Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Quarantine Cleaning

Plenty of time at home means that I could finally do some long overdue cleaning inside my memorabilia closet.

Over the years I have accumulated a pretty large amount of books, pamphlets, magazines, die-cast models and car parts. Some of them were acquired at events like Nismo Festival (see the air restrictor?), some are gifts and some just outright bought online or at small shops in Japan.

The die-cast collection of JGTC Ebbro miniatures takes by far the most space, last time I counted them there were over 100 pieces.

The reason for them being so many is that I collected every single model of the GT500 series from 2000 to 2004 (after which the championship was renamed to Super GT), which is when I really fell in love with Japanese motorsport.

This was, in my opinion, the golden era of GT racing, with more traditional chassis and aero that gave the cars an appearance still quite close to their road-going counterparts. The liveries were also incredible, with sponsorships changing almost every year.

Hard to believe, but I acquired the first piece in 2002, the championship winning Esso Ultraflo Supra. This model is now worth around 30,000¥!

Back then I picked this specific one over the GT-R as Juichi Wakisaka was my favorite driver. 18 years later he is now retired and a successful team principal for Toyota in Super GT.

I don’t own many models from other series, but the Nürburgring 24h winner Porsche GT3 one that I bought at Manthey Racing during my last year’s trip at the ‘Ring is by far my favorite.

I also managed to put some order in my DVDs, mostly vintage JGTC races, Nismo Festival and a few others.

And this is pretty much it, up next is time to put some order in my OEM and Nismo spare parts closet. 

Hope everybody is doing well and staying safe.

Until next time.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Weekend Maintenance

With the Fairlady overdue an oil change, last weekend I took the opportunity to drive to Omori Factory for a quick service.

Yes, it’s is still close to the public, but customers visits are available on a limited number upon reservation.

Due to the nature of the work I just handed the keys over and waited at the shop, wandering around a desert showroom for about one hour. Oh well, I can think of worse ways to kill time.

While chatting with Takasu-san my eyes fell on their brand new pen-holders and, quite possibly, the coolest ones in the world. Can you guess what they are made of? Yes, scrapped carbon propeller shafts straight off their GT500 race cars - look at the weave! 

According to Takasu-san every year an incredible amount of carbon parts and race-used items get destroyed in order to protect proprietary technology secrets. Yes, I know what you are thinking and I feel the same pain...

This is the machine from the 2019 campaign; I was very much looking forward to the Super GT season this year, but looks like old races uploaded on the series official YouTube channel will have to do for now.

Surprisingly Z-tune P001 is still here. The car looks great in photos, but is actually pretty banged up as it was mercilessly left in the hands of journalists and the likes of Best Motoring back in the days. Nothing major, but it surely got patina (along with a cracked side skirt on the left side).

Quick look at the S1 engine for R35 which performance-wise sits below the GT-R Nismo and above the latest MY17 revised version.

And this is a special one too: hand-built by the legendary and now retired Nismo’s longest serving engine mechanic, Kosaka-san. I feel super lucky that he built the engine of my GT-R as one of his final works.

A bit over one hour later Ochiai-san emerged from the workshop with the keys of my car. This time they handed me a slightly bigger check as the service included Motul Competiton Oil for the engine, transmission and differential, plus a new air filter. 

I also had a chance to see my GT-R which is still parked in the service area. The front splitter now looks brand new and even glossier than before! The paint shop also added a little extra (free of charge, too!) that I didn’t expect and I can’t wait to take the final photos. As for my new parts, good news: yes, they are finally in production! The bad new are that it will take longer than expected and will probably be ready after Golden Week.

I then stopped by Aki’s to deliver him a quotation that I got on his behalf on some new parts he’s collecting for his BCNR33. We all wondered why he didn’t bother to either text the guys himself or even drive over since he lives only 20 minutes away from Nismo, but he was clearly too busy playing in his brand new man-cave. How lazy is that? At least he made me some coffee this time.

He then proceeded to show off his collection of memorabilia and (it pains me to admit it) rightly so. The old man has an endless stash of catalogues, books, rare pamphlets and mini-cars of which normal people like us ignore the existence of. Not only most of them are in brand new condition, but he owns doubles, too.

But wait! Why does Mr. BCNR33 own a Best Motoring special Z-tune DVD? And is that a R34 miniature in the background? Mmh, so much for bashing our beloved car, but looks like somebody might be secretly a fan...

After helping him move some stuff around I took off as I had a dinner appointment. And yes, as you can imagine I “borrowed” the Z-tune DVD for, well, research purposes. I think it looks better in my collection. 

Until next time.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Memories

Time flies! Just one year ago today my BNR34 was undergoing final testing and pre-delivery inspection at Nismo. In times like this it’s good to be able to look back and reminiscence the process through photos and documents.

Today, for some added nostalgia, I also brought out some of the memorabilia I collected during the several months it took to spec and build the car.

Back then, some people asked what happened to my original Nür engine. This photo might give you some clues.

Finally, one of most precious pieces hides in this little box, but this is a story for another post...

I then spent the rest of the morning cleaning up some of the other items I have in storage and took some more photos along the way.

Until next time.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Staying Home

I hope everybody is well during these trying times. Japan seems to be doing slightly better than most countries, but needless to say things have slowed down considerably over the past couple of weeks. Like many of you I have been staying at home most of the time, keeping myself busy with my favorite pastimes.

Besides reading, watching vintage races and cooking, I also enjoyed some sakura close to my house. Parks and gatherings are obviously off limits, but I am lucky that there are quite a few trees just behind my apartment. 

I also thought this could be a good time to organize my memorabilia and miniature models that I have collected over the years. When all ready it might make for an interesting post.

Speaking of posts, I have a couple of backlog ones that I should be able to publish soon, plus another visit to Omori Factory this weekend to check out the GT-R and service the Fairlady, and maybe even see some of the special cars they have in the shop at the moment. 

Hopefully we will all be able to return to our normal lives pretty soon. Stay healthy and stay safe!

Until next time.