We talk to the gent who took his R35 GT-R from Singapore to Everest Base Camp… and then back again on an epic 15,700km overland journey.
Singapore - When Nissan touted its R35 GT-R to be an ‘everyday supercar’ that anyone could drive anywhere anytime, the last place the brand envisioned it would end up was probably Mt. Everest, or to be exact, Everest’s North Base Camp (EBC) in Tibet at 5,150m above sea level, which is exactly where the spritely 50-something Mr. KC Hoong brought his.
The wanderlust bug clearly bit him early on, since such epic overland journeys are nothing new to KC. From as early as 1979, he’s been embarking on the sort of road-trips that other people only dream wistfully about. In those early days, the intrepid KC crisscrossed from the West to the East Coast of the United States of America, covering the Mid-West, Canada and Mexico in the process!
Needless to say, it takes a lot more than blood, sweat, tears and an estimated S$20k sitting around to embark on such a journey; being in a position to take more than a month’s worth of leave also helps (his son minded the business while he was away) – this trip took 43 days (including 18 months planning and several false starts along the way, because an earlier road trip from Singapore to London two years prior was cancelled due to concerns about personal safety, especially since the route would take them through Iran; a second was scuppered due to lack of participation), with KC making a short recce trip into Laos right up to the border with China earlier this year on the 'raised' GT-R.
Due to concerns from his family, he joined company with a convoy organised by the Automobile Association of Singapore for the initial part of the journey to Shangrila, but they parted ways after 12 days together as he blazed a solo trail towards EBC, with only the mandatory Chinese guide for company in his car. Apart from five fuel maps to deal with low RON gas, raising the car and removing the front lip for better ground clearance, as well as running non-staggered-fit tyres, the GT-R was largely original and coped admirably with the expedition. Of course he could have attempted the journey in a SUV, but where was the challenge in that?
So, was this just a case of climbing the mountain because it is there? KC tells us, “I cannot wait – I’m already 59 years old. Every year time is passing by and there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to do it next year. What you can do today, don’t wait till tomorrow because tomorrow is promised to no one.” – Photos: KC Hoong / PigsCanFly Photography / David Khoo
[Full story in issue 57 of TopGear Singapore]