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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Spacers Legal?

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Are bolt-on wheel spacers legal in Victoria, Australia? I was going to install 30mm spacers to my Nissan Skyline. The wheels and tyres still fit inside the guards so do I need an engineer’s certificate?

Simon Birch

For legal advice on mods we suggest contacting the road traffic authority in your State/Territory. If an engineer’s certificate is required, the RTA should be able to provide a list of accredited engineers.

Missing Handling Contraption

Congrats on your mag. I have been a member for years - you're doing good work, blah, blah, blah... You've heard it all before because it's true!

But now I'm annoyed. As a former owner of a Fiat X1/9, how can you possibly leave it off a list of the best handling cheapie RWD cars (Cheap Cornering Contraptions - Part One)??? Of course I am biased, but I had the opportunity to drive many of its contemporaries (MR2, Laser 4WD, etc) and none of them could match the turn-in and mid-corner poise of the X1/9. I also raced a sprint kart so I can say with conviction that nothing handles like a go kart, but the X1/9 came closest!

And, yes, it didn't have the power to pull a sailor off your sister - but I still loved it (there’s a photo of it in the wedding album!) I'm just sorry I had to sell it to finance the kitchen renovation!

Anyway, I had to get that off my chest. I'm sure you will get lots of other letters claiming you left off this car or that, but I still think on the criteria of good handling cheapness the X1/9 rules!

Donal Storey

Yep – we thought we’d get some ‘extras’ come in following that article! We did look at the X1/9 and recognised its handling finesse but, together with the Alfa Sud/Sprint, we thought they were getting a bit too old to include in the context of the article. The X1/9 (1978 – 1983) is fast becoming a classic - something to restore. But, yes, point taken..

More on Handling Contraptions

I was just reading through your latest article on good handlers for under AUD$5k (Cheap Cornering Contraptions - Part One) and noted the BMW E30 in there.

It made me think; I have a friend who has done the interesting conversion of dropping in a SR20 turbo from an import S13 half-cut. He did the conversion himself including Hybrid front-mount intercooler, hand-crafted polished pipework, new exhaust, custom tailshaft, hooking up the engine management and loom into the existing BMW gauges and instrumentation, suspension upgrade, etc. It's a ‘work in progress’ but nicely done and, from all accounts, a very pleasing car to drive.

It wasn't an expensive conversion (including purchasing the Bimmer and the half-cut) and he's done a lot of the work himself with the help of friends.

Michael O'Brien

Good Idea!

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How about an article on ‘high flowing’ standard injectors?  This would be of interest to a lot.

Tony Goodlich

An excellent suggestion! We’ll get onto it.

Totally Cheapened?

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Can I please make a quick comment on your recent "Tweaked Type M" article (Tweaked Type M)? You have now totally cheapened the appeal of your mag in my mind by offering the car for sale. I don’t read your mag because it’s an advertisement - if I wanted that I would read CarPoint or some other site and see what guys have done to their cars and what they reckon their power figures are...

Instead, please ponder the following. If it’s such a great car why are they selling it? Also, you are either being used as a vehicle for free advertising or (more cynically) you are being paid for the privilege of 'advertising' someone’s car. BOTH of these are unacceptable and if I ever see you do it again I will cancel my subscription to your otherwise helpful mag.

Anonymous Reader

We do not receive any payment for mentioning a car that we feature is for sale – this is purely a courtesy that we extend to the owner, and one other readers might find of benefit. And why would someone be selling their car “if it’s so great”? Well, there’s a whole list of possible reasons...

Waiting, Waiting...

Wondering if you could advise how long it will be before Australia gets the Peugeot 307, 6 speed, 136ps HDi and the BMW 120d. I own a 306 HDi and am eager to update. (Yes, I have driven the Golf V Tdi and the engine and DSG gearbox were superb but the suspension didn't quite have that balance of acrobatic handling and plushness I admire in the Pug.)

Ash Rushton

We’re not sure – your best bet is to get in contact with Peugeot and BMW head offices in Australia. Give ‘em heaps until they’re released!

Speedy XR?

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In the atmo Ford XR6 review you quoted a 0-100 km/h completed in just over 8 seconds. I would like to know how many kilometres were on the clock in the test car and was this time achieved using a manual gearbox or sequential shift auto gearbox?

Gaetano ANZÁ

We no longer have a record of kilometres of our test car. We can tell you it had the sequential shift auto trans together with the XR6 diff ratio (which is shorter compared to base Falcon models).

Bit Sceptical...

I’m just wondering if you can do a review on the Ecotek CB-26P? If possible, it would be good to see a dyno test on a turbo car – I own a Nissan R32 GTS-t so a review on turbo and NA cars for comparison would be really cool.

Here's the website for the product...

I'm a bit sceptical about devices like this (and I’m sure you are!). It bypasses the airflow sensor so I dunno how good this would be for the motor given that this would probably give a leaner mixture.

A guy in the office where I work has had one fitted to his Mazda SP20 (2001 model). He says that he used to get 400kms per tank of Optimax and with this thing fitted he can now get anywhere between 450-500kms per tank. Sounds pretty amazing... He also claims that the flat-spots (which he used to get at high revs being a non-variable valve timed engine) are gone too. The website claims that the gadget improves off-boost performance for turbo cars – but when you're on boost it makes no difference.


We don’t have any plans to test the product. We suggest enquiring about a money-back guarantee before handing over any cash...

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