Re Focus #1
Ford Focus ST170 Road Test. Just a small point - you
quoted the engine as having the best specific power output of any NA 2.0-litre
engine on the market. I can think of at least two Honda 2.0-litre engines that
make the Focus engine look like a joke! Have you forgotten the hi-po Type R and
S2000? Even five years ago Honda produced more power from a NA 1.8-litre. Is
very impressive for Ford though...
You're absolutely right - we forgot to mention those engines
with variable valve lift.
Re Focus #2
Thanks for your recent article on the Ford Focus ST170
Ford Focus ST170 Road Test. I was surprised at the lack
of unique content in your article - normally your articles are very
thorough. However, in this case, it seems that you drove around for 10 minutes
and wrote the remainder of the article from the specification sheet.
It's a shame, as I've driven an ST quite a few times and after
a long drive on the Putty Rd and through Wollombi I was blown away by its
handling and ride. I haven't noticed the vagueness you talk about in the
steering, either and I've driven most of the cars you recommended at the bottom
of the article. Coming from a Peugeot 306 GTi6, I really am impressed with the
composure of this car and the strength of the engine. It's a car about balance -
not about outright straight-line speed. It was never intended for such purposes.
The GTi6 was never that great in a straight line, but it was awesome as a
package of handling and mid-range torque when you needed it - and the ST is in
the same vein. I found the cars you mentioned as alternatives to be quite
puzzling - from that list, only the Astra and Corolla would be real alternatives
(taking into account the size of the vehicle).
So what happened with your article? Did you simply not have
enough time with the car? It'd be great if you could revisit it on a long drive
like you have on so many other reviews, mainly written by Julian. Here's hoping
your normally high standard prevails in future articles.
Go the GT?
I have currently read that Subaru Australia will finally import
the manual version of Liberty GT towards the end of the year. I am very keen on
buying one of those - should be a nice upgrade... Can you comment on the car a
bit? I know the B4 was plagued with some weird lag when the second turbo was
spooling up (the reason why I gave up buying one) and that the new model is a
totally different car. Any plans to test one?
We'd absolutely love to test one but Subaru Australia hasn’t
provided any more test cars since our occasionally negative review of the '02 STi. Make of that what you will...
Happy To Return
I’ve just returned to Australia from two years in the USA
where, while living in New York City, I had little use for car related
information, etc... Nevertheless, I kept my subscription fully up to date
despite the fact I was not using it - as a 'thanks' to you guys who keep
churning out deliciously rich content day in and day out.
Having now returned to Oz (and back in the drivers seat of my
944 Turbo S) I've read every article you've published in the last two years and
I must say I'm very happy. AutoSpeed continues to get better and better and
I absolutely love the editorial content and tone. Keep up the good
Thermo Fan Advice
In your recent article
Thermo Fan Install the author describes
locating the probe for the thermo switch in the top radiator hose. My own
experience has proven that locating this probe in the bottom hose/tank provides
more appropriate control. This will result in the fan not running when there is
sufficient airflow through the radiator to drop the output temp below the
preset. This approach also seems to be the one chosen by the OEMs where they
mostly mount a fixed temp switch in the bottom tank. Locating the probe in the
bottom hose/tank also results in more stable engine temps regardless of driving
condition. Keep the tech stuff coming.
Mods So Far...
I thought I would give you an update on my Japanese-spec ’88
Mitsubishi Galant VR4. Since buying it in November 2003 I have gone a bit mad on
mods. My basis of modification was to make the car suitable for track work.
Here’s the story so far... Koni adjustable dampers, King springs, upgraded
swaybars (Whiteline front and rear), camber and castor kit (Whiteline again),
3-inch turbo back exhaust, relocated battery to boot, car alarm, EBC 294
cross-drilled and ventilated front discs, Galant RS twin piston front callipers,
EBC Greenstuff pads front and back rear, Autometer water and oil temp gauge,
Autometer boost gauge, 600 x 300 x 76mm bar-and-plate intercooler, custom
intercooler piping, GFB Stealth FX blow-off valve, K&N pod filter with
custom intake piping, 2600lb heavy duty full face organic clutch, Evo III 550cc
injectors, Walbro 255L/hr fuel pump, HKS 264/264 camshafts, HKS valve springs,
Haltech E6X engine management, electric/pneumatic Recaros, 17-inch rims running
215/45/17 Falken Azenis semi slicks (16-inch slicks for track work).
The result so far is 183kW ATW at 18 psi boost. Of course, the
story is far from over and I am yet to get back to the track with my latest
round of mods. (The work that pays for the play interferes with the opportunity
to play.) I intend to take it to a test and tune at Willowbank in the next
couple of weeks and then to the Sprint session at Qld Raceway at the end of the
month. Love the web site and thanks again on convincing me to buy this wonderful
I've just finished reading your article Imported Treasures –
and would like to congratulate you on the balanced view of your reviews. I do
have a question about the Supra (and presumably Soarer) and also the RX-7 that I
hope you can clear up for me. With all second hand cars there are things that
wear out - like brakes, wheel bearings and shock absorbers. This is a given. The
problem I can see with these cars is the TEMS and, judging from the engine bay
picture of the RX-7, Mazda’s active shock absorbers will wear out. Do they need
specific shock absorbers tailored for the electronic damping systems? If so,
this may be a costly part to replace – or you might be forced into using a
conventional shock absorber and abandoning the electronics. Apart from this
issue these cars look like great value performers, just don’t expect to get
prices such as these on the Northern Beaches of Sydney!
Good point. In the case of the Series 4/5 RX-7 there are a
fair few locally delivered examples that might have suspension parts with some
life left in them (especially if they've already been replaced). There's also
aftermarket strut suspension available (second-hand imported and new) for the FC
RX-7. This also applies to the Supra/Soarer, though to a lesser extent.
And, yes, prices do seem to vary a lot depending exactly
where you live. Buying a car interstate sometimes makes good financial sense.