Car Life>> Creating A Tomei Prototype

Good things obviously take time to materialize. It all started back in June last year when I got a call from Allen Lorenzo at Tomei Powered asking if I'd be interested in lending them my car for a couple of days. They needed an R34 GT-R so their exhaust specialist Hatanaka-san could begin the development of an all-new Expreme Ti titanium exhaust system. I was happy to hear that Tomei, along with other Japanese tuners and parts manufacturers are going back and restarting R&D on new parts for the RB26 and older GT-Rs. Perhaps the novelty of the R35 has worn off a little? I don't know, but either way, since my car spends the majority of the time sitting in the garage (work has been hectic to say the least lately) I promptly delivered it into the safe hands of Hatanaka-san.

That was over a year ago. In that time Hatanaka-san has been busy not only coming up with a design that fits, but fabricating this new system to ensure the best possible flow and therefore potential power gains. Not an easy task…especially when you consider he had to do exactly the same with the R33 GT-R. 

But after much work and testing the time came to see the final result and my car was once again delivered to Tomei for the first fitting of the final prototype. I returned a few days later (thankfully Tomei is only a short train ride away) as Allen told me they would also be shooting the car for the catalogue and parts advertisement, so this is something I really didn't want to miss seeing. 

It's not every day your car is used for an ad! 

Allen was busy doing his own bit of photography so he could keep the Tomei blog updated with all the goings on.

This was the first time I laid eyes on the finished Tomei prototype and I wasn't disappointed…

…I was very impressed.

Kenji Hatanaka is nothing less than a master fabricator. Over the years I've visited Tomei Powered a few times to do tours of the facilities or preview new products, and every time I dropped by his section he was busy coming up with new crazy designs for exhaust manifolds or complete systems. There is far more work involved in creating something like this than most would ever imagine, first beginning with the construction of a jig. This helps hold up all the different slices that are used for the bends…

…so that a working initial prototype can be made. Before Tomei, Hatanaka-san used to work at Yoshimura and what makes his work so special is that he applies bike exhaust know-how to the car oriented systems he now creates. This is exactly the way in which the R34's Expreme Ti was made.

Tomei had also borrowed a rather familiar Mine's tuned BCNR33 from a friend. I've been wanting to feature this GT-R for years now but it's one of those cars in a perpetual "almost-finished" state. This is one of the cleanest R33s I've come across in Japan and it deserves a proper shoot. I think I'll just have to steal the keys one night and shoot it without the owner knowing about it! Anyway, with both cars all polished up and ready to go…

…Yamamoto-san of Tomei had everything set up to begin the shoot. Yamamoto-san, who has a lot of experience with photography, takes care of shooting all the product pictures at Tomei, so knew exactly what was needed to make the final images of the Expreme Ti system.

With a diffusion screen nicely blending the lighting onto the underside of the R34 he began snapping away at an angle that would help show the design of the exhaust, which features only a very few gentle bends. 

With the first few shots taken care of Yamamoto-san then called in Ogasawara-san (Tomei's chief engineer and engine builder)…

…and Hatanaka-san to remove the carbon fiber diffuser.

With the diffuser out of the way…

…I finally got to see the exhaust in more detail. Smooth hand-welding aside, you can see how Hatanaka-san has avoided using additional flanges to connect the rear silencer, preferring a technique borrowed from motorcycle exhausts where the two ends of the pipes slip into each other and are held in place with a series of springs.

90 mm all the way! 

Here is my Mine's titanium exhaust sitting on the ground next to the R33's Fujitsubo stainless steel exhaust.

Time for some more shots.

Yamamoto-san and Ogasawara-san trying to figure out how best to swap the two cars around with the limited space they had available at the back of the workshop.

So after moving the R33 out of the way, my car was reversed out…

…and placed in the correct position for the next series of shots. This was the first time I heard the exhaust and I have to say it made my still stock-ish RB26 sound deeper and meaner compared the very different sounding Mine's pipe I had. 

In went the R33.

No diffuser to remove, so it was all wrapped up in a shorter time.

The second shot for the catalogue would be a regular 3/4 rear showing the exhaust from standard height.

Little close up. The diffuser was fitted back on of course.

Yamamoto-san and his assistant…

…Kubota-san, who does all of the computer work to create the final images for print and web-use, had the tedious job of positioning all the lights and diffusers…

…in order to highlight all the right areas of the R34's angular body.

There you go, perfect light!

For the shoot my R34 was fitted with this set of satin-black 18-inch by 9.5J Volk Racing TE37s, running sticky Yokohama Neova rubber. 

And one with the Nismo GT LED lights turned on for extra effect!

It was then the R33's turn and I attentively observed how Yamamoto-san and Kubota-san made the silver body pop under the diffused light.

The R33 was fitted with a set of Volk Racing RE30s in the same sizes as the TE37s…

…but sporting aggressive Bridgestone RE55S semi-slick tires. 

And here are the final pictures. Pretty good I thought, nothing like a bit of underexposure in the right places to highight a specific detail or area of a car. 

And with a bit of Photoshop magic you can see the exhaust snake its way under the diffuser. I'm told the Expreme Ti exhaust system for the BNR32, BCNR33 and BNR34 will go into production by the end of the year.

Tomei Powered

-Dino Dalle Carbonare

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47 comments

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1

Beautiful Craftsmanship on the welds!

2
3

Your car looks AWESOME!

Though I prefer R33s to 34s.. Dat 33 mmmMMMmmMMM!

4

looking fwd to the r32 version!

5

Fantastic - We're looking forward to supplying lots of these to enthusiasts in the near future!

6

I never want to hear you complain about the life of an auto journalist again. Ever.



(I'm so jealous! beautiful car and silencer ;-D)



xD

7

wow.. i like the upgrades to your r34..... are your rims keepers or were they fitted just for the shoot?

8

Dino, I know this is somewhat off topic in relation to this post but we need to spread the word about signing this petition

http://www.2009gtr.com/2011/11/petition-for-25-year-old-to-15-year-old.html

9

congrats on the catalog shoot! did you drive off with those wheels before anyone noticed? haha.

10

WHAT AN AWESOMENESS

11

Those TE37 looked the part on your car.

12

Very neat article, although your pictures(with their lighting) look better than the final press ones they took. Especially those rear 3/4 shots.

13

Did you get a free exhaust out of it ?!

14

Nice article Dino, your car always looking great man.

15

This article should have come with a towel to wipe up my drool...I <3 your car Dino. Great article.

16

What will you be doing with your Mine's exhaust? Interested in selling it?

17

Did you get to keep it?

or at least do you get a discount on it when its released?

18

So do you get to keep that one on your car now?

19

Lesson One: Note they are shooting these pictures in their driveway and in the doorway of their one vehicle garage, that is smaller than the garage on an American suburban home. Every appearance is made that this is a giant, multi billion dollar operation located in a giant building with fifty car lifts and a thousand employees. The truth is they grew from a one man operation and currently aren't much bigger than that one man.

Lesson Two: What must be the markup on one of those exhaust systems, that they would have every employee in the shop staying late at night to shoot the perfect picture to go into a sales flier? From the looks of it, 75% or more of the cost of a Tomei exhaust is paying for things that are not metal, manufacturing labor, or R&D.

20

man I almost cried on how these skyline were build it was that serious japanesse poeple know how to deck their cars out man sick :)

21

Nice work from Tomei as always. Damn Dino - that exhaust is pure porn. I bet you and Aki are well happy with those new sounds. Only thing is we need some video/sound footage on thees beast on the Tomei express way... Say Hi to Allen ;)

23

That is one gorgeous R34.

24

Why cut off the roof on the pics ?

25

You're a lucky boy Dino, I'm jelly.

Anyway we can get a wallpaper of the last photo you took? R33 3/4 with all the lights and diffusers around it?

26

You sound as if you really liked the Tomei exhaust...



Of course they'll offer you the exhaust at a discounted rate. What are you going to do?

27

wallpapers please!! both cars perfect!!!!

28

OMG OMG OMG



One of the best visual-telling posts I've read on here! Good job, Dino!

29

how the d*ck sh*ts do you keep your paint so flawless

30

How cool would you feel when one's own car was used for official pictures of a respected tuner? Just awesome.



The 34 looks good as always Dino, and I'm curious as well, what will happen with your exhaust? Will you keep it, maybe they give you a discount? You couldn't rev it to hear what it sounded like?

32

@Seriously - If you walk into any store and buy anything you are paying for more than just the product, you are paying the store rent, the staff wages etc etc and even if they are making a good margin on these things what does it matter if the price is competitive and it is a quality product?

Pricing is about value to the customer not cost of production.

Lastly in the scheme of things having a few guys spend spend a couple of days preparing the marketing material is not a big cost, how many days do you think went into the development of the system? I think you will find the time doing the shoot and preparing the marketing material is less than 10% of that.

33

I've heard they have been doing one for the GT-R BNR32 also. Love that 90mm straight pipe!! Good to hear another fresh product for them RB26 powered GT-Rs. :)

34

I am seriously envious of you right now Dino! I wish they shipped R34's to the states because that is my ideal car! Did you get to at least keep the prototype?

35

im not sure whats more stunning... the exhaust/header, pics, or process of taking the pics!



beautiful!

36

wish ill get that weldin skill one day...=D

37

You got to love SH staff ! Always replying to any questions:

35 replies to this post, asking:

"hey Dino, are you gonna keep the Tomei Expreme?"

"What are you gonna do with your Mine's?"

"Do they give you a discount on the Tomei?"

"Would they let you keep the TE37?"

.....all these questions will go unanswered because Dino, like EVERY SH staff don't give a rat's ass about replying simple questions.

People will (hopefully) realize that, and come on here just to check out the pictures....lol I feel like in kinder garden once again.

38

Yea, I've read about TOMEI developing a new muffler for the skylines. I'm glad to see that it turned out great. I've just bought an EVO X RS model, and been looking at upgrading my exhaust system. But with all the makers out there, I'm not sure which one to chose from. What are the big difference in mufflers really? TOMEI's look awesome, and sound awesome, and their prices are way bellow all other makers, why is that?



Dino, I know you are a busy man, but you seem to have a foot in what's up in the car industry in Japan, and I would love some help. I am moving near Tokyo next April, and I'd love to meet people who share my passion.



Though I am not sure how you could get in touch with me, well, here's my email add tom.g.guezATgmail.com Would really appreciate the help. Cheers

39

JDMized....thank you for your constructive feedback. If you must know I was waiting for all the comments to come in so I could answer everything in one go. This is so I don't add too many comments to my own post to throw off the numbers LOL ;)



So to start from the top, thanks first of all to those that have commented on my car. I try to pamper it and keep it looking good so very happy to hear my efforts weren't in vain!  



xD, but I never complain!;)



d_Rav/xA/Chia/NVMYR...the TE37s are actually mine, however they are currently being used by my friend with the R33 who has lent me his RE30s. Reason is interior diameter of the TEs is larger which helps clear big brake kits



Steve...that depends how generous Tomei are willing to be but fingers crossed! To tell you the truth with a 90 mm pipe this exhaust would not give enough restriction for my stock turbos. This in turn would make it very hard to hold boost at the preset 1.1 bar level and it could over boost under load, meaning I could say bye bye to those nice ceramic turbine wheels.  Puff of talcum power out of the tail pipe anyone?



TheKuCars...yes if that time comes.  Need new turbos first! And a very long parts list to support the upgrade!



Seriously...Seriously?  Are you in any way or form related to JDMized?



Giorgio...you mean the crop on the shots?



Berto...yes I did a lot, heard it at idle only though.  As good as the Mine's is, it's a little too muted...but the sound is very original.



brian...Porter Cable, Kleers, Zaino, Meguiars products and a lot of patience



killua...yes it's a privilege to say the least. Didn't rev it no.



rx8guy...thank you, you saved me an explanation! What Seriously doesn't' realize is how competitively these Expreme Ti systems will be priced. All will be revealed next week.



Zenki...that's right, they are available for the BNR32, BCNR33 and BNR34.



Marvin...no, it was taken off and my Mine's titanium is back on.  I think Tomei will hold on to the prototype.



Thanks a lot to everyone that commented:)

40

Dear Dino,



I just read your replies to most of the comments, I understand that you can't reply to us all. But if you could give me some advice on mufflers, and if you could maybe help me out once I get in tokyo, in terms of meeting people who are interested in racing. I'd love to be part of something bigger.



Cheers.

41

@JDMized: Wow, such venom! Obviously you seem to have a problem with the Speedhunters editors...personal, perhaps? But heck free speech I guess.



When I post on a forum, I don't necessarily expect an answer, as I understand that these guys are busy and aren't constantly sitting in front of a computer, checking their own posts and their Facebook accounts - hopefully they're out there shooting more photos of more exciting cars, and writing articles on their work!



Anyway - to answer some of these questions -

1) these were prototypes, so we did not get to keep them

2) whether we end up with a discount, that is up to Tomei. I know myself and Dino don't go around asking for handouts or discounts, we simply love our cars and are happy to help out if this means better products out there for our cars. Ok, I admit being put in their catalog is nice, and that alone makes me happy. If you own a car you're proud of, I think people understand.

3) as for what Dino decides to do with the wheels and his exhaust - good questions, but maybe he hasn't thought that far ahead - personally speaking, we both have covered garages where we keep our cars, so no need to worry about that for awhile I think.



Any other questions? Happy to answer them if I can...

42

haters gonna hate.....on that note, does Tomei realize that there is a thing called a mandrel bender and that you can make smooth bends in pipes without using pie slices?????



Maybe they could make the same exhaust, which would perform better due to smooth interior profile (no welds hanging down inside the tube) for a fraction of the price due to using a fraction of the time to make it?



oh well, props to the fabricator for even being capable of making that stuff by hand :)

43

So did you get a complimentary exhaust from Tomei? :P

44

There are a few things you could do in 30 hours. You could complete a 5000 piece puzzle of "the

45

Time to get on with things and return to the Nismo Festival to continue from where I left off last week

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