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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed

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Merc Mumbo

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A week or two ago I was reading your article, “Champagne Taste, Beer Budget - Part 2” (Champagne Taste, Beer Budget - Part Two) and it proved to be a great read. However, I thought something you mentioned was rather strange...

You said that the Mercedes 560 SEL has an 182kW engine. This differs from a number of other sources. I understand that the American version had around 180kW – 40kW less than the 220kW Euro-spec version due to a compression reduction and emission restrictions (strangulations). Also, in a number of, the power output is explicitly stated to be 300hp (220kW) - so are the Australian imports the standard version, detuned version or a combination of the two? I've searched for a conclusive answer for this for a number of months and I would appreciate any help.

Note - the advertisements were for the coupe (SEC) version of the W126, however they share the same engine and the same issue would logically pertain to the saloons as well.

Petar Tcherveniakov

The information that we’ve seen indicates that the Australian-spec 560SEL develops 182kW. Perhaps the vehicles you’ve seen advertised are ‘grey’ European-spec imports? Can any readers offer some help?

LS1 Too Thirsty?

I enjoyed reading the article New Car Test - Holden VY SS Commodore and found it well written and very informative. However, I strongly disagree with the author's fuel consumption biases as I drive a Caprice SS (equivalent to Statesman). This car is bigger and heavier and with the same engine as the VY SS. My economical city driving ranges in 14 - 14.5 litres per 100km range and economical highway driving is about 10 litres per 100km average. But, yes, I can even get 25 litres per 100km if racing, etc. So please don't make fuel consumption such a big deal for this engine - in terms of a V8 and this power output, these fuel averages are satisfying and acceptable.

Moneer Faour
United Arab Emirates

We have never recorded those (relatively) economical figures with any of the LS1-powered vehicles we’ve tested.

A More Frugal Rodeo

I am inquiring about what diff the Holden Rodeo LX 2004 model came out with. Can the final drive ratio in the diff be altered? I am seeking better fuel economy out of my car. Any help with different crown and wheels that can be changed in to my diff to improve the economy would be great.

Brett Smith

If your Rodeo is a rear wheel drive with a 4 cylinder manual or 6 cylinder auto the diff ratio is 4.555:1. An effective swap might be to use the taller (4.1:1) ratio used in the manual 6 cylinder and turbo diesel models. We imagine these diff centres are a straight swap – speak to a Holden service centre for further details and options.

Suitable Subie

I was just wondering if you could do an article on a 1990-93 Subaru Liberty Sportswagon - I am only 16 and am thinking of getting one as my first car. Do you think they are a reliable car and is it worth getting one? Also, are all ‘90s Toyota Soarers 2 door?


We have covered the Liberty RS turbo in an article and many of this vehicle’s strengths (except for the turbocharged engine) apply to the Sportswagon. Certainly these make a very good all-round first car – especially in 4WD guise. And, yes, all Soarers are 2 door.

Selfish Search

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Since joining I have enjoyed your product. Two questions, please, from an old fart who knows little about cars. I am a retired aircraft engineer who knows about mechanics, though.

I intend to sell my aeroplane and purchase a personal (read "selfish") car - a 2 seater of some sort. I will spend about AUD$20,000 on this car and have decided that something like a Nissan 300ZX or a Lexus SC400 would fit the bill. Do you agree? I want something that will be comfortable (MP3, cruise control, air con, electrics, etc) and has good performance for overtaking those bloody caravans on the road. It must also handle the country roads where I live. What do you think?

Also, I have read some of your back issues but nowhere have I seen anything on Hiclones. Have you got any info on them? Thanks for a good mag - the more I read it the better it gets.

Alan Curtis

Yes, the 300ZXTT and Soarer are your best bet. Also consider a Mitsubishi GTO, Subaru SVX and Supra (though less roomy than the Soarer) - do a search of AutoSpeed for full tests and details on these cars. We have not had any experience with Hiclones.

Canon Problem?

Hiya dudes - just a small question... I recently purchased a stock Holden Commodore VK 308 which has been fitted with a canon exhaust muffler - like the ones you see on WRXs an’ Skylines. I have been told to remove this, as it will negatively affect performance - can you shed some light please? Confused.

Peter Daley

The cosmetic style of muffler doesn’t matter – what does matter is its flow restriction (or lack thereof). It is possible that your car will need carb jetting and timing mods to extract optimum performance from the  free-flow muffler.

Dual turbo Duel

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Love your work... I would love to read your thoughts and a comparison between VG30DETT (Nissan 300ZX TT) vs VVT-i 2JZ-GTE (late model Toyota Supra TT) one day.


Yes, that would make an interesting comparison... But we have to say the winner would be obvious - the VVT-i 2JZGTE is an absolute stonker that’s much newer in design and more sophisticated (for example, its turbochargers are staged in sequence). See Engine Ecstasy - VVT-i Supra Turbo for this 451Nm/209kW beast. A Nissan 300ZXTT test can also be found at Pre-Owned Performance - Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo and an engine tech feature is at The Nissan VG30DETT. It’s a good engine, but no match for the mighty Toyota...

Direct Injection Diesel Development

Do you have any info for the latest range of direct injection diesel engines? I have a new Fiat Ducato 2.8ltr turbo diesel and would like to make some mods for performance and consumption.

Matthew Casey

We have discussed Peugeot’s direct injection diesel engines at Big Bang Theory: Direct Injection Diesel Tech. We imagine your Fiat uses similar technology but we haven’t seen any proven power-up mods. We can only assume that traditional exhaust and air intake modification will yield improvements.

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