Since I often reach out to people, I always get the question, “I”m looking for parts”. So I want to address this with my Personal Observation.
I get this question often and I also have to explain it is not easy (even though people judge by my pictures of going to Japan and JDM parts). I typically don’t ask any of the Japanese guys for parts. This goes back to when my friend got me JDM leopard parts, but also was getting JDM parts for my team members. When it came time to pay for shipping, NOBODY wanted to. So he got burned, but I stepped up and paid for the costs and for his time.
I do try to help people out as much as possible.
So let’s get down to it.
- Nissan/Infiniti Dealerships – It is hit and miss. My encounters have always been miss. Many of the staff have never seen an M30. I’ve gone to many of the ones in here in California (including Niello and San Francisco- which started in 1990) and there is nothing.
- For M30 parts, online suppliers like Infinitiparts or Infinitipartsdeals are hit or miss. More miss than often. The page says they have “X” amount in stock, tell you the price and even tell you when it is leaving their location. Then later your order is cancelled and you call to find out they don’t have the part.
- Best bet is the junkyard. It is also 50/50 because most of the time (at least where I am located) too many people ravage cars just because. Break windows, rip stuff out, I have rarely come across an M30 here in the bay area that is nice and ready to be picked.
- Last is someone parting out a car. Often times people realize the M30 is not easy to take care of. Priorities are lowering and exhaust… When things break down, people simply don’t want to get it together, put in the time, effort and money.
Now let’s talk about JDM leopard parts.
Nissan Leopard parts are very rare. Back in the days, there would be tons of parts online auctions. The only issue was bidding and shipping. Originally most people on Yahoo Auction Japan were not willing to ship internationally. If you had connections, you could get items. The term we used back then was “Pay to Play”.
Fast forward to 2016. When I went to the 30th Anniversary Nissan Leopard meeting, I asked what happened to the parts. Tanaka-san told me that there was a huge decline of the past 10 years. This was also apparent with the M30s.
When I visited many of the leopard owners, I learned something from them. We were similar that they collected parts! Yes, many of them collect Leopard and M30 items. Real enthusiasts. They would not give up their rare and NOS items to anyone and nor did I ask for anything.
- Nissan dealership does not carry any F31 items. Or if they do, it is because some other vehicle uses the same part.
- Yahoo Auctions Japan will be your best bet. Yes, shipping will cost you. Again, “Pay to Play”. Not only is price an issue, but sometimes the part will not be 100% or might be broken or not working.
Carshop Friend – This is the one I have to explain.
In 2001-2006, I visited many tuning shops. I also learned the best way to be introduced and learned proper etiquette for both business and personal meetings. This is huge and it always depends on the personality of the person (in anything).
The story with Carshop Friend and F31club goes back to 2005. When we got F31club going, we reached out to Carshop Friend. Even Jacy and Thomas wrote and called in Japanese. The message we got was, He didn’t want to deal international. We gawked at his pictures and cars. Many of us still tried to email him with no avail. F31club is the only dedicated website and forum for the M30 and Leopards, so this would eventually play a role when I went to Carshop Friend in 2016. Journey to Carshop Friend. Mr. Kanazawa did not speak English, pure Japanese. So language barrier off the bat.
There was another person on FB that went to Carshop Friend 2 months prior to me. He complained on FB about not being able to buy stuff, even broke rain visors. Mr. Kanazawa said it would be $600 to buy them.
So let me explain this. The Japanese culture and respect is huge there. Being American is already a disadvantage. Going there and asking to trade, barter or even ask for discounts is also not properly respecting his business.
I did not do anything until Mr. Kanazawa came down and introduced himself. That was the main thing for me. To meet HIM. I respected his business since 2005 and I admired his dedication to the F31.
The other thing that people don’t seem to understand is his business model. What do I mean?
- People complain about his price. Well, he is Officially Licensed by Nissan! He pays a patent for using Nissan’s Leopard logo. Everything he sells, Nissan gets a cut.
- Being affiliated with Nissan, his shop probably meets a certain standard quality. So he also can’t make cheap stuff. Everything I’ve bought from Carshop Friend is good quality. The Front lip has a PERFECT fit to my M30.
- Someone complained Carshop Friend didn’t want to sell him broken stuff. The reason is Carshop Friend isn’t a buddy’s garage with spare parts to sell for cheap. He upholds quality in his parts that he sells (he would fix the rain visors to be new like condition). Additionally, His reputation comes along with selling quality parts. How would it look if I bragged about getting broken parts from a reputable shop?
- There is a misconception about his shop. He doesn’t make “EVERYTHING”. Many of the Nissan parts he has in his shop, I.E. Chrome rain visors, Digital gauge clusters, etc…, are parts he does not produce. He saves those pieces for his loyal customer base. If you are not part of that base, he will suggest you buy off Yahoo Auction. I’ll give an example. After the visit, I asked about a digital gauge cluster. He told me $1000, but to buy on Yahoo Auctions. I was told that he saves those for his loyal customers only. The logic is, these items are not plentiful, he services many Zenki Leopards and why would he sell me a digital gauge cluster when I don’t even have a zenki leopard? I would be taking one more rare piece from circulation or even his own stock. What would happen if I bought his last gauge cluster and one of his loyal customers needs one?
- Carshop Friend does produce some parts, but mainly accessories. This includes towels, cloth banners, key chains, even his version of the car seat covers (OEM and plain cover). Even his OEM style front lip is almost exact besides the material. These parts are not always for sale. When I went to Carshop Friend, I wasn’t initially offered these items until I started buy big items.
- With that said, Carshop Friend is selective of what items are offered and to whom. The person who went a 2 months before wasn’t offered Carshop Friend stickers. When I was there, he offered them for $15 each, so I bought a few (8 I believe). Again, our approach to Carshop Friend was different and we had different results. I have a huge amount of respect for his shop, but I also have been reaching out to his shop for a long time.
- The other thing that people need to understand is that Carshop Friend doesn’t offer items to just anyone. Again, if you understand his business model and understand what Carshop Friend represents, then it’ easy to understand why he doesn’t offer items openly and deals with people openly. His shop represents Nissan Leopards in their purest forms.
I can’t explain it enough, but look here:
Notice there cars? No big intercoolers, no stance cars or Shakotan cars or drift cars. Carshop Friend represents the Nissan Leopard being pure.
That is what Carshop Friend wants to represent. I was going to give a banner to Mike M. in Southern California, but I got a message from a Leopard owner reminding me that I was given these from Carshop Friend for myself (Carshop Friend banner). I didn’t want to cross that line.
Additionally, this is why you rarely see Carshop Friend items on YAJ. There is a seller that does sell some Carshop Friend items from time to time, but he asks permission from Carshop Friend to do so.
Now, that is not to say Carshop Friend won’t sell items. I was actually instructed to tell people to contact Carshop Friend if they want to buy items.