Saturday, December 16, 2017

Z-tune Prototype at Omori Factory

It’s been a month since I picked up my GT-R after the full fluid change and water pump refresh at Nismo Performance Center, last week it felt like a perfect day to let the car stretch its legs on the expressway - destination, Omori Factroy. I know I’m going into full blown “fanboy mode”, but this is the place that re-ignited my passion for cars: visiting it’s always special and you’ll never know what surprise you may run into.

It’s been a while since I last drove and I almost forgot how much fun the 34 is. Winter is in full swing and cooler air means happier turbos: it wasn’t long before I found myself in the parking area.

Omori Factory had a test session planned for the next day at Fuji Speedway. Specifically they were going to test some of the cars used in the Driving Academy, like the new GT-R Nismo.

The quality of the carbon construction of the front splitter is top notch: I can only imagine the pain of scraping something like that.

The Nismo Z, this time with an interesting livery, was also out. Omori Factory recently purchased this model on the second hand market to utilize it in their driving lesson program. The more I come across this car, the more I like it.

Although the Nismo version never made it to Europe, I clearly remember when the standard model was launched (named 350Z) back in 2002. The R34 was an absolute unicorn 15 years ago, with probably just a handful model in the old continent, and the 350Z became a bit of a (realistic) dream car for me back in the days.

Once inside I suddenly recognized a familiar display.

The staff temporarily re-arranged the Heritage Parts Program set-up that we saw at Nismo Festival. The parts will be on display until early January.

The rotation of historic racers never disappoints.

And, incidentally, they had the last championship winning BNR34 on display in its full glory.

The workshop area is always spectacular to look at; obviously I had to send this photo to my friend Aki.

After wandering around for a while I ran into Ochiai-san and, since we didn’t have chance to meet at Nismo Festival, we took advantage of his break time to catch up a bit. He joined Omori Factory 14 years ago straight from Nissan Technical College and, beside having worked on hundreds of customer cars, he has been involved in key projects, such as the Z-tune, Clubman Race Spec and now Heritage Program.

Speaking of which, looks like they are yet to decide what to do with the BNR32 frame that was on display, but it’s likely to be restored to factory-true conditions with very light tuning. Whether Nismo will develop a similar program in the future for the BCNR33 and BNR34 is yet to be confirmed, but, according to Ochiai-san, it’s very likely that the parts selected for productions will be mostly mechanical, with very little to no focus on interior and cosmetics. 

As we were talking a BNR34 painted in and unmistakeable shade of light silver started rolling out of the workshop space.

Turns out that Ochiai-san was responsible for stripping this car apart before the rebuild process begun. At the time he just had a couple of years of experience under his belt, so the amount of work he carried on was limited. So we went outside and waited for the test drivers to come back.

At a first glance this might look like a Z-tune, but a welded roll-cage, BRIDE bucket seats and R35 brakes will tell a different story: this is the original prototype and development mule that Nismo used to develop the Z1 and Z2 power plants and all the components that made on to production for the final spec. This specific car was the one used for testing at the Nürburgring and is currently being used as a development mule for new parts. 

A quick look at the interior (no photos, sorry) will reveal that the car is stripped of the red alcantara interior and is fitted instead with the same black and red leather panels used on UK machines. Although deprived of the VIN plate, the car is based on a development V-spec II model and is currently fitted with a S2 engine. A closer look underneath will also reveal that it has been stripped of the additional differential oil cooler. Those with sharp eyes will also notice the absence of the Z-tune badge!

Once back from the test run it disappeared again inside the workshop. Of course I asked what was currently being tested on it, but the answer was, as expected, quite vague.

In the meantime, we also spotted the BNR32 demo car coming back from a test drive without the front bumper fitted on!

The R32 is another classic that I really wouldn’t mind to own.

Time flew by, so I got back on the road, opting for a quick stop at Tatsumi PA before returning home. 

This is where I had the chance to catch up with two other GT-R owners and we spent a good hour chatting, mostly about maintenance and restoration, two popular topics these days.

Topic that, again, took the center stage in the latest GT-R Magazine issue.

Tatsumi makes it for a great location, especially in winter as the sun sets over Tokyo and the Wangan.

Until next time.


  1. Quality blog entry, like always. :)
    Most be a pretty special feeling, to walk into Omori and chat up people like Ochiai-san!

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.
      Yes, living in Japan and being able to visit places like this definitely amplifies the ownership experience! Time to visit Japan? ; )