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Response

Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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More on Nitrous Book #1

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With further regards to Mr Trevor Langfield (Wizard of Nos) and his publication Book Review: The Nitrous Oxide High-Performance Manual... I would like to stand by and support the review as given by Julian. Following the original review of the book, I felt the need to obtain a copy and read it for myself. I am a techie at heart and, indeed, a lot of the technical details that are covered in Mr Langfield’s publication were of great interest to me - but I also had a lot of difficulty in reading past the second chapter and found myself more and more jumping to sections that held a visual appeal. My point being that I became frustrated with the sheer arrogance of Mr Langfield’s writing style and the sledging both directly and indirectly of other products. I note with interest that while Mr Langfield feels the needs to criticise opposition production, he - on his own web forum - states that many of the opposition companies buy his product and resell under their own labelling. What am I, as a potential user of his products, then supposed to think about this possible hypocrisy? I have also trolled through Mr Langfield’s web forum at some length and make the observation that the same arrogance and self importance that comes out in his book and in his correspondence to AutoSpeed exists in copious amounts throughout the threads and articles that I read. Having said all that, perhaps Mr Langfield would like another review of his publication from what in reality should be his primary focus... the public reader. Unfortunately for him, I can only predict that my own review would follow similar lines to Julian’s and indeed has prompted me to disregard Mr Langfield’s product/s for my own purchase.

Perhaps Mr Langfield would like to forward my details to his Legal Department (which he seems to use somewhat frequently according to his web forum) in anticipation of another, less than pleasing review.

Jon Stow
Australia

More on Nitrous Book #2

I don't think Mr Langfield is being unreasonable in the defence of his book. He has stuck his neck out to produce a book covering a subject that not many have attempted to cover. He has positioned himself as a man who knows and thoroughly understands what is needed for a high performance NOS system and it is thus by no accident that he would claim that the best equipment for a high performance NOS system would be come from his own company.

YOUR expectations of the book were very different in that you were expecting a broader evaluation of all currently available NOS systems in an unbiased manner - a "guide book" so to speak. The book is specifically titled as a "high performance manual" and not as a guide book on NOS. Therefore I would expect it to an extent to reflect the experience/opinion of the author.

In the true spirit of journalism, perhaps an evaluation of the specific ADVICE and INFORMATION given by Mr Langfield in the context of achieving a high performance NOS set-up is in order. Is what he is saying true, and his advice, no matter how "biased" it may seem, sound? Does his failure to refer to competitors' systems and alternatives in any way prevent readers from achieving the desired objective and resulted in the reader settling for a lesser system? I don't know the answers myself - it would be interesting to know.

Even though it was never your intention, by dismissing the book, you may have appeared to dismiss the man and his work (not just the writing). This is often the case when someone offers his or her life's work only to have it criticised.

David Fernandez
Malaysia

Another First?

In your latest 'Ten Tech Tips' you mention twin-charging using a supercharger and turbocharger to combine good low-end torque from the supercharger with top-end power from the turbo. You might be interested to know that Volkswagen has recently released such an engine in the Golf - a 1400cc 16-valve petrol unit producing 125kW with 240Nm of torque over 1750 – 4500 rpm. See www.volkswagen.co.uk

As in the Nissan, the supercharger is mechanically disengaged at higher engine speeds. The engine is claimed to provide similar performance to their 2.3 litre V5 petrol engine with much better fuel economy (around 7.4 litres per 100km combined cycle). They also rather disingenuously claim that this is the first time combined supercharger and turbocharger technology have been used a in volume production car... Reckon Nissan might have something to say about that!!

Ben Garside
UK

Re Pug #1

Re Peugeot 407 HDi Touring ... I hope Peugeot don't get too miffed with you for this review. It's this kind of honest, practical review that makes AutoSpeed great (well, that and everything else). I had to pull out my calculator to work out the oil temperature gauge increments, after figuring it wasn't in 7 or 8 degree increments. Eight and 1/3 degree increments??? As for the centre console buttons, I found the Ford Mondeo's 12 or so buttons to be annoying, let alone 35. The glaringly obvious question here is why? Being different for the sake of it? The Mercedes Viano seems to have taken this route also. When will car manufacturers learn that we want to be able to control various aspects of our driving experience in a second or less and by feel, not by sorting through 35 buttons or a menu to turn on A/C? ABS is useless if you're too busy trying to turn on the A/C to see the 15 ton truck pulling out in front of you.

M Machin
New Zealand

Re Pug #2

Re: Of Of Peugeot Press Cars ... I just wanted to say that I have always respected your honest and independent reviews of all new cars, so please keep doing the good work as this is the exact reason I joined AutoSpeed a few years ago and why I keep reading the articles every day.

Igor Bozic
Australia

Re Pug #3

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Regarding the Peugeot 407 HDi Touring... In your article you said "And cabin space? Remember when Peugeots were roomy cars? Well, not any more – here’s a child seat where the child is without choice positioned so far forward they can easily kick the back of the front seats. Like, that’s something which certainly doesn’t happen in the big local cars like Commodore, Falcon or 380... "

Roomy? You aren’t talking about any 40x Peugeot that I know - they have always been mid-sized. Obviously you didn't like the 407, because you have gone out of your way to introduce comments that don’t stand up to scrutiny. If I look at our road cars over the last five years, 2 Fords (EL Fairmont and BA), Peugeot 406, Volvo Cross Country, SAAB 9.3, VW Golf and a Magna none of then have avoided the situation you have described - the worst was the EL, because the high front seat positions meant you need to lay the seats back to avoid knocking your head on the roof. The Magna was the best. Thankfully, our child is now in a booster seat and we have purchased the Golf for my wife. You are looking for excuses for a car that you did not like, which is fine, but you should not make it seem that the 407 is unique, especially when cars such as the Fords suffer the same problems and are about a foot longer. Likewise comments on the gauge increments, OK, I have never seen 8.33 degrees Celsius used as an increment either, however, since you acknowledge the benefits of real gauges over the standard Cold/Hot, (which are rarely even linear), the criticisms are superfluous; the issue is more of a curio. BTW, we considered a new 407 before buying the Golf - we didn’t like it either. The 406, while probably not as well built, had a genuinely supple chassis with a fine ride handling balance. The 407 was just another car, the irony is it will probably be more successful than the 406.

Regarding Circuit Corolla Circuit Corolla... YES, more like this please! Cars modified for motor sports purposes, (particularly circuit racing and road rally), are the sort of thing that I would love to see more of in AutoSpeed. These vehicles tend to be well engineered packages - delving into the thought and solution process the owner/builder goes through is eminently more interesting than cars that are formula designed to generate big numbers (which are often debatable or even, with flywheel figures, fictitious), on the dyno. The fact that the car will be in difficulty in a sports sedan field is irrelevant, I am sure the owner doesn’t expect to compete with 6-litre space-framed monsters - it is used for sprints, motorkhana and hillclimbing, which means the owner is getting excellent bang for his buck. There are hundreds of cars in suitable condition at race tracks around Australia every week end - let us see more of them!

Blair Coull
Australia

Thanks for the comments re the Corolla – we’ll see if we can get some more nicely presented motorsport cars to feature. The Ford Falcon EF Falcon that Julian owns has far more rear space for a baby seat than the 407. We used the same baby seat (and baby!) in both.

Re Pug #4

Re Of Peugeot Press Cars... I just wanted to send a quick note congratulating Julian Edgar on his honesty and integrity as a motoring journalist. Thank you for illustrating just how the PR divisions of car companies can exercise great influence on how their products are represented. Keep up the great work!

Lincoln Robinson
UK

Re Pug #5

I'm emailing with regards to your article about the less than positive experience with Peugeot Of Peugeot Press Cars.... I won't bother going on a rant, but you're review was appalling. You spent 3/4 of the review complaining about issues with the vehicle in question; you spent a miniscule amount of time talking about real issues such as room inside the vehicle, boot room, etc. Surely the person in the picture (with a bleeding finger) can't be incompetent enough to cause such an injury. Any vehicle can be dangerous, if I stuck my finger in the door hinge, I could most probably lose my finger if the door was slammed. Using some common sense would help your situation.

I personally believe that your review was so negative because of these issues that affected you adversely. Sure, your review had some valid points, but your constant bickering with Matthew McAuley was inappropriate and showed your level of immaturity. You damaged the press vehicle and knowingly didn't report this (as requested by any manufacturer, you should know this with your "17 years" experience), what else did you expect from Peugeot? In my opinion, you have taken this too far and although I don't agree with everything said by Matthew McAuley, I think you have taken the wrong approach to this matter.

Benjamin Everton
Australia

Re Pug #6

Re: Of Peugeot Press Cars Great read Julian - I don't think Mr Peugeot’s Public Relations has done his company any favours with this one :-)

Jeff Chang
Australia

Re Pug #7

I've just finished reading your article Of Peugeot Press Cars and I find it disenchanting hearing about all the politics that goes into what should ultimately be a simple matter. I'd like also to point out to the car companies that by unreasonably denying your publication, or indeed any media outlet, access to the press cars they alienate the public more than they realise - they add to the credibility of a poor review by demonstrating a glaring insecurity about the quality of their product. It’s particularly a shame with Peugeot and Alfa, because I happen to like them, but if that's the way they behave, it'll clearly affect my buying decision.

Peter Tawadros
Australia

Pressure Wave Blower?

Pressure Wave Supercharger - could you please do a more in-depth article on this forced induction alternative? I've been intrigued with it ever since a friend dragged one home from somewhere wondering just what it was - we couldn't figure out much more than it was some sort of hybrid turbo/super charger. I then forgot for some time until I read your Diesel Discovery - Part Two article at the start of the year (Diesel Discovery - Part Two). I've tried to do some further research myself since, but online content is scarce and I still don't have a good grasp of its operation. This is the best resource I have found thus far: www.swissauto.com

It seems that a Swiss company called Comprex are the biggest (and perhaps only) name in the game and that Greenpeace utilise one in their SmILE Concept Car.

Ashley Rogers
Australia

The Comprex pressure wave supercharger is used on the Japanese Capella diesel. As you say, there’s not a lot of related information around – but there is a schematic of the supercharger system and good detail in a classic turbo book... John D. Humphries’ Automotive Supercharging and Turbocharging Manual. We’ll certainly consider an article on the principle!

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