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Old Cars

Just wanted to say that I really, really enjoyed reading your Old Cars article this week. I just traded down from a 1998 MR2 GT to a 1989 Alfa 33 twin carb 1.5, and I love it in a way I never could love my Toyota. Even the MR2's a far, far superior car in every way.

My 33's not really 'old' in the way an Austin 1800 is, but to me it's a classic and very special. Of course I'd prefer an Alfasud, but I haven't seen a good one of those for sale in a long, long time (actually I bought the last one and an uninsured driver wrote it off within a week). Then there's the inboard brakes and the difficulty getting parts ...

There's just something wonderful about cars with a bit of character left, and my Alfa's got it in spades. I'm glad to read that in principle, you agree with me

PS I never did name my MR2, and to me that says something!

John Williams
Australia

Powerful Scooter

I just bought a Fascinating piece of machinery. Its called a Suzuki Burgman 650. Its a scooter with a whopping 650cc engine, CVT gearbox with manual shift option on the handle bar and fuel injected. Here is a link to the bike www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au I was amazed at the technology of this scooter and went out and bought one a week after i found out about it. Im happy to lend it out for a test ride and report on it as its a dream to ride to work on a daily basis :) I’m sure others would appreciate and find this scooter interesting to read about purely because most people associate scooterswiththose100ccVespas that you see scooting around town.

Boris Kotevski
Australia

Getting it Square

re: Another HPV 10. Could you show hoe you get it all square?  The rear swingarm must have needed a jig itc to line it up?

Todd Bagshaw
Australia

No jig was used.

Stars

Hi , I enjoyed the article about the Austin 1800,but did you know the guy that features in most of the aussie ads for those is Nairn Hindhuagh of " Mountain motor Books" in Brisbane?.Back in the day he was the adverising manager for BMC Australia,I think the other guy who featured a lot was John laws.LOL! Cheers!

Ron Bunting
Australia

Modelling Rear Suspension

Interesting work on the HPV. All the talk of roll centres, bounce frequencies, etc is stuff I picked up reading suspension and handling books in pursuit of making my car faster at the track.

I thought I'd throw some of your rear suspension designs through an FEA package to see if you were on the right path re torsional stiffness.

As supected the ladder frame is worst, 0.208mm max deflection (The absolute values aren't really relevant as the dimensions, tube selection and load estimates aren't accurate, but they're at least comparative to each other.) A plain cross design was a small improvement: 0.202mm (but as you said, there would be poor lateral strength). The linked design you chose was 0.204mm maximum deflection. A crossed braced ladder design was the only significant improvement, 0.133mm deflection, but of course it consists of extra parts and weight...

Obviously the modelling is only very rough, but I thought you might find it interesting...

Matt King
New Zealand

Bias Against Holden

I haven't asked this before, but I probably should have; What do you have against Holden? Seriously. When the BA came out, it got mostly praises from you, even though it stacked on the weight big time. No argument from you. Now the VE came out, and all you could do was talk about how it was ridiculous that Holden could allow this car to be 100-150kg heavier than the old models. 1855kg at it's heaviest, this was a lard arse that should never have been brought into production. It had no use. It was too big. The wheels were too big, too expensive, it used too much fuel, the V8 is 6L of (what appears to be) direct insult to you. Again. You bring it up in Driving Emotion, "I’ve written before about the size of the VE Commodore, but I have to say it again. I just can’t get over how huge they are".

That's right. They are big cars. However, would you hop out of your buzz box car for a moment and see my point. For their size, they're not heavy! 1855kg is exactly what the HSV GTS weighs, with heavy trim and very tricky suspension. Now, look at a "similar" Falcon -The Force8, 1855kg. Hang on, maybe it's a typo. Lets look at two others then. The SSV Commo weighs 1805kg. Heavy and with a useless, pointless, stupid, unsophisticated V8. Lets be fair and look at a Ford 6 in comparison then, like the Force6. 1805kg as well. But with a much lighter 6 cylinder engine. There's something wrong here. One more. The pov-pack SS Commo come in at 1770kg, and the stocker XR6T weighs 1755kg. That right. The ridiculously heavy VE Commodore, in all it's V8 glory, is just as heavy, and in some cases lighter, than the Falcon equivalent. Not a peep from you though, about the Falcons weight. No, no, no, of course not.

Here's some food for thought for you Julian, and I really want you to take this in. In 1988/89, Holden brought out the VN Commodore. In it's day a great car, but like all old cars, nothing in comparison to todays choices. It weighed just 1350kg or so. Still a big car. Big boot, big wheels at the time (This family of Commodores was the first Australian car to have 17" rims, which were massive back then), and room (comfortably) for 5 adults. Now, to shed light on why the VE is not a heavy car for todays market. The Porsche 911GT3 RS. That's right, I'm comparing an 18 year old car to the latest Race Spec Porsche. The Porsche, with only two seats, stripped out interior, huge use of composites to save weight, and absent of even air conditioning, is a hefty 1375kg. Do you see the problem Julian? You want Australian cars to weigh as much as a full blown road driven race car worth $300,000. For Christs sake Julian, a Ford Focus weighs over 1300kg now. Get over it.
P.S.

At least this time you undermined both Holden AND Ford this time, "When the Australian car-making industry collapses, I think that today’s car company product planners will have been largely to blame". What makes you think they're going anywhere? Holden especially, with its behemoth VE Commodore. If Ford can get its export scheme going with such cars as the Territory and next Falcon, they'll be set. Holden is leading the way. Half of the VE based cars built at Elizabeth are bound for export to every continent except Antarctica. The world loves what Australia has to offer, so why don't you?

Evan Smith
Australia

HPV Plans

I loved the articles by Julian Edgar, on the HPV's and I was wondering if he has plans for his trikes for sale.

Doug Morency
Canada

No drawings have been made.

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