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Some of this week's Letters to the Editor!

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One L-o-n-g Corvette

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Damian Van Loon


Goodbye 200SX

Thought you might be interested - customer service at Nissan Australia said that Nissan Japan will cease production of the 200SX in the next few months. Apparently the current model cannot meet strict emissions and safety requirements. Customer service also mentioned they will purchase enough 200SX's to see through to mid-2003, probably about the time we are likely to get the 350ZX.

Stan Krainovic

How Not to Make Them

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I would like to ask your advice on a matter. Do you think it would be reasonable for me to request a full refund on an exhaust system I have paid for because I believe the workmanship to be sub-par?

A short background. I had a local exhaust shop build me a 2.25-inch cat-back mild steel system, which, put simply, was crap. It rubbed badly against the handbrake cable, and there was a huge dent in it from trying to make 3 successive bends too close to each other. If you're interested, a few images of that system are at

I took it back, told them I was less-than-satisfied and they cut off the bad section of pipe and had their manager build a replacement pipe that didn't foul the handbrake cable, and they did this at no charge. They also supplied me with resonator at cost price with free fitting to make the system quieter. However, I've noticed that the new pipe hangs down incredibly low - on my reasonably flat garage floor it has a clearance of between 110 and 120mm at its lowest point (measured with a tape measure), on a perfectly-stock N14 '91 Pulsar Q w/SR20DE motor. This is without any significant weight in the back. Looking at the car from the side from a reasonable distance away you could almost mistake the pipe for a side skirt!

Quite frankly I'm sick of dealing with them after two systems that are less than satisfactory. I am not very experienced in dealing with mechanics and the like as this is my first car.

Thanks for your time :)

Dan Boman

It appears from your pics that they have replaced the section that was obviously woeful in workmanship. The rest looks much like a typically bad exhaust that you get from a budget workshop - but we think that you'll have great difficulties in getting your money back.

Money Pits #1

I liked your article on "Money Pits". I agree with basically everything you say, why bother with a 520 BMW and spending a fortune on it when a 535 can be had for less [total] money and will outrun nearly all but the highest spec 520.

I believe you have to start out with the top of the range, but at the same time, look at the volume seller - what the car was designed for - in the case of the BMW, they designed the top of the range 5 series 535, then added some bargain basement models and the finally a race car like M5. A whole different attitude from Japanese or Australian manufacturers. Take the Commodore VT or Falcon Ute - it was designed as a ute with a top speed of around 180 - 200km/h.

HSV do all sorts of wonders and modify it with a 280 or 300kW engine, but despite all that, it is still basically taking a ute and making it a ute with a big engine, that is potentially very dangerous at high speed. A friend of mine with his HVS ute had a lucky escape when the rear end lifted up at over 200 km/h and he spun for about 300m. Even the latest HSV Commodore - 300kW, fancy brakes and the stiffest suspension you have ever felt. Don't drive down a normal road with your mouth open or you'll end up breaking your teeth.

If you want a performance car - then buy a real sports car or GT, not a modified family sedan. The old adage - you get what you pay for - is true.

You can spend a fortune - I've seen figure of over $100,000 spent in modifying Skyline GTR's to get 10 sec 1/4 miles but if you drive it on the street, it will either break down or break you down with its paddle clutch and rock-hard suspension.

That my two cents worth anyway.

By the way - you're wrong about modification to Jaguars being expensive - VA Spitteri and a host of others have been modifying them for years, and real power gains are possible for really budget prices. I am alway surprised how little parts cost - for example upgraded Brembo ventilated discs and "Green Stuff" pads cost me less than $350. How many cars can go from 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds?

Iain Burgess

Money Pits #2

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your story on 'Money Pits'. It's about time someone told the story how it is. I only hope that it will give some clarity to the fools that spend a heap of money modifying their POS in some vain attempt to get street cred.

Jeffrey Morton

Money Pits #3

Well, done all, good mag.....I have been a subscriber since day dot, and its still going strong.

The story in this issue by Michael Knowling about 'money pits'... I think all cars modified or not are money pits, my father used to call them a hole in the road where you empty your money. However that's not stopped me spending money on them, half the fun of a modified car is creating something unusual. Being a child of the 80's my first car was a Mazda 1300 auto, quite a few friends drove 120Ys and Escorts, after watching how other drivers treat you in such machinery on the road, there is nothing better than surprising other drivers with a bit of extra power. I've thought about putting a V8/rotary/FJ20 into a 120Y, just for the hell of it, it wouldn't be an economic proposition........ After all you could buy a $15k cheap new car and throw away 70% of its value in 3-5 years or buy a $2-5k car and spend $10k making it fast and individual..... Yes I know I'd never get that $10k back either, but that's the fun factor....sure I could spend more on something faster to start with but where is the individuality in that. Although I almost relented and bought a 5.7litre VT for $22k from a mate.....but having had a V6 as a company vehicle and it had heaps of problems, I thought If I had to put up with problems I might as well stick to what I have. There is one aspect that I do sort of agree on and that is that you are not going to get huge amounts of extra power for not much money......It won't stop us looking though.

Adrian Wortley

Money Pits #4

You need to do some research; the story you did on Geminis is utter crap. I am doing a conversion at the moment to the 4CZ1 1.8 turbo. It bolts in and only cost $1400 aus dollars. All up my car cost $5000, this in my opinion is a great bang for your buck deal, better than a 90's plastic shit box.


Moving On

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I have owned my atmo VL Commodore for twelve months now. I had originally planned to modify it with cams and porting and so forth. I have done basic intake and exhaust mods including Pacemaker headers. Realising the futility of my endeavours, I have been forced to think of a new alternative.

Recently my friend's father purchased an Australian-delivered Lancer Evo 6.5 TM for himself. My friend also received a MY01 Subaru WRX STi. After riding in both these cars, I am convinced that modifying an old Holden is not the best option. I have explored all avenues and have decided on a Nissan Skyline R32 GTS-t. This car is at the very limit of my current budget. Please advise me on whether or not you agree with my choice of car. It was your "GTR Pretender, no way!" ["Pre-Owned Performance - Nissan Skyline R32 GTS-t"] article that swayed me in this direction.

I realise that straight out of the showroom, this car won't be a Evo 6 or STi but what I want is the potential to compete with the likes of such cars. I realise the limitations of the ceramic turbines found in the factory turbos but at a later stage, could I replace the turbo with a larger (steel turbined) unit such as a GT2540 or a T04? Would it bolt straight on?

I have been told that the RB20DET has limited tuning potential compared with the later model RB25DET due to its lesser displacement and restrictive head. My goal is to have my Skyline running flat 12's. Considering the light weight of this car, I believe that this goal is not unfeasible.

Please reply to me with your opinion. Am I being unrealistic?

What other options within this price range could I explore? I am looking very seriously at buying this model within the month so your feedback would prove invaluable to me. Thankyou for you patience.

PS. This is a great mag. You should publish it in conventional for as well as on the net. Loyal subscriber...

Andrew Seward

You need to think carefully about what it is that you like so much about the Evo and STi. If it is the security and performance of turbo 4WD, then the Skyline will not make you happy. If it is simple straightline performance, you will still have to perform quite major modifications (lots more than just a turbo swap!) to the Skyline to achieve similar performance, let alone 'flat-12s'. We would suggest a Liberty RS, Galant VR4, Ford TX3 Turbo 4WD - one of those types of cars. They're as fast (or faster) than the Skyline, and they're more likely to match STi and Evo expectations. They will probably also have less insurance hassles. And we'd add one final point - a 12.0 second quarter mile is far, far faster than the STi or Evo can achieve in standard form. Wouldn't it be better to simply try to match those benchmark cars with a whole modification package - handling, brakes and straightline go?

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