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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

23 February 2003

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Cool Dude

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I was reading your article called 'Cool Stuff' on phenolic insulators for manifolds and was wondering if you knew where I could buy a sheet so I could make some gaskets for my HQ racecar - I could see it being a big help.

David Ross

Phenolic plastic is available from most dedicated plastic retailers - look for an industrial type outlet in your local phone book.

Filter Findings

Is it possible to do an oil filter comparison? Brand name filters vs no name filters and how they stack up. Flow rates/filtering quality, even go through what racecars use. Thanks and keep up the excellent work.


The oil filter test is a great idea but - unfortunately - it's very difficult to conduct properly. It's certainly something we'd like to do sometime in the future, however.

Use Your Story?

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I am a Member of the Royal Australian Air Force and as such we have our own Defence Intranet, which has discussion forums for all sorts of things including motorcars. These Forums are only open to Defence members and Defence Civilians. Recently there has been a topic on the new Magna AWD with all sorts of opinions from people who haven't driven one. I have and was most impressed as you where. What I would like to know is if I can have your permission to post the Magna AWD Article on the Defence Intranet for people to read and I will state that I have your permission if I do receive it. I have not posted any articles on there before and won't in the Future if you don't want me too, but I thought if people read this full article on the board it will let them know what a great vehicle the Magna is and will be a great advertisement for AutoSpeed to people who may otherwise be unaware of it. There are over 20,000 people who use the Defence intranet so it may gain you plenty of new subscribers when they read your unique and unbiased articles. Thanks.

Nigel Dunn

Nigel - the article is free access on - you can post a link to that article. (Our new car tests are always free access)

Turbo Keen

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Hey - I just have a few questions for you guys. Maybe you can help me. I've got around $12,000 to spend on a car (my second one). I'm not sure what to buy for that money tho. I'm looking for a turbo car, with the engine around 2-litres, and year 1990+. There aren't too many options, maybe 180SX, R32 GTS-t, Silvia turbo, or TX3 KH 4WD turbo. Do you know any other cars that I could look at? I'm also 19 so insurance could be a problem. And also I'm not sure if an import is what I should look for... or an Aussie car. Thanks heaps.


In the locally-delivered turbo segment the options are VR4, GT4, TX3 Turbo (any model), Capri turbo, Liberty RS (a cheap one), MX6/626/TX5 Turbo, Hyundai S Coupe turbo, Supra turbo and early-ish Saab and Volvo turbos. In the imports you can afford a CA18 turbo Silvia or 180SX but probably not a R32 GTS-t. You could, however, also consider a Starlet turbo.

Our pick would be a top-notch Galant VR4. With performance virtually line-ball with the RS (but with better bottom-end performance and a stronger gearbox), AWD, plenty of equipment, excellent tuning potential and good Japanese-import engine/driveline parts availability it's hard to go past for 12k. If you're not wanting all-out performance, a MX6/626/TX5 turbo is a great buy for around $7000; compared to the VR4, the only things they lack is about 40kW and AWD. A great car for the money.

Oh and, being 19 years old, insurance will be a problem if you're after a turbo. Maybe you should consider some quick atmo cars...

Killer Nissan V8!

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I am wondering how much power can safely be generated from the Nissan VH45DE with twin turbos, Carrillo rods and forged pistons. The real question is whether the block and heads can handle over 800hp like the RB engines. Is this engine inherently as strong as the RB engines, or strong enough to handle around the same power as the RB30/26 Nizpro built? I wonder if you guys can relay this message to the guru Simon Gischus.


The VH45 certainly has a reputation for strength, but we've never heard of anyone pushing its limits. If you're seriously thinking about this as a project, we'd recommend speaking to Nizpro over the phone - there will be many specifics that require discussion. Their number is +61 3 9761 1522


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I read a VX Calais review you have published on I must say, Julian Edgar doesn't know what he's talking about. He reviewed this car with a blindfold on by the sound of it.


Introduction to I.A.A.T.I

I am enclosing a letter on behalf of John O'Byrne, the president of the Australasian branch of I.A.A.T.I (International Association of Auto Theft Investigations). The letter is a self-explanatory introduction about I.A.A.T.I. to yourself and your readers.

Keith Schmidt
Committee member
IAATI Australasian Branch

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to introduce you and your readers to I.A.A.T.I., the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.

The association celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last year in the U.S.A., and the Australasian Branch will likewise celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with a special conference to be held in Canberra in March.

I.A.A.T.I. consists mainly of law enforcement and insurance personnel, and other individuals involved in occupations relating to auto theft. Membership is open to any person with a legitimate interest in auto theft investigation, prevention and education. The association was formed in order to improve communication and co-ordination among auto theft investigators. I.A.A.T.I. provides its members with an array of experience, training and resources in areas such as technical developments, trends, intelligence information and investigative assistance.

To find out more about I.A.A.T.I. including membership and conference details, you may visit the website at

Yours faithfully,

John O'Byrne
President Australasian Branch

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