Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shinichiro Sakurai (1929 - 2011) : Father of the Nissan Skyline passes away

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Shinichiro Sakurai.

One of the disciples of this great man, Kozo Watanabe, was the Chief Designer of the R33 GT-R project. More importantly, Dr. Shinichiro was the inspiration behind the RB26DETT, as it was his idea to install a straight six engine into an elongated chassis, thus giving birth to the GTR legend that we know and love today.

Here is a great tribute by Japanese Nostalgic Car on the late Dr. Shinichiro, who will greatly be missed:

Shinichiro Sakurai, Father of the Skyline, 1929-2011

On January 17, 2011 in the quiet Tokyo suburb of Setagaya, Shinichiro Sakurai, the father of the Nissan Skyline, passed away due to heart failure at the age of 81. Every major newspaper and reporting agency in Japan ran a story about the man’s life. Otherwise gruff auto enthusiasts wept openly. This outpouring of emotion and respect for a simple engineer is proof that Sakurai’s creation not only had an immense impact on the motoring community, but the average Japanese citizen too.

A graduate of Yokohama National University, he went to work for Prince Motor Company in 1952 where he helped develop the Skyline. Sakurai is called “Father of the Skyline” for dropping a straight six into an elongated body, thus transforming a standard sedan into the GT race machine that we associate with the name today, one of the most lasting legacies in auto-dom.

After the tumultuous Prince and Nissan merger in 1966, Sakruai stayed on to develop the Skyline, a name revered enough that he was given carte blanche from the bosses at Nissan. Sakruai worked on the Skyline for 32 years, developing the legendary hakosuka, culture-defining kenmeri, patriotic Japan, all the way to the seventh generation R31.

In 1985 Sakurai became head of Autech Engineering, Nissan’s in-house tuning arm. Sakurai was also the honorary director of the Skyline Museum and was inducted in to the Japan Automobile Hall of Fame in 2005. In addition to the Skyline, Sakurai worked on the C31 Laurel and a number of purpose-built race machines such as the Prince R380 and R381, and later on, the Nissan R382 and R383.

It’s hard to imagine an engineer’s passing eliciting such a powerful response from the public, but that’s just how much the Skyline is part of Japan’s national identity. It came into being during an era when Japan was still finding its footing in the age of modernization. Sakurai’s Skyline became a symbol of a nation’s technological prowess and love for the open road. It’s been in continuous production for over half a century, and its enduring spirit has allowed word of its legend to spread the world over, transcending borders where the car wasn’t even available. Rest in peace, Sakurai-san.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New mods have arrived from Japan

Thanks to the folks at neweraparts, I've received some goodies that I ordered in late 2010. 

They are as follows:
  • D-Speed Indicators - R33 Skyline GTR - Clear
  • HKS Special Piping Kit for GTR
  • HKS Racing Chamber Kit
  • Tomei Oil Filler Cap
  • Billion Super Solid Coolant Line
  • Border Bumper Side Duct for R33 GTR
  • Nismo Racing Radiator Cap
Since the items were delivered via airfreight, I had to collect the shipment at Pos Malaysia's Mail & Courier Centre, which is located next to our Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). I also had to pay tax but thats a story for another day ;).

The conveyor belt at the Pos Malaysia centre - this is where you physically receive your package - I wonder what goodies like beyond this particular portal ;)

The part that stands out from this particular shipment has to be the Border Racing Bumper Side Duct for BCNR33:

The BNR33 GTR Side Duct set from Border Racing is an elegant design that suits the OEM Bumper.
When oil coolers are installed in the front side of the bumper, more airflow is required. These Border Racing ducts can offer greater airflow capacity when oil coolers are set in the side vents of the front bumper. It uses the OEM front turn signal in the duct and looks great in place of the original mount.

All part of a grand plan to turn my car into something like this Australian beauty. Go Victorian BCNR33s!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Day In The Life Of A Italian Model

I'm not sure if anyone knows this but the R33 GTR isn't my first project car. That honour belongs to my 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 Bertone.

So anyway, a friend from the Italia Auto Club of Malaysia informed me that he was organising a car calendar (complete with Nicole Mok, a local model) featuring only Italian cars. From timeless classics, right up to modern day bellas. In order to see if such a project was feasible, he wanted to hold a trial run. And that is how this photoshoot came about. I'm up for anything related to cars, so how could I say no to a fellow motoring enthusiast?

The shoot took place at Jemima Films on Jalan Tun Razak. This Kuala Lumpur landmark is home to a large collection of classic cars which are mainly used for movies and weddings. There were some temporary additions to the collection as five cars rolled through it's gates on the day of the shoot - my GTV, an Alfa Romeo Mito, an Alfa Romeo 155, a Fiat Bravo GT & a Fiat Turbo 20V Coupe. To our surprise, a bright yellow Ferrari Dino from the Jemima collection was also included and this old classic supercar was duly rolled onto the set. It was missing its engine at the time you see, so everyone pitched in and helped push the Italian stallion into position. Hard work but it was all worth it.

The Italians


 The model

The rig

The photographers

And lastly, here's a taste of whats to come ;)

The people who made it happen...

... and heres proof of it! Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's Amazing What You Can Find In Half Cut Yards These Days

A Nissan R33 Skyline GTR Rear Half Cut (I purchased this by the way)

A Fiat Turbo 20V Coupe Rear Half Cut

 A Volkswagen Jetta Rear Half Cut

 An Alfa Romeo 155 Rear Half Cut

A Peugeot 206 CC Cabriolet Rear Half Cut

A BMW E46 Coupe Rear Half Cut (not sure what model but it's rear bumper might have housed quad exhaust tips ala M3)

 The E46 Rear Half Cut Had Aragosta Suspension Rear Shocks!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dyno'ed the R33 GTR - Dyno Sheet, Pictures & Videos Included

Dyno'ed the R33 GTR at N1 Racing's Dynojet rig on the 8th of January 2011.

For a 13 year old car with her stock RB26DETT internals and turbos, shes putting out approximately 347.25 whp and 42.68 torque at the wheel. The car was pushing 1.25 bar of boost at 7500 rpm. 

The only performance mods that she had on were:

- Kakimoto Racing Full Mega N1 exhaust
 - Trust downpipe
 - HKS oil cooler
 - Custom de-cat pipe
 - Custom intercooler
 - Apexi induction kit
 - Apexi PFC with boost control

Quite happy with the dyno results. Here are some pics and vids I took of the car while it was being dynoed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

R33 GTR Upgrade: Kakimoto Racing Full Mega N1

I initially had gone with a HKS Super Drager exhaust setup but found it to be lacking in the sound department. It was installed while I was out of town in December 2010. This entry was actually supposed to be about the HKS system but lets face it, aftermarket exhausts are meant to straddle a fine line between satisfying legal sound decibel standards in countries like Japan, while at same time, meeting car owner expectations. Its a compromise and honestly, nobody likes to compromise unless they really have to.

As for some, exhaust note is a non-issue but for me, its paramount. The R33 GTR is meant to be a fun weekend car. Exhaust note is crucial to the enjoyment of the Skyline as my daily cars are well mannered and refined. So yesterday, I was on a quest to find a suitable replacement to replace the HKS exhaust. 

Which brings us to Mun Lee Autoparts, probably one of the biggest sparepart and halfcut vendor in the Klang Valley area.

 Mun Lee's Puchong warehouse - mind boggling

I actually went to Mun Lee because my personal mechanic said that there was likelihood of finding at least something in that bazaar of automotive parts. And there was. A used Kakimoto Racing Full Mega N1 exhaust set had just arrived from Japan a few days ago via container. It looked in good condition and I purchased it. Why? According to this thread on, Kakimoto N1s are known to be louder than other aftermarket exhausts and their website actually rates the N1 at 93db. Nice! Just what I was looking for. With prize in hand (or in boot rather), I made my way to an exhaust shop that I've frequented in the past.

 The N1 being fitted

Upon reaching the Segambut workshop, the car was promptly hoisted up and the exhaust lined up for fitting. I decided to forgo the mid box (no catalytic convertor either) as I wanted a straight flow setup for power. It was my hope too that this arrangement would also generate a rip roaring exhaust note. I hope everyone realises that I was taking a big risk here because I wasn't sure as to whether such a setup would produce a good sound. At the same time, I was concerned that there might be severe in-cabin droning! 

 One weld had to be done to complete the straight flow setup

Once the smell of welded steel had dissipated, came the moment of the truth. The hoist was brought down and the engine started. Couple of revs later and I was a satisfied customer. The exhaust note was deep throated enough to put hair on a full grown man's chest! No droning too! 

First impressions upon sitting inside the car made me reconsider this setup as it sounded a tad bit too loud but after driving it around, I came to realise that I needed to get used to the new sound. The HKS Super Drager was that subdued! Each to his own, as others love the HKS exhaust. Well, I love my Kakimoto Racing Full Mega N1 :). Will post up a video of the exhaust sometime in the near future.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Movies Worth Watching - "The Town"

Watched "The Town" on the plane recently. Starring and directed by Ben Afleck with "Hurt Locker's" star, Jeremy Renner, in a supporting role. Blake Lively of "Gossip Girl" fame is here as well and she definitely is trying to not get typecasted by playing a gritty role - good effort.

The movie is about a rough Irish-American neighourbood in Boston called Charlestowne, which is infamous for producing the most number of bank and armored car robbers the country. Sort of like a father and son tradition. Typical Ben Affleck stuff, being that he is from this fair city. Gotta love the thick Boston accent.

Great acting with romance and fast paced action, sort of like a newer version of "Heat" (Val Kilmer, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino). Very American gangland genre. Worth watching.

**** ½ (I'll give it four and a half stars) =D>

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

R33 GTR Progress Update - Apexi Power FC Commander & Hand Controller Time!

Back in KL after a long hiatus.

The car has reached a stage where nearly all outside-the-engine upgrades have been carried out. The last work that was done to the car was to replace the oil and water pumps, followed by all the timing belts. The Greddy Oil Cooler (with relocation kit) was also installed during this time. Further soundproofing and sealant work was done throughout the car to remove some annoying rattles. Lastly, the gearshift and handbrake leather trims (gaiter / boots) were also changed as they were getting pretty worn out:

So whats next? Well, its time to install the Apexi Power FC and Hand Controller unit. That means the E-Manage that came with the car will have to go. 

 Apexi Power FC (ECU)
 Hand Controller 

Now the question is, should I mount it on the dashboard with velcro or keep it hidden in the glove compartment? Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Save The Ring!

Save the ring! Its one of those online petitions thing but it only takes 30 seconds and its to rescue one of the world's most well known race circuit! 

From 2007 - 2009 the German government built a huge Leisure Park at the Nürburgring. It is based on fake visitor numbers, over sized and badly executed. Most of the time it is an empty ghost town. Once promised as private investment, it is now based on a debt of 350+ million EUR public money.

Instead of pulling the plug they rented the park, including both race tracks to exactly the same privateers who were driving forces behind the Leisure Park's initial private setup.

Without Racing experience they are since experimenting with events completely unrelated to Motor-sport all under the iconic "Nürburgring" brand name.

They now want Nordschleife to pay for the huge losses. Tourist drives are at a record high, plus a 5 times increase in rent for the automotive industry for their prototype testing sessions.

What Needs To Be Done?

  • Separate Nordschleife from ring°park.
  • Let Nürburgring be Motor-sport.
  • Value the great heritage and tradition, rather than Roller Coasters.
  • Let the Ring be run by Motor-sport experts.

Sign the petition here:

To learn more, refer to this Jalopnik entry: