Although the Japanese tuning scene tends to account for the majority of the automotive trends that eventually make their way toward the U.S., on a recent trip to China Modified had the chance to survey the tuning scene in one of the world's premiere international destinations. Thanks to our friends at Tomei USA, we were provided with the opportunity to tour one of Hong Kong's most savvy tuner shops, GP Motor.
Navigating the streets of Hong Kong can be quite the daunting task if you don't know exactly where you are going. The traffic rules in comparison to the United States are modest at best and we highly recommend getting the exact address for all your destinations down on paper beforehand. Luckily for many global travelers, though, the international landscape of this bustling city is sprinkled with bits of English-speakers and most can get by if you stick to most of the touristy locales. For some reason, it seemed like our taxi driver took the long route, but when we arrived in front ofGP Motor we immediately knew we had found the right place. We saw a Mine's R34, a Tomei R34, a handful of R35s and various other top tuner cars parked on the street,and happily walked inside.
We were greeted by Connie, who was quick to communicate via email and telephone with us, and also found Mr. Lee, owner of GP Motor, for an introduction. For what appeared to be a small shop from the outside, we quickly found that they had a large number of projects going on at any one time on the inside, as the narrow shop location went deep into the building structure. During our tour it was pointed out that they were well versed in overhauling and customizing TEIN suspensions and offered specialized setups for circuit and street. A series of crate motors were littered around the shop's entrance, and as we went back around the front, a trademark Tomei blue SR20 crate motor had just arrived and was being unpacked. Fujitsubo exhaust systems, Recaro seats, Endless brake calipers and other top-shelf brands were all on display and for sale to walk-in customers.
When asked about the tuning scene in China, Mr. Lee was optimistic. He mentioned that obviously the global economy had affected China in many ways, but he had a loyal and dedicated customer base that seemed to be more concentrated on higher-end tuning and quality builds. Refuting the stigma that China was all about knock-off parts and budget builds, Mr. Lee noted that unlike many other shops that simply cater to the masses, GP Motor is actually more in line with mid- to high-level Japanese tuner shops. Although GP Motor does not do any manufacturing or production of any in-house product lines, they do not associate themselves with any of the knock-off brands or accessories.
Turning to the subject of street and circuit tuning, we asked about where local enthusiasts would be able to fully enjoy the benefits of GP Motor's services. Mr. Lee was able to describe the fact that the streets and highway systems in and around Hong Kong were fairly busy, but Wangan battles do occasionally go down, albeit a lot later at night. The main concern, he mentioned, was the abundance of digital speed enforcement traffic cameras that were popping up everywhere from the Hong Kong police force. Since we didn't have the luxury of sticking around for some potential Wangan action (next time!), we opted to go for a ride in one of Mr. Lee's favorite cars instead-a Tomei-powered TV2 R34 V-Spec. This would top off our experience with GP Motor, and we highly encourage any enthusiasts out there who may be traveling to Hong Kong to stop by and pay them a visit!
GP Motor's Nissan Skyline (R34) V-Spec To cap off our experience with GP Motor in Hong Kong, shop owner Mr. Lee was kind enough to take us out in his glorious R34 so we could snap some images and get a taste of what GP was all about firsthand. As we pulled away from the shop and out onto the streets of Hong Kong, the first thing we noticed was actually the ORC clutch, as it certainly did not appear to be street-friendly at all. Nevertheless, at every near-violent launching of the car, this Tomei-powered monster came to life after a brief spool-up and hit triple-digit speed is (in km/h) with very little effort. The only problem with the entire experience was simply the fact that there were too many other cars on the road to fully exploit the Skyline's potential!
As we hit the highways and hugged the insides of onramps, the R34's TEIN suspension seemed far too capable for the moderate speeds we were traveling at, and Mr. Lee stopped to utilize the twin EDFC units for some in-cockpit tweaking. When we were off again it was like launching a drag car and Mr. Lee even managed to stall it a few times, blaming the ORC clutch for being more at home on the circuit. We continued to rip around the city in speed and style, all the while attracting quite a bit of attention from tourists and locals alike. Coming back to GP Motor in Kowloon, there were one or two more quick jaunts to excess speeds and we were back in no time. The taxi ride home seemed even more mundane than before, but at least Modified had something to write home about!