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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Re article Undertrays, Spoilers & Bonnet Vents, Part 1...

“To make the manometer more sensitive, you can incline it at a fixed angle. If the manometer is angled at 45 degrees, a difference in level of 1 inch (measured along the tubes) becomes an actual ‘inches of water’ measurement of 0.5 inches. In this way, very small pressure differences can be easily read off, even in a moving car.”

Uh, no! At 45 degrees, one inch on the scale will be about 0.7" vertically (the square root of 0.5 to be precise). You'd need to incline 30 degrees from horizontal to get 0.5" vertical displacement. Remember your trigonometry?!

Matt King

Thanks for the email and for pointing that out – article fixed!

350Z Revisited

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I think you somewhat missed the point with the 350Z New Car Test - Nissan 350Z Track – it’s the TRACK version. It is designed primarily for those that want to use it on the race track with little modification! (NO I don't own one.) You are obviously biased towards Holdens - this comes out loud and strong in your article. Also, like a lot of people, you mistake HSVs and other FOUR door cars for sports cars. A sports car has always been (traditionally) a two door relatively compact vehicle. The others are PERFORMANCE cars and will never be true sports cars in the true meaning of the name that was coined back many, many years ago when they were first designed and produced.

Ron Johnson

The fact remains that the 350 Track is poor on-road – and the car IS being sold and driven as a road car, despite its name. And, interestingly, we have yet to see a regularly street driven 350Z at a racetrack...

We have absolutely no bias toward Holdens (or any other brand) – we were simply making a humbling comparison. In many ways, the 350Z Track fits the traditional mould of a sports car - but we must question whether that’s a good thing. As we said in our précis for our road test...

“If you believe that a sports car of today should be rear-wheel drive and have two-doors, a booming engine note, hard seats and an equally hard ride, quick throttle response, a close-ratio gearbox, and attract a heap of kerbside attention, the Nissan 350Z may be for you. But because we don't believe all those are prerequisites, it's not for us...”

Praise and Ponderings

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The Driving Emotion about the Alnor Velometer (Driving Emotion) is the reason I subscribed to AutoSpeed. That is one of the many articles (including the fusion intercooler) that really got me thinking. I'd like to say "give me more!"

As well as the praise, I’d like to query A.Non’s statements about window tinting. Although front windows aren’t usually tinted (I thought it was illegal unless the glass itself was tinted) many cars have window tinting. I have driven a few cars with very dark window tinting and have never experienced these feelings of motion sickness. Although I have never had motion sickness I still do not understand how window tinting can cause these problems. Possibly he should get his eyes checked?

As far as suicidal tendencies go, well that is way out of my league, so no comment.

Ian Armstrong

Glad you liked it. Re Mr A.Non... well, we’re not quite sure what to say! A classic email nonetheless.

A Guess?

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Why don't you contact MMAL when you want to write about the Sigma Turbo rather than guess how it was done? The Early Days of Turbo - Part Five For example, the low compression ratio came from a special head - not new pistons. The cam was from the 2.6-litre engine. Radiator was also from the 2.6-litre, but with covers to reduce recirculation of hot engine bay air.

Iain Robilliard

We didn’t “guess” but you make a fair point – we should have contacted MMAL. As you’d be aware, there’s not a lot of info around the place on this classic turbo car.

Carb Combing

Can you please help me where I can find an AISAN carburettor from a Daihatsu Charade CB60 turbo engine? I want to install a turbocharger to my Charade CB23 motor.

Ronald Sychua

Try Adelaide Japanese Dismantlers ( - they send of lot of parts overseas.

Quickest to Brake

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Re Quick Brake!

Finally!!! I was thinking about this very same idea this morning as I was driving to work after seeing one rear-end accident on the side of the road, and another rear-end accident happen because of the other! Thanks for the great article! Keep up the good work!!


MDX Mauled?

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This is in regards to your review about the Acura MDX (New Car Test - Honda MDX)...

Hardly a perfect vehicle in all aspects, but here in the ‘States it finds little competition in the medium/luxury SUV class. I have read numerous reviews in traditional automotive and 4X4 publications and yours takes the prize for being the most negative - by a wide margin.

I tend to believe you had a faulty vehicle. Keep in mind I have a 2002 model without VSA but with the same Michelin tyres that I believe are fitted to Australian MDXs. Not having VSA, I have never experienced the response of the vehicle under all conditions to make a fair comparison. But I don't believe 4X4 is necessarily the answer either. Many 4X4s do not do as well as the MDX under slick ice and snow conditions on regular roads. And those are the 'conditions' I would be most concerned about. Being able to encounter such roads – and driving at reasonable speeds - without having to shift into other modes suits me just fine. I have also driven the MDX quite aggressively on dry mountain roads. It was easy to find the limits and keep ahead of any vehicle with another few hundred pounds of transfer case hanging from its chassis. Well, that's my impression - and seems to fare quite well with other reviews I've read as well as other owners I've met. Like I said, not a perfect vehicle, but in the world of SUVs has more than earned its place among the better ones - at least on this side of the globe.

Dale B.

A number of points need to be considered in responding to your email.

Firstly, it appears from your email that you own a Honda MDX. This means at least two things: (1) that you thought the vehicle worthy of purchase, and (2) that it is very likely that any criticism of the car is viewed as an affront to that decision. Me? I couldn’t care less if the car is good or bad – I have no vested interest in writing a negative or a positive test. Any impartial observer would therefore conclude that my opinion is likely to be far less biased than yours.

However, more importantly, you have not addressed the points that were made in the article. As those that were negative seem to concern you most, I’ll concentrate on them, although there were also quite a few positives that were mentioned. Here are the deficiencies of the car that I highlighted:

- The car has excessive understeer. Note that I specifically said ‘understeer’, that is, the car lacks handling balance.

- The stability control does not appear to reduce this understeer in a way in which it does on other cars, including Honda’s own Accord Euro.

- The steering is not sharp.

- Due to the soft suspension, in real world driving the ground clearance is much reduced over the stated specification.

- The four-wheel drive system is such that wheelspin can still occur.

- During the test the engine could be heard detonating at times on premium unleaded.

- The sound system distorts at relatively low levels.

- The climate control outlet temperature does not reflect the set temperature.

- The second row of seats has a knees-up seating position, ie an overly high floor

- The third row of seats has extremely tight legroom and is difficult to access.

Summarising the actual points made about the MDX in your email, you said the following:

- The MDX has little competition in the US

- I have read lots of reviews and they were positive

- Many 4X4s do not do as well as the MDX under slick ice and snow conditions

- It was easy to find the limit of the MDX on dry roads

- I could keep ahead of any other vehicle with a few hundred pounds of transfer case hanging from its chassis

If you could address the points that were actually made in the test, I think that the discussion would make a lot more sense.

Note that since the test of the MDX we have also driven the Lexus RX330 – New Car Test - Lexus RX330. That car, although it doesn’t have an engine as nearly as strong and sweet as the MDX,  betters the MDX in pretty well all of the above points, although I think that the RX330 can still be criticised fairly strongly.

Julian Edgar

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