The Joys of Driving by Kristoffer Friberg

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s2k-near-schueren

Growing up on the East Coast, I hadn’t spent much time near the ocean.  Minus the occasional trips to Coney Island or my vacations in South Florida, I can count the number of trips to the ocean I’ve hand on two hands.  So naturally, when I moved out to Cali to work at BP, I started spending many of my free weekends on the west side of LA just to be near the Pacific.  (now how this relates to cars)

PCH

Throughout my life, I’ve heard all about the SoCal car experience – traffic, the best tuning shops around, high gas prices and more traffic.  Of course, I always wondered how people could tolerate having modified cars, while spending more than half their time driving on freeways and sitting in bumper to bumper in traffic (as it is now, I spend, on average, an hour in said traffic on the way to work everyday).  I had heard of the legendary Muholland Highway, and of course the canyon roads in Malibu with their spectacular views of the Pacific and amazing curves, so when I got out here and started driving, I knew where I had to go.

malibu-canyonsresized

At this point, I’ve been to the canyons a few times (including one faithful trip that ended up with Ben’s S2K on a flatbed ride home), but I hadn’t taken the time to really appreciate the experience fully.  This past Labor Day weekend, I took a trip up to Malibu to hit the beach with my girl, but before we laid out, I had to scratch the itch and take a drive up in the canyons to see the beautiful view and have a little fun driving (safely, of course).  I stopped along the way and snapped a few photos at what has become my favorite spot for viewing the mountains and the Pacific ocean in their full glory.

the-spot-on-rambla-pacifico

The point of all this is, we’re all car guys and of course we love driving, but I feel like a lot of the enjoyment gets lost for those of us that are too busy with life, or live where freeways are essentially parking lots.  I think my message here is that it’s important to take some time every now and then and take a little trip somewhere where you can really take it all in, be one with your car, and love the experience of driving…and life.

s2k-near-schueren2

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The 2012 GT-R: A Tuner’s Perspective by Kristoffer Friberg

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2012 GT-R Black and Blue

Today ended up being a major day for GT-R fans worldwide as a comprehensive amount of new information went public about the refreshed 2012 GT-R.  Since everybody’s probably already seen all the nitty-gritty details, and I’m going to be discussing the car from an aftermarket perspective, I’ll just give a basic recap… Some of the predicted improvements include upgraded suspension, brakes, overall fit and finish, and of course more power.  However, perhaps the biggest highlights were the ones that came as a complete surprise, like the new, even lighter-weight Rays wheels (saving over 6lbs total unsprung weight) and the amazing, new 2WD mode that allows the GT-R to finally be driven in full RWD (can anybody say, ‘drifting’)!!

2012 R35 GT-R Nordschliefe

For the last year or so, many people were speculating that Nissan would only do minor updates to the exterior of the car; with the changes merely evolving the look, but not improving it much.  However, I personally was surprised to see that the changes the front fascia alone have drastically improved the look of the car (giving it a little more class in the process).  The rear under spoiler has been completely changed as well, with added side vents and a center diffuser that features an F1-style LED lamp.

2012 R35 GT-R Rear

From a tuning perspective, I think this new GT-R will have a big influence on current R35 owners.  From the reactions I’ve seen so far, it seems like the new exterior parts, carbon interior pieces, improved suspension and ultra light-weight wheels are all desirable upgrades.  Being in the aftermarket industry, I’m personally wondering just how many of the the newer parts will be a straight swap with 2008-11 GT-Rs. For example, while wheels are an obviously easy swap, retrofitting the new RWD only computer settings may prove to be a much more involved job.

Undoubtedly it will be interesting to see people start “upgrading/tuning” their first generation R35 GT-Rs with the some of the newer OEM parts (just like owners in the past have done with S13 and S14 Silvias, R32 and R33 GT-Rs, FD RX-7s, and Toyota Supras).  Conversely, it’ll also be interesting to see how creative owners can get with modifying the new GT-R, and how the car can be improved with already existing aftermarket parts (and which parts are compatible).

There’s always room for improvement over stock; which can even be said of Nissan’s “OEM perfect” SpecV GT-R (I’ve seen it already firsthand, as several of our customers have even gone as far as doing full motor builds on these ultra-rare toys).  With that said, I’m excited to see what kind of tuning potential this updated GT-R has when it finally goes on sale next Spring!

Credit goes to GT-R Blog for the tech info on the car.

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You Can’t Have It – Japan Innovates Again and We Lose

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In the past, Japan has typically been perceived as a bit ahead of the game with respect to technology. However, in the last few years the US has been closing the gap, and most people would argue that currently, we’re pretty much on par.
However, today I was paging through the newest issue of Option (their 400th!!), and ran into the new Defi Sport NV!

Defi snv-trial0-100goal

The Defi Sport NV is by far the coolest, most feature-packed portable navigation system ever!!

The main features include:

A set of electronic gauges with analog and digital modes with peak warning settings:
• Tachometer with 5,000/7,000/9,000/11,000rpm adjustable scale and a shift light
• Speed meter that reads up to 400km/h (250mph)!!
• Voltmeter
• Trip meter
• Average speed

Trial mode:
• Road course maps
• Data Logging which can be saved via a micro SD card slot
• 0-100km/h (60mph) times
• 0-400m (1/4mi) times
• Analytics

snv-trialcourse8

GPS Navigation

snv-switching

1seg – Japan’s mobile digital audio/video and data broadcasting service that many commuters in Japan typically utilize via their cell-phones to watch TV on the go. (Super cool or as the Japanese say kakoii!!!)

Media Player that allows playback of picture, movies and music via downloadable data and via a micro SD card

The most interesting aspect of the Sport NV is “Eco Mode.” It’s essentially a series of “gauges” that track driving habits like how many times the engine is turned on and off, engine idling time, and average speed. It then uses these times to calculate a score via a special points system.

The electronic gauges can also be viewed like this:

snv-meter-c-eco

It’s what I call “edamame mode;” a little soybean pod that uses each round bean as incremental counters for each “eco level.” It kinda works like the little “Smart Gauge” that Ford has on their hybrids, where the more carefully you drive (read consistently low RPM), the more the bean pod grows. The worse you drive, the worse the sky background gets, and the edamame withers.

There’s also a tree version of this mode that works similarly, but for idling duration. The Smart NV automatically switches over to this mode when the engine sits idling for 10 seconds. The longer you idle, the worse the sky looks, and the more leaves disappear from the tree:

snv-ecoidling1snv-ecoidling2

The Smart NV is definitely the best, and only (that I know of) option for those enthusiasts that also care to stay on the green side of things when they’re not hot-rodding it.

Unfortunately, as has been traditionally the case with cool Japanese electronics, there are no plans to sell the Sport NV outside of the land of the rising sun… Which is really sad indeed because if they were sold in North America, I’d buy one of these babies in a second!!!

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