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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Keep It Coming...

Keep up both the objectivity and clarity of purpose so lacking in contemporary Australian motoring journalism.

Trevor Pritchard

NSX TT to Go!

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In 1998 you wrote a story on my NSX twin-turbo - NSX In Excess. I wanted to let you know that the car is back in Australia after a few years in the US where we got to road race in Nevada, California and Mexico.

I have just received the car back from AVO. We gave it a 'birthday' - overhaul, new computers, etc... Dyno charts are on - 300+kW ATW and about 1200 kilograms. Much fun! I have decided to sell the car, so look out for an innovative sales campaign in print and on the web coming soon. I can be emailed at

Cameron Parsons

Clever Turbo Timer

I came up with an idea for a tech story - a turbo timer using a 555 timer. I was thinking you could hook up different resistors and capacitors through maybe a rotary switch so that it has adjustable cool down times (if you want to use them). I'm gonna do a little designing, so if I come up with something practical I'll pass it along. Great job with the site BTW.

Matt Ellery

Stay tuned - together with Silicon Chip magazine we're jointly developing an intelligent turbo timer that monitors driving style. Should be just what the doctor ordered...

Sexier Supra

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I've got a stock 1994 Toyota Supra SZ-R. I'm not really interested in putting a body kit on it because I'll have to watch out for ditches and dips in the road, but what do you think I should do to it to make it look 'beefed up'?

Dimi Nikolias

You can't really go past lowering (not too much or you will have those same clearance problems!) along with a big set of rims. We've seen some good lookin' rear wings for the Supra too.

Which is Thirstier?

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I've noticed that you have several times commented on the Boss Ford Falcon motors having superior fuel economy than the Gen III Commodore motor. How is this the case when every leading car magazine quotes otherwise? My experience driving cars with both motors states otherwise to a rather large degree. Do you merely use trip computers or do you calculate on the fill to the brim and drive, fill to the brim and divide the kilometres by fuel needed. One of the reasons I purchased a Commodore with the Gen III over a Boss motor was better - or at worst equal - performance coupled with significantly better fuel economy.

Francis Richard

Each time we've had a Ford V8 it has out-performed the LS1 for fuel consumption. (And, yes, the figures were calculated from fill-ups.) Maybe some 'convert' readers can offer their experiences?

Which Car?

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Hey guys, great site. I've got something I thought I'd get your thoughts on... I am 21 (no more P plates in Victoria!) and will be upgrading my AS Ford TX5 turbo soon. I was wondering what you thought of my current choices - Nissan 180SX (SR20), Subaru RS Liberty or Mitsubishi VR4 Galant. The VR4 was my uncle's from new and is now my cousin's, so I might be able to get it cheap - but it has done 300,000km! It has recently had a rebuild but is this too many kays and will it need a lot more than usual upkeep? I have got a budget of up to 15 grand - any other cars you suggest? (I seem to like all the cars you guys have owned.) That Honda City turbo (Urban Weapon) is now down to $3000 plus compliance. Hmmm...  Thanks for you time - any info would be great. Keep up the good work!

Luke Stolfo

All of the cars you nominate are great performers (assuming you meant 180SX SR20 Turbo!) The 180SX, though, currently seems to fetch very high $$ because of its popularity - and we reckon a lot of buyers will cop a financial hit now that CA18DET S13s can be cheaply imported and complied under the 15 year-old rule. RS v VR4? Well, we have recently purchased an Oz-delivered VR4 and have also owned a RS a few years ago - both are extremely similar in size, performance, handling, comfort, etc. The VR4s are generally cheaper, though (especially the 'grey' imports), so these are obviously better value for money. (See Australia's Best Value Performance Car ) But one with 300,000km? Hmm, we'd certainly get it checked out first - but if you can get it at 'the right price' keep in mind the availability of cheap VR4 half-cuts, etc...

The used car market is quite unusual at the moment - you don't get that much more for $20,000 than you do for $10,000. (Eg VR4 vs Lancer GSR, RS vs WRX, S13 vs S14). All of the cars you're looking at sound like the way to go. Oh, and Honda City Turbo II - great fun if you have the space to own it as a second car.

Not So Good?

Re Response...

"Have you checked out They make an electric supercharger that can produce 20 psi of boost!

Bassam Alwan

Looks good! Have any readers had any experiences with this product?

Did you guys actually read the specs? The blower can only be run for 15 seconds! Okay for the dragstrip but useless for driving our favourite roads - or at least my drives last longer than 15 seconds.

Shane Keller

Stay tuned for an article on the electric forced induction products on the market. Re the 15-second boost duration - great for traffic light warrior! And note that an upgrade alternator reduces the ESC-400 blower system's charge time dramatically - but we'll cover all that soon...

More Mazdas Coming?

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I'm looking for a practical sub-$40k replacement for my Nissan S15 200SX and am currently considering the Toyota Corolla Sportivo, Ford Focus and the Mazda3. Will you be doing a technical feature on this car in the near future? I'd especially like to see the comparison between the 105kW 2.0L and the 115kW from the SP23 model. I'll be test-driving both models this weekend... Eagerly awaiting another in-depth article from your good selves soon after!

Paul Sampson

Mazda have not been forthcoming with test cars since our review of the Mazda 6. We do have a review of the Ford Focus ST170 coming up.

About that Fan...

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In your article on the Thermo Fan Install you didn't mention anything about the adjustment of the on/off switch. I recently installed the same Davies Craig kit on my '71 Mini Clubman and found one of the most important things was what temperature that the (adjustable) switch turned the fan on. I placed the copper sensor from the kit in a pot of gradually heated water along with an LCD digital temp probe (LCD Temp Display!) and waited for the audible "click" of the switch turning on at a certain temp. I would then adjust the switch to a higher/lower temp, cool the water a little and hear the switch clicking off and repeat... until I got the right temp.

BTW - It'd also be nice to note that the switch is adjustable from 80 to around 110 degrees Celsius.

Alan Mears

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