There is nothing worse than walking around in a ridiculously massive car park in the middle of a Japanese summer. Being an Aussie, I thought I was tough shit when it came to heat, but this was nasty.
I was walking around HAT Kobe looking for an FD Rx7, a G35Skyline or maybe even another Silvia.. Being Japan, I thought would find the perfect car on the first day. Yeah, I was wrong.
When I inspected the car at the auctions, the mod sheet said it had aftermarket suspension, a PFC ecu and FMIC.. That was it.. It looked pretty clean on the outside, had a year of shaken left, so with a bit of negotiating I had a new toy.
After doing all the necessary paperwork, the next day I picked up the car from the Rokko Island docks and surprise surprise, the first thing I notice is the clunk of a mechanical diff and the rattle of a twin plate clutch. Win!!
The s14 was an ex Gravity Tire Kan (shop) time attack car so it was setup to handle, rather than outright power which made it feel really slow in comparison to my old s14. But it was fun to drive so I was pretty pumped to get to the track.
Mod wise, it had:
Cusco front and rear strut braces
Cusco Castor Arms
Trust Exhaust system
Unknown twin Plate
Momo Sterring wheel
Carbon Fibre Bonnet
Rays Gram Light 57C rims
Aragosta coil overs
My first slide
I was well and truly over the drag racing scene that I went through with my old s14, so I was keen to give drifting a try. I saved up my pennies (well yen), borrowed 2 spare rims from a mate Laurance from www.JDMism.com (who also organised some tyres for me) and set off on my first Hitomi Go drift day at Meihan. Laurance worked Saturdays so I meet up with his roommate, Jesse Streeter.
It was Jesse’s first time at the Meihan as well, but he already knew what he was doing (from years of practicing on the streets), so he was out with the pro’s before me (see JDMism’s mad video of Jesse here.
).. About 3rd lap in, Bang into the wall!!!. I was starting to think twice about this drifting idea.
The rules were pretty simple, obey the flag marshals, wear a helmet (if you want to) and if you cash and die, it’s your own fault..
I signed some sort of document that I couldn’t read and I was out there..
Jesse came for out the first couple rounds and gave me plenty of tips which I needed bad.. Boy did I suck (even more so than now) but It was an awesome first day without any major drama’s bar being stuck like a turtle on the ripple strip. Hehehehehe
The Hitomi 2 Go days were about every month bar winter. It cost me about 10,000 yen in entry fees, 1,500 yen in toll charges, a tank of full, a 2.5 hour drive from Kobe and one big mofo walk to my car park (about 1km up a mountain from my apartment)
We had to be at the track for sign in at about 7:30am so that meant I had to leave Kobe at about 5:00am so to meet Jeese in Osaka by 6am. It took me about 30 mins+ to walk to the car so I left home around 4:30. This wasn’t such a big deal, bar the fact that winter was fast approaching and the temps were getting close to zero..
The Hitmoi days were broken up so that each class from about A-H (from memory) had about 10 min of non stop drifting around Meihan.. The thing that was great about this was there was no stop start drifting like here in Oz. That meant by the end of the day I would be starting to get the hang of things. I was still rocking up the class A group which was made up of other newbie’s, so there was little to no pressure to perform. The best part of these events was the Japanese attitudes at the track.. Everyone was friendly and never gave me crap about being crap.
Another friend Jos started coming along to the track in his black s14… He was in a similar boat to me, but had a lot more driving experience than I did so he picked up the track really quickly.
Unfortunately one day he broke his car and he was kind enough to a few of my runs. Sadly this was the only video I have of me drifting the s14 at Meihan .
Ever since I had the car, it had this annoying noise coming from the power steering pump. Having gone through all the crap with my old s14 I knew it was a simple fix of tightening the power steering belt.
After scrapping my knuckles I went for a fang down to test out my hand work.. Sure enough everything was working fine until I proceed to make my way onto a major highway, when I mighty ‘bang’ followed by a bucket load of smoke started pouring from engine bay. It was about this time that my stomach dropped and I went close to crappy my dacks. The first this that popped into my head, was what do I do, who do I call??? How do I communicate with them??
While this was going though my head, I had to pull up the highway as I couldn’t see shit.. Kind of like following 5x Kuroi’s. Anyway, to this day I am not sure what the hell all the other motorist were thinking, I. but the pricks wouldn’t let cross the lanes to try and find a safe spot to access the damage.. I started swearing and doing grumpy gaijin stuff and eventually I made it to the side..
On the way over I noticed was the power steering had gone.. Sure enough, on closer inspection the belt had snapped due to me forgetting to do up the bolt holding the pump to the block. The damn thing got locked in the pulley kind of like a stick in bike spokes.
Anyhow I drove to the closed yellow hat, played out a pantomime in an attempt to explain the part I was after, in which I was told they didn’t have.. I then tired Autobac who also didn’t have one.. Lucky I had studied the word phrase “can I order …..” the week before and the problem was solved. 4 days later I picked up the new belt fixed the prick of a thing..
So L was nice enough to sell me his Oz racing wheels (17”x9 +24) and Jesse also hooked me up some of his R33 GTR rims.. I had been using them for a while now so it seemed only right that I actually give them some money.
The GTR wheels were one’s that met the Mehian wall on our first visit… I was hoping they would make me as hard core as Jesse.. Unfortunately not.
My Clutch was starting to cause me a few problems so I took it to the boys at Wish to sort it out..
While they all sat around and smoked 1,000,000 cigarettes & Jamken displayed his 8 words of English over and over again, some poor appreciate shmuck jacked the car up (no hoist’s here) pulled the box out and replaced the clutch with a single plate RG racing unit all by himself.
All up cost was 35,000 yen.. One serious bargain and actually felt really sorry for the guy doing all the work.. He probably got 2,000 yen out of it..
One of the best things I have ever bought for a car. A carbon Kevlar Bride Gias Low Max seat.. Soo tight (for my fat ass).
New wheels 2
I was getting ready to send the car home, so I thought I would take the opportunity to dress the car up a tad.
After searching around, I finally decided on some SSR Sp1 in a staggered fitment, with 17×9.5 +12 on the front, and 18×10 +16 on the rear.
Just like the wheels, I was keen to find something new that in the aero department but I didn’t want anything too crazy. I decided to go with a complete K’s FRP factory kit.
I sent the car off to Ayasan and Hitomi from Looking in Osaka. They always have such awesome “looking” cars so I was hoping they could make mine took cool too.
More safety stuff.
Before the car was to be exported back home, I picked up a Saftey 21 7 point cage. Hopefully I will never need it.
Sight Seeing around Kobe
The s14 had provided me with plenty of laughs in Japan, but the time had come to send the s14 back to Australia. I wanted to keep as many of the parts I had accumulated over the years as possible so I threw the majority of it inside the car, including 8 wheels and spare seat, lol.
I raised the car up as high as possible to avoid damaging the front aero, which worked well, but not quite well enough to stop one of the drivers backing into it while it was being loaded on the ship.
Never mind, the car was back to Looking for another front bumper and a new greddy cooler at the same time.
In the Land Down Under – 2008
It took for ever to approve the repairs through the shipping company’s insurance, but the car finally arrived. With the addition of a child restraint the car was driving the streets once again.
After getting the car registered, I entered my first Stadium Drift Comp for shits and giggles. As expected, I sucked. I think I cames somewhere around last place lol.
I wasn’t too keen on competing but at the time it was one of the only ways to get track time.
Anyhow, Casey Dhnaram from http://shirtstuckedin.com/ & a few other photograhpers were was out taking photos so I was lucky enough to have a have some pics of my first slide in Australia.
See more pics by Casey here