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  • What an amazing time we all had at this years Classic Car show at the NEC.

    Held annually at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham,

    The stand, which was located in hall 4 was proudly populated with zeds from JoelyP, IanL, AndrewG and TheRealNips.

    Also on stand for support was JaiKai, Craig and Richard accompanied by there partners.





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      Welcome to the 2023 show season! It started well with a trip to the Japanese Assemble at the Bicester Airfield.

      The zed was then throughly rinsed down and put away until the salt had gone!
      During Easter My wife and I went 'up 't 'north (up norff in southern speak) to stay the weekend with @Aff68 and his other half. We took the zed and it was perfect! I was still training for the London Marathon, so Aff and his partner were very accommodating in letting me take over the mornings plans so that I could run to the local parkrun and do it as part of my training ! We then spent the afternoon in Nottingham which was cool!

      At the end of April, the club committee decided to make yours truely to the National Events Organiser, shortened to NEO. As a massive Matrix AND Keanu Reeves fan, how could I say no?! 😁 
      My first action was to make a long list of car shows planned, to be planned and to investigated. I organised a few for this year and as luck would have it, had my first failure as NEO with my first show: The south east BHP show. After extensive advertising on the forum and the club paying £75 for a club stand and 5 tickets, we couldnt give them away. The evening before, I was the only confirmed member attending and wondered what to do. Swing an' a miss.... After speaking to the commitee I decided to not attend and we would chalk this up to a learning experience. My NEO probation was still safe! I have since learnt that good advertising using the forum, the facebook group and page (which I have access to now) and the twitter page is essential for getting all of you involved. Some of you use the forum and not facebook, some do both, some only do facebook, so I have to bear this in mind when promoting an event.
      The next show was the Chiltern Hills Classic Rally, Although I intended to attend this show, work surprised me with a business trip to Newcastle for a week and due to meeting timings, I needed to travel up on the Sunday. However the guys that attended said it was a good show and should be an annual event for the club.
      More recently (yesterday) we attended the Bromley Pageant of Motoring. Excellent show, 7 of us represented the club and had a great show!

      So what has been going on with the car? Over the winter I planned to paint the UK spec alloys and get them fitted, but took a financial hit over the winter, long story.... (thanks UPS/parcelmonkey)... so that is still on the list. I have managed to source a replica rear spoiler to replace my original foam one which is soaking up water and getting worse, I have a 2nd MAF now and would like to find a Selin to convert to a dual MAF setup. I would also like to get some smaller front plates for the car and some show plates! The auto box is growing on me more and more, Ive had memebers with 400-600bhp comment when driving with me how fast and responsive my car is: They follow me into a corner, concetrate on not writing off their car, exit the apex, look ahead and im already at the next corner! Ive also had many comment from people following me on how quickly and tight the car turns into corners, I assume this is down to a fully fuctioning HICAS system rather than my driving skills! As a result, Im leaning more and more to keeping it in its stock configuration. 
      Lastly: Whatever I do to the car, I know it will never change how it makes me feel when I drive it. Happiness. I know it sounds cheesy, but I drive around and see all these angry people driving metal boxes that all look the same and yet I cruise around with a massive smile on the face. That is what owning these cars is about, not how much BHP you have or how much money you spent on it or even how it compares to other peoples cars. You bought your car to enjoy it, get out there and enjoy it!
      So what has happened since my last blog back in May?
      Well quite a lot as it turns out!
      1) The national roadtrip was held in June with my friend Simon, @Aff68 and his son Fu'ad.
      2) The Simply Japanese show at Bealieu
      3) The GoJapan show held at Brands Hatch
      4) The clubs AGM held at The National Motor Museum  in Gaydon.
      Not much has happened to the car as its been out and about too much (not a bad thing). I always try to plan work on the car to be done during the winter so that it is ready for the summer month to be enjoyed. This does mean that it has to been driven to and from places sometimes, but that can't be helped and I always pressure wash the underneath afterwards!
      National Roadtrip
      So as most of you know by now I planned a national road trip from Eastbourne to John O'Groats, then to Lands End and then home again. I'm sure most of you kept up to date with the thread that was running at the time:
      and by now have probably watched the videos I created on Youtube, if you havent you can here:
      https://youtu.be/k2irjY3J7x0 The trip was planned to go through most of the club areas so that people who couldn't make the whole trip could meet us up with us for a morning or an afternoons drive or meet us for lunch and/or dinner and drinks in the evening. Unfortunately this didn't happen, however @JaiKai very kindly invited us to his for a cup of tea, bacon sandwiches and a perv at his awesome purple machine... (his car people, get your mind out of the gutter...). It was really nice to meet up with someone from the club who in normal circumstances we wouldn't get to meet (top of Scotland is quite far away!). 
      The trip itself was amazing. Simon, Aff and Fu'ad were amazing company and we had a huge laugh. A proper boys own adventure, and just like a Top Gear/Grand Tour adventure it had its ups (many) and downs (one). The first couple of days were just motorway driving, but we kept ourselves entertained with playing "I spy" over the walkie talkies, trying to film close up footage with the GoPros and checking out the amazing scenery from sections of the M6, most of the M74 and all of the A9. The day from John O Groats through the Highlands to Fort William was stunning and apart from a small mishap, which meant Simon was my passenger for the rest of the trip, it was an excellent day. I highly recommend the Scottish 500 route to people. We did a large chuck of it, The A9 from Inverness to John O Groat and from there around to Ullapool, although I never made it to Ullapool ?
      I had planned the route to avoid Motorway and even dual carriageway as much as possible, I think there was only about 800 miles in the 2300 mile trip, 700 miles of it was the first couple of days just getting to the top of Scotland. I had been careful with the planning, all the roads used were either: 1) I had driven on in the Zed before, 2) I had driven on in another car before, but knew the Zed would be OK or 3) I hadn't driven on, but while planning, I spent hours scrolling along the road in Google street view to make sure there were no surprises. I knew that Affs car was lower than mine, so I really tried to make sure his would be OK, I knew mine would be fine. It turns out that there were sections where his car did bottom out, Wrynose pass in the Lake district, jumps to mind and an unplanned diversion in Devon due to the police closing the main road (not my fault ?). One of the many things that Aff took away from the trip was that the Zed, even lowered and modified can still cope with a lot, he followed me along roads that he later admitted he would never ever go near, but quickly realised that the Zed isn't a delicate flower to be parked in a garage, but it can be taken up and down mountains or off road (Devon diversion, again not my fault! ?). We did agree however that his has been lowered a bit too much and raising it 10mm on each corner would have stopped 80% of the times he "kissed" the tarmac. If you are thinking of lowering your car, lower it to what you think works and then add 10mm!
      My friend Simon had never met Aff and Fu'ad, Aff and Fu'ad had never met Simon, Fu'ad had never met Simon and I, so there was the possibility for awkwardness, but not once did that happen and by the end of the trip it felt like we had know each other for years. Fu'ad was quite taken with the trip and has decided he wants to join the Zed world, but due to age and financial restrictions, he will hopefully be buying a 350Z ready for the planned roadtrip for 2023. I know, I know, its not a Z32, but a Zed is a Zed and you have to start somewhere. He has 8 months to go....
      At the end of the trip, arriving at Lands End was actually quite emotional. I will admit that the footage of us, filmed by Simon, driving into Lands End car park I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye! I think that evening through the haze of shots and pints, we all had lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes as it hit us what we had done and that it was over.
      It was an amazing experience, probably once in a life time although I would do it again in a heart beat. If I did it again, I would plan it to be 14 days rather than 9 days. We were doing between 230-280miles per day, which we did in 5-8 hours which was fine, we had no problems and the Zed were so comfortable, but maybe cutting it down to 150-200 miles per day and 4-5 hours driving would be better.

      Simply Japanese Show
      The Simply Japanese car show at Beaulieu is always an excellent show and each year gets well over 1000 cars turn up. It is one of the highlights in our clubs calendar with 6 cars taking part this year! Myself, @ianl @RichardS @icewhitebear @GSC  and @Stephen all turning up for a great day. The show consists of the normal motor museum halls and stands along with all the Japanese cars being parked up around the main grounds. There are various side shows going on such as the Show and Shine and the People Choice vote (which our very own @Joely P has won in the past). It is an excellent day out, even for the whole family as there is plenty for everyone to see and do.
      This year was excellent, I picked up my friend who rode shotgun to the show with me, we met up with Richard and Ice at the Tesco car park meeting point and then drove to the show. After about 30 minutes of queuing we were on the stand and could start looking around. The days was a mixture of talking to other club members sitting among the cars and looking around the show. I managed to miss Ian all day though! My friend and I left around 3 pm as we had a 2 hour drive home. Thanks for a great day out guys!
      This is an annual show, it will be on again in 2023, keep an eye on the Events forum page and make sure you book yourself in for this must see show!

      Short video found here:
      Go Japan Show
      This show is another highlight on the clubs calendar. It hasn't been running very long, I think 2021 was its first year, but it is a brilliant day out. Its held at Brands Hatch track so there is plenty to see and do. The track has constant racing on it from time attack cars racing around at crazy speeds to the national drift championship. If the action on the track gets tiresome, you can look around the hundreds of show cars and club cars that attend. I didn't count them, but the two years I have been going it must be well over 500 cars. There are plenty of stalls and shops to have a look around and various Japanese/Asian themed events going on. Another excellent event for the whole family.
      Last year we had a good turnout, I think we had 9 cars on the stand at one point, however this year not so good. I was the only car arriving on time. @sumshiftyguy did arrive about 10am with his car (which is awesome by the way!) to stop mine looking so lonely. I kept thinking of the song from "Team America" that the evil dictator sings about being so lonely ?. @Raja93 also turned up to keep us company, although his beast of a machine wasn't quite ready at that point.
      We had a great time at the show, did quite a bit of chatting, looking at cars and watching the action on track. One of the highlights, although not for the driver, was when one of the time attack cars grounded out on the pit straight, ripped his front splitter completely off and then ran it over. Strangely we didn't see that car back out on track after that!
      This is an annual show, it will be on again in 2023, keep an eye on the Events forum page and make sure you book yourself in for this must see show!
      The Club AGM 2022
      The clubs Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at The National Motor Museum in Gaydon. Some of us drove up to Warwick on the Saturday and met at a hotel. We had dinner and drinks together which was really nice, some of our partners came which was lovely to see them again/meet for the first time! The next day, although we were 10 minutes down the road from the museum I had planned a nice 60 mile round trip to get there. Some minutes later (ahem) and ,due a slightly tipsy conversation the night before, Richard trying to prove that red Zeds are not faster than blue ones (ahem) we arrived. We parked up and chatted while waiting for people to arrive. Unfortunately turn out wasn't great. Gary drove up that morning, but that was it. We waited in the car park until after 11am just in-case anyone else turned up, but then decided to start having a look around the museum. We looked around and chatted for an hour or so and then went up to the conference room that had been booked for us. We had a lunch provided by the club while discussing the club and its future. It was an excellent meeting and it would have been good to have more people attend to give more input to how members want the club to be run and any improvements that could be made. There will be meeting notes shortly for all to view. Some of us then headed back to the cars for a chat before driving home as I had a 3.5 hour drive hour.
      The AGM was great fun, We had a lovely meal and drinks in the hotel. It was great to see each other and have a drink! Most of the time we are at shows together and have to drive home, so cant have a pint. Having the partners there was also great because we got to meet everyone and it felt more like a adult meetup rather than a boys day out in a field as a lot of car shows can feel like.
      The AGM happens every year, hence the name!? So look out for it in the calendar and book that week off some that we can all meet up, stay over night and enjoy the weekend! It's also a really good time to help the committee direct the club for the upcoming year and make suggestions for improvement. Remember that old adage: If you don't vote, you can't moan about the government...

      Future Plans
      So what does the future hold? Well:
      1) The last meetup of the year is being held in the south on the 30th October. Meetup in Eastbourne and drive to Box Hill. You are more than welcome to come down the Saturday and stay over night in Eastbourne. A couple of people are already doing that. We can meet up on the saturday for a meal and I'll show you the delights of Eastbourne afterwards!
      2) I have found some UK OEM wheels that I plan to get refurb'ed over the winter and then fitted before next year. They are currently sitting in my garage!
      3) I am trying (and failing) to locate a good manual conversion kit. After being warned off two kits, letting one slip through my fingers due to not checking my email for two days (sorry @jimmer!) and having a low milage donor car escape my finger tips, I am starting to give up on the idea that it will be converted this winter. I might just start buying all the bits individually over the next 12 months and do it next winter. If you know of any parts/kits and a low mileage manual box, then please contact me!
      4) I want to start planning the shows, trips and meetups for next year to give people as much time as possible to plan around the mand therefore attend. Please keep an eye on the National Events and South Events forum pages. I do not have any form of social media, so cant not post on Face-a-gram, Instra-book and Tik-Chat. so please keep an eye on those forum pages. I am trying to plan something big for next June as well, so if you want to take part in something similar to the National Roadtrip, then keep your June calendar free ?
      It's been awhile since my last blog entry due to it being winter and not using the car much. It's been safely parked up out of the weather and salt in a garage since the NEC show
      I did release it in February to have the scuttles, wiper arms and the roof beams painted.

      The pictures don't do it justice as it was a bit dirty!
      In preparation for my birthday road-trip (on the forum as the national road-trip)
      I bought a few GoPros as some of you will know. The first trip I did with them was in April. @arthur and I met in Folkstone and drove to Ashdown Forest for an ice cream. It was a good test of the cameras, but I found that the batteries only last 2 hours. I managed to record all of the trip by myself to Folkstone, but only about 15 minutes of driving with arthur. See the video below.
      As a result, I needed more batteries and although the 2nd hand GoPros I had bought did come with some included I would need quite a lot for the 5 cameras I had bought for the road trip. 5x cameras, 4-6hours usage per day = 15+ batteries per day! I then looked into charging the cameras while driving. They use the same USB as my dashcam and I had previously bought a fuse box USB hardwire kit which worked really well. I then found some GoPro cases with a hole in them to allow cables to be plugged in, although not waterproof they should be fine in the dry and mild damp. Anything wetter I have bluetack and insulation tape to make them spray/rain proof.
      So after looking around the car I decided to connect the front one to the fuse box in the engine bay. This made it easier to hard wire it and meant I didn't have to faff around getting wires through the firewall. I used the hardwire kit in the fuse slot for the horn, so if it ever blew a fuse then only the horn would stop working and nothing important like engine/lights/AC would die! If the horn stopped working it would also warn me that the gopro wasn't charging anymore, so nice bit of system feedback there!

      As you can see I had to drill a small hole in the fuse box lid as it was too tight a seal and was crushing the cable. The hole has been sealed with blacktack. The cabling runs down under the N/S headlight, nose panel and then behind the front bumper, its all cable tied in place with just enough slack to reach the GoPro. The camera is mounted upside down on the bumper behind the number plate. One of my requirements was that everything must be hidden as the GoPro mounts DO NOT come off....ever.... The camera gets some good "Gran Turismo" footage, as my friend likes to say. The red LED on the camera means its got power! Please ignore the mass death, the car will be getting a clean shortly!
      The rear camera was a bit more of a faff. As far as i'm aware there is no fuse box towards the rear of my car and as my other requirement was that all the wiring could be removed if I needed, (e.g no hacking into looms) then it had to be the fuse box next to the accelerator. My hard wire kit wasn't long enough, but luckily I have a roll of 14AWG (for my model railway) in the garage. I ran the cable from the fuse box, under the carpet by the door sill, then up the rear seat side trim and into the boot. The hard wire kit was attached and then threaded through the rubber grommet that takes the wires through the boot floor and down to the rear number plate lights. I then attached the hard wire kit at the other end to the fuse box and hey presto we had power!

      As you can see from the pictures the cable is long enough to charge the camera, but tucks away nicely when not in use. The camera is off to the side so not to block the number plate as that would be bad! The mount will never come off, but if I do need to chisel it off, at least it's on a part of the bumper that won't be seen and if it does need a respray it's cheaper to spray a bumper rather than a car! Again the red LED means the camera has power!
      Here is a picture of the fuse box:

      My fuse box diagram is in Japanese, so I've had to google where I want them plugged in. The left one is the dashcam, that's plugged into the rear window heater, if it blows a fuse, not the end of the world. It's been wired in since last summer and never had a problem. It has a continuous feed even when the key is out so that I can leave the dashcam running in a car park for example, however I do have to remember to disconnect the cable from the dashcam when I park the car up in the garage for weeks/months otherwise I have a flat battery. The right hand one is the rear GoPro hardwire kit, that's plugged into the front wipers. Now this isn't ideal, but due to the 90 degree and thickness of the fuse adaptor it doesn't always fit where you want it to go. My reasoning is that I mainly drive the car in the summer, so rain is less probable, the odds of blowing a fuse is low and if I do and the wipers stop, then I will pull the hard wire kit out and put in a spare 20Amp fuse that is on the fuse box flap. Also if the wipers do stop working at least I know the camera has stopped charging! I looked into the power draw of the cameras, the Hero 4 (I have 4x hero 4 silver and 1x hero 4 black) is 2.8w when recording or 3.8 when recording with wifi turned on. The dashcam is between 2-3w depending on the information source. All three kits use a 3amp fuse. nothing there should overload anything.
      Lastly to protect the USB cables, I put some insulation tape on the end to protect them from grim and rain. The front one gets tucked away behind the bumper out of sight and at 14 cm long it's nowhere near the spinning fan....yes I checked that too!!!

      A couple of weekends ago @AndrewG, @ianl and @GSC and I went to the BHP car show in Kent. It was a really good day out and Ian and I had great fun driving to the show together. There will be a video upcoming, it's still in production at the moment!
      I should point out that although I currently have 5 cameras, 2 were actually bought for two friends that are going on the road trip. I will only keep three for myself, 1x front, 1x rear and one with a triple suction mount that can be attached all around the car. The idea is that we can get footage from all the vehicles taking recording all the other vehicles and of course the scenery! The cameras on my car will keep one battery in them at all times incase the cable stops charging, they will work without batteries in them though. All the cameras have 128GB sd cards in them which at 1080p 30fps will store 8 hours 3 minutes of footage, according to the GoPros themselves. The cameras were won on a popular auction site, they were 2nd hand and came with various accessories. The cheapest bundle I won was £52, the most expensive was £132. The cases with holes for cables were £11 and the hardwire kits were £10 each. I also had to buy a 4TB external hard drive to store the footage as 5x cameras at 128GB per day is 640GB. Times that by 9 days is 5.7TB (5760GB)! I suddenly have more respect for Top Gear and The Grand Tour because I'm filming in 1080p. They film in 4K, I dread to think how many hard drives they take with them on a road trip special, nopt to mention the backup hard drives because if they loose the footage, they cant really go back and film it again!
      So until next time, keep Zeddin'
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