Mid East Trip – Now That I’m Back Pt. 2

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Bulletproof Automotive Mid East Trip

Picking up where I left off…

The economy in Dubai has slowed down considerably during the global crisis of the past year. Just the difference in the past 4 months between my two trips differences can be noticed. As my friends in Dubai pointed out, the number of exotic cars on the street have reduced considerably. Many people were living beyond their means and speculating on real estate (no different than what happened in the US or elsewhere). As a result, now is a great time to be buying used high end cars in the UAE marketplace because there are a lot of cars on the market right now.

With that being said, those who are very talented at business, who have good savings strategies or who are just born into fortunate circumstances still enjoy the crazy car extremism that is already well documented on the internet. Most of my friends are talented in business, in an environment that is thriving. The mid east has had an earth shattering rate of growth over the past decade, those who were well positioned and took advantage of the growth have profited enormously.

So now we get to the point about the cars…Unfortunately most of what I would want to show you, I can not. The owners of the cars would like things to be anonymous in many cases. So I’ll just say that before this trip I had never seen a Gemballa Mirage GT (Carrera GT modified to a crazy level), and after the trip I have seen not one but two first hand that my friends own. Besides that, pretty much every car besides the Pagani Zonda I was able to check out in some form or another. Multiple Veyrons, a Reventon, an older Bugatti (EB110), etc. The EB110 was really special for me since I’ve never seen one before I doubt I will again…it was the last “real” Bugatti. before it became VW. I cant imagine the satisfaction of owning a EB110 and a Veyron in the same color. Truly there are some amazing car collections over there.

Bulletproof Automotive Mid East Trip

Above: I shrunk this down enough to show you a random shot when I was sitting with my friends at a villa in Dubai.

Bulletproof Automotive Mid East Trip

The shot above is at the largest Mercedes dealership in the world. And seriously, it was…I was grateful for a complete behind the scenes tour of the new facility which was cutting edge in every way. This was the separate service area for the Maybachs and SLRs. I feel like the world’s largest concentration of SLRs must be in the mid east. One of my friends even has two of them. Oh, and this Mercedes dealership has a 722 GT (the new race car) in their showroom. I dont think there are many (if any) other Mercedes dealerships that can say they have a 722 GT on their showroom floor. Most dealerships are still bragging about having one SL65 Black Series (this dealership I think had 4 or so of those).

In short, everything is bigger in the mid east. It is a culture with huge ambitions for business and one which is set on being the biggest and the best at whatever they build. With huge masterplanned cities going up seemingly overnight, their push into the future is not slowing down as much as the media might suggest (although it has slowed a bit). Places like Dubai who are not benefiting from oil money like other areas (like Saudi Arabia for example) are still reliant on innovation and entrepreneurship, two things that I personally love and enjoyed seeing out there.

Lastly – the intro picture is Ebrahim’s street Supra. Yes, his street car. His race car is way more nutty!  The turbo on this street car is so damn big he made a custom hood to work around it. For pics you can check out www.gt-rr.com and look under Ebrahim in the customer car gallery for some of his other rides too. Ebrahim has one of the cleanest/nicest personal workshops I’ve seen. All of his cars are super clean!

Next, I’d like to show you one of the coolest garages I’ve seen. That will be my last post on the trip coming soon.

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Customer Car – 4 Years Later, Oscar’s Supra

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I like looking back on projects to see if I still find them impressive years later. This project I still feel really proud of and I wanted to share it. I worked with my client Oscar to bring him some JDM tuning to his JZA80 Supra project. This car is the one and only Supra in North America with the Powerhouse Amuse single turbo setup. Amuse usually wont sell the turbo kit without doing the installation themselves, but being Amuse’s dealer (yes, even back then I was Amuse’s USA dealer) I pulled a favor to get a hold of this kit. Oscar went a little wild with the engine polishing and pink powdercoating, but I think the pink accents were actually kind of cool/unique.

The car uses the Amuse full exhaust in titanium as well, surrounded by a Top Secret rear diffuser and vortex generators. The aero kit we sourced from Japan as well from Border Racing. The car has all of the other usuals, ARC intercooler, Volk wheel, Project Mu brakes, Bride Seats, etc. Unfortuantely I was not contracted to do the wheels on this project or else I would have done the official top secret gold wheels with a proper offset for the car…instead we got some regular Rays gold finish in a more generic offset…but still, it looks good. Just not exactly the way I wanted on the wheels, but thats ok becuase Oscar loved the car in the end which is all that ever matters.

I’m not sure where the car is anymore. But it sure looks great years later.

Bulletproof Customer Car - Oscar’s JZA80 Supra

Bulletproof Customer Car - Oscar’s JZA80 SupraBulletproof Customer Car - Oscar’s JZA80 SupraBulletproof Customer Car - Oscar’s JZA80 SupraBulletproof Customer Car - Oscar’s JZA80 Supra

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Top Secret – Random Snap In Japan

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Top Secret has been sending me over a lot of pictures of their new GT-R parts which I’ve been diligently adding to the GT-RR.COM website.

(By the way, let me know what you guys think of their new side diffuser and rear diffuser spats…very Super GT inspired but possibly a controversial design and departure from usual Top Secret style!)

http://gt-rr.com/r35/manufacturer/top_secret

Try to break from GT-R overload on this blog (just for a second), I’m sharing this picture. This pic was taken the other day in Japan and it showcases two of my favorite Top Secret demo cars of all time. Both of course with crazy motor swaps, loads of power and massive top speed potential.

Top Secret’s Random Snap

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Rear Mounted Radiator Mod – Part 2

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Now onto the show and tell…

First off, I wanted to share with you a picture I happen to like a lot. I formatted it into 2400 res with no watermarks for anyone looking for a nice background image. There’s not much point of watermarking a photo of a car that already has my logos all over it. :)

Top Secret Nardo Supra V12

Now onto the rear mounted radiator in question:

Top Secret Nardo Supra V12

Above you can see just how they finished it off from the trunk view. Notice the carbon panel and the glass window. Just classy.

Top Secret Nardo Supra V12

That picture shows a better perspective.

Top Secret Nardo Supra V12

From underneath the car you can get a better idea.

Top Secret Nardo Supra V12

The rear profile is subtle with regards to this mod. All you see is a central located vent. Much like the same way they kept the fuel cooling fans subtle on the S15 D1 car with the rear bumper vents…sometimes vents just look cool, but sometimes they serve a real purpose like here.

Top Secret Nardo Supra V12

For those wondering about how they did the piping for this job, here’s an underside of the car view.

Top Secret Nardo Supra V12

Lastly this picture shows how they direct air to the rear mounted radiator. It is a good comparison photo between the gold race car and the white street car. If you notice, the rear side window is removed on the race car. You’ll also notice a duct in its place. Those ducts on both sides of the car are routed to feed air to the radiator. If you look inside those holes you’ll see ducting.

All of this leads me to a question – Of all the magazines that have featured this car, I don’t recall anyone talking much about this topic. I don’t know what that says about the audiences of magazines, but to me…it is details like this that make some of the best tuned cars in Japan fascinating.

One of these days I’ll post about one of the most impressive engineering designs Top Secret has ever done that nobody ever really has talked about… I just need to dig up the photos on my computer.

PS: I didn’t get a chance to talk about it, but most rear radiator mounted front engine cars have a hard time running the plumbing so they often run it through the inside of the cabin.  While OK for a race car, its a terrible idea for a street car. Top Secret is one of the very few I’ve seen that kept all of that mess out of the interior, yet another great way to keep the car easy to drive daily and street legal.

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Rear Mounted Radiator Mod – An example of the cleanest execution

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So yesterday I introduced a hardcore picture of a track R32 GT-R that uses a rear mounted radiator. Today I’ll talk more on it and also show you what I feel is the cleanest example of that modification, as done on the Top Secret Final Evolution Supra AKA the Nardo Supra.

Today’s/Tomorrow’s post since its using all of my original pictures will offer hi-res photos of everything. I kept it a minimum of 1400 res, but some of the really great shots I’ve gone as big as 2400 res for you to enjoy.

Rear Mounted Radiator

So first things first. I am many things, but an engineer I am not. I simply do not have the training or experience to be one. I’ll explain in some moderate depth why this modification exists, but I without a doubt wont be able to explain it as well as a proper engineer would. There was a suggestion in the comments earlier that I interview a great engineer and get their involvement in the blog. That did give me an idea. One of the top engineers I know is Eric Hsu. Eric started XS Engineering and then went on to be one of the top dogs at Cosworth USA. Eric’s blog is linked to mine in the blogroll (http://jdm-insider.com/Blogs/Eric/), and its my idea that we do a joint blog post on this topic…me from the design and overview perspective, and he from what he’s great at, explaining the engineering and details that go way over my head. The only problem is, I haven’t asked Eric if he’d be willing to do this…and since I’m short on time, I’m just going to make my post and then humbly ask him if he’s interested in doing a post on his blog about this topic as well, from his perspective. We’ll see if my joint blogging plan works for this topic. FYI – He and I are doing a bit of a collaboration on a Z33 350Z for SEMA. Actually he’s doing pretty much everything, I just supplied the Top Secret widebody for the build. After he see’s the two GT-Rs I’m designing for SEMA though I aim to make him regret not letting me design his Z. I want to design more cars!!! Soon people will learn to trust my taste, I hope at least.

Here is my limited perspective on this very interesting and advanced modification of moving the radiator to the trunk/rear of the car:

For track cars, especially turbocharged cars, overheating and cooling are obvious challenges to overcome if you want to enjoy reliable performance. Traditionally a turbocharged car has two cooling systems competing for the same real estate on the vehicle (the radiator and the intercooler). Often times you’ll see a front mount intercooler on a car and visually you might almost forget that a radiator is still stuck behind there because it cant be seen. If you cant see it, how can the air see it? Putting one in front of another blocks air flow and reduces the effectiveness of the radiator which relies on good steady air flow for optimum performance.

A main difference between the radiator and the intercooler when solving this problem is the concept of lag. The longer the piping is to the intercooler (the further away its positioned from the engine), the more boost lag there is. Not a huge problem for a drag car since technique can work around it, but for any other reasonable use there are a ton of downsides to boost lag. The radiator does not however suffer from this problem of lag if piping length is changed.

One of my favorite modifications for practical reasons is the anti-front mount mod, aka the V-Mount mod. The V-Mount Mod puts the intercooler and the radiator in a V formation, with the intercooler placed usually very close or in the engine bay, while the radiator is often angled  diagonally in the front bumper for maximum air flow (often with sheet metal guiding air to it). This setup is one of the best designs because it solves two problems at the same time very well. It solves the fighting over location and air flow, and it also solves turbo lag by placing the intercooler extremely close to the engine to shorten up plumbing. Despite the majority of the people who give major respect to cars with large intercoolers, I give more respect to those with V-Mounts and who are not showing off a huge intercooler occupying the front bumper.

The rear mounted radiator mod takes this concept to the next level. Of course it removes the radiator from the picture and allows flexibility in intercooler mounting and sizes. What it also does is allow entirely new options for air flow to the radiator because once you place it in the rear you can come up with all sorts of innovative ways to get air flow to it. Lastly, moving it to the rear balances out weight distribution on the car a little more since most front engine cars are front heavy and moving any components to the rear helps to regain balance in weight.

The first time I saw a rear mounted radiator it was relatively simple, it was the late 1990s and it was in an SW20 MR2 which was already a mid engined car. The cool thing about it was that the owner stripped the trunk out and made a complex sheet metal ducting system that flowed air to the radiator and helped aid in the air’s escape as well. Putting a mid engine car’s radiator in the trunk is not nearly as hard as putting a front engine car’s radiator in the trunk however. Nonetheless, it was my introduction to something I always found supremely cool and exciting.

Some cars that have done this mod very well are: Koyama-san’s Yukes/Team Orange D1 cars (Impreza and Evo), ATTKD’s GT-R, Garage Saurus’s GT-Rs, Top Secret’s Nardo Supra pictured here, and probably a lot more I’m forgetting.

It is easier to do the mod in a hard core way where implementation and finish is less important than function. Like the car I showed you yesterday as an intro, it was all function and looks didn’t matter. In that case, it made it that much more hardcore and non-compromising.

However true artistry means that no detail is overlooked and function and design work harmoniously. This Top Secret Supra is the example I want to show you of that.

This is a long post. I’ll post pictures tomorrow. Please keep all comments on this thread so we can all discuss it together in one place.

Click the thumb for hi-res.

Rear Mounted Radiator

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JGTC GT500 Supra Rendering

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CG JGTC GT500 Supra Woodone

I know this method of CG rendering has some type of terminology for those that do it for a living…but whatever you call it, this is damn cool to me. I’m no photoshop or CG guy, but I respect the work greatly. I don’t know the guy who made this, but I found it online and I wanted to share. I also found some other things of his that I might share later too. This in particular though is a favorite of mine. Click the image for super hi-res.

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If Top Secret’s Nardo V12 Supra Had A Worthy Rival, It’d Be This

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I try to widen peoples perspectives with this blog from time to time. With all of the talk this past year about the Top Secret V12 Nardo Supra, I thought I’d share with you what I feel is Germany’s equivalent of Smoky Nagata’s creation. I’d love to see these two cars battle it out once Smoky finishes tuning his Supra to its final specification!

Much like how Top Secret took Japan’s super car, the JZA80 Supra and reworked it into a 400km/h monster (debatable), 9ff from Germany took one of Porsche’s super cars, a 997 GT3 and reworked it into a 400km/h monster as well!

9ff GT9 Porsche

Although I’ll share some larger and cleaner pictures below, I cant think of a better way to introduce the GT9 than that photo you see above. Have you see a more hardcore street legal car in your life?

So lets talk about a few of the specs. The GT9 costs $850,000 USD and 20 will be made in total. It has already run 252 MPH (406km/h). It weighs 1326kg (2917lbs). It has 986 horsepower out of a 6cyl boxer twin turbo engine. It is the worlds fastest street legal Porsche and out accelerates a Bugatti Veyron.

Now for a few more pics:

9ff GT9 Porsche

9ff GT9 Porsche9ff GT9 Porsche9ff GT9 Porsche9ff GT9 Porsche9ff GT9 Porsche9ff GT9 PorscheRather than talk more about it, I suggest googling it. There is already some great content online, I’m just happy enough to introduce this car to many JDM fanatics who might have otherwise never bothered looking at what high end German tuning can offer in comparison. Thanks goes out to Bernd who emailed me and inspired me to write about this car which I’ve been a fan of for some time now.

Check out some of the youtube videos as well…crazy stuff!

9ff’s website can be found here for more info: http://www.9ff.com/

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