May 26, 2005
●Amuse Carbon-R + Shop
This lightweight carbon R34 GTR was the hottest car of 2004. A custom machine that was initially going to be a street car but turned out to be a full on race car. Weighing around 1100Kg and with over 600PS powering the rear wheels (yes, just the rear ones!) this is a impressive machine. More development has been carried out on this car so expect to see more of it in the future.
Notice how the whole section ahead of the upper mounts has been cut away, re-fabricated in carbon and elongated to provide better cooling and aerodynamics. Hard to miss the titanium I/C piping which has been kept short for best throttle response.
The mother or all straight through exhausts! Too cool for school!
Tanabe san on the Dynapack
350Z titanium exhaust.
One of the latest Amuse products. Titanium springs (for S2000). And you thought only Ferrari and McLaren owners could ever brag about things like this...Pfft;-)
The one on the left is an Amuse weld. Notice how much cleaner it is. Absolutely smooth on the inside too for best flow.
●Amuse S2000 GT1
You've probably played with it on Gran Turismo 4, but this is no GC car, this is the real deal, the Power House Amuse S2000 GT1. Well actually the car you see here is not the demo car they are building, that wont be ready before the end of the year, but a customer car.
Spend a few minutes in the company of Mr. Tanabe and you quickly understand how things are done at Amuse. Carbon and Titanium are the materials of choice for this company which has built a reputation for creating the highest quality exhaust systems. But more about that later. The S2000 GT1's carbon kit is simply awesome out on the road. It has so much road presence it can't be put into words. It would certainly be hard to better these looks!
The pearl white of this car was perfect to show off the lines Tanabe-san shaped himself. As with every Amuse car the wheels of choice could have only been Volk Racing CE28N, a superb choice if I do say so myslef;-)
But for how pretty this S2000 GT1 is everyone is waiting for the proper demo car to be finished. We hope to see this car at the Tsukuba Super Lap Battle at the end of the year! As you can see the F20 engine is all finished up, features JUN internals (stock 87mm pistons, JUN rods & crank) for a capacity of 2259 cc while the compression ratio has been decreased to 8.8:1 to accommodate the rather mean looking HKS GT3240 turbo you see sprouting out of one side (note the custom manifold)!
To cope with all the power (some 550PS) the S2000 running gear had to be binned and replaced with BNR34 GTR rear member + diff case & drive shafts. Couple this to an HKS sequential and a serious weight reduction and you have a devastatingly fast track car. Can't wait to see this at Tsukuba....
[Thanks @ Lorenzo for the pic:-)]
Many thanks to Tanabe-san for giving up a lot of his day to accommodate the photoshoot.
May 23, 2005
●DIY pen holder
Take one piston (in this case a Honda B18 piston, 81mm). Wash off all the crusty deposits off and you should end up with something like this:
Get some sand paper and start smoothing off the rough cast surfaces and markings. Polish with an aluminium polishing paste and you should end up with something like this:
You really need a Dremel to get into the hard to reach places but I think the result is ok considering it was all done by hand. Anyway it's a very nice pen holder:
...or if you want to see your hard work you can always just use it as a paper weight or something nice to look at
May 21, 2005
●Night time fun
Finally got round to trying out my new camera mount on the GTR. Still not quite happy with the results, will be trying some lower/wider positions in order to get more of the car in the frame. Next thing to do is to attempt such shots during day time for a slightly different effect.
May 13, 2005
Stopped by Spoon Sports' Type One Garage (http://www.spoon.jp/ & http://www.typeone.jp/) to check out their workshop where development continues of their latest and weirdest demo car, the KB1 Honda Legend. You might think it's strange to dedicate time to a luxury saloon but this Legend is actually a stripped out (-450Kg!) race car that will be participating in the US Touring Car Championship in the future as well as next year's Nurbugring 24h race. Since the car is not on sale in Europe it hasn't really caught anyone's attention yet but this is the first production car in the world to be fitted with a torque vectoring system (SH-AWD in Honda talk). Only other cars currently using such technology are in the WRC! Spoon have now fitted a Bosh dual clutch gearbox and are continuing development on the 300PS 3.5L V6 powered touring car.
The workshop, set on two floors (cars are brought into the main area on the second floor by an elevator), is testament to their work ethic. Clean and organized you would think they build F1 cars here, a complete opposite to most of the tuning shops here in Japan.
Their Super Taikyu S2000 racer neatly sits in an elevated display position in a dark corner...
Take a look at this 4-2-1 manifold for the S2000...looks even more impressive from the inside!
One of the coolest cars there!
●Step up in performance
Well it was inevitable that I would need to upgrade my desktop soon. What with my poor 500MHz G4 Cube struggling to keep up with the weekly 1000+ photos I throw at it. So as soon as the G5 iMac was updated last week I put my order in. A few days later a big box showed up on my doorstep
Being a total Mac addict I can't stop myself looking at the sheer elegance and simplicity of the iMac's design. And with 2GHz of G5 processing speed and 1Gb or RAM it takes everything I throw at it. In fact it has cut down the time it takes me to sort through pictures by almost half, Photoshop has become a joy to use rather than an exercise in patience and the 20 inch screen (1680x1050) is just a bonus to say the least.
But I can't bring myself to eliminate the Cube quite yet. I will use it for the odd job as it's still a good computer. In almost 5 years of use it has never let me down.
Side by side
May 11, 2005
●JUN Auto Mechanic Lancer Evolution 9 RS
Back at JUN Auto Mechanic (http://www.junauto.co.jp/) to check out and test drive their latest demo car, the brand new Lancer Evolution 9. I have much respect for this company, they make some of the most sought after products in the tuning market and are always working on brand new projects keeping them well ahead in this game. That's without mentioning their successes in everything ranging from high speed runs to track battles. This new Evo 9 has just completed it's first stage of tuning that has yielded some impressive results. 412PS at 6,900rpm and a massive 51.5kgm at a very handy 4,400rpm. As Koyama-san explains their goal for this "stage-1" set-up is to run a 1 minute lap at Tsukuba, something that they will no doubt achieve. Based on the lightweight RS model this 9 runs the titanium/magnesium turbine...at some serious boost pressure. In fact the power run on their Bosh dyno was done at 1.8 km/cm2 (falling back to 1.4kg/cm2 as rpm rises) which is pretty much the max it can take. Out on the road this Evo hits you with seriously explosive mid-range torque, the MIVEC no doubt playing a small part in such smooth and constant delivery. Suspension is courtesy of ZEAL and feels excellent out on the road even if set up for Fuji Speedway! Thanks to some very aggressive camber and sticky A048 S-tyres the turn-in and grip are both superb. But during my short test drive what really got my attention was the Endless brake set-up. WOW! I've always had a thing for good brakes and the Endless kit (6-pot front & 4-pot rear) really is top notch. Most importantly it's very balanced shedding speed at such an alarming rate you really must make sure you check the rear view mirror to make sure traffic is not too close! Great car and as with every JUN machine you can expect some serious results.
Special thanks to Koyama-san for giving up his precious time for the day.
May 09, 2005
Well following the oil change my friendly Nissan Red Stage dealer did I discovered a nice puddle of oil under the car. Problem was a poorly fitted oil filter which allowed a bit of oil to spill out in the week the car wasn't used. Thousands pardons and apologies later the car was picked up and returned the same day.
Had them change some belts too thinking they were the cause of a strange squeaking noise when turning the car on from cold. New belts are now on but the noise is still there...dealer says its the starter motor...strange thing to happen to a 6 years old car. Ok so it sits outside the whole time...some corrosion has probably occurred but the noise still disappears when cold. Almost 60,000 Yen to change the starter motor...will get a second opinion. Has anyone had this problem before?
May 08, 2005
●D1-GP Round 3, Sugo
And the D1 Grand Prix continues. With Ueo securing a surprising win at Odaiba the big boys wanted to get right back on track at Sugo. And that's just what happened as Kasama took his second win of the 2005 season by beating an emotional Nomuken in the final. I, like many, didn't think much of the judging at this round. With drivers like Kumakubo in his JUN Impreza, Kawabata in the Trust S15 and Suenaga in the RE-Amemiya FD putting on amazing shows of skill, physics defying angles and tons of smoke, it's very strange they didn't make it through. Tsuchiya's and Suzuki's eyesight must be getting worse;-) Disappointing run again from Orido in his RS-R Supra.
Got to ride with Ueo in his AE86....Jesus these guys are good! They make it look so easy it's unbelievable. He was happy to show me that he can drift at top speed in 5th gear along the straights...all I could do was grin like an idiot and enjoy the ride! Too bad it was over so quickly!
May 01, 2005
●Time for an oil change...
Car hit 34,000km this week so time for the 5000km oil change. Using Nismo Veruspeed 10W-60 again which I picked up at Nismo Omori Factory last week (special thanks to Nismo Staff for opening up after hours for me, much appreciated).