Sunday, October 14, 2018

Project CRS Part 9 - The Interior

While for all mechanical aspects I can safely rely on the capable hands of the Omori Factory guys, there is one aspect of the restoration process that I thought it would be fun (and maybe better) to handle myself: the interior.

Back in 1999 Nissan managed to keep the cost of the BNR34 below the ¥6,000,000 figure, which meant that, while the car was packed with cutting edge technology, a complex AWD system and a superb engine, costs had to be cut somewhere else. 20 years later the cheap and easy to scratch interior panels easily show where Nissan engineers focused their cost cutting efforts.

No matter the mileage, it’s literally impossible to find a car that hasn’t collected a few scratches or developed that slight surface patina typical of black interior panels. Sure, nothing too terrible and that can’t be fixed with some dedicated products: it’s all part of the ownership experience. My car, being stock, doesn’t have any of the hideous gauges, LEDs or emblems that most Japanese are fond of, but I couldn’t help to think: can I make it better?

Lots of owners seems to love carbon fiber and alcantara re-trims, but personally I never minded the spartan look of the interior and felt that it does its job very well, keeping the look simple and clean. I always thought that certain materials have to be “engineered” in the design of the car in order to make it work and can’t just be implemented by replacing. In the end, originality wins the day, at least for me. And after sitting inside the BCNR33 Grand Touring democar at Omori Factory, fitted with a complete brand new interior, I decided to take the same route and replace every single panel with a brand new OEM one in my car as well.

The difference is really night and day: no scuffs, no marks, no patina and that brand new car smell! 

As exciting as it is, this project posed some challenges that can easily be summed up with three words: “out of stock”. Lots of interior bits are now long discontinued or rarely come up on Yahoo! Auction, which means that it took me almost two years to source every single panel and button. This was the main reason behind most of my visits to Nismo Performance Center Tokyo and I owe a lot to Yamazaki-san for his help and patience.

Over the past several months I manage to collect pretty much everything that gets touched, moved or covers the interior of the car. While still cheap plastic, the look and feel of brand new parts is so much crisper and clean.

This was a fun project and I used 80%  NPTC and 20% Yahoo! Auctions to track down the parts. 

Was it necessary? Probably not, but again, this is something that is best appreciated when you compre old and new items next to each other and the final result is greater than the sum if its parts.

Some of the trim bits are still available and can easily be found online, while others took quite a bit of time to track down, like the side air vents for example.

In the end, everything except the floor carpet, roof liner, door inserts and back seats will be replaced, which means that I have stashed away a good number of boxes in my apartment.

As the preparation for the build continues, Ochiai-san asked me to bring the parts over, so I found myself collecting all my boxes and rent a mini-van. But first, I had to make a stop at NPTC: some of the boxes are so big that there was no way I could store them at my place.

The biggest one was the main dashboard: I was lucky to find one of the very last brand new ones in Nissan inventory last year and I bought it right away. Yamazaki-san was kind enough to keep it in storage for me for the past 12 months!

So I quickly stopped by last Saturday while en route to Omori Factory. 

As always there is plenty to see, but I had no time to play around.

I proceeded to load the dashboard and other boxes on the van, just to realize that at this point it was almost completely full!

I then headed straight to Daikokucho, where Omori Factory is located, and ran into what looked like an improvised owners gathering in the parking area. Everybody looked a bit puzzled when I showed up and drove inside the workshop with the mini van. Oh, and please don’t mind the ultra rare yellow 400R in the background.

I then helped the guys to collect the parts and roamed around a bit until closing time.

I still have a couple of boxes at home and the guys at the Factory have been kind enough to keep a few more parts on the side for me which I think will make for some great final touches once the car will be ready.

Until next time.

4 comments:

  1. Really good post. Please update more often! Love reading your blog!

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  2. Absolutely crazy. I love it.

    You wouldn't know of a part number for the A-Pillar trims including the optional tweeter element?

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  3. That's a crazy amount of dedication. Fingers crossed Nismo's heritage parts program succeeds and they expand to the R34 so you can continue to source parts like this...

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  4. one of the first things that I hoped for after you announced this project that the interior stays original. truly good choice you made right there

    All the best !

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