Sunday, March 29, 2020

Touge Run & Aki’s BCNR33 Collection Day

After three weeks of working from home and not going out much last Sunday I decided to take a break and leave Tokyo for a day. 

While I usually organize my touring days around specific locations I want to visit, this time the plan was to simply drive as much as possible. Aiming to beat the morning traffic I reached the summit of Hakone Turnpike just a few minutes past 7AM!

Being so early there was absolutely no traffic and I barely ran into a couple of car during my first hill climb. After a quick walk around to stretch my legs I jumped back in the car and decided do it all over again and headed downhill for a second run.

During my second climb I decided to stop for a few photos (and really the only ones I would take during the trip) by the small parking lot halfway through the turnpike.

This is a popular location where many owners stop by to take photos of their cars or just chat. 

Mindful of not taking too long I decided to continue my trip and headed straight towards the Izu Skyline: 40.6 km of absolutely perfect tarmac and incredible sequences of bends and turns.This was easily one of the best drives of my life: besides being a lot more comfortable behind the wheel and (I feel) a much improved driver from a few years ago, the roads where absolutely empty.

I found myself on the south side (Amagi-kougen) of the skyline way faster than I thought. This time I did take a little break and caught up with a R35 owner who was coming from Shizuoka. Despite the age (he must have been in his late 50s) he surely didn’t hold back and I quickly lost him as he pulled away, including some very bold overtaking maneuvers that made me hold my breath a coupe of times! Will I ever see Aki do anything similar? 

Speaking of the devil, there was one specific reason why this time I didn’t indulge in sightseeing and headed back to Tokyo before lunch: we had an early afternoon meeting planned in Yokohama to pick something up. 

But first, lunch! I just recently rediscovered this amazing maguro-don and ramen place just in front of Tokyo bay.

This time I went for their “rich seafood” special ramen bowl. Just 1,000¥ and worth every single yen!

So, what was the meeting all about? This photo of me waiting in the parking area at Nismo (for over one hour) for Aki to show up might give you some clues.

Yes, Omori Factory is currently closed to the public, but when you enjoy VIP status like the grumpy old man there is no such a thing as “off limits”. As you might have guessed, it was delivery day for his BCNR33, as we headed inside a dark showroom - surreal!

After being abused by Aki’s kids for the best part of one hour as he was nerding out on the bespoke details that R33 Meister Morita-san had fitted on his car we were finally ready to go.

The more we went on the more it became clear why I was “invited” to the big event. After babysitting was over Morita-san called me outside to load some of the old man’s spare parts in my car. At least I could snap a photo of my car sitting next the Z-tune prototype - seeing it parked inside the workshop is always super special!

Back to Aki: it was finally time for delivery as Takasu-san drove his car out of the workshop. 

Finally reunited with his beloved R33, almost one year and one very thorough chassis refresh and underfloor restoration later: the smile says it all! 

As I was in charge of hauling his parts back I followed him on the expressway, where a few pulls clearly showed that the VQ35 is no match for a tuned RB26. Talk about cruising into the sunset...

One thing that surely is better on my Z though is the ETC reader as Aki’s one decided to stop working at the first toll booth, much to the irritation of the other drivers behind us.

A short 10 minutes drive later we were finally back at Aki’s freshly built new house where he is in the process of building the ultimate man cave. He’s not finished yet, so please excuse the boxes on the right. Ah, the struggle...

We popped to bonnet (I was surprised by the huge amount of heat that came out) and, much to Aki’s satisfaction, the coveted Nismo plaque revealed itself in all its glory. 

Now the big question is: will he ever take it out for a shakedown?

Until next time.

2 comments:

  1. Hahaha, you're right, he hardly drives his R33!

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    1. Very funny. I've driven my 33 about 100,000km more than Ale has his 34!

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