In the article "15yo ADR-ing - Part One" , you refer to the outside
mirrors as concave. I suspect that they are actually convex.
Hmm, things would look pretty funny if
the factory mirrors were concave... Thanks for that – article now corrected.
Pick a Badge
I’m turning 18 in a few months and I have AUD$7,000 to spend on a car. I
rounded it off to 2 cars - the KE TX3 Ford Laser hatchback and the Mazda BFMR
323. I like the Ford’s looks but I like the Mazda’s standard features. Which of
these two cars would you prefer and what do I need to consider when buying a 15
year old car?
If you haven’t already, check out our
feature on the BFMR/TX3 twins Buying Used - Mazda BFMR 323/Ford KE Laser 4WD Turbo.
We recently looked into purchasing a
TX3 4WD turbo and were wary of signs of trouble with the turbo, gearbox and
airbag suspension. These fully-equipped TX3/323s are available with plenty of
fruit, but be aware that they can be relatively expensive to fix. The supply of
good second-hand engines is also starting to dry up.
After 15 years of use, our best advice
would be to assess each car you look at on its own merit – regardless whether
it’s the Ford, Mazda, 4WD or 2WD. The overall condition of the car should be
your deciding factor.
Pursuing a Pontiac
I would like to enquire about Issue #215 – the article Top Down Trans Am.
It shows in a photo the car with right hand drive - I would like to know if this
car available in
Australia and if
I can contact the owner. I am interested in buying one like it.
The car on test was imported and
offered for sale by Melbourne’s Sports and Luxury Cars. (+61 3 9753 5799 www.sportsluxurycars.com.au) Sports and Luxury
Cars are always bringing in imports and performing the necessary compliance.
More Fuel Feelings - #1
Regarding Fuel Feelings #4 (Response). As an Economics and Finance
student the author should know that elasticity of demand only relates to delta
(or small) changes in price. What Julian suggests is a significant increase in
price, enough to change people's attitudes.
I say get rid of annual registration fees and increase fuel prices, a user
pays system proportional to the number of kms driven and the efficiency of the
In reply to Fuel Feelings #2, when I was studying I used to drive an early
‘80s 1.5 litre Mazda 323. It was well maintained and used to get fantastic fuel
economy. Nowadays a similar car could be had for well under AUD$2k - within the
reach of virtually any motorist. In Europe a car of similar size would be
considered a family car, but for some odd reason this is not the case here in
our cheap fuel prices at work?
More Fuel Feelings - #2
Re: More on fuel price increases.
Another trouble with owning vehicle with a small turbo engine versus a large
capacity NA engine is insurance costs. Insurance companies tend not to be able
to tell the difference between a Kei-class econobox and a Skyline GT-R. The
advantages of your lightweight, fuel-efficient small turbo car can easily be
offset by high insurance premiums.
In principle I'm not a fan of further regulation of motoring, but perhaps the
government could mandate insurance premiums based on more realistic criteria
than simply whether or not the vehicle has a turbo. Maybe some sort of premium
based on power/weight, or fuel consumption.
More Fuel Feelings - #3
In response to Jimmy's letter about the economics of fuel consumption... Response
Consumer's preferences for fuel consumption are only price inelastic in the
short-run when certain factors of production (such as the car you drive) are
fixed. In the long-run all factors become variable and the price elasticity of
fuel falls significantly.
Or, in other words, consumers won't buy fuel-efficient cars overnight - but
after paying significantly more money for fuel for a couple of years, it will
There is historical evidence of this occurring: look at the oil price shock
during the 1970s and the popularity of 'smaller' cars during that time. Ford
even stopped offering a V8 option on their best selling car!!
Cutting Edge Engine
Whatever happened to SAAB's Variable Compression engine? Surely this is one of
the most significant developments in the history of the internal combustion
engine and is presumably still being developed? Any news would be of great
Check out Saab's Variable Compression Engine
and Changing the Squeeze.
There’s some good stuff for you there, but we’ve had no further word on its
progress toward mass production.
I just wanted to let you know how impressed I am with the compilation of
information you present here
. I have spent the last two weeks
researching the purchase of an SLK 320 and other than how "cute" it is, others
have nothing to say. Way to go! Please keep up the good work.
Jaime S. Cifuentes
G'day. I own a Nissan NX and would, of course, like more power! Apart from
the usual SR20DET engine swap, would it be possible (at less than AUD$10k) to
drop a FWD VQ30DE engine from a local Maxima?
I really would like an engine conversion that does not require forced
induction, as I'd like to keep the car as reliable and responsive as possible.
Any other possible swaps?
Wow – we’re not sure on the VQ V6 but,
heck, what an idea! Maybe some readers can help with some info.
Keep in mind the Japanese market
SR20VE NEO VVL. This engine uses variable valve timing and lift to reach 140kW
at 7000 rpm and 196Nm at 6000 rpm. We’d suggest this engine – if you can find
There are also the hot 1.6 litre
versions of the SR – a rare N1 race version (with a red valve cover) puts out
147kW and a milder version (with a silver valve cover) makes 129kW. But be aware
that these 1.6s need to rev past 7000 to give their best.
Can’t See the Forest...
I've read about all the awards the Forester XT has won and was wondering when
you will be doing a road test yourself? If I have missed it could you please
forward the link?
Our latest test of the Forester was
back in January 2003 – see New Car Test - Forester X.
We have not received any test vehicles from Subaru Australia since our test of the Impreza STi later that
year - read that test and draw your own conclusions on the subsequent lack of press cars!