In the same way that Hattori Hanzo only makes his samurai swords with pride and without compromise, Shinichi Kobayashi of Matchless Crowd Racing (MCR) only builds cars, both for himself and customers, until he is completely satisfied. The master tuner's philosophy is that his work must bring excitement, movement and dreams to his end users. Anything else is useless. I've seen him limping out of a car arriving to an event. I later heard that he wrecked the night before during a high speed "test". He himself must experience the limit to truly know the car he's building. Kobayashi is stoic to himself and equally strict to his staff. If he sees a mechanic cutting corners he won't hesitate to smack him on the head. It's possibly something that wouldn't fly this side of the Pacific, but only with that type of attitude and atmosphere does the blistering fast crimson red MCR cars are born.
MCR was founded in 1994 by Kobayashi. Since the beginning, Nissan cars and speed has been his focus. Since speed cannot be compromised, Kobayashi never even dabbled with drifting. Actually he dislikes drifting because he believes it's a show and not a clear competition.
A couple years ago, a red MCR R34 GT-R was crowned the Touge Monster by Keiichi Tsuchiya, in a Hot Version DVD, and put Kobayashi and team on the map as one of the top Nissan tuners in Japan. So when the Nissan 370Z was launched in 2008, it was time to prove once again that MCR was on the forefront of Nissan tuning. When they got their hands on their Z34, Kobayashi drove it extensively to test the car. The first thing he noticed (like many of the Z owners) was that the cooling mechanism of the new Z could use some modifications. The VQ37VHR engine's rev limiter starts kicking in at 5900rpm when the oil temp rises over 275F. With the engine oil temp hitting the roof every time he pushed the car, it was preventing MCR from developing other areas of the car. Kobayashi first called up his partners at ARC for a new aluminum oil cooler. He also flushed the factory engine oil for NISMO competition 0W-30 oil. Not only the engine but the rear differentials needed extra cooling as well, so an ARC differential oil cooler was called in along with Omega 75W-140 oil. Finally, for improved traction, a NISMO GT-Pro LSD was installed.
With the cooling issue aside, Kobayashi was finally able to start working on the engine. But with limited time in tuning a 370Z, most of the mechanical fabrications were made to make noticeable strides in performance. The MCR SWAT ROM Version 3, which rids limiters, optimizes the electronic throttle mapping, variable valve timing and ignition/fuel timing. Kobayashi says, "air cleaners and exhausts tend to be the first thing to do to increase power but on NA cars, I like starting from the ECU to get instant drive feel results. The low- to mid-range torque increase is where the driver can really feel the response difference compared to the stock settings." On the charts, horsepower is now rated at 299.7ps whereas the torque picked up to 35.5kgm. ECU and exhaust tuning also come hand-in-hand for MCR, so they added their own center pipe, Crimson muffler and a catalyzer from Sunline Racing to create a smoother flow contributing to the upped power.
Another MCR partner, ZEAL, provided a set of coilovers to Kobayashi, which is set up with custom-valved MCR Function-A shocks. Many hours were put into building the bottom half of the car so he sweats confidence when explaining the suspension set up. Tires and wheels must not be forgotten when speaking of overall drive setup. Enkei and Yokohama have been a part of MCR's repertoire for quite some time now; the Enkei wheels are hyper-silver 19-inch GTC01s and are designed to clear the oversized Endless rotors and calipers.
The aggressive looks of the MCR Z34 is made up mostly by NISMO aero components; the front half spoiler, side steps and rear spoiler are all from the factory Nissan motorsports division. The black canards are the only original exterior part besides the MCR F1 marker harness kit for the back fog light. The headlights are Bellof Optimals that gives a silkier white than the stock lights. Also the position lights and license plate lights are Bellof Super Wide LED bulbs for the extra touch with brighter glow. Not that he needs any added attention to the license plate as he zips around the express highways of Tokyo. We're sad to say the inside is mostly stock except for the Bride Euro II seats that keep him from flying out of his seat on the Shutoko highway and the Nardi Classic steering wheel.
Next on the plate for this Z is definitely going to be engine development and MCR has taken apart the motor several times already so they can begin developing original parts. Ultimately the goal is to beat the Porsche GT3 on the track with this car, a battle we'd like to see someday if he can actually make it happen. So we won't be seeing Kobayashi retiring and hiding in Okinawa behind a sushi bar like Hattori Hanzo did. No, you'll find him right in his shop working away under the hood until the GT3 killer comes to life.
2009 Nissan 370Z CBA-Z34 Owner matchless crowd racing (MCR)
Hometown saitama, japan
Occupation nissan tuning specialist
Engine 3.7L VQ37VHR; MCR center pipe and Crimson exhaust muffler; Sunline Racing GT-spec EX Sports catalytic converter
Driveline NISMO GT-Pro LSD
Engine Management MCR SWAT ROM version 3 ECU
Power 299.7ps at 7,358rpm; 35.5kgm at 4,351 rpm
Footwork & Chassis ZEAL front 14kg X-coilovers with MCR Function A shock absorbers; ZEAL rear X-coilovers 18kg with MCR Function A shock absorbers
Brakes Endless 6-piston Monocoque front calipers with 370mm rotors and rear pads
Wheels & Tires +42 19x9.5 and +22 19x10 Enkei GTC01 wheels; ADVAN Neova AD08 255/35R19 and 295/30R19 tires
Exterior MCR carbon canards, F1 marker harness kit and rear fog lamp; NISMO front half spoiler, side skirts and rear spoiler; Bellof Optimal headlights and Super White LED bulbs
Interior Nardi Classic steering wheel; Bride Euro II seats
WWW endlessusa.com (Endless/ZEAL), enkei.com, mcr-ltd.com, more-japan.com (Bride)
How Do I Get There? For anyone visiting Japan, we know how tough it can be getting around when a car isn't the best option. It's even more difficult when you have to take a train, can't read the signs or don't have a native Japanese person with you to show you the ropes. So we did the next best thing: we asked our native Japanese expert (who just happened to go to high school in the States and now lives in Southern California) to help you with the process. Of course if you do have the luxury of having someone show you around, we highly recommend it, but for those of you who are making shop visits into your trip, you might want to keep these notes handy.
MCR Japan (directions from JR Akihabara Station to M.C.R):
• Take the "Tsukuba Express" towards Tsukuba and get off at YASHIO Station.
• Find the elevated Shutoko No 6 highway going parallel to the train you just got off.
• Take a left and walk underneath on Kendo #116 going back towards Akihabara.
• Keep on going until you arrive to Yashio Minami Ramp Crossing lights and take a right.
• Take a right on the first narrow street right before the "Avail Casual & Shoe" store.
• Take your first left and you should see the M.C.R shop on the right-hand side.