Sunday, January 19, 2020

Happy New Year! Lots of New This Year...

Yes friends, 2020 already. Can't believe it seems like yesterday when I blew my engine at Fuji Speedway and then really started my R33 GT-R adventure...that was back in 2007!!!!

Anyway as I write this, my car is still at Nismo Omori, but I also have some real news.  You may be wondering why I've been so patient with them - well actually it's because I WANTED them to keep the car while I rebuilt my house! Or should I say rebuilt the garage I keep my cars in, and the house on top of it! By asking them to take their time with my car, I am availing myself of the most secure GT-R parking in Japan, if not the world!! (Theft of our cars is on the rise, even here in Japan...)

Most of you already know that a few years (ok, 11 years) ago I moved out of Tokyo (and high rise apartments) into Yokohama so I could have a house with a garage for my cars.  Unfortunately covered and shuttered garages can be hard to find but I did it (ok my wife did).
The R in front of the old house.
However, about a year ago the wife and I decided to rebuild our wooden framed house - it was old, getting leaky, the insulation was terrible (cold in winter and hot in summer!) and with the prospect of a large earthquake that is predicted soon for the Kanto area - we decided to rebuild with a steel framed house, with concrete panel walls and modern insulation.  This required a complete tear down and building from the ground up, but it also meant that we could build large pillar-less spaces.

So, I would be able to finally plan for a large garage that would be able to not only display my cars but also provide space for me to work on them - whether polishing up or actual mechanical work.
Up on ramps, then low rise jack... you can see how it's really two single car garages next to each other. Very narrow too!
The garage spaces were fairly narrow, designed to contain one car each - meaning I could only open up a door on the one side of the car that happened to be facing the arch connecting both spaces.  Further my old house's garages had ceilings that were 180 cm tall. Car friendly, but not SUV or tall people friendly.  And I definitely couldn't jack up the car too much and work underneath them.

Also, I could not enter the garages from inside the house - I had to go outside and open the garage doors.  There WAS enough space in the corners and along one wall to store stuff, but otherwise it was best described as cozy.
On moving (out) day, the last thing I moved was the GT-R!
And yet I made it work - most of my mods for my GTR I did in that garage!

Anyway, the new garage has space for 2 regular cars/SUVs parked nose to tail, and another smaller car on the side, plus the ceiling is 3.4 meters tall. I've equipped the garage with various electrical plugs (for future EV and commercial grade A/C unit too!), taps for hot and cold water, plus I can view the cars from inside the house. I know this blog is supposed to be about my GT-R, but I'll blog about how I equip this garage for the GT-R too!

Here are some photos showing the teardown of the old house - and some showing the new build.  I'm happy to say we are moved back in (builders work quickly in Japan) but because of some issues with the new garage (OCD strikes again) I'm having the builders redo the garage floor to my exact specifications.
Pretty much the entire old wooden house built on top of the garages is gone
Only thing left are the concrete walls
All debris removed, the land cleared and leveled, steel columns to the bedrock installed, most of the foundation in place.
Showing steel frame - could not believe how fast the frame went up!
From back of garage to street
From front to back. Yes, another garage door shutter in the back. Window is for my ground floor office.
The day before delivery of the house, these guys are rushing to finish...
Looks good but it wasn't perfect!
As you can see we are still in the process of moving in. With all the boxes cleaned up there would be lots more floor space. I HAD to wash the Lexus though... 
You can get a sense of how wide the garage is. Two cars easily fit but I'll likely put cabinets/workbench etc,
along the right side wall.
After those corrections are made, the next step will be to protect the floor. Then, I'll bring the GTR back and then I will start designing the garage properly to support a much more excellent car centric garage lifestyle.  2020 is going to be a great year!