Sunday, June 11, 2017

Time For a New Car?

No worries, the Nür is not going anywhere. I'm just a bit over 18 months (and 2,000km) in my ownership and it feels like a good time to sit back and appreciate the journey so far. 

In retrospect I must admit that the car has lived up to the toughest test of them all: expectations. There is a saying that goes "don't meet your heroes because you will be disappointed" and I think it fits the circumstances perfectly: chasing your dream car for 15 years and finally manage to own it in its pure stock form, and with no prior test-drive, in 2017 can easily set you up for some disappointment. I'm glad to say that this clearly wasn't the case.
Not that I have driven enough performance cars to draw a neat comparison, but the BNR34 has clearly surpassed my expectations in terms of pure driving pleasure and ownership experience (I must admit living in Japan definitely takes the latter to a new dimension). 

What I couldn't imagine back in the days is that, by the time I would own a R34, especially a Nür spec, the car would have become a highly sought after collectors piece, which obviously has brought me to reconsider the way I utilize it. Mileage is not really an issue as I plan to keep the car forever, but I'm rather looking at things more from a log term prospective, keeping in mind costs, value and what the car means to me. 

I want to be able to drive and enjoy the car, say for the next 15 or 20 years: when you look at things from this perspective it becomes obvious that, beside taking great car of it, I should relegate its use to well planned driving sessions, where I can drive it the way it's supposed to.
The latest issues of GT-R magazine covers in detail the latest development in the tuning and servicing world, where maintenance and restoration are quickly becoming a business as big as performance tuning.

Living in Japan obviously gives me a huge advantage in terms of parts availability, highly specialized know-how and competitive prices, but doesn't solve the main issue altogether: I'm not driving as much as I would like to and there are plenty of long drive road trips that I'd love to do, but not in a rare, limited edition machine that has doubled in value since I bought it.

This issue finds its solution in a rather obvious as well as expensive answer: a second car (or a project car). But what?
With Tokyo being one of the most expensive cities in the world I feel that I'd better invest in something that justifies the extra expense and can hold value against depreciation. After all, what's the point of bearing an additional 400$/month of parking expenses to park a 5,000$ car?

Tokyo is also a very tempting place, with all kind of goodness hidden behind every other corner, like this vintage Fairlady Z that I ran into in Odaiba the other day.

The lines are truly timeless and it exudes an elegance that is still very modern; the details are also exquisite.

But the big question mark would obviously be reliability: I'm not sure I would get on a roadtrip with peace of minds, not to mention track days. If I had the space I'd buy one in a heartbeat, but unfortunately not now. One day.

And every visit to Fuji Speedway usually offers a plethora of JDM goodness on display, like this old 300ZX: loved it and it's quite cheap too!

Or this zenki NSX, looking all business in silver, in the paddock area.

I have also heard plenty of praises for the legendary FD3S, especially for its lightness and chassis dynamics, but not so much for its reliability. This blue example that I spotted at Tatsumi Parking Area definitely looked the part.

Additionally, during my frequent visits at NPTC I have run into all kind of more modern and options, like this pristine BNR32 in a rare Red Pearl Metallic shade.

Or this stunning pair of BCNR33, including a LM edition with a S2 engine.

So, plenty of options out there and, with the tsuyu (Japanese rain season) approaching, the Nür will go in hibernation for a while; which means that I have plenty of time to look around and begin my quest for my second piece of JDM goodness.

Until next time.


  1. why not wait a little and get yourself another "normal r34 with high miles for daily? I mean you seem to love R34 so much, one cheap high mileage R34 that has good chassis condition could not cost that much right now, can it?

    1. Hi Auldey,

      Thanks for stopping by! Definitely an interesting option, although it has become almost impossible to secure a clean R34 for less than 6M JPY, even with higher mileage.
      I'm not in a hurry, so will look carefully into every options, including your advice.



  2. May I give a suggestion if you don't mind? How about getting a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. The reasons I have would be :

    - It is quite a practical car with proper rear seats, large boot, good ground clearance where you won't scrape the underbody of the car easily.
    - Performance wise, it should be on par with stock 2nd generation Skyline GT-R. The 4WD 2 litre boxer engine is quite capable on its own, not to mention the unique boxer rumble sound that it produces.
    - Those Impreza WRX STI that can be found in Japan does represent a true JDM spirit because only the Japanese market Impreza WRX STI are equipped with the 2 litre EJ207 engine compared to the rest of the world where they are equipped with a 2.5 litre EJ257 engine. The EJ207 engine despite being a 2 litre, revs higher (8000 RPM redline) than the EJ257 (7000 RPM redline), produces more power, lighter and probably consumes less fuel due to a difference of 500cc displacement.

  3. I think Ken's idea is wonderful!

  4. Impossible to argue with Ken's suggestion: the Impreza (and the Evo) are possibly the best bang for your bucks you can get out there. Will look into every option.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  5. Thank you Aki and Ale for your agreement.

    Ale, for me, I think getting an Impreza WRX STI is more unique than Evo. Like I mentioned earlier, the JDM WRX STI uses the EJ207 engine which makes it a unique JDM car unlike Evo where they are using the same engine across all market. 4G63T for Evo 1-9 and 4B11T for Evo 10. Evos are also using straight 4 engine which is quite a normal configuration compared to the unique boxer engine configuration found in Impreza.

    For Impreza WRX STI, I think the newer versions are more comfortable than Evo as well. Particularly the GRB/GVB chassis and the latest VAB chassis Impreza WRX STI. Their interior looks well equipped and modern. For Evo, other than the latest CZ4A chassis Evo X, the older Evo like the CT9A VII, VIII and IX seems to have quite a spartan interior. The CT9A chassis Evos are good cars but they looked more leaned towards performance while keeping the interior equipment at bare basics.

    If you want more unique options, Impreza WRX STI had more choices to choose from like the Spec C variant, S-series (S204, S206, S207) or the Type RA series which I believe is often hailed as the most hardcore spec for Impreza WRX STI. Some of these special variants even came with 6 pot front brakes similar to those brakes found in R35. I think those kind of upgrade from are worth it considering that they came with the car as stock parts right from factory.

  6. Great write up and definitely a great Nur too!

    All of the cars that you mentioned are great but I would suggest an NSX or fd3s as they are a different platform than the r34. these two are different cars and the ownership of the r34 and one of these will make you enjoy and appreciate the aspects of both cars.

    Good Luck !

  7. I wouldn't agree with Ken unfortunately. Have an Sti before, it's nice no doubt but... it's too tamed and quite fragile. That nice sounding boxer (but not as nice sounding as the RB26 :D) has failed a couple of times on me before I sold it. I have had 2 Evos 7 and 9... any of them will be a good option for you. I actually like the 7 more because it's more raw, stronger trans than the 9. But 9 has the mivec.. parts among 7-9 are mostly interchangeable too.
    But!! I would ultimately suggest this one to you... a GT-R BNR32!! Why it's one of the most iconic GT-Rs ever, and it's the reason for them GT-Rs being called "Godzilla". They're quite expensive now, but I think now is a good time, before they go up another level. 33? Maybe, but it's actually like the "black sheep" of the R blood line. ;) Fellow GT-R owner here BTW, BNR32 Vspec and BNR34.