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Some of this week's Letters to the Editor!

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Thermal Wrap

I've been told conflicting stories on whether or not thermal wrapping on the exhaust will be harmful to the piping. In my case, I'm interested in wrapping my 3-inch stainless steel dump + front pipe (1 piece) that's off the turbo, all the way to the cat. For your reference, this is on a Nissan 200SX.

Do you think this is not a good idea?

Kelvin Ho

We've never seen any proper tests, but anecdotally we've heard of extractor pipes that have broken down fast when heat-wrapped, although the same problem apparently does not occur on larger diameter pipes further from the engine.

Anti-FWD Bias

In your most recent "From the Editor" you make mention of the Lexus being RWD primarily for marketing purposes, and that only "Dark Ages" dwellers believe RWD "automatically confers a natural and distinct handling advantage".

Perhaps this mentality is reinforced by segments of the motoring press in this country. Bill McKinnon's article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday June 14th ("Powertrain is first-class ... But Audi's fast and fluid luxury A6 has a failing - it's front drive.") certainly reinforces this myopic, stereotypical attitude with references such as:

"The A6's front-drive layout places most of its weight at the pointy end, so its dynamics are inevitably less responsive and athletic than its rear-drive rivals, particularly the BMW."


"It's a pity it drives the front wheels. Despite Audi's efforts here, no amount of technical know-how can overcome the front-drive set-up's inherent dynamic restrictions."

If respected (?) motoring writers make such casual, blanket comments about front wheel drive cars being understeering, unwieldy nose-diving beasts and RWD cars being by nature the epitome of handling finesse, what chance does the average Joe at the pub have for developing a reasoned, balanced perspective? Perhaps Mr McKinnon should also take the Pug and the Lexus out for a drive through some tight windies and have his impressions sought...

Patrick Veitch

Our opinion of the vast majority of new car motoring writers in this country is well known...

Performance Wagons

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Firstly, just wanted to say great web site, especially after I read the article on about some of your struggles to get it off the ground. It's one of the few magazines that I read where I actually learn things.

I found your article ["New Car Test - Mitsubishi Magna Sports Wagon"] on the Magna Sports Wagon interesting, at least from the view point that your opinions didn't seem to go too much either way - which in truth was very similar to my opinion after I took one for a test drive. A competent sports vehicle but not exactly soul stirring - but it's a wagon after all and in this class it's a leap above the rest. It led me to think about two things.

Firstly, isn't it funny how a car manufacturer has to come close to shutting down its operations before it starts building soul stirring cars again? All of this time Mitsubishi has had access to a wealth of high performance technology from Japan but never really seemed interested in delivering exciting cars, until they get into a lot of trouble. The next thing you know, we have the Magna Sports, VRX, Ralliart, Sports Wagon, Lancer Evo VI, with a raft of other cars coming - such as the Verada GT (or whatever they decide to call it), the AWD Magna, Lancer Evo VII, and who knows what else. The same could be said about Ford, who after taking a pounding (relatively speaking) financially, has decided that it needs to build cars that stir the soul as well. With any luck this trend will continue with the car manufacturers - there's nothing like healthy competition and innovation to bring out exciting cars.

Secondly, do you know how difficult it is to find a practical vehicle with great performance? Being a father with two kids, a golden retriever, and the desire for an Alaskan Malamute, I would right now prefer to have a wagon. Tomorrow I part with my Galant GSR which offered me an adequate level of performance and handling mixed in with practicality. I had originally considered trading it in for the Magna Sports Wagon but after taking one for a test drive, it just didn't grab me like I thought it would. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I think that it just didn't overly excite me.

But are there any other options out there at the moment - short of going to a Saab Aero Wagon (and I'm not too happy about their looks and potential automatic overtaking abilities) or an Audi RS6 (I wish!), there isn't really anything that fits the bill for an exciting family performance wagon. So the Galant gets traded in for my wife's birthday present, a 200SX, and I'll put up with the Berlina for a bit longer. Hopefully, with the ongoing development of new models (and I'm pretty disappointed with Ford's decision to remain with a live axle in the wagon), something better but still affordable will come out over the next year. I'm banking on a 180kW AWD Magna Sports Wagon, but wouldn't it be great if Mitsubishi brought over the Legnum VR4, or Subaru brought a Liberty B4 Wagon. What I would really love to see is Mitsubishi Australia take that next step into high performance vehicles and build a twin turbo 3.5 litre and slot that into the Magna Sedans and Wagons - I think a Magna VR4 Wagon would probably get that excitement factor that I'm looking for!

Malcolm Schulstad

Anti-Fog Replacement

Just read the review on the Rain X-Anti Fog product ["Rain-X - The Review"]. Did you know that normal everyday shaving cream out of a can does a heaps better job of antifogging than Rain X? I've used the shaving cream on both my bathroom mirror and the car's interior windows and the results are outstanding. Like the ad used to say "a little dab'll do ya".

John Kiprou

Hmmm #1

I'm the owner of a vehicle which well and truly beat BMW to the punch by having no throttle butterfly ... engine control is by varying the lift of the inlet valve. Maybe BMW got the idea from my vehicle...

Want to broaden your knowledge base? - ask me about it.

Geoff Chennells

We're always interested in interesting technologies.

Hmmm #2

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Here 'tis. Oh, and by the way - it also features independent front suspension and a three speed differential(!)

Thanks for the reply - look forward to further discussion re things automotive, and the fact that "there's nothing new under the sun .."

Geoff Chennells

Thanks for that Geoff - not quite what we were expecting!

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