Amongst the blurred Hinoki Cypress backwoods in the foothills of Mt. Fuji, a ancestors business continues a generational bequest of accomplished metalwork.
Master craftsmen bend, cut and bond their creations from the arch and lightest Japanese steel, and the accomplished artefact provides the bend to defeat rivals in battles all over the world.
No, you haven’t absolutely concluded up at SamuraiDaily.com – this is still Speedhunters and we are still talking about cars – although you’ll absolve me for authoritative the affiliation amid the katana swordsmiths of old and Fujitsubo’s bankrupt mastery.
Those of you who accept spent any time about Japanese achievement cars will acceptable be familiar with the Fujitsubo name. For those who aren’t, Fujitsubo has designed a high performance exhaust for about every Japanese achievement car that anytime formed off a assembly line.
As such, Fujitsubo was the aboriginal name that came to apperception aback I was attractive for a new bankrupt assorted to maximise achievement on Project NSX. The NSX’s V6 isn’t accepted for accessible adeptness upgrades, but advance the banal casting assorted to a able equal-length attack is at the top of any modifier’s list. I’ll get into the affidavit why in my aing project update.
For now what you charge to apperceive is that aback I bumped into aggregation bang-up Fujitsubo-san in the Fuji Speedway paddock at the Endless clue day in June and asked him if I could aces up the new genitalia from the factory, he admired the idea. I figured, why not adenoids about to see a little bit of the abracadabra abaft the scenes at the above time?
The adeptness is basically as aing to Mt.Fuji as you can get afterwards actuality on Mt. Fuji. Unfortunately, the abundance was blocked by clouds during my appointment (as is generally the case), but Fujitsubo-san assures me the appearance is majestic. Fujitsubo has been at this bounds aback 1997, aback they confused from Yokohama in chase of a breadth that could abode an broadcast architecture and assembly facility. In the antechamber sits a few cartage from the company’s history, including their 1996 N1 Super Endurance GT-R and the Jaguar XJ auto endemic by Fujitsubo’s founder.
The aggregation itself goes aback to 1955, aback it was started as a antagonism aggregation by Masahiro’s grandfather, Isamu Fujitsubo, an architect by trade. The baby boutique developed springs, camshafts, pistons and exhausts amidst added achievement genitalia to abutment chump antagonism efforts.
These days, Fujitsubo is accepted for one affair only: its aerial achievement exhausts. If you are annihilation like me, you’d anticipate that the business has its aliment and adulate in bartering the aftermarket and chase teams, but best of their aggregate is bartering Japanese car makers with the ‘stock’ exhausts for their achievement models.
Most notable is the Nissan R35 GT-R. I’ve now apparent the internals of the banal muffler and – although I wasn’t accustomed to photograph it – can assure you that the architecture is abundant college affection than some of the added aftermarket systems I’ve apparent installed on cars. And bodies admiration why their R35 doesn’t accomplish any added adeptness afterwards bottomward big bucks on a fancy-looking system…
Fujitsubo additionally food lots of abate affability companies as an ‘OEM,’ acceptation the systems are brash and bogus by Fujitsubo but awash beneath a altered name. This is accepted in the automotive aftermarket, and allows companies afterwards the huge R&D and accomplishment adeptness of a specialist like Fujitsubo to accommodate aerial affection systems to their customers. In fact, there was a lot I couldn’t photograph for accident of advertisement proprietary architecture details.
Uniquely, Fujitsubo completes the accomplished activity from architecture through to accomplish beneath one roof at their adeptness in Shizuoka. About all competitors accept angry to factories in China and Taiwan to agitate out their systems, and although the affection can be ‘good enough,’ Fujitsubo believes that the alone way to ensure an uncompromising end artefact for their ambitious barter is to absorb complete ascendancy over every allotment of the process.
Let’s chase Fujitsubo-san through the adeptness and booty a attending at what makes a Fujitsubo bankrupt the go-to best for Japan’s tuners.
Our aboriginal stop is additionally the aboriginal stop for the -to-be bankrupt systems. Fujitsubo sources its SUS304 stainless animate and titanium from Japanese suppliers – it costs more, but Fujitsubo-san is assertive that the affection and constancy is account it. Of course, the raw pipes don’t appear bent…
That’s the job of the bender. Bending is bigger to acid and adjustment sections for abounding reasons, but primarily it allows the metal aqueduct to absorb its candor bigger than a bond which may able and adulterate over time, not to acknowledgment the breeze allowances of accepting a absolutely bland central surface. Acutely the bigger amount and accomplishment is in the ambience up of a angle jig like this one.
The now angled pipes may attending like abstruse art cat-and-mouse for carriage to the aing section, but anniversary of those aeroemism provides important clearances amid added acute apparatus already installed, so there is no allowance for error.
This is arrested by agreement anniversary bankrupt on a jig that simulates the final adjustment in the car – including ascent points, bound clearances and so on. The jig actuality is for a Toyota Corolla TE27 – a car that went out of assembly in 1974. It makes me so blessed that genitalia for cars this old and attenuate are still being produced today.
The angled pipes again biking to the added ancillary of the workshop. Actuality they are cut to length, accessible to be aing to mufflers, flanges or alloyed into added aqueduct sections as allotment of an bankrupt collector.
Let’s hit abeyance for a additional though; if there’s one photo you charge to pay aing absorption to in this article, it’s this one.
What you can see are cutaways of three altered bankrupt collectors. The cold of an bankrupt beneficiary is to absorb the abnormally timed pulses of bankrupt travelling bottomward anniversary primary agent into a distinct bankrupt pipe. By authoritative this absorb as bland as possible, the breeze of bankrupt can advance its calefaction and velocity, acceptation a happier agent that can accomplish added power. Anticipate of how a artery amalgamation lane tapers abroad gradually instead of aback bulging out into traffic; it keeps the all-embracing breeze of cartage fast and able (well in access anyway, some bodies still debris to apprentice how to merge).
Beyond aloof a fast flow, a accurately brash beneficiary will generate a abnormality accepted as ‘scavenging’. Scavenging is aback an bankrupt beating from one agent creates low burden in addition agent (think of how a close-passing lorry will annoyance you into its wake) and advice the abandon bankrupt gasses and draw in beginning air added efficiently, acceptance a bigger agitation and added power. Knowing this, I’m abiding you can assumption which beneficiary is the Fujitsubo one. Area as added manufacturers may aloof bond four beeline pipes calm or drove them into a collector, Fujitsubo takes a hardly added annoying approach, but one that pays assets appear chase day.
The angle we saw beforehand is the aboriginal step. Correct angle allows a aqueduct to advance its centralized diameter, as against to crushing which will change the appearance and bore of the aqueduct as the walls are aeroemism together. Next, Fujitsubo makes a absorption cut in the aqueduct which is mirrored on the aing pipe. Already the final welds are made, the consistent absorb beneficiary is as bland and agleam as a brand out of a sheath.
Nothing is stronger than attitude at Fujitsubo, but the engineering aggregation continues to accompany new abstruse approaches to optimise the architecture and accomplish of aerial achievement exhausts. They realise that the attempt of acceptable bankrupt architecture persists, yet the demands of the avant-garde chump continues to change.
Making bucket-loads of top-end adeptness with aloof an bankrupt is not consistently accessible aback branch designs are already so optimized, and the prevalence of turbocharging in avant-garde achievement cars agency an ECU-tuned access in addition burden is generally a abundant easier aisle to bigger numbers. “Today, best barter are added anxious with accomplishing a assertive complete or style,” observes Fujitsubo-san. “But our starting point is consistently accomplished performance; from there we will accompany complete affability and aesthetics.”
The latest advance is this rather abundant contraption: a Kanfon automatic laser cutter. Already loaded with abstracts it will appropriately cut any of the bags of absolute bankrupt pieces that Fujitsubo requires, decidedly abbreviation the muda (wasted effort) of ambience up endless jigs.
It’s absolutely a afterimage to see in action. The aperture rotates to accompanying absorber the artisan from the acid laser while he can arise the aing allotment afore it is, in turn, rotated into the acid booth.
The end result.
Fujitsubo-san (in the atramentous polo shirt) took over the reins of the aggregation from his father, but not afore alive in anniversary allotment of the branch and alike spending some time apprenticing at Yoshimura, the acclaimed motorcycle bankrupt architect up the alley in Kanagawa Prefecture. Of that experience, Fujitsubo-san has a acceptable faculty of humour: “Our job is abundant easier; cipher can see a bad car exhaust. If you accept a bad bond on a motorbike exhaust, anybody will see it!”
The Fujitsubo craftsmen absolutely accept to bond like their articles will be on display, as against to actuality tucked up into bedraggled agent bays.
The adjustment is the aftermost footfall of the exhaust’s construction, and is the best ambitious footfall in agreement of accomplishment and time. The welders are appropriate to convenance for months afore they can absolutely assemble a allotment for a customer.
The end aftereffect of all this is bankrupt systems that accept becoming an enviable acceptability amidst tuners for their adeptness to perform. Abounding of Fujitsubo’s commercially accessible aftermarket systems are absolutely not abundant louder than branch (if at all), but provide optimised achievement beyond the rev ambit and above longevity. It charge be said that this comes at a exceptional price, but for Fujitsubo customers, the college amount is acutely account it.
Some buyers can abatement for a appealing exoteric aback selecting an bankrupt arrangement and never realise the added abeyant that their agent is missing out on at both mid and full-throttle that a appropriately brash and complete arrangement would offer. Fujitsubo has had to additionally action off fakes advancing out of Asia that abrasion the Fujitsubo name but acutely abridgement the accurate centralized architecture that characterises the systems. Bethink to analysis the bluntness of a supplier if they aren’t an official distributor.
There is a accomplished babble and discharge testing ancillary to the business that we artlessly don’t accept time to analyze today, but it’s account acquainted that the exhausts awash as Legalis are all JASMA (Japan Automotive Sports Muffler Association) approved, acceptation they are all acknowledged for artery use in Japan.
Despite a ample all-embracing benefactor arrangement and 112 advisers aural Japan, Fujitsubo feels as abundant of a ancestors as it does a business. Several of the accepted craftsmen have been with the aggregation for over 30 years and bethink Masahiro as a analytical messy-haired adolescence blind about the branch while it was beneath his father’s leadership.
As you’d expect, a ample cardinal of the aggregation are enthusiasts themselves and absorb time affability and active their own cars. I assumption the agent abatement on exhausts charge be a nice perk!
Oh, one aftermost stop for the now complete bankrupt systems is a absolute apple-pie afore packing.
These four bankrupt collectors were cat-and-mouse to boxed up and beatific out to aflame owners – any agog guesses about what archetypal these were brash for?
Fujitsubo’s affection for affection architecture and accomplishment is axiomatic alike for this added entry-level sports car system; aloof booty a attending at the attenuate aeroemism a the bankrupt anchorage flange, and the way the four runners seamlessly aggregate into two.
I won’t accumulate you guessing, this is Fujitsubo’s 4-2-1 system for the 20V 4A-GE begin in the AE111 Toyota Corolla.
The aing time this box is open, it will be carrying that new genitalia aerial to some advantageous guy or girl.
Although the exhaust’s adventure from raw animate aqueduct to able achievement allotment is now complete, there was one added breadth of the adeptness that Fujitsubo-san capital me to see, so we strolled beyond to an addendum on the capital building. Actuality things accept a little beneath ordered, added branch than assembly line. This is area Fujitsubo’s engineers do their development and testing for new cartage and the chase teams which Fujitsubo supports.
Today’s subject was a Super Taikyu Lexus RC 350 from Osaka-based aggregation Tracy Sports, in for added development. Super Taikyu is a accepted alternation in Japan that I’ve been acceptation to booty a afterpiece attending at; the chase cars are refreshingly similar to their alley equivalents, authoritative it abundant added relatable for the boilerplate motorsport fan than article added acute like DTM or Super GT.
It’s additionally air-conditioned to anticipate that Fujitsubo’s boffins may be demography things they abstruse from blame these cars on the racetrack and applying them to their approved products, article that can’t be said for the above ‘space-frame’ based series.
Initially I’d affected this to be some array of complete suppressor due to clue babble regulations, but Fujitsubo-san brash that it’s absolutely the catalytic converter. The rules agree that there charge be a cat in the system, but doesn’t specific where, and testing showed that agreement it appropriate at the tip generated the accomplished performance. If you chase the WRC, you would accept apparent the admonition orange tailpipe afterglow that comes with this array of aback placement.
Thirteen teams in the Super Taikyu acreage await on Fujitsubo for their bankrupt development, and Fujitsubo-san never misses a race. He’s been authoritative a concerted accomplishment to accompany the aggregation afterpiece to the racetrack based on his claimed affection and acceptance that it’s actuality that bankrupt apparatus will accept the best abuse, and appropriately accommodate the engineers with the best opportunities to advance their designs.
Fujitsubo will alike make complete custom systems for clandestine customers, but be able for a two-and-a-half year cat-and-mouse account and a adequately hefty tab. How much? Well, a afresh completed arrangement for an NSX that made the adventure bottomward from Japan’s northernmost island came to ¥1 actor (approximately US$10,000).
Elsewhere in the skunkworks administration sat a few models that Speedhunters readers will be accustomed with – an R32 GT-R (which was completely original save for the valve-actuated muffler, and in abundantly acceptable condition) and a added contempo R35 GT-R which was testing the backbone of carbon fiber-look bankrupt tip shields.
But the car I was best aflame to see in the boutique was one that is absolutely beneath recognisable than the Nissan siblings. This is the 2017 Suzuki Jimny.
The aboriginal Jimny was brash as a baby but able workhorse, and it put Suzuki on the car-making map aback in the 1970s. Those aboriginal bearing cars are now absolutely rare, but the additional bearing cars that were produced through abundant of the ’80s and ’90s are still a accepted afterimage on Japanese roads, and are a favourite for space-limited adventurers.
Fujitsubo-san aerial the car up so I could booty a bigger attending at the system. The pipes were comically baby compared to the added systems we’d been attractive at, but because the agent alone displaces 660cc, any beyond would aloof be abacus weight and abbreviation that all-important bankrupt velocity. You ability accept that this is some alcove artefact in Fujitsubo’s portfolio, but that couldn’t be added from the truth. The Jimny’s arrangement has displaced the 86/BRZ twins at the top of the sales blueprint aback its addition in July.
While I was underneath, I couldn’t abide dabbling about a bit. Analysis out that centre animosity and solid advanced and rear axles – don’t let the admeasurement fool you, this affair is a austere off-road machine.
Here’s a closer attending at the ancestor valved muffler on the R32 GT-R. There is a abate bypass aqueduct that is acclimated aback the electronically actuated valve is set to closed/quiet.
Also in the development centre is a lab for the agenda ancillary of bankrupt design. Today two of the engineers were laser-scanning the actual headers that would be activity into Project NSX, creating a 3D archetypal which can be endlessly analysed and modelled to acquisition any befalling for improvement.
Fujitsubo is in the activity of converting all of their actual designs into the agenda realm. Bethink the S30 we absolved past earlier? Using these advances in technology, the engineers apparent that the primaries were not absolutely according lengths in their aboriginal attack design, so they afresh redesigned them to get aggregate perfect. If that’s not an archetype of the acclaimed Japanese absorption to detail, I don’t apperceive what is.
Here you can see one of the NSX manifold’s equal-length runners that will eventually cruise gasses from the advanced coffer of the axle V6 and run beneath the agent to the collector. As you’ll see in the accession story, the NSX’s mid-engined blueprint makes for a complex installation process, and the pipes are appropriate to bend about agent mounts, sumps and the rear subframe.
Kenichi-san has formed as an architect and artist for Fujitsubo aback 1980. He’s the man who bound the aboriginal architecture of the company’s NSX manifold, and the man who congenital the actual arrangement that will be installed into Project NSX. Listening to him bang off acutely specific capacity of the architecture to Fujitsubo-san in the way alone an architect could was artlessly awesome.
Is it too abundant to alarm them art? We’ll booty a afterpiece attending at these in the aing Project NSX update, but appropriate now I can almost accommodate my excitement.
Fujitsubo is a abundant archetype of how able attitude and new technology can calmly and profitably co-exist, something we’d adulation to see added of from Japanese manufacturers in 2018.
This bout was anecdotic for me in compassionate the intricacies of bankrupt architecture and manufacture, and on that agenda are there any added acclaimed Japanese manufacturers you’d like to see abaft the scenes of?
Blake JonesInstagram: [email protected]
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