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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Sophisticated SV6?

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I read your review of the Holden SV6 manual (Holden VZ SV6 Manual Test) and was interested in the following quote...

"The SV6’s Alloytec 190kW 3.6 litre V6 is hands-down the most technically advanced engine on the local market."

Can you explain what it is about this engine that makes it so much more sophisticated than the Falcon's? I've seen journalists mention this a couple of times and I'm interested to know why.

You also say, "The SV6 also boasts continuously variable inlet and exhaust cam timing (a first for any locally built engine) as well as a dual-stage variable intake manifold."

Hasn't the BA engine had both of these features for two years?

Thanks in advance for your answers. I really appreciate the overall quality of your reviews.

David Cecil

The SV6’s inlet and exhaust cams can be altered independently to alter camshaft overlap. In the Ford DOHC 4.0, both inlet and exhaust cam timing are altered in unison – they can’t be altered relative to each other. This means camshaft overlap cannot be changed.

Grammar Lesson

Just a quick note to correct the grammar/spelling of one of the sentences in the article Holden VZ SV6 Manual Test. You wrote: "But given the LS1’s running costs, that’s something we loathe to suggest..." I would suggest changing it to, "But given the LS1's running costs, that's something we are loath to suggest." Loathe – dislike, despise. Be loath to - be reluctant to. Keep up the sweet mag. Hate correcting your article; English teacher instincts kicking in.

Michael Machin

Article now fixed!

God GTi-R

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Hi - I am from Calgary, Canada. I was reading your article “Supercar Steal” on the 1990 - 1994 Nissan Pulsar GTi-R (Supercar Steal). I know you had mentioned to keep an eye open for a special addition that you had not seen but heard about.

Well, I think I found it.

Judging by the info you gave on what to look for on this special Pulsar, I am pretty sure it is one that I am looking to buy from Japan. I know you said that it uses the AWD system from the Skyline - I was just wondering is that a good thing? And around how much should I be paying?

Stats are as follows... 1990 Nissan Pulsar GTi-R, 2 litre turbo, 5 speed, 55,000km, pretty good shape - I would give it a 7 out of 10. And this looks like the one you described with no rear wiper, a/c, power windows, locks, etc. If there is any additional information you can give me on this special Pulsar I would greatly appreciate it.

Brent Boucher

There’s not much info available on this rare beast. The normal GTi-R has some handling deficiencies and we can only imagine that the electronic active torque-split AWD system would give a better balanced vehicle. Note that electronic adjustment of this type of torque split system can give tremendous handling improvements. We’re not sure how much a rare car like this is worth here in Australia– let alone in Canada! But, yes, it does sound great.

Crushed Peanut?

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In Part 2 of “Peanut Projects'' (Peanut Projects - Part Two) you suggested that modifying a Mitsubishi Magna is a good idea.

I agree that they are actually quite a good car, but I do recall reading your review of the 180kW Ralliart Magna and you stating that the chassis just cannot handle the extra power and torque and that the Ralliart Magna is the worst front wheel drive car you've ever driven. All this by only increasing power by 17kW and torque by 16Nm over the VR-X - not huge increases. So if you go increasing power in your Magna won’t you end up with a worse car?! Better off just getting the 163kW Sport or VR-X and don't touch it apart from maybe an exhaust system change for better sound.

Emil Jukic

We didn’t say the Ralliart Magna is the worst front-wheel-drive car we’ve driven. However, we did say, “the 180kW Magna has the worse front-wheel drive behaviour of any standard car we've ever driven". The problem with the Ralliart Magna manual is the steering reaction from its front LSD – the auto version (with traction control instead of a LSD) is much better behaved. With the exception of the Ralliart Magna manual, no FWD Magna is fitted with a LSD so they can easily be modified for more power without becoming such a handful. A good set of tyres would be essential in the search for traction.

Deceptively Cheap?

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I saw one of your articles (Nissan S13 CA18DET) and had a client email me regarding this. It has raised some concern and I wish to address it with you - it was regarding the cost of importing an ‘89 Nissan 180SX...

From experience, I feel that the price quoted is misleading and - as an importer - feel it will cause buyers to lose faith in the import industry when their expectations aren’t met.

You say...

“Thanks to the regulations for imported vehicles 15 years and older, the early CA18DET-powered Silvia/180SX can now be purchased fresh from Japan for about AUD$6000. Add the expense of ADR-ing and you’re looking at an on-road cost of around AUD$7500.”

The Japanese fees for buying a car at auction are around AUD$1100

Transport is AUD$300

Shipping to OZ is AUD$3000 including taxes, etc

Purchasing a reasonable car costs around AUD$3500

Compliance work amounts to approximately AUD$1000 - if the car doesn't need new tyres and brakes, etc.

Registering cost AUD$950 (including stamp duty)

The Australian agent’s handling fee is about AUD$1000

I can’t work out how you can reach a figure of $7500 registered.

There might be a rare case where someone will fluke a car at the auction for a very cheap price or buy a damaged car and repair it themselves - but that’s not the norm. I know dealers in Melbourne and Sydney that would buy as many as they could afford at AUD$7500.

Karl Hardy

We know of at least one Japanese vehicle importer - - that regularly imports 15 year old Nissan S13s. This web page currently lists six 1989 S13 turbos (Silvias and 180SXs) that are on their way from Japan priced from AUD$5500 to AUD$6800 (landed). Under the pricing schedule you outlined, merely landing the car costs AUD$7900 – plus the Australian agent’s fee. Obviously, the $ required to purchase and import a vehicle varies massively depending on your approach. We recently purchased a 1989 180SX from Yahoo Motorsports and got it on-the-road for just under AUD$8000 (which included a few non-essential costs). Check out our 3 part series on ADR-ing a 180SX beginning at 15yo ADR-ing - Part One

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