the Tribe


Chris Percival, via email

Our Letter of the Month author, Alan, scores a Porsche 918 Spyder model as seen here last issue. Next issue, write us up what’s on your mind and win yourself this stainless steel, matte finish Aston Martin flask, able to keep hot drinks hot for up to eight hours and cold drinks cold for up to 24.


I AGREE wholeheartedly with the view held by associate editor, Scott Newman, regarding Australia’s driving standards. Although, the MOTOR online poll probably polled the better drivers around – those interested in cars, driving and twisty roads. They are more likely (though not necessarily) to know how to drive, and hopefully actually do drive well.

My children are well past the learning stage. The one who struggled, I sent to an advanced driving course to learn car and skid control.

I ensured each learnt to drive with a manual transmission and understood the basic mechanics of how a car worked. We also drove longer distances, on dirt, in the wet and at night. I ensured they could merge and knew which lane they were supposed to be in.

We conducted emergency stops – so they could see how far from the car in front they needed to be. The last even used ABS. I made sure they knew how it worked and had experience with it. I get so frustrated seeing children of friends now.

Unfortunately, the family car is usually an auto, so they learn on an auto only, which they readily admit is easier and quicker to get their licence on. But in being easier, I fear they learn lazy habits, and in some ways, miss out on learning good car control.

Then they buy an auto. And I reckon that’s one of the reasons why they think it’s OK to play with phones while driving, because they’ve got a hand spare, and a brain spare. Driving for them seems to be something they think they can do most of the time without paying sufficient attention.

We’ve lost that battle, autos are the norm. There’s no point dreaming about restricting P Platers to only be allowed to drive manuals...

Alan Clarke, via

Spot on regarding learning to drive in a manual. That’s surely the mark of a cluey parent, not just because the kid ends up a better and more attentive driver (in theory) but you can get safer cars for cheaper if they have a manual gearbox (by virtue of so many first car buyers having learned on an auto). For example, the VW Up, which only ever came in manual in Oz, and a great little jigger, can be had in top nick for less than $5K, with Active Emergency Braking and five-star ANCAP rating.


In answer to Neil Brotherton’s letter about Mustang ANCAP results, you asked if we wanted more about car safety. Please god, no! I swapped my Wheels subscription to MOTOR when it became a bunch of petticoat-wearing nancy boys. Please don’t do the same. I just finished a round trip to Queensland in my Mustang and did not miss any of the driving aids that go to making a five-star safety rating. The Mustang is for drivers, and if a three-star rating means the Volvo drivers don’t want one, I say well done Ford. It keeps the club a bit exclusive is for drivers, and if a three-star rating means the Volvo drivers don’t want one, I say well done Ford. It keeps the club a bit exclusive.

Chris Percival, via email

Chris, we could hug you, but we won’t, as that would be weird. Ignoring the fact that we made mention of an ANCAP rating as recently as our response to the previous letter, safety ain’t about to become a PCOTY scoring criterion. That said, if we think a car we’ve tested is properly dangerous, we’ll still call it out.


As a long-term subscriber (since 1999, which was coincidentally when a new style was also brought in) I must say the new format of the mag has delivered a new desigh flair to the publication

The layout is aesthetically pleasing and logical (form and function working together). You implemented feedback from your loyal readers in regards to text size, font, layout and other various suggestions put forward.

I also feel the photography quality and composition has not taken a backward step since the move from Sydney to Melbourne and the departure of Easton Chang. This was quite evident with the special subscriber cover of the September issue. Big fan of the minimalist layout showing off the modern NSX contrasting against the raw Tasmanian backdrop

Something I have missed in the last few big tests, PCOTY and BFYB is quick snap shot of design highlights and lowlights of the contenders. As a three-time ‘Lucky Bastard’ (which was upgraded each time to words not fit for publication), way back when Amac was in charge and Louis was the intern, and as someone who studied industrial design, part of my ‘bastard duties’ was to assist Paul Cockburn go over the cars with a fine-tooth comb looking at the design dos and don’ts

Anyway, keep up the great work team. MOTOR continues to be a worldclass publication.

Shaun Broady, via Facebook We haven’t forgotten you, Broady, and we still have those photos. Yeah, those ones, so keep the nice letters coming and the criticism to a minimum... seriously though, wholeheartedly agree on the design dos and don’ts, we were MOTOR readers ourselves not that long ago and always enjoyed Cockburn’s contributions in this department. We will attempt to source the appropriate cheese and wine to woo him out of semi-retirement.

James Sanderson

Porsche 911 Carrera 2 | 3.6-litre flat-six, 235kW (modified) ODO 170,000KM | OWN FOR 12 YE AR E S

Was this car a dream come true? I wanted a 911 since I was about five. My neighbour was a guy called Matthew Coleman, who raced Carrera Cup, and his dad had a 911 SC. The first time I went in it, I was like: “yep, I want one of those”. I bought it because I wanted a car that was a little bit of a challenge to drive – more than modern cars with their driver aids.

It’s modified, yes? It’s in the low 12s, which it’ll run at Heathcote. It has what they call Super Cup camshafts, various internal mods, different exhaust and intake. I accidentally hit first instead of third going over the start finish at Sandown one day and that was the precursor in doing an engine rebuild. I also came first in a CAMS Supersprint series class.

You owned an MX-5 before? I felt like I got everything I could out of the MX-5 and wanted a challenge. My first impression was the MX-5 was a better car. The 964 had quite soft spring rates and moves around a lot on the standard suspension. The second I tied down the suspension it completely transformed the car. It has coilovers and 964 RS adjustable swaybars.

What’s it been like to own? The cost of ownership is amazingly low. They are extremely well engineered and unbelievably reliable. You can thrash it on a racetrack every day and it goes, “yep, cool”. It feels rock solid.

You mentioned it wasn’t always this colour? The car was originally delivered [to Oz] in Mint Green. My understanding is that it was at Porsche Cars Australia and for whatever reason, maybe they had trouble selling it, they fully resprayed the car completely in Horizon Blue.

Would you call it a part of the family? The car’s called Sally, because it’s the same colour as the one in Cars. And every time I took it to a racetrack every kid under 10 was like, “Sally!” But yeah, Sally’s family. My wife and kids would kill me if I ever sold it. It was my wedding car.



Yes (Daniel Ricciardo’s move from Red Bull Racing to Renault for 2019) is a big risk, but that’s what drivers do. It’s all about risk. When his talent meets the technical advancement of a factorybacked team – every time Renault has been in F1 it has made it to the top – he’ll win races. Go get ’em Dan.

Jay Dee, via Facebook

Mark Webber left Jaguar for Williams in 2005, infamously declining an offer to be Fernando Alonso’s teammate at Renault. Alonso and Renault, of course, walked it home 2005 and 2006. Hindsight can be cruel, but let’s hope fortune favours the brave Ricciardo.


Bloody hell guys, I thought I bought a woman’s mag with the contents finally showing up on page 13?

What’s next, free samples of Armor All wipes and a Dear Morley section? Actually, to be honest, the Armor All wipes idea isn’t bad...

Craig Collinson, via Facebook Someone having a sook about too many ads? In this day and age, we’ll take that as a compliment.


Please, please, please, MOTOR could you do a pocket-size book for the glovebox of all the roads you guys use when testing a car? Of course, you put them in the story’s with a little graphic of the road sometimes.

I’ve done a few from the magazine already and want more. I’m sure it would be a hit. I’d buy a few so I had one at home and the car. Anyway just been wanting to suggest it for a while. Keep up the good work. Haven’t missed a copy in 20 years!

Jock Hedger, via Facebook

Thanks, Jock, good idea. We shall investigate.


In reply to Associate Editor Scott Newman’s column on Australia’s driving standards, I would say he is absolutely correct. I did defensive driver training at Oran Park up until it closed in 2010. You wouldn’t believe the number of People incapable of efficiently stooping shortest distance possible. Some didn’t even want to do the exercise because “the car might roll over...”

The list of problems was pretty end less incorrect seating/steering position, lack of spatial awareness, lack of brake pressure, etc. And these were people who had at least come along to get some help. The vast majority on the roads are convinced that they’re ‘good drivers’ and don’t need any training.

The big problems are attitude and a lack of training. Most people aren’t the slightest bit interested in driving.

Take note of people trying to merge on any highway. Many simply come to a halt and then just sit there. Is merging at 100km/h tested in the licence procedure? Nope. What about driving in the rain or at night? That’s a no to both. So basically you’re shown how to make a car move and then it’s ‘see you later, you’re good to go’.

The driving standard in Australia is abysmal, and no-one in government seems to care. The problem isn't fixed by speed cameras... but revenue rules!

Len McIntosh, via online comment Onya, Len. Yes, it makes one despair. Australia must lead the way in terms of the ratio of confidence in one’s driving ability, versus one’s actual driving ability. Oh well, at least it makes commuting entertaining


I just picked up MOTOR’s Ford Mustang ballistic ponycars special edition. Really useful info, well presented, and with good consideration of affordability. Awesome job guys!

Steven Keith, via Facebook Thanks, Steven!

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