Monday, October 10, 2016

The Hunt Part 2 - Mileage Is Not Everything

As hinted in my previous post I naturally proceeded to set up an appointment to inspect the car with less km on the odometer first, in this case a 65,000km Black Pearl V-spec II Nür.

The car was located in Saitama at A-route, a surprisingly common dealership and not a sports-car or GT-R specialist. However, it happened to be owned by the son of the dealership owner, which explained the presence of an ultra rare BNR34 amongst a collection of beat-up Toyotas and kei-cars.
The coveted badge
I was greeted at the station by a friendly young staff, whose awkward attempts to put some pressure on me by informing that this was "a rare car limited to 100 production units", brightened up my morning. I later learned that trying to instill fear of "missing out" is a pretty common technique (at least in Japan) used by weak car salesman to attempt closing deals. I didn't even try to pick on him and just politely pretended I was listening while waiting to arrive.

Since it was raining the car was put inside a small garage for my inspection (which also meant that it had been sitting outside until the day prior). As I mentioned, I had very little knowledge to assess mechanical parts, so I decided to rely on my OCD as a gauge of how well the car could have been treated by the previous owner.

Note: please excuse the bad pictures, I just snapped them as a quick memo with no ideas that they would have ended up on my blog one day.

Finished in Black Pearl, the car was sitting on a set of Nismo S-tune suspensions and 19" BBS LM rims. At a first glance it appeared to be in great shape.
Not a fan of the colour, but still looked great.
The car sported a stock exhaust and a stock engine bay, which automatically gained it some extra points in my evaluation. The engine started and revved with no issues and all the lights and electronics seemed to be healthy.
Stock OEM!
One detail that did bother me, although it was meant to be an improvement, was the aftermarket security system, with its red LED installed on the steering column instead of using the OEM slot next to the windshield defogger vents. 
Pretty much 66,000km and, yes, that light is bothering me a lot.
What's that!?
Anyways, besides that, all the main things seemed to be in order; however, at a closer inspection, I found a few things that bugged me a lot and I interpreted as signs of carelessness.

First and foremost a cigarette hole in the drivers seat (!). Albeit small it was definitely noticeable and, with the original OEM seat covers now out of production, a problem not so easy to fix.
A closer look
The glorious MFD was also showing signals of tiredness, with a white stripe in its middle and the overall image misaligned, signal that it needed replacement (although this is a very common issue amongst BNR34).
MFD looking tired
Additionally, I found some bad scratches on the (cheap) plastic center tunnel, probably produced when it was removed to fit the navigation system. Upon inspecting underneath I also noticed that one of the fins installed on the carbon fiber rear under diffuser, were badly scraped and cracked, probably due to the low ride height.
Cheap plastic: lots of scratches!
So far nothing too terrible and mostly cosmetic issues, however I was a bit disappointed because the state of the car could have been best described as a bit "rough". Service history was also available, but nothing too detailed. It was a bittersweet feeling: the car wasn't bad at all, but, at the same time, didn't come across as a prized possession looked after by a proud owner. 

As I begun to inspect the paintwork, I stumbled in what turned out to be the main deal breaker. The thick layer of clear coat on the exposed carbon fiber of the NACA duct on the bonnet presented massive yellowing and cracking, which was clearly synonymous that the car was parked outside for most of its life.
Uh oh...
At a closer inspection also the roof lining on the top of the windshield showed severe yellowing. 
Can you see it?
The engine bay had no signs of rust, but looked a bit tired, with the plastics and rubber parts presenting a matte, hard finish.
Gold VIN plate and engine cover: it's authentic
I was bummed: here I was standing in front of a model of the most sought after BNR34 ever made, with great mileage on it, but unsure about its health status.

On my way home I collected my thoughts and decided to book a visit to inspect the other Sparkling Silver model for a comparison.

More on Part 3...

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