Saturday, June 1, 2019

BNR34 V-spec II Nür - Clubman Race Spec

And finally the day came, after a couple of last minute road bumps I received the much anticipated phone call telling me that the car was ready. I thought long and hard about how to approach this post: what do you write when you take delivery of your childhood dream car after it has been rebuilt to your exact specification? 

Should you write a summary of the build process? List the technical details? Or maybe go sentimental and talk about turning dreams into reality? To be honest I wasn’t really sure, but I do remember taking the train and walking to Omori Factory for one last time. After all the past visits it didn’t feel particularly special, yet it had a sense of occasion.

Before I go any further I owe a huge thank you to everybody at Omori Factory for their hospitality, friendship and infinite patience. A sensible approach to a project like this would be to spec your build, pay a deposit and maybe make a couple of changes along the way. My original spec consisted of a simple respray and Nismo aero kit, just to eventually snowball into a project where the frame, a few interior panels and windows are all that’s left of the original car. This unorthodox step-by-step approach demanded an amount of visits, phone calls, photo exchanges, samples, late night texts and sheer man-hours that I am ashamed of and I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to do so while coping with the million changes of direction. I vowed to never do it again.

When I arrived they were still busy finishing the pre-delivery inspection and removing some of the wraps. After spending about 30 minutes going through paperwork and warranty we moved inside the workshop. I did see the car 98% complete just few weeks prior, but this time it was sitting in front of me in its final state.

Yes, some of you guessed it: it’s grey - it had to be. From the launch version of the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640-4 to the 350Z and Mitsubishi Evo VIII FQ-400, all the way to the Zonda 764 Passione and the original BNR34 Clubman Race Spec, this is a color that seems to recur on all my favorite cars. 

In my opinion, it’s the perfect hue to compliment the lines of the R34 and has a beautiful hand painted finish that makes each car unique. The paint shop was the only place I wasn’t allowed to, but thank you, S-san, I wish I could have seen you at work.

I recollect taking delivery of my GT-R in its stock form 4 years ago and looking at it as a blank canvas from day one. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do, but it took a long time to define which direction to take. One thing I was adamant to avoid was drawing inspiration from other road-going GT-Rs. Even the incredibly special Z-tune was built over a decade ago following a very defined philosophy: surely iconic, but not my car, so why trying to make a copy of it?

Obviously I had to start from a base, and that was the Clubman Race Spec tuning concept. The ever-evolving ethos of the program seemed to perfectly fit my desire to build something personal that didn’t have to conform to the strict guidelines of complete cars. The only restriction I posed on the project was that every single modification, no matter how small, had to be carried out at Omori Factory and approved by Nismo.

And so I started to slowly come up with ideas. Technology, for example: parts finish and assembly have come a long way since my GT-R left Tochigi assembly plant in 2002. Are there ways to incorporate modern production techniques on a BNR34? How much of the R35 finish can be carried over?

Another recurring topic on this blog is my fascination for craftsmanship and bespoke: I hinted about this on previous posts as well as during my recent encounter with the Zonda Kiryu. Does a spartan car like the R34 Skyline GT-R allow for a bit of creativity and some unconventional choices?

Can artisans turn old OEM parts designed two decades ago into unique accents without making them look out of place?

I also wanted to celebrate my original V-spec II Nür: I owned the car for 4 years and, after a ground-up restoration and tuning process, it was now off to a new life. I thought it would be something worth commemorating.

But most importantly, I wanted to honor a place and group of people that not only I become close to on a personal level, but also sparked my imagination as a kid, partially influencing the course of my life as I ended up moving to Japan.

Being able to visit the factory and document every step of the process was really the icing on the cake and eventually made the car what it is today. Perhaps it took away a bit of the “wow” effect of finally seeing the end result, but made for an incredible experience that I will treasure forever.  

In this sense, I have to admit that taking delivery came with a slightly bittersweet feeling, as it meant the end of such an enjoyable experience.

Nonetheless, it feels great to have the GT-R back and now that the bulk of the project is complete I can spend time planning small (or not so small?) upgrades for the future. The Nür spec 20th anniversary is coming up in 2022 after all...

Truth is that I am actually still waiting for three parts: one has received the green light and is currently in production, while the final verdict on the other two will come in a few weeks. As a result the car will probably be back at Omori Factory around June, and since I’ll be at the Nürburgring during that time it will likely be on display at the showroom for a while. Hopefully somebody will be able to spot it!

A huge thank you goes again to all the people at Nismo and Omori Factory involved in the project, I will make sure to enjoy the car the way it was meant to and will take great care of it. A big thanks also goes to all of you who have stopped by sharing interest and words of appreciation, I hope that reading this blog will get you a bit closer to Japan.

And so, after loading the trunk with all the spares boxes and documents, I was finally handed the keys. I hopped into the ultra tight Recaro and did the only right thing to do: ditched the trailer and bubble wrap and blasted towards the expressway, direction Tokyo bay.

Or so I though, because 15 minutes into the most exhilarating drive of my life my phone started ringing - “please come back, I’m not sure we tightened the last two bolts of the front under spoiler!”. Yep, hand-built.

Until next time.

P.s. Yes, I did go back and, you guessed, of course the bolts were tightened!


  1. Bravo!
    So happy for you. Your excitement is contagious - using it as energy to eventually do the same to my own future R34.
    Enjoy it!

    1. Thank you, much appreciated! Good luck with your GT-R as well.

  2. Isn't this your car at Omori?

  3. That is incredibly clean. Looking forward to your observations on things like the power delivery of the R2 engine, response, etc.

    I am working on an R33 build right now and this blog is great as a source of inspiration. I don't think I have the kind of money that Nismo wants, but I hope that I would be able to end with something as impressive as this.

  4. Amazing job mate, but I do have to say, I really was expecting to see this Midnight Purple III !!!

    1. Thank you! I love Midnight Purple, but it’s not the best color for the R34 in my opinion. Surely the one with the biggest impact at the beginning, but the dark, liquid finish of this silver takes the cake for me. Still, purple is one of my favorite colors and, as you can see, I added my own twist to it.

    2. Is it possible for Nismo to paint the car a completely custom colour e.g. akin to the colour used on your engine?

  5. Hi Ale-san,

    Big fan of your blog from Australia. I've read every single post since 2016 and your tezukuri approach to this build has been inspirational.

    I visited Omori Factory in May 2019 and saw this particular CRS BNR34 there - was it your car? This example had the R35 Brembo conversion which I couldn't match to the photos you uploaded (I hope an in-depth spec reveal post will occur in the future!)

    Enjoy the photos:

    1. Thanks for stopping by and the kind words!
      No, that is not my car, but rather Nismo’s very own CRS!

  6. Wow! What a journey! This is exacley the path i guess most R34 or Skyline owners dream of (i know i do!).. Im lost for words. I love the small original things like the engine paint and the faqt that you cept the oem cluster, also the paint job on your front bumper were you have chosen to "expose" the carbon in the inlet.. Love it.. This is what im trying to do home in my garage little after little.. XD Is the paint code the same as the CRS?

  7. Heya , looks great!
    What seats are those - they look amazing!

  8. Hi Ale, great post to finish this fantastic journey! It's so satisfying to see the car's odometer completely new! I have a question about the Omori Factory though; in order for my car to go and get the treatment I want from them, the car needs to be registered locally in Japan. However, do I have to present the car to them myself or can I instruct my importer friends to give them the car and tell the Nismo staff what to do? Thanks :D


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