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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Angel Info

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Regarding your Road Angel 2 test (Testing the Road Angel 2) - the 'fourth button' on the front of the device actually covers an infrared detection system that is illegal in Australia. It picks up infrared beams from behind the vehicle. There's a similar cover on the rear of the device for beams to the front of the vehicle. I don't know if the IR detection (or radar detection which is also available in the UK) is activated or removed entirely - but that's why there's a cover.


Re: Trapped #4

Just a bit of info I thought might help a fellow reader, Dave, regarding "Trapped" at Response...

When researching my speeding fine a while ago I came across a story of someone in the same situation as him - got busted for warning drivers of a speeding trap with his lights. He took it to court and argued that speeding traps aren’t implemented for revenue raising, but are there to cause drivers to slow down in black spots to decrease the chance of accidents. He then argued that flashing his lights had the same effect - caused drivers to slow down and, as the story went, he won and was a happy man. Thought this may be useful to him.

Kaveh Sharifi

$25k Hatchback Performers

I'm moving to Melbourne from New Zealand in a couple of months and wanted advice on the best car for my needs. Requirements are small to medium size (preferably a hatch) and plenty of mid-range and overtaking power as I will be doing a lot of travelling around the city. Something either new or up to 2 years old, low-ish km and up to AUD$25k total cost. Current thoughts are Holden Barina SRi, Astra Turbo (near new), Suzuki Ignis Sport or perhaps the new Swift. I'd appreciate your thoughts or alternative choices.

John Rathgen
New Zealand

The Astra Turbo is a great car – but you won’t get one for 25 grand. The Barina SRi is a good option, as is the Ignis Sport if you’re prepared to go that small. The Pug 206 GTi and Renault Clio Sport are also contenders and, if you want to go a bit older, a Golf turbo and bug-eye WRX are within price range. There’s plenty there – and note that we have a Suzuki Swift test scheduled.

Gas Donut

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I've read your article about the Holden Commodore VY Executive (New Car Test - Commodore VY Executive Wagon Dual Fuel) in which a donut shaped gas tank is mentioned. We have a Range Rover currently running on petrol which we want to convert to gas - we have been searching high and low for a donut shaped tank that is approved for use in Australia. Can you tell us which make it is in the Commodore and where we can get more information about it?

Alice de Vos

The ‘donut’ tank seen in the article is manufactured by APA Industries – visit for further information.

Throttle Me

Re increasing throttle body size... I have a 1992 EB Ford Fairmont - 3.9 litre, 4-speed auto with standard CPU. Will the 4.1 litre’s throttle body fit, and if so, would it give improved response? I was told that the XF 4.1 throttle body is sought after. Is this a viable alternative? If not, are there any throttle bodies from other makes or models that will fit with minimal alteration as well as cooperate with my CPU? I am only interested in improving response time off the mark, as the engine performs well after it winds up. Do you know of any gurus that might be able to advise me?

Mick Foster

We’re not sure if the 4.1 throttle body is any bigger than the EB’s or whether it is a relatively easy swap. Can any readers help out?

Astras Back-to-Back

I haven’t been able to find a new car review for the Holden Astra 2004 Classic TS auto 5 door hatchback. I was also wondering if you could tell me the difference between this car and the Holden Astra Equip 2004 auto 5 door hatchback. Perhaps also send me a review on this car.

Cinzia Novello

We have not  tested the new series Astra Classic TS or Equip. For a comparison and other details, check out the “News” and “New Car” section of and visit

Missing Pump?

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I've just finished reading your IC Spray Pump test (IC Spray Pump Test - Part One) and I'm curious why you didn't include the VDO pump you sell through the AutoSpeed shop?

Ben Wilson

We initially thought that the Commodore pump in the test was the same as sold through the AutoSpeed shop. However, it appears that there are at least two different pumps from late-model Commodores – and we got the wrong one...

Project: Super Prius!

Re Driving Emotion... So now we know what that Prius half-cut was for! I had hoped you might have been going to combine it with one of your other purchases to create another world first - a hybrid Austin 1800. Still, a supercharged Prius is a very interesting and unique project. Hang in there. With this much pain factor, you know that turning the key will be a very sweet moment once it’s all together.

Ross Goddard

Stay tuned – there’s an unexpected turn coming up! (And no, it's not a hybrid Austin 1800...)

Clip Search

Great website as usual. I just have two quick questions to ask you.

The first is on the "Magazine Times" article (Magazine Times) - that was a great read and I am wondering where the 'Magi-Clips' can be ordered from in Australia.

I am also wondering about the Proton M21. I read some reviews on this car which were all positive and I am wondering what AutoSpeed thinks about this car and if a few basic mods (intake and exhaust) are worthwhile. I read that it has Lotus-tuned suspension and a Recaro interior, so I was thinking it might be a great little non-turbo performance car.


A web search under “magi-clip” reveals at least one retailer – try We’ve never had the chance to drive a Proton M21 but it certainly looks like a good little package. Go out for a few test drives – they might hook you or turn you away...

Hand Controller Advice?

I built the Digital Pulse Adjuster (DPA) and hand controller and did the usual checks. However, the hand controller LCD lights up for a few seconds and then goes out - no characters appear... I de-soldered and resoldered the LCD and, still, no luck. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Patrick Smallman
New Zealand

AutoSpeed does not offer help on building electronic kits. If you do not have the confidence to assemble and fault-find these kits, we suggest that you purchase the pre-built and tested versions. Note that the kit designers, Silicon Chip magazine, do offer support to kit builders.

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