General History


    Here's a bit of background information about myself.  My first car was a good old Mini 1000 while at college which was just about able to remain on the road, this was followed by a Rover 214si once I started full time work.  The car was only a month or so old when I purchased a performance exhaust and K&N air filter.  Not long later I became bored with the 214 and moved on to a Cavalier GSi which was my first real performance car, this was fitted with a Performance exhaust, Power Boost Valve, BBR Starchip and JR Air filter.  After these modifications the limits of grip had been reached on  to the front wheel drive Cav so moved on to a Calibra 4x4 Turbo.  This car was good as standard but I couldn't leave it alone and soon had a new exhaust, hybrid turbo, foam air filter and re-chip.  Once the engine was getting a bit tired I opted for a complete rebuild courtesy of Regal Autosport in Southampton with race cams, gas flowed head etc.  The Calibra hadn't been returned for long when I managed to melt 2 pistons and it was rebuilt again, high intake temp's being to blame.  This time I rebuilt the engine myself and also designed a new chargecooler to be added to help with the heat problem, this worked better than expected and the Calibra was running 13.7sec 1/4 mile times.  The next tragedy was that I managed to strip the teeth out of the gearbox, this was the last straw with the reliability problems, I sourced a replacement 6 speed and sold the car.  

    I had decided that I would like a new car which was just as quick out of the box as the Calibra but reliable.  My choice at this time was a Subaru Impreza WRX which I went to test drive at a local importer.  The Subaru was quite impressive to drive and I quite liked it, but the dealer also had a Skyline R33 and I asked if it would be possible to have a test drive.  He agreed and I was immediately impressed by how stable and controllable the Skyline was, so that was the end of the Subaru and I bought the Skyline instead.

    That was back in November 1998 and I left the car standard for over a year due to the warranty conditions.  Once the warranty had expired it was time to start modifying, starting with a Blitz exhaust and Air filter kit during January 2000.  Next to come will be a new ECU and a digital boost controller, I will decide where to go next after that.

    Finally fitted an APEX AVC-R digital boot controller during June 2000 and found that the previous owner had fitted a Mines VX-ROM ECU already :o), need a new clutch next as the standard one just isn't up to the job anymore slipping as soon as the boost approaches 1.2bar.  A Nismo clutch is due to be fitted during July 2000 (in time for USC2000... can't wait).   

    Nismo clutch fitted and while the downpipes were removed I decided to fit HKS downpipes and a cat replacement pipe.  The clutch is a bit sharp which I found out when I stalled the car the first time I drove it.  With the HKS downpipes and the cat removed the exhaust note has increased in volume quite a bit.  Next on the list will be a new set of roller bearing turbos and an alloy intercooler, may be a while before I get these though.  Only 2 weeks to go now until USC :o).  

    USC2000 came and went, the Skyline performed better than I had expected getting a 12.12 1/4 mile time :o).  My times were a bit all over the place as the sharp clutch made it difficult to find just the right amount of throttle to get off the line without bogging or spinning the wheels.  I think the car could have probably got into the 11's, but I had already done 6 runs and didn't want to push my luck with the ceramic turbos.   I have just ordered some Blitz springs and will be ordering some 19" alloy wheels next week, unfortunately the springs are coming from Japan and will be 4-6 weeks :o(.  Turbos and Intercooler to follow later in the year, before USC2001 :o)   

    The wheels have arrived and been fitted, they look much better than my standard alloys but the car needs to be lowered now to look the part.  The springs should be arriving in another week and that should finish the job, a shame as I was hoping to have this completed before the Doncaster show in April :(.  The car feels much sharper to drive now and a lot more responsive to the steering input.  I cannot say that the ride has become particularly harsher, but i'm sure that the springs may change that.  The Continental Contisport tyres seem to grip ok at the moment, definitely better than the old Falkens which were fitted to my old wheels (just have to see how well they wear now :o).   

    The springs have been fitted and the car's looks have improved significantly.  The ride on small bumps has improved on the standard Nissan springs but when you hit the larger ones you feel every mm of it.  When driving around Castle Coombe at the CCC track day you can feel the stiffer set up stopping the body rolling about so much.  With the wing angle set to max I found it really difficult to lose the back at all even when trying very hard for the camera.

    I decided to do more work on the car myself, the Street HKS intercooler kit was quite simple to fit.  The hardest part was actually removing the front bumper as the clips had rusted solid and the bolts sheared off when removed.  The cooler only just fitted in, no more room was visible anywhere.  It didn't appear to make much difference on the road, I expect it would be more noticeable on the track or 1/4 mile.

    The Vauxhall club held it's national day at Santa Pod this year and the 200+ Club decided to attend.  I was a bit dubious about yet more 1/4 mile runs on the still ceramic standard turbos so decided to only have one go whatever the result.  Was very pleased indeed to get an 11.94 on my first try, looks like the extra grip and the intercooler made a reasonable difference.  As I had more grip than expected from the new tyres I bogged down a bit on the line so I think that an 11.8 second 1/4 mile was possible, but resisted the urge due to the ceramic turbos.  The new HKS 2530 roller bearing turbos should be arriving soon and we'll see how it goes at this years USC. 

    I fitted the roller bearing HKS 2530 turbos and the HKS Turbo extension pipes, I have to say that i'm very impressed by the new turbos performance so far.  My initial feel of the car is that it has gained initial power at the bottom end of the rev range and is smoother to drive at 'normal' speeds with low boost amounts, it also holds boost very well in between gear changes.  There does however appear to be more lag before the real boost comes in at around 3500-4000 rpm, I haven't been pushing it too much yet as I need to a/f ratio meter to see whats going on with the mixture.  These modifications have also lowered the deepness of the exhaust note and increased the volume a bit. (probably due to the better flow of the turbos and extension pipes)

    At USC 2001 I was quite lucky and managed to win Class K (4wd) and also the fastest time of the whole weekend (11.8 @ 119mph) by anything other than a Dragster or the odd Yamaha R1.  I risked it a bit running at 1.25bar still not having had the mixture checked but it held together :o).  That's it now for this years 1/4 mile running but there's Trax (0-60sprint / Track time) and a rolling road day in October.

    While at Trax2001 I attempted the 0-60 sprint test, expecting a low 4 second time maybe just get into the high 3's I was very impressed with such a heavy car managing 3.57 seconds.  This beat most of the competition in lighter cars with more hp per tonne.

    Finally a chance to find out what sort of power I was actually getting at the 'Rolling Road 2 Day' organised by Guy Ratcliffe.  I was expecting about 380bhp at 1 bar so was very happy with 430bhp at the 1 bar setting.  The car was way too lean to be run on the rollers at any higher boost so I will have to wait until next year when I fit the larger injectors before another test is completed.

    I fitted a high capacity HKS fuel pump, then had an Apexi PowerFC ECU and 600cc injectors fitted at Abbey Motorsport.  The car now produces 496bhp @ 1bar and 515.5bhp @ 1.15bar.  On the road the car feels quite a bit quicker all the way through the rev range and best of all I don't need to worry about running lean and damaging the engine's internals (just the gearbox to worry about now).  I'm looking forward to the up coming performance challenge days to see how the car now performs, i'm hoping for a good improvement.

    At a group thrash by Banzai magazine I did 0-60 in 3.56s, 0-100 in 8.09s and the 1/4 mile in 11.80s @ 121.4mph.  I was really pleased with the cars performance @ 1.25bar of boost but after 6 full on runs it was sounding a little stressed :o)

    Upon returning to Tuning Japanese for another rolling road day organised by Guy Ratcliffe I was quite disappointed by achieving only 474bhp @ 1.15bar.  The only difference on the car was the replacement of the old 17" winter rims with the 19" split rims, I think this really shows just how much dyno readings can fluctuate with only minor changes which you wouldn't expect to affect the power readings much.  I may do another session and take both sets of wheels along to do a comparison during the same day to see just what difference it makes.

    The 200+ Clubs Ten of the Best day went well, I achieved 179.1mph speed over only 1.25 miles and completed the 500metre run in 13.22 seconds @ 126mph.

    At USC2002 I again managed to win the 4wd class. :o)  However the 11.85sec 1/4mile run at 115mph I wasn't so impressed with, I just couldn't hang together a good run. :o(   I hope to do better at my next 1/4mile day which may be at Avon park for the Donny in the Park show.  

    Still couldn't get a good run together at Donny in the Park, only 11.80sec.  Came second overall in the above 4 cylinder class including Pro Street dragsters so didn't come out too badly.

    At a Skyline group test day at Rockingham organised through the Skyline Owners Club I managed to come third in the lap time placing which I was surprised about.  This was the final straw for the old brakes though as they pretty much didn't work at all after a few laps and I had to take it very easy on the way home as you could not guarantee being able to stop even just down a motorway sliproad.

    At the UK Modified Nationals I finally managed to get a good run together, although the clutch did slip a bit in second gear, on the 1/4 mile, I did an 11.56 second pass at 121.3mph which was enough to win the event in the more than 4cyl class and I was very happy.  The only problem was that there was no tape left in the video camera so I didn't get the run on film. :(

    Ten of the Best II 2003 was a really good day, the weather was very good (a bit too good as it was quite hot).  I had a few try's at the 1/4 mile and handling circuit.  On the 1/4 mile I got a best of 11.34 seconds at an undetermined terminal speed as there were problems with the trap speed measurement in the lane I used (looked to be the usual 120mph or so on the speedometer and I was well into 4th gear as I crossed the line).  I had a couple of runs on the top speed also and according to the speedometer/rpm and GPS I achieved about the same as last year.  I didn't do too well on the handling circuit and was well down the rankings but it was fun none the less.  I came 10th overall in the 4wd drag class which I was happy with when you see the rest of the competition.  There was a lot of very high quality machinery in one place and the best run of the day 1/4 mile and Top Speed was the R32 Skyline of Keith on the GTR register (9.9s 1/4 and 194mph Top Speed).






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