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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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More on Rexes Rails

Your WRX on Rails series Impreza WRX Handling - Part One is an amazing collection of articles for those of us with older style WRXs (I have a WRX engine but my car didn't start as a WRX, if that counts). Do you have any plans of doing a similar series on the newer body style? Now that it's been out for five or so years it seems the process would be pretty well known to suspension tuners such as Whiteline. I do track days with a guy that has a ‘04 WRX wagon with STi springs and a H-brace. It's perfectly neutral right now (which is great), but we would love to see what new swaybars and bushes could do to increase the performance.

Also, you don't really have any articles discussing the importance of chassis bracing. Perhaps one can come up in the future? I was able to get an extra 10mph with the combo of new polyurethane bushes and a basic front lower chassis brace on my Aveo (Barina in Australia). Yes it's still slow, but the cornering speed is almost as fast as my modified Subaru.

Chad Stamper

We aren’t planning a similar series with the older WRX but much of the same suspension theory applies. Certainly, talk to Whiteline re improving your friend’s ’04 wagon – new swaybars should be high on the list. And, thanks, we’ll have a think about what we might be able to do re chassis bracing.

Undertray Stay or Go?

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In the article Modifying Under-Car Airflow Part 2 did you remove the covers from the engine and power split device when you fitted the new undertray or were they let in place?

Dean Briggs

They were left in place.

Big Cube Small Cars Overlooked

What happened to your articles on Small Cars with Big Cubes - Part One? You left out the two small cars with big cubes - I own a V6 Capri and a six-cylinder Cortina. You also left out two of the smallest cars with the biggest cubes - the Basil Green Ford Capri Perana and the Alfa Romeo converted Giocattolo. I think a third part to the series is needed.

Anthony Baker

Well pointed out re the Capri and Cortina – close rivals (in terms of size/weight) to the LC/LJ and LH/LX Torana. Limited production cars are probably in a different category!

More Orphans and Unloved

Your Performance Buying - Orphans and Unloved is great!

My current favourite is the Citroen Xantia Activa TCT - a decent competitor to the Audi A4 and BMW 320 in its day with active hydraulic suspension giving an incredible combination of highway comfort and B-road agility. On the skidpad, it pulls 0.94-1.0g which is better than the Honda NSX or BMW M3...

The car was not a commercial success as it was underpowered (108kW from a 2-litre turbo four), overpriced (AUD$46,990), without a "prestige" brand and with steep depreciation. These ‘disadvantages’ mean that good examples now can be found at reasonable prices.

Tuned to 150kW or thereabouts, the Xantia Activa TCT becomes a very effective way to travel quickly, comfortably and unobtrusively.

For those that *really* want to tinker, the high pressure hydraulicsopen up a whole new arena of possibilities. One possibility for the truly demented is to transplant the Xantia's active suspension and turbo into an old Citroen DS...Keep up the good work!

Asbjorn Bonvik

High Performance Reading

My attention was called to an editorial you published originally in '99 - From the Editor. In it, you express disappointment that there are no novels that "incorporate high performance cars in the storyline." May I direct your attention to the Benjamin Garrick series. These books - the third is about to be published - have a detailed, accurate thread of high performance and, by arrangement with Roush Racing and the US National Guard True Champions Foundation, a contest is being offered. The winner will receive a VIP trip to a NASCAR race.

Kenneth Sheffer

More on Bikes v Cars

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Re Julian Edgar’s opinion bikes slower than cars Driving Emotion?...

I have driven high speed sports cars, rally cars, 4WD and also highpowered bikes over 20 years. Motorbikes continuously for that period. I also lived in Brisbane for a few years and know some of the roads Julian refers to. My personal opinion is - given a known road with no oncoming traffic and knowledge of no oil on the surface - a decent bike/rider would eat a car.

But take this into account; a minor slide on a bike easily translates into being on the wrong side of the road and becoming a hood ornament, whereas a minor slide in a 4 wheeled vehicle is more manageable for the average mug. Additionally, on the roads in the Hinterland, one needs to allow for the drongo coming the other way in a car that loses it and wipes you out so you need to slow up a bit to give you room to stop.

I could put you in contact with any number of riders up that way that would leave you behind and any number that you could round up. Depends on the rider and the day.

Christopher Burns

Those Diesels...

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Thanks for the article on turbo diesel cars - Diesel Discovery - Part One. Having driven numerous turbo diesel cars in the UK I think they are a great solution to rising fuel prices and give very usable performance due to the torque delivery at low to medium revs - not to mention producing generally lower emissions than petrol engines ofequivalent performance. However, I spotted a couple of things in your article...

Firstly, when the Peugeot 306 turbo diesel was new it was clocked as running 0-60mph (96.5 km/h) in British road tests in around 11.2 seconds.The performance of the 405 turbo diesel was similar. These figures were not significantly improved on by the later HDI engine, although the latter yielded better fuel economy compared with the earlier engine and was on boost from around 1500rpm whereas the old model didn't get going until around 2250rpm. Apparently, however, there is more scope for tuning the earlier engine which uses a larger turbocharger capable of flowing more air for higher power applications. There are also many retailers in the UK selling chips to increase the power of turbodiesel cars.

Secondly, I was under the impression the Mercedes 300 turbodiesel was a five or six-cylinder engine rather than a four as you state. I also think the Mercedes C250D produced more than 173Nm of torque. Perhaps you meant 273Nm?

Ben Garside
New Zealand

Thanks for the informative email. And, yes, you’re right – the Merc E300 turbo diesel runs a six-cylinder (not a four) and the torque output for the C250 turbo diesel is up around 280Nm. Article now fixed.

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