Way back in 2009, when I lived in Seattle, I bought my first R35 GT-R. It was a 2010 Super Silver Premium that I traded in a 2007 Atomic Orange Z06 Corvette on. I have been enamored with turbo cars since my youth and I am deeply involved in the venerable Buick turbo V6 in the Grand National platform. Needless to say, I was hooked on the GT-R since the very first drive. There's something about the power delivery of a V6 turbo that is just deeply satisfying, and channeled through AWD. . . well forget about it! :D I took that car to Tim Bailey down at Cobb Surgeline in Portland, and after spending a day on Tim's dyno, it ended up putting out 540whp/570wtq without turning a bolt on the car - stock down to the paper filters! I was shocked by the results and fell completely in love with the GT-R as a tunable platform.
Several years passed, and I had some big life changes - including a move to Mesa AZ in 2012. My car hobby fell to the back burner and I ended up selling my 2010 to focus on my other interests, but I always missed her. After I got settled in AZ, in October of 2015, I found a beautiful 2015 White Premium sitting on the lot of the Scottsdale Porsche dealer - she had been a trade in at ~700 miles, and as soon as I saw her, the GT-R bug bit me again hard and it wasn't long before she was in my driveway!
Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I called up my old friend Tim Bailey and started talking about options, but his shop was way up in Portland, and I needed someone local to do the installs. I'm a mechanic myself, so I'm very picky about who works on my cars, and I didn't know of anyone in the area. Fortunately, I'm a member of a couple of different GT-R forums, and a bit of digging got me a name - Joe Bach. I'd never heard of him, but found out he was the best GT-R tech in the area and was working at a local Nissan dealership - so I scheduled my first POS with him and went over to meet him.
As soon as I met Joe, I got the feeling that he really understood GT-R. He was confident and friendly and told me about a bunch of the cars he has worked on. In the dealership lot there were a couple of modified cars, including some Alpha cars, so I figured this must be the guy. He did the POS on my car and handled it like it was his own. At that point, I knew I had found my guy. I got his number and ended up calling him a few weeks later to talk about going FBO E85 with my car. He was friendly and knowledgeable, and told me he did his modification work at a place called the Scottsdale Vault. I dropped my car and a bunch of parts off over there and met the Vault guys (Corey, Carl, Chad, and Ray), and we all hit it off and became friends. When I picked up my car, I was very pleased with the quality of the work and blown away by how much faster the car was. I took it to the very first No Fly Zone airstrip event in Gila Bend, AZ and spent the day making hot lap passes crushing Lamborghini Huracans, Ferraris, Corvettes, CTS-Vs, and all manner of other challengers. It was great fun, but it gave me a gnawing hunger for more.
In the meantime, Joe and I and the Vault guys had become friends and I was spending more and more time there. I told Joe that I wanted to do a bigger build and he sat down with me and worked it out on paper - we ended up deciding on a GT30R build necessitating strengthening of the engine and transmission. I'm mod cheap and have a lot of experience building engines and high performance cars, so I worked out a deal with Joe where I would help him with the build and show him what I knew about engine building and he would teach me about GT-R. It turned out to be a great partnership and we spent a lot of hours together putting together a balanced and blueprinted VR38 with AMS spec Manley forged internals. We mated that to a Jack's transmission (Drag 800 at the time), and a set of GT30R turbos (AAM 900Rs). Our goal was 175mph at the next No Fly Zone, and with the help of the rest of the Vault crew got the build done and bugs worked out with just days to spare (suffice it to say that there aren't too many good fueling options for high horsepower E85 GT-R builds). I flew out Tim Bailey to help me dial the car in and we broke it in on the track, laying down many high 170mph passes and a few 180+mph passes back to back. The car performed perfectly, but of course I left wanting more. See a pattern? :D
The transmission was a little hitchy cruising around town since we installed it, so after the event we pulled it and sent it back to Jack's (great guy who was always willing to work with me!), and at the same time I had him upgrade the gears and clutches to a Drag 950 spec. Also during the downtime, I got fed up with the AAM S-Line fuel system we had hacked together and decided to replace it with an AMS Omega dual brushless system. Everyone at the Vault helped with those parts of the build and the car was running again as a GT30R max effort build without a hitch.
Fast forward a few months and Joe decided for personal reasons to split with the Vault and start his own shop - Bach Racing. I had decided that I wanted to hit 200mph in the 1/2, and to do that I knew I would at least need bigger turbos and more RPM headroom, so I dropped my car off again with Joe at his new shop and had him order up a new Alpha 12 turbo kit, race intercooler, cams, springs, and retainers from AMS, who stepped up big time to help us with parts for the build. This time I had to be out of town and Joe pulled the engine and installed everything all over again :D. He did awesome work and, after a little shaking out of the bugs, we were ready to hit No Fly Zone yet again where we ran a new personal best of 193mph in the 1/2. We had to stop dialing it in as we had a boost leak to sort. Joe did a great job diagnosing the car and found some leaking port plugs on the wastegates. We got those fixed up in car and finished getting the car dialed in before the next No Fly Zone (December 2015) where we finally met and exceeded the 200mph goal with a top speed of 205.292mph! The car still has more in her and I'm excited to see where we get in March after tweaking her a bit more!
So, long story short - I've worked with Joe probably more than any other customer he's had. We've taken my car from bone stock through 3 stages of development in a very short time and hit all the goals I've had at every stage along the way. He's been consistently excellent at every build level. I've seen him at his best and at his worst, and I trust him to do the work on a car that I trust my life with repeatedly at >200mph. That requires a whole different level of attention to detail than your average tuner shop is capable of, and Joe meets or exceeds the bar consistently. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Joe knows GT-R as well as or better than anyone else in the USA, and I'm happy to have him working on my car.