The one and only complete car by A’pex.
A’pex, who first started business back in 1992, originally started off making the ‘Super Megaphone’ muffler. A’pex in the early ’90s were well known for being one of the first companies to offer pipe diameters larger than 60mm, and they also made the ‘monster tip’ popular by offering the first 115mm muffler tip. By 1997, A’pex had a whole line up of mechanical and electronic goods, and were keen to show off their know-how by putting together a ‘complete car’ along the lines of the famous HKS ZERO R of 1994.
When discussing the A450, the first thing that people usually ask is “why on earth did they choose those tail lights?” Well to answer that, you have to look at the car as a whole. A’pex have redesigned every panel on this car bar the doors and the roof. The theme A’pex were going for with the design of the A450 was ‘a GT car for Adults’… take that in any which way you want. To somehow defend the A450’s rear end design, I for one think the 4 circular tail lights of the regular R32 GT-R which it is based on would look out of place on this car, which shares very little with the R32 GT-R on the outside. If you want the quad tail lights, then don’t buy an A450. If you let go of the A450’s heritage, it’s clear to see that the car isn’t too extreme in any one area (the headlight treatment might be debatable) and A’pex could’ve easily done alot worse.
The grille is home to the ‘A’ from A’pex, and is surrounded by no less than 6 headlights which gives the A450 a unique look. Looking at the car from the front really gives you an idea of the increased width, all 1810mm of it. The 18×9 Volk Racing F-Zero Winning alloy wheels don’t really do a good job of filling out the guards, but were chosen more for their cohesive appearance with the redesigned bodywork. The design as a whole shouts ‘450hp!’… or so A’pex would want you to believe.
Based on a 1994 BNR32 GT-R, A’pex threw ‘about half’ it’s catalogue at the A450 engine bay, and before anyone asks “only 450hp?”, the main goal performance-wise was to top 280km/h, which the A450 did suprisingly easily at Yatabe Oval Test Course (it actually recorded 283.4km/h, and did the standing quarter mile in 11.9 seconds). Aerodynamic stability was another strong point, and the A’pex coil over suspension used special spring and damper rates to enhance high speed stability and cornering without affecting comfort beyond what would be expected from such an ‘Adult’ GT car.
The single IHI A’pex RX6 ball bearing turbine runs slightly higher boost than standard, and gives the A450 almost seamless acceleration. Without a sudden boost rise, the standard capacity RB26 accelerates smoothly all the way to redline, almost as if Nissan tuned the A450 themselves. Only the clutch has been upgraded in the driveline, as everything else was deemed strong enough to handle the higher output of the A450. The largely standard interior is very tastefully upgraded in high quality leather, keeping with the ‘Adult’ theme, and extends to the door trims aswell. The steering wheel was provided by Nardi, and the instrument cluster incorporates a 320km/h speedometer and 1.5 bar boost guage in it’s factory positon on the center console. The interior really is classy and gives the feeling of an overall ‘complete car’ as A’pex intended.
So there it is, the A’pex A450 isn’t a 1000hp beast capable of 8 second quarters or covering the standing kilometer in 12 seconds, but rather it’s a mature redesign and upgrade of Nissan’s flagship GT-R of the early ’90s made to appeal to Adults after and bit of originalty and a little more power. As A’pex announced at it’s release, “It’s a car that wants to express itself in the world of 300 km/h on the autobahn, giving the driver a feeling of high quality enhancement and safety”.
A tiny scanned image of the A450’s engine, enlarged 3x.
The A’pex A450 sold for 8,900,000 yen (A$104,527).
Name: A’pex A450
Power: 335kw (450hp)
Drive: 4WD ATTESA ETS
Brakes: Ventilated disks
Suspension: Front and rear independent multi-link
Text: Justin Karow
Photos: J’s Tipo, Koji Kuwamoto