Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 19. Main Dash Update and Preview!!!!

So exactly a week after I sent in the door panels, Cesar emailed me to let me know they had arrived.  But that was not all. He sent me the following photos of the work in progress on the main dash:

So where the tabs had broken off, he had fixed using metal sheet and rivets. Love this kind of attention to detail!

I'm not sure what had broken off there, but...

And yet another repair

Since I hadn't compared to a good dash, I had to trust his instincts were correct here...
Not sure about this either, but those scratches indicate some violence in this dash's past life!

Not sure what this is... 
And here, not sure what had to be repaired...
But interestingly, at the same time, he sent me the following photos of the COMPLETED Dash and center console!!

WOW. Looks OEM!!!

I was thinking about changing the vents to carbon fiber overlaid ones, but this convinced me not to! Looks great as is!

The shift boot is the old one (from a 33, not the one I sent)

Now this looks good, but I wasn't too sure about the red stitching on the brake handle...

And with that, now a new chapter. Onto the doors and the rear side panels!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Interior Modernization Project, Part 18. Templates for the Main Dash + Sending in the Door Panels

Ok so we are back after that short interlude of GT-R goodness. 
Picking up from where we left off, after Cesar had "practiced" by wrapping, in leather, various interior parts, he decided it was time to tackle the biggest part of all - the main dashboard panel itself.

As he described it, he began with some "good templates" which he had earlier created out of vinyl cut to size and taped over the dash itself. 

He then followed up by placing these templates over the leather hide. The problem, as he pointed out, was in trying to avoid areas with imperfections in the leather given the large surface area of these pieces.

It was about this time that I started to think about carbon parts again, and for a short time was tempted to have the air vents converted to carbon - BUT, I realized it was probably overkill and not OEM looking so I decided to hold off.

Meanwhile, however, Cesar was asking me what to do with the leftover Alcantara - my suggestion was to use it to line the side door pockets. Speaking of which, this was (late September 2016) when I realized I was going to have to send in the doors panels from my own car, which as we all know I did.

Additionally however, I realized that, if I was going to send in the door panels myself, I would be able to see if my idea of door courtesy lamps would work. I could order some and see which ones would look the best against the door.
I found these on Yahoo Auctions
Thanks to EJ and his ER34 blog 
For Toyotas, but heck why not? Having both colors would be cool!

I made sure to point out this problem on my car - heavy elbows = worn out support!

Just to show Cesar the size and shape, and to get him thinking about where we could use the leftover Alcantara

Explaining that this pressboard back board is the only thing between the door pocket/panel and the door itself!

Finally, since there was some extra space in the boxes containing the door panels, and as Cesar was kind enough to offer to duplicate the gear shift boot in matching leather, I decided to send in the current boot.
IF you recall, this aftermarket R34 GT-R shift boot made by Redline had to be modified to fit the R33 GT-R shift surround.

Which is what these red circles in both photos show - the holes that are NOT used
So now everything was sent out, so all I had to I had to sit back, relax, and think about the final details...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

GT-R Magazine's "R's Meeting 2017" at Fuji Speedway!

Taking a break from the no doubt boring photos of my car's interior build, here are some photos from last Sunday's GT-R Festival at Fuji Speedway, sponsored by GT-R Magazine and known as the "R's Meeting 2017."

Being lazy, I'll let the photos do the talking, mostly, although if you want to see some higher quality photos and more balanced, professional coverage, here is the link to Dino's Speedhunters article.  And actually you will see that this article is in somewhat chronological order as it's more about how I spent my day following Dino around...
The quaint looking Tokyo train station in his neighborhood where Dino told me he'd pick me up at 0700.
Meaning I had to get up at 0600...
I arrived at 0655. And low and behold I see a familiar car...
Yep, Mr. White Glasses in the official Speedhunters car. Project something, I forget.
 Along for the ride were two friends from Malaysia, Sean (Supra guy currently working for MoonEyes in Yokohama) and his friend Reno (currently a student). Good guys to have around to chat with while Dino was earning his keep...
We soon get on the Tomei expressway and see some interesting machinery... 
While Dino naturally followed a Bayside Blue 34, I spotted some better machinery up ahead...
We were soon on some back country roads. And followed this beauty for a while...
Right outside the gates to Fuji Speedway, we found this monstrosity. While the 33 looks fine without a spoiler,
the 34 was definitely designed to have one
We found some parking, Italian style, then proceeded to head to where the cars and displays were...

Where Mr. Dalle Carbonare immediately set to work
He was busy trying to take some good photos of this:
Nismo's R34 GT-R Clubman Sport. I didn't care much except for those red things...
Where it says (試作品)those are parts being developed. The others will simply cost you an arm and leg.
So those red things are "radiator air guides" - my guess is that they will be made out of carbon. Time to buy some carbon sheet for myself lol...

Next to that was the R33 GT-R that NISMO recently modernized from the shell up:
I was more interested in FINALLY seeing this car up close...
And close up of the engine bay.
Conclusions... well it's very nice and clean yes but somewhat weird, as they KEPT the Series 2 brake booster when they could have upgraded to the smaller unit found in the Series 3 cars.  But, it has the latest 35 brake upgrade?  I mean, if you are going to rebuild from the ground up and "modernize" there was so much more NISMO could have done. Check out that simple rubber (versus silicon) coolant hose... I guess I will have to go by NISMO and show them how it's done....

You can get a sense of how things were set up. The covered area in the back is where they have the talk show with GT-R famous people (like Ito-san, Watanabe-san, Tamura-san), and the tuners set up tents and park their demo cars in front.
And here is a nice 32. Love that carbon intake ring on the that enormous turbine...
NAPREC is basically who every tuner and serious mechanic will send their engine's heads to, in order to be properly prepped.  My car's Mine's complete engine also had its head work done here. 
And they do not just RB26 heads but those from other engines.  Dino did a nice write up here.
If you read that Speedhunters article, you can see the amount of detail done to these heads.  Incidentally, Nagoya-san, owner of NAPREC told me that more of the work done on my car's engine was by hand versus if I had gotten it done now, as they have their new CNC machine now.  I have no doubt either method results in a fantastic result.
We spotted this contraption across the way. I DEFINITELY need this, even in my small garage it would fit!
On the other side was a display of 2 33s, by Jing-R. Long time blog readers may recall this is where I bought my Okada Plasma Directs from as they had done some tweaking to further improve upon the Okadas.

If you read the Speedhunters article, you will see why Dino spent some time hovering over these cars.
The blue car had an interesting billet front engine cover...and the silver one some amazing titanium piping work.
Super clean engine bay...but note those Z-tune type fenders!
WOW. Simply WOW.
I then stumbled upon Garage Yoshida's R32 GT-R demo car. Interesting car, it was originally a one-off project by S&S Engineering where they converted a GT-R into an automatic transmission car. Hence you will see only two pedals there.

I was interested to see this car in person, because of course either great minds think alike or this guy saw my article in Speedhunters and decided to copy me.  
Other than the full leather interior, the new carpet was noteworthy. 
Once I saw this, I was reassured. Even more so after I touched it. Nice try, but this leather is decidedly pedestrian compared to what I used in my car. Whew.
In my anger and angst, I lost Dino, so decided to check out what was happening on the track. 
Taking a quick look into the pits, nothing particularly interesting... except this means that later there was a track day
I soon found him, but as this photo shows, he was having a reaction to the strong UV radiation that made its way through despite the clouds and relatively cool weather...
Not a good day to forget your hat
Luckily for Dino, Lerry Liu from Skyline Syndicate had an extra club hat for his use...
Ironically, once Dino wore this cap we kept losing him... no longer could we simply look for a red bald head sticking out amongst the crowd.  And lots of people seemed to be wearing dark colored hats.
There was oddly a covered areas just for cars. Found this black beauty with those wonderful yellow headlights
And that's when I lost Dino again.  So Sean and I wandered around, and we found this on the other side of the displays:
Interesting! Looks like a rally car!
Here is a close up... yeah not sure I could live with rivets in my bumper but oh well.
I then happened to look inside, as I'm always seeking out new ideas for MY car...
Ok, I'll admit this is an interesting way to integrate aftermarket gauges into the 33...at least he had a Getrag.
And here is a close up of that auxiliary cooling device... yes the fan...
We also stopped by the TRUST/GREDDY booth, where they had this:
After. So you can overlay that clear lens on top of your existing gauges to expand their functionality!
I want. But I'd never use it to pin stuff to it, so it would just take up space. That's how I justified not buying it. I think it was being sold by Kusaka Engineering, the same guys who do the 1:12 scale model RB26 engines.
Swinging by the covered stage, we saw that NISMO racing driver Michael Krumm was being interviewed.
And yes he speaks fluent Japanese!
We caught up with Dino as he was checking out some GT-Rs that were parked BEHIND the display area. 
AUTECH GT-R! Very nice. (I don't like the gold Nissan badge TBH lol)
So this was certainly a stand-out. Have no idea if the livery is original or copied from a race car, but there WAS that guy with the video camera on a gimbal taking a lot of shots.
It appeared to be a silver car with lots of wrapping...
Not sure if I'd run around with a used car dealer's (Manaboon) sticker like that...
Here was another white 33... with a custom white and shiny carbon interior...
Unique yes, but not for me.
Finally a nice red one!
We then decided to start wrapping things up. We had arrived at 1000, and now it was pushing 1400 and Dino wanted to get back on the Tomei ASAP to avoid the inevitable traffic jam as people from the Tokyo metropolitan area return home on Sunday. So we made our way back to the car, but not before I took this photo:
He he. IS-F Pace cars at Fuji!
Although Dino briefly considered stopping by to check out the 1JZ drift competition at the drift track, the lack of parking space and the time meant it wasn't to be.

We did stop by the lower parking lot in front of all the pits, just to see if there might be anything interesting.
I did find this trio of LeMans Limited cars... this front one has some crazy camber...
And my last photo of the day:
Another beautiful red one. And the cool Z on the right. Oh and the white IS-F in the background, lol...
So there you have it. Just as if you had been with us, or at least me.  I forgot to mention that I ran into several people I knew and others I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time, even some who knew me from my internet presence! Maybe at next year's I'll be able to run into you?