Sunday, February 4, 2024

OEM Look LED Series 3 Headlights by VELENO! (@Tokyo Auto Salon 2024) - Part 2 (Q&A with Nakakuki-san)

 So as promised, I called up Nakakuki-san at Garage Chikara this past week to follow up on some questions I had, as well as several everyone was asking me, after my first post.

Question - this is too expensive! Why?

Answer - according to Nakakuki-san, those inquiring customers who have owned GT-Rs for awhile have all agreed that the pricing is fair or even inexpensive (note - I myself agree), with most of those who are complaining about the price being too high, either new GT-R owners or non-owners.  The price is high but on par with the OEM part; plus because of the limited numbers of the product being planned, there cannot be economies of scale like with an OEM company like Nissan.

Question - will this be available for vehicles in LHD countries?

Answer - the product/bulb already has the E-mark, if that helps; I did not get a direct answer but if your country requires, by law, the proper cut-mark (light pattern), I think it will depend on how many requests the company gets. This link has a nice diagram of the difference in light patterns.

Question - If your current headlamp housing is in good shape, why not just replace the current bulbs with LED bulbs?  

Answer - As you may know, the OEM Series 3 unit uses a D2 Xenon bulb for low beam and H1 for high beam.  However, in their research they could not find equivalent LED bulbs that satisfied their requirements. Also given the higher output of modern LEDs it is likely that you would want the lens to be precisely made in order to prevent excessive glare to oncoming traffic.

(see the Veleno IG page for the photo that shows how clean the cut line is)

Question - is it possible to buy the same new Veleno Mortale LED H11 bulbs and install in your current headlamp housings?

Answer - no, as the original housing is not designed for H/8H11 bulbs fitment.

Question - will there be a harness adaptor to allow use in Series 1 (Zenki), Series 2 (chuuki), as well as Series 3 (kohki) cars?

Answer - unsure about what method at the time of my call, but yes they will ensure the unit works with all variants of the BCNR33.

Question - where is the English language ordering website?

Answer - coming soon! (I will insert link here when it is up!)

Question - what is the origin story of this product?

Answer - it turns out that Matsuda-san and Nakakuki-san were at the 2022 Veleno end of year party (bonenkai) where they started to discuss how an LED product for their R33s would be a good thing.  They proposed the idea there to Veleno president Yumi-san, and one year later...  And meanwhile they also learned that the ballast units used in the Xenon D2 headlights are no longer available new.  Meaning that if the ballast unit dies, people have to find another source of lighting anyway (apparently this is happening on a frequent basis with Lancer Evos, which Nakakuki-san also services).  So further justification for this LED project.

Question - is this the same unit that Garage Active had advertised, briefly?

Answer - no. Apparently some guys from GA did make inquiries with Veleno to check this one out, however...right before that post was taken down...

Question - what about the R32 and R34 GT-Rs?

Answer - based on how well the 33 units have been received, they are in the planning stages for products for these cars as well.

Question - any other LED products for the 33 in the future?

Answer -  maybe...

Did I miss any? Let me know if any of you have any follow-up questions!


Anonymous said...

I think they are way over priced. I would rather purchase OEM over Aftermarket. I’m not sure the target demographic on this one. Theres a few retrofit kits in usa for s3 style headlights.

Dave said...

As mentioned in the article, "those who are complaining about the price being too high, are either new GT-R owners or non-owners." The market price for used OEM S3 headlights start around $5,000 and $10,000 each for new ones. As for retrofit kits in the US, I'm pretty sure you can't beat the quality of a purpose-built units. The advantage for US buyers is the strong USD to Yen rate, which will put the price of these units at around $3500. The demographics for these units are folks like me who treasure our R33's and want to maintain our cars with the highest quality parts available.

Aki said...

To both - this really reminds me of what happened in the UK/Canada when these cars started getting really popular, about 10 years ago. The same kind of complaints on prices - some legit, others not so much. And then some people choosing to use cheaper substandard /knock-off parts for their cars. Many people realized that in many cases, buying such cheaper parts was a false economy, not only in performance and quality (e.g. the "Mishimoto" brand intercoolers SOUND Japanese but are not, and I think I recall seeing how the performance was worse than the legit brands that had been around for a while - not sure if they have improved since but; another one are the replica wheels made by ROTA - cast, not forged, and also heavier than OEM so more strain on the car/suspension that was not designed for such heavy wheels.... but to each his own), but also in that their cars did not hold the same value as those cars outfitted with higher spec components.

Now of course, some good parts ARE way overpriced. But what this means simply is that many times these cars with such parts are recognized as the best, because if the owner is either rich enough or patient enough to save up for such parts, then it implies that the cars are also very well taken care of. (Brand premium effect). But again, there are plenty of good parts at good prices, even if not a famous brand.

In the end however, it is not my business to tell people what they should do with their cars, and the beauty of the free economy is that you can buy or not buy whatever you want, and the beauty of free speech is that you are free to express your opinion on this topic, so long as you are respectful in doing so, I hope.

jho96 said...

The retrofits are using OEM series 1 housings which are not exactly easy to come by either. And I still find it rather annoying that Morimoto has no interest in proper ECE or SAE compliance for their projectors. They love using excessive foreground illumination which blinds everybody at night but pointed at a garage wall it looks super bright. In practice it reduces your night vision because your eye adjusts to the foreground brightness but things down the road aren't bright enough either. They've been asked about foreground limiting before and their engineers respond with "market has no interest in this".

I have a set of series 3 HIDs I converted to LHD but I am still curious to see how these turn out.

Anonymous said...

Roughly how much are these going for? Not here to complain about price and actually looking to upgrade my current s1 to s3 style.

jho96 said...

Price is 495,000 yen including consumption tax. So about 3300 USD not including shipping. Really not that expensive if this is done right.

Anonymous said...

Not bad then, while yes steep hopefully a major improvement over OEM.