Good write up on the Octavia vRS! Glad you managed to get one for testing. We ended up buying one, a wagon in Black Magic, no options, 41k on the road (1st one in SA!) Have put 2000km on her so far and loving it, no regrets. We ended up getting one as the family wagon with a bit of fun in the equation, loosing none of the features of our old VW Golf TDi DSG. A lot of the tech and engineering is identical (a good thing). Just thought Id let you know that the brake sizes are different on the vRS. Std is 288mm fr 260mm rr, and the vRS uses 312mm fr and 286mm rr. I am not sure if the calipers vary much tho. Next step in a year or so is a chip for a few more herbs, as we are fortunate that all the hard work has already been done on the GTi engine and the results are a given. Sum up - a great car and great bang for your buck.
Intake Manifold Design
Inspired by your Intake manifold technology article I have purchased a standard intake manifold for my V8 BA Falcon XT to attempt to modify it to extend the intake runners within the plenum to their opposite piston runner. As you article suggests this should effectively double the length of the runners. I will probably do a before and after dyno run to test effectiveness.
Driving for Economy
Have you considered doing an article on driving for fuel economy? Fuel economy seems to be a growing topic of much interest to people around the world. There are many new technologies being developed to increase fuel efficiency. However, there are many techniques that can be used to increase efficiency. Some are not highly publicised, and some are quite advanced. However, HUGE gains can be made with simply altering how you drive your vehicle. As an example, I'll use my experience.
I have a 1997 Toyota Paseo rated for 37 mpg highway per the EPA standards of 1997 (they've been updated in 2008). The best tank I have gotten from this vehicle is 52 mpg (all highway trip), and that was in the middle of January which is very cold here. Thats a 40% increase over the rated highway mileage in winter, and for absolutely no cost.
For additional info I recommend looking at www.cleanmpg.com (I'm just a user there, not the owner or anything). There are number of articles on the main page that outline how to drive a conventional gasoline engined vehicle more efficiently as well as specific hybrid vehicles more efficiently. I also recommend looking at the mileage logs and seeing what people are actually doing with their vehicles.
We have run some articles on driving for best fuel economy – eg Savings on Fuel - Part Three. But thanks for the link – we’re sure many readers will enjoy the site.
Another good piece about vehicle aerodynamics. Glad you're still pushing that issue - obviously the automakers haven't really "got it" yet.
I'm writing to invite you to have a look at ecomodder.com It's a forum dedicated to automotive DIY efficiency improvements - many of which are aerodynamic in nature.
The members of the forum - when discussing aerodynamics - often refer back to articles you've published at AutoSpeed. Maybe you'd be interested in profiling some of the "mild" to "wild" aero modifications that have been done.
The Supercharger that Isn’t
Scanning eBay for useful goodies, I found an interesting item listed as "Nissan Supercharger",as soon as I saw the photos, I thought "yeh right, a vacuum powered Turbo Zet" check it out, I think an alert for less savy readers is justified.
Would it be possible to do a Tech Article on wheel alignment. How do the V8 Supercars and other racers perform wheel alignments and adjustments in there pit garage?? The average racer / club racer would benifit greatly from some advice. Even the different setup spec of different Race Cars and there application would be very interesting.
We tend not to cover race car set-up as it applies to such a small number of our readers. In the past we’ve done on articles on road car wheel alignment – do a site search.
Engine EpicWhat? No VAG (Audi/VW) engines to be included in the Engine Epic Series?
Our engine epic series finished some years ago and we’ve decided not to do any more or update the existing stories. While well read, they have consistently gained poor reader quality ratings.
Are there any plans available for the recumbent trike developed by Julian Edgar?
No drawings were made of the trike (just lots of sketches!). The series on the Air 130 (starts at 'Another Human Powered Vehicle Part 1 - Finding the Lightest Springs') is of fundamentally the same design and is shown step by step in much greater detail. If any would-be constructor needs any approximate measurements or angles, we’re happy to supply them.