I don't usually drive the car at night, not a big issue for me...

While the engine is fine, there seems to be some turbo chatter. Hopefully a proper tune with a more modern ECU should fix this (so goodbye VX-ROM).  I've been researching this for quite some time so hopefully soon!

Finally, my circa 2006 Pioneer Navi/stereo is hopelessly out of date, even with the map updates (I think up to 2010?) We basically ignored it and used Google Maps off of our phones to get around.  Hopefully my new relationship with Nakamura-san at Worx can help to resolve this somewhat embarrassing the very least I need better sound in my car!

Anyway, this experience has given me a better roadmap for work I need to do on the car this year... like I said previously, 2016 will be an interesting year! Thanks Dino!


マット said...

Would you & Dino like to drive my car? Just for comments and comparison! ;)

Ibo Nibo said...

Very nice updates.
Always good to get an external perspective from our cars.

On the Radio,... as Sung Kang says : The radio is tuned to one channel. Channel RB


I also have one of those old school navs. A good upgrade would be a rasberry pi. You have a nice 7"(?) screen, probably some S-Video in. Get a rasberry pi, install a media player on it and a nav app using your standard gps transmitter from the radio, use a blutooth dongle, and you have everything one could want :
Huge music library, with album pictures.
You can view Videos, fotos, ...
You can link your Cell for media, or phone,
Free nav with up to date maps...
You could add a rear camera for backing up....

Best of all, the Rasberry (or similar cost 20 bucks)

Aki said...

Matt - yes of course! We'll have to get to HK, probably easier than shipping your car over here.

Ibo - that's a great idea, thanks! I want to get rid of the screen but agree it would be nice to have something that could be multifunctional as you say... I actually DO have some related projects I'm working on... in the little spare time I have....