Sunday, October 1, 2017

Chasing Perfection - Visit to Worx Autoalarm

Back in April, in an act of extreme courage, my friend Aki handed me the keys of his beloved BCNR33 as we drove to Worx Autoalarm where the car was planned to undergo some serious electronic and interior refresh. After 5 months of patient wait and endless photo teasing, the GT-R was finally ready and Aki, Dino and I headed to Chiba for delivery. Things were going to get interesting.

But let's go with order and make a step back: our first trip during Golden Week was also my first time ever visiting Worx and meeting the owner, Nakamura-san, and ex "salaryman" who, against traditional Japanese customs, ditched corporate life to follow his passion: cars and electronics. Years later Worx Autoalarm has become a cornerstone in audio, security system and electronics installation and customization, especially amongst GT-R owners.

The shop is exactly what would you expect from an artisan and oozes a vibe that really reminds of toy shops, especially thanks to the owner's passion for American toys, signals and memorabilia. Despite the colorful and relaxed atmosphere, the workshop packs some serious machinery and tools of the highest caliber - the ultimate man-cave.

Nakamura-san is a proper gear-head and GT-R fan himself as he owns a BCNR33 with a tuned N1 engine as well as a BNR32 custom painted in Bayside Blue.

Recognized as one of the best in its field, Worx Autoalram is regularly featured in GT-R Magazine and customers from all over Japan entrust Nakamura-san with upgrading their cars, like the owner of the LM that we found at our arrival. 

A wrecked BNR34 in the backyard was indeed a painful sight to behold. 

A stern reminder that these cars, despite their incredible capabilities, demand respect.

Besides completely overhauling the electronics, Nakamura-san was going to be responsible for the final fitting of Aki's handmade interior, finished with supercar-grade leather.

To say that the consultation was lengthy, would be an understatement.

Fast forward to last week and we headed to Dino's with a two car convoy and a surprise as he had on loan a Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge that simply redefined my concept of luxury - everything you touch and feel is absolute quality.

Unfortunately, while Aki was traveling in style inside an exquisite bubble of leather, carbon and aluminum, I was riding shotgun in Dino's R34, all the way to Chiba without air conditioning.

With the V-cam setup now installed Dino estimates 550ps, however, as the ECU tuning is not finished, shifting was limited to 5,000rpm. Nonetheless, as we left the expressway and went through a twisty secondary road, the ride with Dino reminded me once again how poor of a driver I am. What we missed in power though was compensated by handling as this was the first proper outing since he fitted his custom made, 1 of 1, KW suspensions. While the difference is not very noticeable in the city, things totally change once you start going through bends at decent pace: they are absolutely fantastic. 

Once at Worx we found Aki's car ready for delivery just outside the air-conditioned workshop area where it was stationed for the past half-year. Going through all the options of the new audio and security system took a good two hours. I won't spoil the surprise, so make sure to follow Aki's blog for the unveiling of the finished result.

Coincidentally, as a customer BNR32 was in for some work, we had all three RB26 powered GT-Rs sitting next to each other.

After a late lunch close to the beach and a second quick stop at Worx to fix a stubborn reverse light bulb we headed back to Tokyo, not before refueling the car.

And ourselves.

Days like this are a good reminder of what cars are really all about - when it's all said and done, it all comes down to the memories you make and paths you cross with them. 

Thanks guys.

Until next time.

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