Monday, January 15, 2024

OEM Look LED Series 3 Headlights by VELENO! (@Tokyo Auto Salon 2024) - Part 1

Happy New Year friends!

Having seen some social media posts (and an advert in last month's GT-R Magazine) about a new product from LED specialist Veleno (working together with Nismo Super GT racing driver Tsugio Matsuda) - namely a completely new Series 3 (kohki) headlamp unit incorporating LEDs for both low and high beams, this year I decided to make the 90 minute train ride from Yokohama to Makuhari Messe in Chiba where Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 is being held this weekend.

I quickly made my way to the Veleno booth, and finally saw Matsuda-san's R33 GT-R in the flesh! I've seen this car in GT-R Magazine, as well as on YouTube (with Matsuda-san driving in it) so it was cool to finally see it in person.

But looking more closely, I was really surprised to see that IF this car had the new LED units, it did not look like it had LEDs in there at all.

Ok here is a close-up. 

I asked around and was introduced to Nakakuki-san of Garage Chikara, who was co-hosting the event (turns out that Nakakuki-san owns a Series 1 R33, is an R33 GT-R fan, and has long been itching to upgrade the headlights on his 33 to LEDs - so this project made it happen!) with Reiz Trading (the company that sells the Veleno brand bulbs). This answers why Veleno did not come out with LED headlights for the 32 or 34... 

So - and I will update in a future blog post with more on the back story about how all this happened, but meanwhile, here are the particulars that Nakakuki-san shared with me. I am also following up on some technical questions as well, so if you have any, please do leave a comment and I will follow up on those too! For example, I was told by Nakakuki-san that both bulbs for low and high beam are H8 bulbs, but the Japanese website states the high beams are H11. And yes, I know that they are very close to the same form factor and that there are slight differences, but what is the actual situation here?

Anyway - first, an English language website (for ordering) is coming in the near future - probably next month. So yes, you will be able to order and purchase these units from outside Japan, and yes they will have no problem sending these out by international post. No need for a middleman service.

Second, the projected run is about 200 sets initially, but if there is more demand then of course they will continue to produce more.  It is important to note that the current retail price is an "early bird" special, in that the high and low beam bulbs - valued at 66,000 yen (with Japanese VAT) are included for no additional cost. The units will be ready for sale sometime between March and May, likely during April. After the initial run, it seems the bulbs will be an extra cost.

Third, the harness for these kits is plug and play for Series 3, but the displayed red car is actually a Series 2, so obviously a retrofit is possible.  However, if you watch the demo video before, you will see that when the high beam is on, the low beams shut off, which is consistent with what the Series 1 and 2 OEM lights do - but NOT the headlights for the Series 3 cars, where the low beam stays on - because of the Xenon bulb. I will find out more details on whether any harness modifications are needed (but IIRC, he said there were not, so...)

I managed to capture these still shots during the video. 
Low beam - incredibly bright, although I wish they had kept one side the original Xenon for comparison

Blinding high beam! But low beams turn off just like the Series 3 OEM units

There were a few other cars on display too. There was a manual Z sporting a Nismo body kit (i.e. hint hint Nissan this is how the Z Nismo should be...) As well as this very clean Autech 4 door GT-R.

Turns out this Autech is also one of Matsuda-san's cars...

I still don't know what purpose this half clip served, other than to allow the models to sit down behind it.  

Oh and it was also hooked up to show off what could be possible, strobe light-wise?

Meanwhile, as I was talking to Nakakuki-san in the back, a crowd was forming outside - so when I looked out I saw this:
Models posing with the half cut. One way to draw a crowd I guess...

Veleno also had their other products on display, including the "Impact Blaster" which was apparently some kind of anti-bacterial ozone generator for your car...

Anyway, rest assured I do myself have a set on order already, and will post my impressions once I get them installed. Maybe do a video showing the difference between the LED and the Xenon (I know I am going to miss that "warm up blue" effect...).

Finally, this being Tokyo Auto Salon - well there are a bunch of other websites and social media platforms showing more content.  For me, this is a shot of how it looked when I first entered the main area of Makuhari Messe (the convention hall that hosts Tokyo Auto Salon). Me being me, somehow I found myself entering exactly where CraftSports (GT-R specialists) had their display...

Stay tuned for more updates!