Progress Bar R32 Part 19: (Almost) Finishing Touches
As I mentioned in the last Progress Bar post my Nismo R32 is headed westward to make its car show debut at Japanese Classic Car Show 2023 in Long Beach. With the show just a few days away you normally would expect that anyone planning to bring a car to display would have everything ready well in advance but you and I know how human nature works and no project car is ever truly done. And that's why the past few weeks I've been running around making arrangements for the trip and also making some last minute additions and little upgrades to the car.
So here's how she looks right now. Apologies for the rushed and not very creative photo but I didn't have any real time to do a proper photoshoot so these shots will have to do. I think she looks quite spiffy (people still use that word, right?) for a car that's been taken apart more times than the DC Cinematic Universe.
What's different you might ask since the last update (which wasn't too long ago)? Well, for one thing I added a few more stickers, cause everyone knows they add horsepower. If the yuge stripes, big logo on the intercooler, branded license plate frame, and vintage decal on the trunklid weren't enough to tell people I freely partake of the Nismo Kool-Aid then a couple more Nismo stickers on the hood and both rear fenders should further reinforce that I'm a lost cause.
But it wasn't just Nissan Motorsports getting some loving since I had to acknowledge the huge help Black Market Racing was to getting this car to where it is now. If they hadn't committed to this big, timeframe-uncertain project years ago when it was mostly torn apart, had a brand-new untested engine, and a turbo kit that had to be fitted and fettled this particular R32 would probably be busy attracting rust in some warehouse somewhere. Jeremy Thompson and his crew up there in Phoenix deserve massive kudos for their help over the years and a couple of their shop stickers on the rear quarter windows aren't quite enough acknowledgement of their part in the saga. There is something else on the car though to show my appreciation...
That carbon cooling panel is one part I've been looking to install for so long, not just because it cleans up the engine bay a bit more but because it has signatures from so many people that have been a big help through the ups and downs of my R32 ownership. The people there range from invaluable personal friends to the gang at Black Market to DSport Magazine's editor-in-chief Mike Ferrara whose sage advice and important contacts were a key part to the build. Unfortunately some people like my friend Dan Weisshar, who first tackled the restoration, and Brett Mayes, the former manager of Full Race Engineering that supplied and gave me a good deal on the turbo kit, couldn't sign it before the show but their contribution was no less valuable.
The cooling panel wasn't the only bit of carbon fiber froo-froo I decided to add at the last minute though.
I've had this Superior Auto carbon fiber center console overlay for forever now but was never satisfied with it. I thought since it was an overly it would be a good way to save the cracked OEM trim panel from the trash heap. Unfortunately the curvature of the overlay wasn't quite right and it started separating from the OEM panel practically as soon as I attached it. I thought about having CF-look wrap applied to a spare OEM panel I had but took a chance on a complete replacement panel from China. There was no brand to it and most people know that sort of thing from China is very hit or miss quality-wise, but it looked good in the photos so I paid for it and waited anxiously for it to arrive. When it did, I dreaded opening the box and steeled myself for some crappy, cheaply-done piece. I was very pleasantly surprised though to find a product that blew the Japan-sourced Superior Auto piece totally away.
Here you can see the old panel with the Superior Auto overlay on the left, the no-name China one in the middle, and a spare untouched OEM panel on the right. If it's not immediately obvious how much better applied the carbon is on the China part is then look at the section just above the cigarette lighter socket on both carbon fiber pieces. You'll see the weave of the carbon on the Japan-sourced piece is very poorly laid and wavy while the one on the Chinese part is very straight even where it curves or dips. The gelcoat is also thick and lustrous on the Chinese piece and smacks of quality work that makes the Superior Auto part look like it was made on a Friday...after the guy pulled three all-nighters in a row...and drank two huge bottles of sake before starting...
The Superior Auto piece wasn't totally useless though since it did supply a carbon cover for the ashtray while the Chinese piece didn't. Without that the black plastic of the ashtray would have stuck out like a donk at an SCCA track day. Needless to say I'm overjoyed with my shiny new center console trim and it goes great with the other CF bits in the interior like the Nismo shift knob.
One final little addition to the car goes back to the Nismo theme because I added these customized center caps to my Volk TE37SL wheels.
If you're familiar with the TE37SL you'll know that it was supposed to be Volk's ultimate "because racecar" iteration of the classic TE37 with everything done to make them lighter including not allowing for them to have center caps. Yes, we all know 99% of these wheels will be on street cars but tell that to Rays Engineering. Anyway, Rays apparently realized they were losing out on that sweet center cap money so they later came out with center cap adapters but sadly the axle nuts on the R32 poke out quite a bit and the typical flat Volk center caps didn't fit. I couldn't find raised Volk caps that I liked the look of in time for the show so I decided to adapt some generic plastic caps and add some pizzazz with Nismo stickers sourced from eBay. Yeah, it's not an official Nismo part but I think they look good for how cheap they were and they look way better than seeing a rusty axle nut poking out.
While were talking about the wheels, baby also had to get some new shoes since the Michelins had seen better days, so now she sits on some fresh Yokohamas as you can see in the picture with the center caps. Yokohama also happens to be the official tire sponsor of JCCS so maybe that'll work in my favor at the show. Yeah, I'm grasping at straws here, I know.
And that sums up the latest round of work on the car to get her ready for her big debut. There's still tons of other preparations for me to do like making sure my friends who are coming are good to go, the hotel is squared away, getting my sign board ready, etc. etc. but everything should be good by this Saturday so if you're reading this I hope you can make it out to JCCS too! If you are there, please stop by and say hello! Until after the show, drive safe everybody!