Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Made in Japan

I haven’t done much driving since my last outing to Hakone in November, but few days ago it just felt the right time to let the CRS stretch its legs for a few laps around Tokyo bay.

Crisp winter skies, cooler, thick air feeding the turbos and those magic couple of hours before the sun sets over the city are the perfect recipe for a fun afternoon with my all time favorite car.

It’s been a bit over one year since it was completed and every single time it delivers the same thrill as the day I picked it up at Omori Factory. To think that 20 years ago I had a 1:43 scale model of a Bayside Blue R34 in my room in Italy and now I get to drive this thing in Tokyo still blows my mind a bit to be honest. I guess that’s further validation that I really did buy my dream car, but it’s crazy how life goes sometimes.

It’s interesting how everything is amplified, yet still retains the original BNR34 feeling. Engine and brakes power are obviously the most immediate upgrades one would notice, but when driving at speeds that won’t get you in trouble with the authorities the sharpness of the chassis is what gets me the most.

The Öhlins DFV and revised arms geometry (especially at the front), the chassis/strut bracing, stiffer bushes and mounts combined with the ultra-low Recaro bucket seats and 340mm steering wheel make the 34 feel so nimble and responsive, yet still has that GT feeling that you would expect from a car that, all trickery aside, is not light by any means. 

Talking with the guys at Nismo and attending the track lessons go hand in hand with becoming a better driver and learning how to appreciate the car at a deeper level, but sometimes, especially after a year like 2020, all you want to do is just drive, park and enjoy the view with a cup of coffee in your hand. 

Obviously this is not a car I drive too often, but if I had to make an analogy I would compare it to visiting my favorite sushi restaurant: one of those places with no menu, hidden in an alley in Gaienmae, serving nigiri pieces that look like jewelry pieces. As incredible of an experience it’s not something you’d want to do every week, but every time it really is an occasion. 

In the same way, the wait, the prepping on drive-day, the tinkering, the visits to the factory and chats with the guys, all come together when you are behind the wheel. I can’t wait to send it back to the factory next spring to see how it’s holding up and find new ways to improve it.

Eventually, as I was lost in my thoughts, in typical Tatsumi PA fashion a Lamborghini owner decided to park his rather loud Aventador finished in Oro Elios alongside my GT-R.

The cars couldn’t be any more different (well, actually they’re both 4WD...), but we both thought they looked great next to each other and stopped to take a few photos of some of the best automotive craftsmanship that Japan and Italy have to offer.

With the sun almost completely gone we both started warming up our engines, getting ready to leave, when some very aggressive downshifts surprised us from behind and... 

One of forty Pagani Huyara BC Roadsters in the world just casually pulled up: yes, that’s Tatsumi Parking Area on a Sunday.

Last post for this year, thanks for stopping by today and see you in 2021!

Until next time.

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