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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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New Holden Donk!

Just wanted to know if you guys will be testing the newly released Holden V6?

Dennis Pereira

We sure will – we have tests already scheduled. Stay tuned!

Emotion Reaction

Re Driving Emotion ...

Wow - that was a big wrap for Toyota! I suspected you may drive one on a daily basis - and you confirmed that in the article. Well, a Lexus anyway. My question is:

I was almost certain that Honda pioneered the hybrid and am sure the Insight was out before the Prius? Honda has moved onto fuel cell technology now, right? If Toyota is so ‘wow’ with hybrids, why do Yamaha help them tune their VVT-i motors? If anything, Toyota were behind the eight ball using aspiration in the Eighties - Japan was looking to the future with the pollution problems, hence VTEC R&D.  So, to me, they were behind. Forget Nissan. Take any of their cars, take the turbo off, reset the compression and you've got a pretty ordinary engine... And the Germans? They wouldn't tell you, me or anyone what they are working on! But back to Toyota... everything from the styling of Corollas (taken from Civics) to F1, Toyota seems to copy and mimic Honda. In F1, they currently seem to be down on power - maybe Yamaha can help again!

Anyway, that’s my gripe...

Paul Kennedy

Volvo Hype?

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Hmmm, most people would disagree with some of the statements you made in the Volvo S60 R Test, unfortunately. You may want to take a look at:


Interesting site. We found it easy to achieve mid 6 second 0 – 100 km/h without being brutal on the driveline and with two people onboard, so Volvo’s claim of 5.7 seconds wouldn’t be far off the mark. Fuel octane will make a big difference to performance.

NA Pssst?

Re The All-Electronic Blow-Off Valve!... Is this electronic blow-off valve possible to use on a non-turbo car? If so, how effective will it be? Will I hear a nice loud noise when letting off the throttle?


Blow-off valves are not designed for use on non turbocharged or supercharged engines. They do not make noise and have no effect on a naturally aspirated engine.

Serious Problem...

I realize this may be a curious request but I am seeking your help or suggestions for a problem that we recently experienced with a Mitsubishi Pajero. 

I work for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at their mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) with our mission headquarters in Sarajevo. We have a large fleet of vehicles consisting mostly of Volkswagens and Mitsubishi Pajeros. Virtually all of our vehicles have manual standard shifts except one - it is a 1999 Mitsubishi Pajero. 

On 22 July, 2004 we had an odd experience with this vehicle. A professional driver and another mission member entered to vehicle to go on official business. The vehicle started in the normal way. When the driver was moving the gearshift lever from the “P” position to the “D” position the vehicle somehow got caught in “R” for reverse, even though the driver did not stop at “R” but continued to the “D” position. The vehicle jumped in reverse and hit a flag pole about ten feet behind the vehicle, then lurched forward at a high rate of speed for about 20 yards actually climbing up the first few steps of the building before stopping. It than went in reverse again at a high rate of speed, across the parking lot, over an embankment, over a sidewalk, across a busy two lane street, across the opposite sidewalk and striking an apartment building across the street. During this whole sequence of events the driver claims to have had his right foot on the brakes and was trying to stop the vehicle to no avail. Also when the vehicle hit the building across the street, after going in reverse, the gearshift lever was still in the “D”position.

I know all this sounds strange but, coincidently, I was standing in front of the building at the time and witnessed this whole thing. I heard the engine of the Mitsubishi Pajero racing and revving extremely loud. Much louder than normal and the vehicle was obviously not under the driver’s control. Luckily, actually it was a miracle that no one was hurt and the vehicle did not strike any pedestrians or other vehicles.

The OSCE Mission to BiH is now in a position to attempt to show the Mitsubishi company that the vehicle has some mechanical or electronic flaw that caused it to do this. I have read in web sites that some of their vehicles have had similar problems like this and may in fact have been recalled.

We are attempting to have a technical examination of the vehicle but there is no one in BiH that can do this so we will have to bring it either to Zagreb, Croatia or Vienna, Austria for this. 

I would appreciate it if you could provide me with any information, suggestions or web site addresses that would help us in this matter.

Michael Ilaria
Chief of Investigations
OSCE Mission to BiH

Readers – do you have any experiences to share?

Plastic Plating

I have a question - one that I cannot seem to get an answer to... It is about chrome plating - not just metal chrome plating but plastic plating. How do the car makers chrome plate the plastic they use? Most shops here in the US say “oh, go buy chrome paint...”  Ya right, that stuff sux!

Glen Eaton

There is a special process for chrome plating plastic – we hope to cover this in an article soon.

Hotter Honda

I have been looking for an automotive resource and I am very happy I found yours. My question is this... I own a ‘91 Honda CRX HF and want to swap the engine for a ‘90/’95 Integra or a ‘90/’95 Civic EX. My crossroad is this - I am not sure if any of these engines fit and will work with my platform. I also want to know whether it’s advisable to go with a DOHC or SOHC given I want to attach a supercharger or blower.



The Honda B16A and B18C VTEC engines seem like a good choice, but we suggest you ask your question on one of the many Honda related forums. There you will find many people to share their experience and knowledge.

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