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Some of this week's Letters to AutoSpeed!

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Intercooled Holden V6!

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A while back you did an article on Yella Terra's boost upgrade on the factory supercharged Holden V6 (see Blowing Harder). Now Yella Terra have a water-to-air intercooler package which I and a few others on the Street Commodore forum have put on our cars netting some good results (185kW at the wheels) with factory quality running and reliability. This could make very good and informative article as a follow-up to Yella Terra's last available upgrade.

Here's a link to my post on the forum...

Peter Chalkias

That’s great news. We’ll certainly keep our eye out for step-by-step installations to cover in AutoSpeed - especially given blown Holden V6s can now be bought quite cheaply.

Rough Ride

I stumbled across your magazine and your article regarding your less than comfortable relationship with the Peugeot PR guy ( Of Peugeot Press Cars ).

My daily driver is a Jaguar X Type 3-litre Sport which, with all its faults, goes and hangs like the clappers and has taken me for 245,000 (mostly rapid) kilometres in just on three years. Point is, it doesn't ride nearly as well as my ancient Pug 504s nor my 505. I bought the Jag because I wanted "something nice" and even with its firmer sport suspension, it gives a better, more comfortable ride than the new Pug that I nearly bought to replace my faithful 505 STI. (The Jaguar dealer didn't like being told that "his" 2002 Jag doesn't ride as well as my 1972 504 either!) You would think that within 30 years ride quality would have to improve across the board, wouldn't you?

Ron Boaden

My Compliments

My compliments to you on your magazine content. I love the technical articles but find the new car reviews are very practical and take into account value for money as well as performance. Keep up the good work and I will keep subscribing.

David Mueller

Diesel ‘Wallet’

Re Mitsubishi 380LS New Car Test - a diesel 380 is a great start for a car that is otherwise heading for sales and marketing disaster. Firstly, to replace the name of a car with the engine size is lunacy. Blind Freddy knows larger engine = more fuel consumption. I can't see soft-drink producers calling their cans '20' after the teaspoons of sugar in each drink... BMW might do it, but drivers of BMW's don't tend to care about upcoming mortgage repayments. We all know the leaps made in diesels and Mitsubishi - with its existing diesel technology - could have had a winner. A car with the torque of a six and economy of a four and drives like a big car should. Piece of cake. What irritates me is that Mitsubishi doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. Long suffering Europeans demanded that - take a look at the BMW M5 Diesel, Alfa 147 or JDM Diesel Galants. Perhaps if my taxes weren't keeping the 380 (why don't they call it the ‘Wallet’) alive, diesel or gas might be a more urgent option. Meanwhile the humble Corolla sells like hotcakes.

Jason McIntosh

Little Ripper

I am hunting for a small (500-660cc) lightweight four-stroke engine to put in my Ultralight Powered Parachute for a reasonable cost. The Kei car engines look interesting - you have more experience with them in Australia than we in the US. Air cooled would be lighter but a lightweight water cooled engine is okay. Have you heard of these engines going for Ultralight use? Where can I buy such an engine?

Brian Moore

We’re not aware of any air-cooled late-model Kei engines. From 1990, the Kei engines were allowed to ‘stretch’ to 660cc and a maximum of 47kW. However, with very mild mods it’s quite easy to achieve 50 percent more power. They’re also quite reliable given suitable mixtures, no detonation and a good oil supply. We haven’t heard of any going into an Ultralight but that’s not to say it’s a bad idea! Engines can be exported via

Fuel Consumption – Who Cares?

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I'm sick to death of hearing about how bad fuel prices are. "AutoSpeed’s Prelim Verdict" on the VE Commodore (see VE Commodore Tech Overload ) is a just another typical bitching journo's pile of crap.

"Where’s the common rail diesel option or the hybrid version (which the Alloytec engine is designed to accommodate)?"

I'll tell you where - in development still. Holden has been very open about the fact that they're seriously looking at both these options. The Direct Injection V6 is scheduled for 2008 (with associated gains in both economy and power). By the way, a diesel will add AUD$3000-$4000 to the price for no better than 10 percent fuel efficiency and a probable drop in performance. As for the hybrid, add an extra AUD$8000 with a definite drop in performance and substantial weight gain.

You're argument doesn't stand up so well against that information now, does it?

As for LPG, the V6 can be optioned with petrol/gas and Holden has approved kits for the V8s that even log into the computer displaying LPG tank level on the existing screen (no dodgy add-on displays etc).

"And introducing a near 2-tonne 6-litre V8 at a time like this? Sure, it’ll be great in the role of a ‘hero’ car but who on earth can afford to run it?"

Lots of people, actually. Driven sensibly, these cars can easily achieve 11-12 litres/100km and even better economy on the highway. My 1990 VN Commodore (V6) struggles to get 12 litres/100km on the highway! So you know, I live in the country and am paying AUD$1.45/litre at the moment and the Perth prices are AUD$1.25/litre. These V8s have over twice as much power, are ten times better in handling, safety, comfort, quality, etc.

I'm a third year apprentice on AUD$370 a week after tax. If I can afford to run my car on this amount, pay for rent, food, insurance, rego and lifestyle, I'm sure there's no problem for the general population (I understand the average wage is over AUD$500/week) to get 2 litres/100km worse economy than me (for the V8s).

How about this point; the VE has put on around 100kg over the VZ, but the BA Falcon put on over 200kg compared to the AU. Now the VE, with massive advances over the VZ - and BA/BF Falcon in safety and power alone - is only about 10-20kg heavier than the Falcons. For the record, the V8 Commodores still achieve better fuel economy than the Falcons. Why don't you quit bitching? Sure, fuel prices have gone up but so have wages. If you love cars fuel prices wont matter. They don't faze me.

Evan Smith

We imagine a common rail turbo diesel version of the VE would achieve much better than 10 percent better fuel consumption. Why else would anyone bother? And it is quite possible a turbocharged diesel would provide BETTER torque and performance in normal driving than the base V6. This can already be seen when comparing the petrol Astra to the turbo diesel version – the diesel is much gruntier.

A ‘proper’ hybrid version of the VE would absolutely slash fuel consumption – especially in city driving (where the hybrid engine automatically switches off).

Granted, diesel or hybrid versions would probably cost more initially – but have you checked out the retained value of diesels or hybrids lately? Clearly, a lot of people are fazed by fuel prices!

The factory LPG systems are looking really rosy at the moment – we plan to cover them more in future articles.

Oh, and we very much doubt the 6.0 V8 will achieve 11-12 litres per 100km being driven away from the highway – at best, Holden claims an average of 14.3 litres per 100km!

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