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The latest episode of Motor Trend’s Ignition series takes a look at the Nissan GT-R lineage. The segment features glorious engine sounds from the R35, R32 and Hakosuka Skyline GT-R. All cars were driven hard by host Jason Cammisa on the curvy roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I am especially excited about this short film because the R32 shown was built at Z Car Garage and currently owned by customer and friend Alex M. If you have not seen the video yet click on the YouTube link below, and continue reading for a behind-the-scenes look:

 

When Motor Trend reached out to us for a GT-R feature we happily obliged by providing the R32 GT-R. I had the wonderful opportunity of delivering the R32 to the set and spending a day with the filming crew. So what was it like to be on the set of production? It started in the morning on a weekday in May when I picked up a freshly detailed R32 from the shop. After a splash of 100 octane I proceeded to drive the Skyline on (what else?) Skyline Blvd:

 

It was a thrill driving the R32 GT-R up HWY 9 and 35, and I finally arrived at my destination. I met up with Jason and director Anthony Esposito at Alice’s Restaurant, a popular hub for gearheads enjoying the surrounding twisty roads. We had breakfast with the crew and I couldn’t believe I was eating blueberry pancakes next to Jason Cammisa! My hero from Head2Head, which I recommend as the chemistry between him and Jonny Lieberman is highly entertaining!

 

We hopped in the GT-Rs and headed out to the first shooting location to acquire “beauty” shots before the action footage. This, dear zcarblog readers, was an epic moment as I was treated to the simply orgasmic sounds emanating from the S20-powered Hakosuka GT-R.  The 3 GT-Rs:

 

The 1971 Hakosuka Skyline GT-R

 
 

The authentic, KPGC10 Skyline is owned by enthusiast Tom Knudsen. Learn more about Tom’s passion for vintage J-Tin from our friends at Japanese Nostalgic Car.  It’s hard not to shoot endless pictures of this rare, iconic beauty:

 

The 2017 R35 GT-R:

 

The 1992 R32 Skyline GT-R

 

Jason and I took the R32 out for test drive before filming. Again I was a little star struck sitting shotgun. When I drove it up Skyline Blvd earlier that morning I had not given it the full throttle but Jason on the other hand didn’t hold back. We were both pretty giddy driving it on boost. He’s a carnut like the rest of us and enjoys his track days and building/working on cars. He’s seriously funny too, follow him on Instagram

 

 
 

While the crew was setting up, I had an enlightening chat with Tom about vintage Japanese cars and historic racing. He raced back to his garage to bring a vanity plate for the Hako and returned in his 1973 Porsche 911E. Then a random yellow NSX showed up.  All of this combined with sweeping views of the Bay Area would make any gearhead happy:

 

 
 

In addition to the NSX and numerous hikers/cyclists that stopped by, traffic on Skyline was getting heavier throughout the day. This would clearly impede filming, but I learned an interesting (apparently common) solution: hiring off-duty CHP officers to shut down the road for 15 minutes at a time:

 

That 15 minute window was frantic to me but the entire team was calm and collected with each cycle, accomplishing all desired footage.  I was thoroughly impressed.  On the other hand, after traffic was released by the CHP the passing drivers were either visibly frustrated or genuinely in awe of the triple Skylines that were holding them up!

 
 

Weather conditions were not favorable for recording sound. It was extremely windy and cold and though I wasn’t dressed for the chill I managed to find warmth and solace in the heated seats of the R35. Kudos to Dennis the sound guy and camera crew for making the best of the conditions. I even witnessed Anthony do some wild acrobatic filming hanging out the back of a Tahoe while driving in reverse!

 
 

Simon, Wiley and Anthony adorn the R32 with a myriad of camera/sound recording devices:

 

By 6pm the session was called and with the fog rolling in, our R32’s role was completed. The team would continue filming the KPGC10 and R35 the rest of the week.

 

All good things must come to an end and I drove the Skyline back to the shop and relinquished the keys:

  
 

Thank you MotorTrend crew for the hospitality! It was a memorable experience and the video turned out great. We are sad to report that Jason left Motor Trend after this episode but I was fortunate to watch him and Anthony work their magic in person. I wish them the best!  More pictures in the gallery below
…[read more]




EVENTS: Cars & Coffee Blackhawk 6/7

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 12:02 am on June 9, 2015

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On Sunday we attended Cars & Coffee at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, CA. Hosted every first Sunday of the month since the New Year, turnout continues to be phenomenal with impressive cars. Our dear friend Ken P. has been a regular at this gathering with his supercharged Datsun Roadster but Sunday’s event would be his last one before moving out of state. As one last hurrah to Ken we assembled a bunch of Datsuns to park together.

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We left the shop at 6am with a brisk pace headed to Danville. Enjoying the Ride in our eight-car caravan was Rob’s ’67 2000, Kurt’s ’70 Datsun SPL, my ‘67.5 SPL,  Matt’s Datsun 510 wagon, Andy’s 1971 240z, Tom’s APS G35, Kurt I’s C5 Z06, and Lou’s R32 Skyline GT-R:

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Arriving in Blackhawk just before 7am was indeed mandatory to secure parking as cars were already lining up at the entrance. Thankfully Ken and Dave P taped off a section just for Datsuns, and the showing was great with more roadsters, Z’s and 510s!

Francis ’67 SPL, Ken’s supercharged SRL, my ’67 SPL and Dave P’ ’67 2000:

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Matt D’s 510 wagon and Matt G’s KA-T 510 two-door:

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S30’s were in strong attendance, both in our corral and scattered through the lot. From mild to wild flavors it was great to see everything from Z32 TT’s to S130’s.

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I spotted even more Z-cars lurking in adjacent lots, but this one really stood out with a freshly restored vibe and pretty white/red color combo:

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Even more JDM gems hiding in the lots like this FD RX-7, first and third generation Toyota Celica’s:

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Ultra-clean 2JZ powered Toyota SC300 and modded Genesis:

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We were blown away at the variety of awesome machinery at Cars & Coffee. From exotics to muscle cars and literally everything in between we had a wonderful time perusing each aisle. Here were a few highlights for me, and don’t forget to cruise our extensive picture gallery below!

A Fiat 850 and 1200 Cabriolet, the latter shares some styling elements with a  Datsun Roadster!

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Craziest engine swap: A 1936 Ford Pickup with an insane supercharged 5.4 modular drivetrain:

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The Aston Martin club was the featured marque with stunning examples:

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We love muscle cars! Simply mouth-watering cars from GM, Ford and Mopar:

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Movie cars like this “Bandit” Trans AM and two(!) Deloreans:

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Oh, and lots of modern/supercars too, if you’re into that kind of stuff 🙂

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Big thanks to CNC Blackhawk and Dave P for arranging parking for our Datsuns.  We want to thank all of our friends who made the trip too, the ride back home was a blast!

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Ken, we wish you luck and great Roadster weather in Seattle, “DATSTER” will be missed!

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…[read more]




Lou’s R32 Skyline GT-R

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 1:38 am on September 15, 2014

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Lou S is a long-time friend and customer of Z Car Garage. He is also an avid sports car fan with a interesting collection including a 3.2L FairladyZFD RX-7, Mazda RX-4, and Dodge Viper GTS.   Adding to this stable is his 2nd RHD vehicle, a 1992 Nissan Skyline GT-R. For most fans of Japanese sports cars this “R32” supercar is highly regarded and quite popular. Not familiar with this model? Find out what makes it special over at JNC.

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Lou acquired this Skyline from previous owner David C who had extensive suspension and engine work performed at ZCG. Lou wanted to make it his own so he visited us for some upgrades and tuning! Wheel aficionados will immediately notice the VOLK TE37SL wheels, sized 18×9.5 and finished in high-metal bronze. We think the TE’s are easily one of the best looking wheels for the R32, good taste Lou!

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Perfectly framed by the TE’s spokes are Stoptech calipers/rotors at all four corners. The Ray’s valve stems color-matched to the “TE37SL” sticker is also a nice detail:

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Adding to the list of choice parts is a full titanium exhaust system from Tomei. This includes downpipes, test pipe and the Expreme Ti muffler:

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The quality and detail of this exhaust system is impressive, please click on the pics for larger views. We think it adds a little sportiness to the car’s rather understated (by today’s standards) aesthetic. It also sounds sublime.

 

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The R32 was much louder than I anticipated. At idle it has a loveley burble and part throttle acceleration produces a semi-truck like turbo hiss…very audible from outside but never obnoxious. Under full throttle however, there is an absolute orchestra of sounds from the exhaust and turbo…it screams and reminds us how unmistakable the RB is!

 

With the new exhaust we re-tuned the Haltech to a healthy 412hp/311tq to the wheels:

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I personally love this car.  A few more pictures…

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Lou is having a blast driving his R32 and recently attended Cars and Coffee at Canepa. We love how he chose to take Skyline/HWY 9 as opposed to the freeway. Enjoy the Ride Lou!

 

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More pictures in the gallery to enjoy below:




Godzilla Lives: David’s R32 Skyline

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 2:05 am on August 23, 2013

 

Over the years Z Car Garage has worked on almost every chassis of Nissan Skyline from the early GC10, R33, R34, and current R35 platforms. We love the R32 model and recently had the chance of helping one get back on the road. David C is the lucky owner of this beautiful black R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R. He acquired it through the internet and had it towed to a shop where it unfortunately remained sitting. David had even purchased an entire RB26 front clip to get the R32 running again but there was no progress. After hunting for a shop that could handle the task of waking Godzilla from its slumber David contacted Skyline guru Sean Morris who then referred ZCG….challenge accepted!

 

David and Rob spoke over the phone and agreed to tow it to the shop. Within a few hours of getting the Skyline our very own Josh C figured out the culprit. The fuel delivery system had been modified by the PO and fuel pump bypassed. Thanks to Josh, Godzilla fired right up and David was able to drive his GTR for the first time in 3 years! Unfortunately the engine was not healthy as cylinders 5 and 6 had low compression. David decided it was time for a change and sold his front clip in favor of rebuilding the existing RB26.

Teardown: Godzilla’s heart is quite complex!

 

The bottom end was built with Rebello consisting of forged JE pistons, and Eagle Rods. Mild headwork and stock turbos make up the top end:

The freshened powerplant along with a new clutch/flywheel are reunited with the chassis.

 

A new, OEM coil plug cover adorns the mighty RB and we also installed a few ancillary parts like this remote oil filter/oil cooler:

 

With the drivetrain buttoned up the engine was carefully broke-in by Rob. The PowerFC that came with car shorted and caused running issues so we switched to a Haltech Pro Platinum. We were impressed with the ease of tuning and base map of this plug-in-play solution.  The GTR was  dyno tuned conservatively on 91 octane making a silky smooth 384hp/305tq to the wheels!

 

With the Skyline running strong David treated it to full suspension to make those open track days enjoyable. Front/Rear coil-overs, sway bars, T/C rods, camber/control arms and a host of goodies from Cusco and Powertrix:

 

 

When was the last time you saw an R32 with Stoptech brakes at all four corners?  R32s are relatively heavy cars and with 400hp it’s easy to overwhelm the stock the setup. Large, 332mm vented rotors F/R will ensure fade-free braking duties:

 
 

The uprated brakes are housed in beautiful Forgestar wheels, running a square 18×10 with 265 tire setup:

 
Adjusting the coil-overs for ride height before/after, we think it sits just right:

We love that David immediately started Enjoying the Ride in his GTR not just on the street but on the track! Here he is attacking Thunderhill Raceway:

 

This Skyline is Driven! Thank you David for letting us be part of your project, your R32 is wicked!

Check out more detailed pictures in the gallery
…[read more]




Godzilla Teaser: David’s R32 Skyline GT-R

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 11:09 pm on June 5, 2013


Just a taste of what’s to come for the blog…David C recently enjoyed a track day at Thunderhill in his R32 Skyline. This beauty got some serious love at Z Car Garage with upgrades and tuning from chassis to drivetrain so stay tuned for the full story!